Review: Samsung Galaxy Tab 7 Plus

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Samsung was the first manufacturer to challenge Apple in the tablet ring. And while we’ve all heard the same denials that the original Galaxy Tab was a hybrid device, we all knew that it was a tablet first, smartphone second. With a couple of successful tablet launches under its belt (including the Galaxy Tab 10.1 and 8.9), the Korean company has sought to revisit the screen size that started it all with a new design, screen and OS. Does the Galaxy Tab 7 Plus have what it takes to be as successful as its big brother?

With all the screen sizes available nowadays, it’s becoming more difficult to find a screen size that’s best for you. To be honest, I’m drawn to 10.1-inch tablets but after a few days of using both a Lenovo K1 and the Galaxy Tab 7 Plus, I found that I was stuffing the latter more than the former in my bag before heading out. I found the overall size of the tablet handier, and while it’s not a gadget that’ll fit in the pockets of your jeans, it still small enough that you’ll be able to stuff it down pockets and bags that are capable of taking notebook sized items.

Visually, the Galaxy Tab 7 Plus looks like a miniaturized Galaxy Tab 10.1. The overall construction is plastic, and is built solidly enough. The back of the tablet is covered in white plastic, with a silver trim around it.

There’s a volume rocker on the right side, along with the power button and an IR transmitter, which I assume is used by the Peel Smart Remote App (more on this later).

The left side of the device houses the SIM and microSD slot. The top of the device holds a 3.5mm jack. Unfortunately, the Galaxy Tab 7 Plus isn’t what you’d call a device ideal for imaging – it only packs a 3.15 megapixel camera that’s only capable of  taking resolutions of up to 2048×1536 pixels. The display isn’t much of a step up from the previous Tab, but that doesn’t mean it sucks – the 7-inch PLS LCD capacitive touchscreen is bright and responsive, and has a display resolution of 1024 x 600.

The Galaxy Tab 7 Plus is a step up (naturally) hardware-wise to the original and packs a dual-core, 1.2 GHz processor paired with 1GB of RAM. Our demo unit had an internal storage capacity of 16GB, though there’s apparently a 32GB model if you find that lacking. If you haven’t noticed it yet, the Galaxy Tab 7 Plus is capable of taking a SIM card for 3G connectivity, though I found that you can also send text messages with it and make phone calls – possibly making it the most unwieldy smartphone ever made by man.

But thankfully, the Galaxy Tab 7 Plus isn’t a smartphone – it’s a tablet. And what a glorious tablet it is. Like any Samsung Android device, the Galaxy Tab 7 Plus comes with their own UI overlay called TouchWiz. The overlay adds additional functionality like more widgets and the like to the device, and changes up the ho-hum visual style of Honeycomb.

TouchWiz also adds a nifty screen capture app that you can access anywhere, which I really appreciated.

Like I said earlier, the Galaxy Tab 7 Plus comes with a nifty little app called Peel Smart Remote. The app is basically a huge universal remote app that allows you to control your TV from the tablet. Set-up was quite easy, and there’s a large list of supported devices that you can use it with, and you can even shoot off an email to the people who made the app if it doesn’t work with your listed device. Nifty, ain’t it?

Like any tablet that comes through our labs, the Galaxy Tab 7 Plus was put through some synthetic benchmarks to try and figure out where it stands in relation to other similar devices. The AnTuTu benchmark has been our benchmark of choice so far, and the Galaxy Tab 7 Plus managed to post some surprising numbers. It scored a whopping 6040 points, surpassing the Samsung Galaxy S II and coming ridiculously close to the Samsung Galaxy Note’s 6348 score. The actual, real-life performance of the Galaxy Tab 7 Plus mirrors the benchmarks – the device never hanged and was still damn speedy even after I went through application after application in a vain attempt to crash it.

Battery life was pretty impressive too, with the Galaxy Tab 7 Plus managing about 7 1/2 hours on a single charge with 3G on and some moderate use.

Possibly the only thing that’ll stop you from getting one is this: is 7-inches the right size for you? A few months ago I probably wouldn’t have touched a 7-inch tablet with a 10 foot pole, but now I see the benefits of having a compact yet powerful device in my bag, and I’m slowly leaning towards this particular size if ever I get my own (I still like 10-inch tablets though). Ultimately, it’s going to be a personal decision, one that’s best answered by going to a Samsung concept store and trying one yourself. We currently don’t have an idea of pricing, but we guess it’ll  run in the same 21-25K price bracket that the Huawei MediaPad currently swims in.

 

What’s Hot:

Faster processor than the original Galaxy Tab

TouchWiz UI bring extra widgets and functionality to the table

Good performance

Excellent battery life

 

What’s Not:

Camera is a little mediocre

 

Bottomline:

The Samsung Galaxy Tab 7 Plus is an improvement over the original Tab, and if you don’t mind the size, I’d highly recommend it to anyone.

Buymeter: 9

 

Tech Specs 

  • Operating System: Android Honeycomb 3.2
  • CPU: 1.2 GHz dual-core
  • LCD: 7-inch PLS LCD capacitive touchscreen, 1024 x 600 pixels
  • Physical Dimensions: 193.7 x 122.4 x 9.9 mm
  • Weight: 345g
  • Band: GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900, HSDPA 900 / 1900 / 2100
  • Internal memory: 16/32 GB storage, expandable via microSD