Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7 Review

Android 4.0.4 Ice Cream Sandwich Update
Update your Galaxy Tab 7.7 to Android 4.0.4 ICS to enjoy a faster and richer experience.
Update can be done over KIES or FOTA.
Simply go to Settings > About device > Update.
Note: files and apps will be retained, however, homescreen configurations, user ID and passwords will be wiped.

 Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7
Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7 is the latest addition to the Galaxy Tab family which rides on the success of the Galaxy Tab 10.1. I had earlier reviewed the Galaxy Tab 10.1 for Samsung Master Reviewer Programme. The Galaxy Tab 7.7 (Model P6800) as the name suggests, is a smaller version of the big brother and sports a 7.7-inch screen. Tab 7.7 is also the first to have a Super AMOLED Plus screen while the previous versions only have TFT LCD screens. All Galaxy Tab 10.1, 8.9, 7.0 Plus and 7.7, runs on Android 3.x Honeycomb. Apart from the fact that all these tablets come in WiFi and 3G versions, the Tab 7.0 Plus and Tab 7.7 are the only ones which functions as a phone. Of course, it will be silly to put a bigger tablet to your face while placing a call! However, if you are looking a really portable tablet which matches up to your Moleskin notebook, the 7.0 Plus or 7.7 are the ideal sizes. Of course, there is the Samsung Galaxy Note (Android Gingerbread) which features the S-Pen to allow precise scribbling. If you are expecting to scribble on the Tab, you have to wait for the Galaxy Note 10.1!


Unboxing of Galaxy Tab 7.7
It is not hard to expect how the Tab 7.7 will be packaged.
It is similar to that of Tab 10.1.
 Accessories include: Quick Start Guide, Charger, USB data cable, Headset with various sizes of ear plugs.
The rear sports a sleek brushed aluminum finish.

Up Close of Galaxy Tab 7.7
The ear piece of the tablet along with 2MP front camera.
The rear 3MP camera along with the LED flash.
The 5100mAh Li-polymer batter is built-in and thus you have the SIM and microSD slots by the sides.
The proprietary Samsung Tab port, stereo speakers and microphone.
The Sleep/Wake button and volume controls.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7 vs iPad
The Tab 7.7 has better specifications than big brother Tab 10.1.
There is no need to do another comparison to the iPad, as it was already compared here.
The Tab 7.7 is lighter and tad smaller than the iPad.
Updated: Ergonomics of Handling reviewed here.

Display Screen size: 7.7 inches Super AMOLED Plus 
Resolution: 1280 x 800
Touchscreen type: Capacitive 
Multitouch: Yes
Operating system: Android 
Skin: TouchWiz Launch OS version 3.2
Current OS: Android 3.2 Honeycomb
Processor: 1.4 GHz Dual-Core
Memory RAM size: 1 GB
Internal memory: 16 GB
External storage support: microSD 
Max external size: 32 GB 
GSM: Yes
Wi-Fi: Yes (802.11n, 802.11g, 802.11b, 802.11a)
GPS: Yes 
Bluetooth: Yes (v3.0)
Front Camera Effective pixels: 2 megapixels 
Rear Camera Effective pixels: 3 megapixels 
Flash: Single LED 
Focus type: Autofocus 
Headphone: 3.5mm 
Data connection: Proprietary 
Sensors: Proximity, Ambient Light, Gyroscope, Compass / Magnetometer, Accelerometer 
Battery Capacity: 5100 mAh

Size Comparison to other Toys
 Having an Android phone isn't enough, but I need an Android Tablet too!
Wait, I do have an iPad too!
Who needs so many gadgets?
Take my Tab 7.7 for Casual Photography!
I am serious about integrating the Tab 7.7 for Professional Photography!
The Tab 7.7 is not exactly pocketable like a pocket camera.
Compared to retro cameras
Really Toys!
Android meets Android!

Pimp my Tab 7.7 
Part I
I need to get my Tab up to speed with first boosting up the 16GB internal storage with an additional 32GB microSD card.
This Class 4 booster set me back by S$49.90.
Instead of forking out S$60+ for an official Tab USB kit, I scored this 3rd-party kit which allows me to connect USB devices and other memory cards.
Yes, Galaxy Tab is a USB host and reads your USB thumbdrive! Something the iPad can never do!
The Tab also supports USB keyboards and mouse.
This kit cost only S$7.90.
I'm cheap to save on screen protector!
I can only afford a S$5.90 one!

Built Quality
The feel of the Tab 7.7 in the hands is really solid! The brushed aluminum finish on the rear makes the device feels rugged and expensive, at no expense on weight! However, I won't try risking without a screen protector and case. No Gorilla Glass on the Tab 7.7, since it is only available on the Galaxy Note.

