Meet The iPad Killer – Samsung’s Galaxy Tab

  • You can make phone calls
  • Has built-in camera with flash
  • Is almost half the size and weight of the iPad

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know, you’ve heard it all before with the iPhone. Apple sets the standard in functionality, applications and user-friendliness of a device and the opposition spend screeds of R&D of not only trying to match it but better it. Some vendors succeed, most don’t, before Apple heads down another innovative path.

So, along comes the iPad, a slate computer that isn’t a laptop but is nice and portable, offers up an array of features that have Apple fans scrambling to buy it, yet with some cynics wondering what all the fuss is about. Look, let’s not pretend otherwise – Apple definitely gets us geeks going when they release products due to the design and capabilities of the devices they produce; they leave competitors scrambling in their wake – in catch-up mode. However, with Samsung’s Galaxy Tab, the tables might be turned due to a few features it has that consumers and tech media were talking about at the time of the iPad launch. So what has it got under its lid?

The Galaxy Tab’s most obvious difference is the size and weight. Its form factor is about half that of the iPad, which means it can be held in one hand, and is also lighter. Its screen size is smaller (seven inches), but that doesn’t detract from its usability, although if you like to watch movies the iPad would probably be the better device. Most importantly though, it can fit into a jacket pocket, which the iPad cannot.

As far as features go, the two things that stick out like a vegan at a slaughterhouse is that it can be used for both mobile and video calling, and has camera and video functionality. One really cool aspect of the camera is its panorama setting, which will take eight pictures in a row as you sweep across a picturesque view, turning the eight photos into one landscape snap. For those who like to visit well know tourist spots and landmarks, you can also geotag pictures.

Using a Vodafone SIM card, the calling capability was very clear, and the person on the other end said my voice was also clean and crisp. I tended to use the phone as a speaker phone, as opposed to putting it up to your ear, which I did try but the experience felt awkward and uncomfortable.

Of course, one of the main bugbears of the iPad, which won’t be changing any time soon, is Apple CEO Steve Jobs’ unwillingness to embrace Adobe Flash. The Galaxy Tab has it, so there is another tick in the box if you are a friend of YouTube or similar video service.

It uses the Android operating system, so there will be plenty of applications to download in the future, and being a fan of the Android O/S, this only adds another feather to its bow.

Other bits and bobs are the swype technology that was first spied on the Galaxy S Smartphone; Allshare, which as the name suggests allows you to share movies, pictures and music over DNLA-enabled devices; and you can also play games. The storage capacity will be 16GB plus the ability to insert a 32GB micro SD card.

Overall, this little beauty could take off and cause Apple to be the follower, not the instigator as computers, mobile phone and video/camera technology become closer as all-in-one devices. Does it leave Apple shaking in its boots? Doubtful, but as a consumer it makes you lick your lips as tech companies try to outdo each other, with the winners in the long term, being us, the consumer.

TBC. Samsung has yet to state if they have signed an exclusive deal with any of the major Telcos.

Pros: Portable, phone capability, camera and video capabilities, all-in-one mobile device
Cons: Touchscreen smudges easily, possibly a little too small for some tastes

4.5 Shacks out of 5