Galaxy Tab

A few weeks ago I decided to get myself a Galaxy Tab through Vodafone. I mulled over getting an iPad but two reasons prevented me from doing so.

First up, it's the openness of the Android system. Yes, it's not completely open but it is open enough for me. I mount the drive on my desktop computer, copy and delete things at a whim without needing to wait for the backup-sync combo. I can also use the built-in WebKit based browser and download files directly to the system. These are just a couple of simple things we take for granted on a desktop computer that has now become a luxury on such devices as the Tab.

The openness brings with it some nasties as well, there's a virus doing the rounds that is currently being distributed by shoddy programmers through the Market store itself. The closed nature of the iPad and the strict code control measures in the iTunes Store currently prevent these types of nasties, for the time being. However, if you're connected to the Internet it's only a matter of time before *they* find a way to compromise any system.

Secondly, I just know that the next version of the iPad is just around the corner. Would I get one after owning a Galaxy Tab? Maybe. It makes the justification harder but unless I was writing an app for it then I might have to wait a while longer. Also, the Galaxy Tab is available right now, and I'm not the patient kind.

Form Factor

I'm quite happy with the physical aspects of the Tab. The 7" size along with a low weight of around 350 grams makes it ideal for prolonged use, without needing to prop it up someway. Reading eBooks is a nice experience but I find that I occasionally touch the screen and have the page flip come up. The non-touch screen nature of my Kindle makes it a more superior device for reading, if only it supported the increasingly popular ePub format.

Some Gripes

The notification bar is where Samsung has placed some controls to adjust screen brightness, and turning GPS/WiFi/Bluetooth etc., on and off. This is a great place for such items as it's always there rather than trying to fiddle around the settings app to find these items.

However, some applications, e.g. the eBook reader, hide access to this menu bar. If the lighting in the room had changed and I wanted to adjust the brightness I would have to jump out of the eBook app, make the change, and then come back in again. Some things should be standard across all devices and I think the hiding of the notification bar is a bad idea.

One other gripe is that the Application menu lists all apps in installation order with no way of reorganising them, say, alphabetically. These are some of the small nuances that I'm sure will go away once the platform matures a little more.