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Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 review

Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 Limited Edition at Google I/O 2011

I got the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 Limited Edition at Google I/O in May. Its now mid September and I’ve been wanting to give it some use before giving an opinion about it and review it.

### The technical aspects ###

– Big display of 10.1 inches.
– Its got a fast processor, applications and games run very well.
Honeycomb is a nice operating system.
I couldn’t imagine this device with the Samsung Touchwiz that comes in the Galaxy S phones and the previous tablet. Its horrible! This one came originally with 3.0, which crashed applications frequently and had some bugs like not being able to change the clock’s timezone after setup. Now I understand they come with 3.1 by default. I’ve done the upgrade and its a lot more stable and smooth.
– 32GB internal memory, but no expansion slots.

One feature that I haven’t heard much talking about is that Honeycomb has a very nice security feature: it allows you to encrypt the whole tablet. I hope this feature makes it into Ice Cream Sandwich because its a lot more needed on the phone. I guess loosing the phone is more common that loosing a tablet.

### The uses ###

So far I’ve used it to watch videos on Youtube, playing Angry Birds and trying out some other games since the screen size is a lot more comfortable for gaming. I’ve been using it a lot for reading links from social networks, blogs and generally all my RSS feeds. It has become my casual browsing and social media device. With its big screen size and low weight its ideal for “couch computing”.

I bought a small generic base for it and some cheap desktop logitech speakers to put it in the kitchen counter to listen to music or watch and hear conferences, videos and South Park episodes while cooking or washing dishes.

### Apps ###

Although there are still many apps that haven’t upgraded their interfaces for tablet display using the latest Android toolkit, the ones that do look great. Here are the apps I’ve been frequently using on my tablet:

Plume for Twitter updates
Pulse for news and RSS feeds
– Gmail, this app has been optimized to look beautiful in the tablet
– Google+ is not optimized for tablets but its UI layout is okay
Mustard for my microblogging updates is not optimized for tablets
– Google Music in combination with external speakers or my home theater its a great music listening device
– Google Talk, video chatting from the tablet is very comfortable and handy
– Youtube
– Google Reader with its recent tablet layout version is now much more enjoyable to use

### The downsides ###

– Known factory defect of the corner glue. Haven’t heard of the issue on the new retail models.
– Lack of apps optimized for Honeycomb and general tablet layout
– Low sound
I don’t know if this is true to all android devices or just Samsung ones, but when I use external speakers with the Galaxy Tab 10.1 or my Samsung Galaxy S phone, the max volume is still low (even more with Flash videos) compared to when I plug in an iPhone or iPod device (even with Rockbox) on the same speakers.

### Final thoughts ###
I’m glad to have it. I like playing with it and having it around, its a handy device, but it is not a computer. I wouldn’t spend that much money for a gadget like this, but my mexican economy is not the same as the one from a “developed” country. But even then, gadgets here in Mexico cost twice as much (the first galaxy tab is $800 USD plus a two year contract).

I hope in the future prices will drop to netbook level prices (~$300 USD) and more interesting apps emerge optimized or made specifically for tablets on the android platform.

Do you have an android tablet device? I’d like to know how other people are using their tablets and what apps they recommend to get the most out of it.


Arriving late to the mobile computing era

mobile computing

As I’ve mentioned on previous posts, I recently got an android phone. And I don’t say “smartphone” because I had a Nokia N95, which was considered a “smartphone” back around 2007 or so. But this phone is different. Ever since the BlackBerry and the iPhone got out and then the Android OS devices, the small device in your pocket was no longer “just a phone”.

I know, I’m VERY late to write about this topic as if it was today’s novelty. The fact is that at the time of this writing, not everyone yet has joined the mobile computing world. I would like to share some of the things I’ve been using my phone, for others who, like me, are joining late the smartphone world.

So, for those who are still thinking on getting a smartphone, and wondering what’s the big deal or the big buzz around the topic, here are three basic ideas that I’ve found out after I got my android device:

Your device is not a phone, its a pocket computer.

That’s the first paradigm I noticed to be a big shift. What’s the big deal about it? Well, you can install and create lots of applications that you can use as entertainment, but specially to assist you on the go. You would never have on your desktop/laptop an application to split the restaurant tab, or remind you your grocery list, or aided with GPS and accelerometers to track your exercises. Its a different kind of computing you’ll be experiencing.

Your device is an extension of your desktop/laptop.

With applications like Chrome2Phone, you can easily extend what you’re doing on your computer to your mobile device. I sometimes search for an address on my computer browser, since the normal keyboard is more comfortable, and use this app to send the map to my phone, so I can use it on the road to get to my destination. Once I traveled to Mexico city for 7 days and did not used my laptop at all! Games, browsing, socializing, were all done from my phone (I did no programming those days, I was on vacations).

Your device is an extension of your memory and yourself.

Having a computer in you pocket handy for whenever you need it and packed with applications for many uses, you can have a better control of your time and tasks. Your to-do list, your calendar, your contacts, your social network notifications, your camera, all this in real-time sync with the online world and your computer can help you not miss anything, from attending a meeting, tracking your health or saving a moment through a video or photo and immediately sharing it to get real-time feedback.

For those who have already been in the mobile computing era for a while, what has been your experience? How has your life changed since you got your smartphone?

Photo is Creative Commons Licensed by Johan Larsson on Flickr