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Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus is ‘really nice’ — but can it withstand the Fire?

Nov 15, 2011 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — views

Lightweight, compact and speedy, Samsung's Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus is a seven-inch Android 3.2 “Honeycomb” tablet with few minuses. Unfortunately, this eWEEK review adds, it's saddled with a price twice that of Amazon's new Kindle Fire.

One of the toughest challenges I thought I'd have in reviewing the Samsung Galaxy 7.0 Plus Android tablet is its availability relative to Amazon's Kindle Fire tablet.

Fortunately, I started playing with the Plus last Friday and have left the Kindle Fire — which arrived Nov. 14 — relatively untouched.

I do want to compare them — but not without giving the Plus proper lip service.

Honestly, the device deserves it. The Plus, with its seven-inch, WSVGA (1024 x 600 pixel) display, weighs only 12.2 ounces and has a metallic gray enclosure: It's the Android tablet Samsung should have launched in 2010 to challenge Apple's iPad instead of the awkward, chunky Galaxy Tab 7.


Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus

(Click on either to enlarge)

While the original seven-inch Tab only weighed 13.5 ounces, it was a full .5 inch thick. But that wasn't the bad part; the original 7 made application access awkward because it ran Android 2.2 "Froyo," which is decidedly not fit for consuming apps on the larger tablet form factor.

In my tests of the WiFi-only version of the Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus, apps ran beautifully on the Android 3.2 "Honeycomb"-powered device, which has a speedy 1.2 GHz processor. The tablet UI also benefits from Samsung's TouchWiz user interface, which is super friendly to consumers who enjoy customizable widgets.

The Social Hub app widget, for example, elegantly lets users link their e-mail, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn accounts with the tablet, which renders messages and updates in one consolidated view with headshots associated with contacts' profiles.

Netflix and YouTube played well on the Plus, as did the magazine-reading app Next Issue and Samsung's Media Hub for movies and TV shows.

The Plus has some of the more useful apps I've ever seen preloaded on a Honeycomb tablet, including Google Maps with Navigation turn-by-turn GPS directions, which lets users type or speak their intended destinations into the Plus. Others include the pen memo note-taking app that lets users write notes on the tablet with their fingers and save them for later; a photo-editing app for pictures you snap; and Polaris Office, which allows reading and editing PC-formatted documents.

One of the bigger draws to this tablet is Peel's Smart Remote app, which lets users manage their home entertainment content and systems from the tablet. There is also a screensaver app and a dedicated screen capture button in the Honeycomb navigation bar, accessible via any of the five homescreens.

The Plus comes with 1GB of RAM and is available with 16GB and 32GB of flash storage. A microSD card allows adding another 32GB, which ought to be more than enough.

Plus' minuses

I wasn't a fan of the Plus' three megapixel, rear-facing camera. Though it had little latency, it paled by comparison to some of the tablets and smartphones with five or eight megapixel sensors.

This camera also shoots video at a modest 720p HD, though it does playback in 1080p HD. The  two megapixel front-facing camera will provide video chats ably enough.

The Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus also has only a 4000 mAh battery, which is on the low-end of today's tablets. Expect to recharge early and often if you consume a lot of multimedia.

The only other thing I found distasteful about the Plus is its price: At $399 for the WiFi version, it's going to be awful hard for the Plus to sell well this holiday season versus the Kindle Fire, which costs half that at $199. (On Nov. 16, consumers may also buy a Plus 3G from T-Mobile for $249 down on contract, plus $10 a month payments for 20 months.)

And that's a shame, because Samsung crafted a really nice tablet in the Plus. I'm just not sure that Samsung — even with Google Maps Navigation, Peel Remote, Netflix and Next Issue apps — will be able to convince consumers to buy the Plus over the Kindle Fire, which is being heavily touted and marketed.

Further information

More information on the Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus, including a full spec sheet, may be found at Samsung's Tab 7.0 Plus page.

Clint Boulton is a writer for eWEEK.


This article was originally published on LinuxDevices.com and has been donated to the open source community by QuinStreet Inc. Please visit LinuxToday.com for up-to-date news and articles about Linux and open source.



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