By: Hillel Fuld
The Samsung Galaxy Tab has been making waves in the early adopter community. It might not be the first tablet to run Google’s mobile operating system, Android, but it is definitely the most significant one coming from an industry giant like Samsung. Now that there have been a few videos of the Tab in action as well as some initial Tab reviews, I don’t think anyone denies the fact the Samsung tablet is an impressive device on all fronts. What seems to be the debate in the tech community is: iPad or Tab.
Update: Sharp just announced they are jumping into the tablet ring with two new Android Sharp tablets.
There are two major tablets on the market (the Dell Streak 5″ is too small to be called a tablet and the 7″ Streak is too new to call it major) and the big question is which one to buy. Of course, anyone who tells you there is a clear cut answer to this question is lying, but I have had an iPad 3G for a few months, and while it has definitely changed my idea of what a computer should be, the specs and reviews of the new Samsung Galaxy Tab definitely make me want one.
The following are seven reasons any iPad owner, or someone looking to purchase a tablet, should seriously consider the Samsung Galaxy Tab:
- Portability: One of the first things iPad owners notice about the Apple tablet is that holding it for an extended period of time, which is the nature of tablets, is not to easy to do. It gets heavy despite its relatively light 1.5lbs of weight. Not only does it get heavy but typing on a 9.7″ screen while holding it in your hand can get awkward. I solved this with the Marware Eco Vue case, which allows me to place the iPad on a surface and prop it up to the ideal angle for typing. The Samsung Galaxy Tab is a lot smaller than the iPad, and while that means less screen real estate for viewing movies or pictures, it makes carrying around the device a whole lot easier.
- Flash: I do not intend on getting into the debate over Adobe Flash vs HTML 5. In fact, I can personally live with the lack of Flash on my iPad. Having said that, I would not yell and scream if Jobs would finally get over his ridiculous ego and need for vengeance by enabling Flash on Apple devices. The Tab runs Flash. I do not mean the choppy experience provided by some of the Android phones that supposedly support Flash as well. The Tab does Flash and it does it well, at least according to the initial reviews.
- Camera: Absolutely no one debates that iPad 2 (or whatever stroke of genius Jobs will come up with for the name of the next iPad) will have at least one camera. In fact, most people who know Apple, claim the only reason the current iPad does not have a camera is so they can add it to the next one and sell millions. The lack of a camera on a tablet is like the lack of Copy and Paste on a smartphone… Seeing a pattern here? Well the Galaxy Tab has a camera, and quite a nice one. At 3 MP, auto focus and an LED flash, this to me is an absolute deal breaker or decision maker for someone on the tablet market.
- Video Calling: I can’t help but imagine how amazing the experience would be if we were able to video call from the iPad. The vibrant screen, the impressive depth, and the overall experience the iPad provides is just yelling video calls. Yet, Apple left any instance of a camera lens out of their debut into the tablet market, and that sucks. The Samsung Galaxy Tab has a front facing 1.3 MP camera making it on par with the top of the webcam category (yes, I know there are some webcams that are much higher than 1.3 MP) and adds a serious advantage to the Tab over the iPad.
- Video Formats: I have to admit, this is somewhat of a tricky one. Just last week, Apple surprisingly approved VLC Media Player for the iPad and the Tab’s ability to support all video codecs might have had something to do with Apple’s sudden change of heart. While the iPad now supports different video formates such as AVI and others using VLC, the Galaxy Tab does it out of the box. To be fair, the experience of watching a full length movie on a 7″ screen just cannot be compared to a 9.7″, but the Tab’s flexibility when it comes to video playback is yet another big advantage.
- SD Slot: So here is the thing with memory cards, they are getting bigger. While the highest SD storage is now 32 GBs, which means that combined with the 16 or 32GB of on board storage, the Tab maxes out at 64GB. I personally own a 64GB iPad, so where am I going with this? While right now, the iPad has more storage than the Tab can have, it won’t be long before a 64GB Micro SD card is released, then a 128 etc etc. There is no way to know if the Tab will support these new higher capacity cards, but assuming it will (not a crazy assumption at all if you know anything about SD standards), the 64GB iPad will be surpassed in storage capacity very soon. The important thing here is not the actual number of GBs, it is the ability to adjust the device’s storage capacity with an external card, something Apple will never do (or at least it does not seem to be going in that direction).
- Wide Screen Ratio: I am going to admit that I am no expert on this topic, but it did strike me as strange when the iPad was announced that it was a 4:3 ratio as opposed to 16:9. The Web video industry has definitely made widescreen videos the standard, which means you get those fun black lines when watching a video on the iPad. In all fairness, the iPad allows you to scale the video up to the full screen view, but that is not its natural ratio. The Tab is widescreen, which makes it more like an enlarged smartphone in its dimensions, which is a good thing since we are all pretty used to smartphones by now. While I am far from an expert on the human eye, Jake Kern, a Twitter friend who seems to know his stuff explained to me that the widescreen ratio is much more suitable for the human field of vision. Some examples of when widescreen would come in handy is opening two tabs simultaneously, eBooks, word processing files, and many others. To read more information on widescreen and its advantages, see here.
In conclusion, let there be no misunderstandings, for every advantage the Galaxy Tab brings, I can also name one for the iPad. The above points are not intended to belittle the iPad as a true game-changer, netbook-killer, industry-leader or any other name it has been called. I love the iPad for what it is, but it could have been so much more, and every feature that I think should have been included in the iPad seems to be present on the spec sheet of the Samsung Galaxy Tab, so you do the math.
Please feel free to tell me you think I am crazy or that you are now sold on the Tab. You can share your thoughts on the iPad-Tab rivalry in the comments below or reach out to me on Twitter.