Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Techy Tuesday: Samsung Galaxy Tab

The longer my husband's iPad has been in the house, the more I have come to like the idea of a tablet.  I WANT an iPad - I really do, but I HATE the size of the thing.   I found myself often in the tablet section of a store and always gravitating to the smaller 7 inch tablets.   Then, this week...I had a chance to get one for free.

Say wha?  Free?

Bear with me people...it really wasn't free, but using my geek girl logic, I can totally justify the way I got this thing.  And I do need to send a big shout out to hubby for making it happen because when it looked like everywhere was sold out of these, he managed to secure the last one in the city for me.

With the release of the new Samsung Galaxy Tabs in the near future, Rogers was clearing out the older stock.  Free tablet with 3 year term.  Hubby is already a Rogers customer so the tablet was basically just an add-on to his existing data plan (cheaper than getting my own account).   At the end of 3 years, I will have ended up paying for the tablet in full plus having paid for approx 1 year of data for 3 years worth.  Score for me.  Now I have a tablet with no money laid out AND I can use it from home on WI-Fi or take it on the road with me (meaning larger screen to play internet videos on in the car to shut up the twins on road trips)

So now, with the explanation out of the way...here we go with the unboxing and my impressions.

In the box were the wall plug and usb cable, nice headphones, and manuals.  No case, but next Tuesday I'll address that.

Along the bottom of the screen are 4 buttons - Menu, Home, Back, and Search

The screen is super clear.  Capacitive touchscreen so it reacts like an iPad screen and incorporates many of the movements that are familiar to Apple users.  I've found that Android Market has a wide range of usable apps for my purposes - including, but not limited to Cozi, My Fitness Pal, Kindle, Kobo, Zinio, and a slew of native Google Apps (a really nice thing about using a Google operating system is that the apps for their products are stellar).

I've found that good toddler games are a bit lacking.   iPad seems to be the winner here, but my daughters still enjoyed poking around in the couple that I downloaded for them.  I did notice that many of the app developers did build in functionality to lock the home button, which is my big complaint when it comes to the iPad (my daughters are too good at pushing the button and then deleting apps).   I really liked the app iStorybooks as it came with many free books and had options to have it play as a slideshow - reading the book aloud or to shut off that functionality to read the story together as a family.  I see us using this for kids ebooks ALOT.

I've been enjoying playing around with digital magazines in Zinio (I'll be reviewing this in a couple of weeks for you).  One of the big things about decluttering our home was trying to figure out how to keep the magazines and kill the clutter they cause...this might just do the trick in that respect.

I am happy to have a reading device that I can use for Kindle - though I doubt I will read many books on this screen (too hard to read for long periods on a backlit screen), it is nice to know I have an option for when a book just isn't offered in any format but Kindle.

The size of this device is the real winner for me.  It is almost the exact dimensions of a kindle (slightly thicker but within a millimetre otherwise).   It can be held comfortably in one hand and is a good size to surf the net or just do my daily tasks on.   I already find myself gravitating to it to update my daily apps instead of doing it on my Blackberry. 

The unit does come with a couple of cameras built in - a 3MP and 1MP.  The quality isn't stellar, but it is enough for doing video chat.   I didn't want it for the cameras, though...it was purely for the browsing experience and it quite satisfies me in that respect.   

Speed-wise, it is quite snappy.  I don't notice any real lag to it, though Hubby does say the iPad is faster in his opinion.   I've still found him reaching for it a few times instead of his iPad, so I think he might be a little fond of it as well.

The battery life is really decent.   After the initial charge, I didn't need to charge it again for the next two days.   It was used just as heavily (if not moreso) than our netbook would have been and it was nice to not need to plug it back in every couple of hours like the netbook (try and guess what will be hitting Kijiji this week).

All in all - I'm very happy with this.  I'm glad I stuck to my guns and went with the smaller size.  I think it will be a very useful device for our family...and one that fits in my normal-sized purse at that.

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