Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Galaxy Tab, early review

Well, I got the Samsung Galaxy Tab, and I must say, it's very close to being what I had wished for: a Kindle 3 with a high-contrast screen. In fact it's almost exactly the size of the Kindle three, only a couple millimeters longer and thicker.
(Apparently those millimeters didn't suffice for the product to be able to support regular thumbnail-sized SD cards, you have to get Micro-SD cards.  Astounding.)

I'm still investigating the other things this small tablet can do (quite a lot, being a full Android machine), but I can say this: it's pretty close to being a perfect portable ereader. (I hope we will get two kinds of ereaders as the years go: this size for portable, and big ones 10-12-inch screens) for home reading and serious study, for art books, for complex pages, etc.)

But what were they thinking with the price?? $600? It's definitely not $100 more worthy than the iPad. In fact, the iPad's screen size is a definite plus (though not essential like Jobs claim). I'd say maybe $100 less than the iPad. Which would give us $400, more reasonable. And sell it for $300 in half a year, you have something.

The screen is great for reading.
I only wish the various reading apps gave us finer steps in regulating text size. For me it's pretty important to find the exact size which is the optimum compromise between readability and how often I have to change the page. But other than that, for instance Amazon's Kindle app  is mighty fine.

Another small wish is a bit more shaved off the weight. The Galaxy Tab is 400 grams. The Kindle 3 is 250 grams, which is wonderful.

I'm missing a good app for reading Instapaper articles (Instapaper saves web articles in readable format, to read later on a portable device), those I've found so far are not optimized for the big screen, only for phones. But it's not bad for web browsing at all. And it's excellent for RSS (web page feed) with Greader for example. In other words, one of the best compact ereading devices we have so far, methinks. If you can afford to pay Rolls-Royce prices for a Mercedes.

10 comments:

TC [Girl] said...

Looking forward to reading more on this one! :-)

Bruce said...

Using microSD instead of standard SD does seem like a mistake to me. I can see how they made it though, because microSD is used by most Android phones.

If Samsung scaled up their Galaxy phone without thinking about it much, well, viola, you end up with microSD.

eolake said...

Yes. Although in most other respects, they clearly have done a good job.

The buttons issue is really something tablet makers have to solve, though. You just can't hold the damn thing without being very careful to not click a button, and it's a big needless sink of time and attention.

The same is true of the Dell Streak and the iPad, but less with the pad, its one button is sunk and needs a distinct press, well done Apple.

TC [Girl] said...

Eolake said...
"The buttons issue is really something tablet makers have to solve, though. You just can't hold the damn thing without being very careful to not click a button, and it's a big needless sink of time and attention."

I was thinking of this, earlier today, after I read this (and I don't know how they do these things; is this even plausible? I dunno): why couldn't [at least; seems like they might be able to figure this out?!] Apple put a lock on the durn thing, like the Pods and, say, only have the page-turning button unlocked? Sounds like an easy thing to do but...is it?

eolake said...

I doubt it's necessary to lock the buttons, you just have to design them so they are not activated except when you want.
Not so hard to do, I guess, I just suspect it has not been recognized as an issue yet.

And I do think some dedicated "holding areas", rubberized and without any buttons, would aid the whole thing a lot.

And perhaps... no buttons on the sides?... You don't see them, which makes it unnecessarily tricky.

Bruce said...

I haven't tried the Tab, but I agree in general about buttons. I think even the iPad can do a better job with the placement and function of their buttons.

As I've mentioned before, I would like long side and one short side of a tablet to be free of buttons. Following that rule would avoid a lot of problems.

eolake said...

I think they might run into space issues, at least if they also want the main port and the speakers on the same short side.

TC [Girl] said...

Eo: was just thinking about one of the other features that I am HOPING to get w/an e-reader (possibly this Galaxy Tablet? I dunno. It sounds pretty COOL, already! Where did you get yours from? Am just wondering *where* a person has to go to test one out: cell phone store? Techi store?): like you, I like the idea of being able to have audio, as well. Have you been able to find an Android App that will read the e-books to you, yet? I want something that will have dual function, like that, so I don't have to go out and buy BOTH audio AND e-book of same book!

eolake said...

I've just used half an hour trying to find it out. It *should* be able to do it, I just can't find out how. You'd think that in apps with text "read out loud" would simply be a menu item, but I have not found that anywhere.
And yet text to speech is in the settings, and I have even installed an alternative voice engine and a couple of voices for it, to no avail.

TC [Girl] said...

Eolake said...
"I've just used half an hour trying to find it out."

Thanks for your efforts.

"It *should* be able to do it, I just can't find out how."

Darn it! Too bad.

"You'd think that in apps with text "read out loud" would simply be a menu item,"

Of course that sounds logical...

"...but I have not found that anywhere."

Bummer. :-(

"And yet text to speech is in the settings, and I have even installed an alternative voice engine and a couple of voices for it, to no avail."

Lookit this craziness (add further mayhem to the craze! lol!): this e-reader *comes* w/the fricken text-to-speech INSTALLED!! (I was trying to find something on how to get the Galaxy rolling, for you. :-)