Functionality & Ease-of-Use
If you had already switched from Apple camp to the Android camp, you should be familiar with what more Android can do! If you are already a Galaxy SII user, there is really little learning curve. Android Honeycomb has a slight interface difference from Android Gingerbread found on phones.
Samsung's TouchWiz UI did not really change much of the stock Honeycomb OS. A neat feature is the pop-up App Tray, which is a shortcut to a panel of fixed general purpose apps. Resizable widgets are overlooked but a neat feature to have to utilize the extended estate. The ultra lightweight Galaxy Tab 7.7 and the Moleskin notebook size allows you to carry it anywhere without any complaints.  The camera on the Galaxy Tab 7.7 still did not see improved camera at 3MP, although it captures good quality pictures. We just expect the 8MP cameras which are common in phones. Super AMOLED Plus screen provides sharp and rich colors under most lighting conditions, even under bright sun light. The battery life is good and gives around a day plus of usage. The best part of Android system is of course the file system. The Android file system allows you to browse, copy, move, delete files and folders just like you do on a computer. Files stored on Android can be accessed by any installed app, making sharing and app-app integration seamless. Along with the optional USB kit , you can read your files stored on SD cards and flash drives. All Galaxy devices comes pre-installed with Polaris Office, a full-version Office app which allows you to view and edit Office documents and even .xlsx.

What you should know and be prepared with all Samsung Galaxy Tabs
Do not support the S-PEN stylus (only in upcoming Note 10.1).
Do not have interchangeable batteries.
Come with proprietary dock port (not the same micro USB as phones and definitely not the same as Apple devices)
Do not charge over standard USB ports.
No Gorilla Glass.
Not all Tabs can place phone calls.

Going to Work with Galaxy Tab  7.7
Make use of Google's cloud services or 3rd party apps such as Dropbox to keep your files sync on any devices and anywhere. All you need is a free Gmail account to have everything integrated when using any Android device. Polaris Office allows you to view and edit work documents anytime and anywhere. When you are done, simply Share with any applications. Alternatively, the Gmail app also directly allows me to access the file from the memory and attach it for email. Of course you are not restricted to just office documents, you can mail any type of files. If you do need to carry confidential files on flash drives like me, I stick my flash drive via the USB kit to the Tab. The tablet immediately becomes a USB host to read and manipulate the files. We grow up with drag-and-drop file transferring, do the same with Android tablets. If you think an iPad is an ideal replacement for a notebook? Fat hope! I love the size of the iPad, but dreads the weight of it after a while. It is not exactly very light, compared to what Galaxy Tabs can offer these days. Do you really need the new but heavier iPad? Do not forget that you need to fork out more money to purchase premium office suites and file management softwares to get it up to speed, while Samsung prepared all these for you at the start! However, the speed of running through files on an iPad is still unrivalled, and it is all attributed to the architecture of the OS. Even if you have a much faster tablet, the overall iPad experience is still smoother. This is sometimes critical when every seconds counts when it comes to a critical presentation.

Do you still need a phone?
Yes. Despite the Tab 7.7 can place phone calls, whatsapp and Viber, the size of it is not exactly pocketable. It is awkward to put the tab up to your face and you will end up having make-up or grease on the screen! A phone is still nifty and allow you to do secretive activities without people peering over your shoulders. At least it is less obvious that you are doing Facebook!

Why not the Galaxy Note?
The Galaxy Note is like a hybrid between a phone and a tablet. It has a 5.3 inch screen and support S-PEN and allow scribbling on-the-fly. However, it is still essentially a phone. The screen is provides much more space, but still is not sufficient to do serious computing work! I would still recommend that should you eventually get the Galaxy Note, there is a 50:50 chance that you will still want a Galaxy Tab 8.9 or 10.1 or iPad.

Why not Galaxy Tab 4.0 Plus?
If you are still not sure, which one to choose and what are the differences between Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus and Galaxy Tab 7.7, here is a comparison. At a mere S$130 price gap, which is a better choice?

Compare Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus VS Galaxy Tab 7.7
Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus Galaxy Tab 7.7 
Android 3.2 Honeycomb Android 3.2 Honeycomb
1.2GHz Exynos 4210(Cortex A9 Processor)
1.4GHz Exynos 4210(Cortex A9 Processor)
 7″ WSVGA (1024 x 600)
169 pixels per inch (ppi)
7.7" WXVGA (1280 x 800)
 3MP AF with LED Flash (2.0MP Sub) 3MP AF with LED Flash (2.0MP Sub)
 16/32GB Storage + microSD 16/32/64GB Storage + microSD
 193.65 x 122.37 x 9.96mm
196.7 x 133 x 7.89mm
 Battery 4,000mAh Battery 5,100mAh
It is obvious that in terms of processor, the 7.7 stands out, but seriously makes little differences unless you stretch its use. Nevertheless, who doesn't? It is always better to have a slightly bigger and higher resolution screen since it is Super AMOLED Plus on the 7.7. A bit more juice on the 7.7 and in a lighter package. Both devices allows user to plant phone calls, and so feature-wise are on par. I seriously do not think you should save on the additional S$130, unless you are already finding the Tab 7.0 Plus beyond reach.
FYI, if you sign a basic mobile plan, you can get the Tab 7.0 Plus at S$398 while the Tab 7.7 at S$498.

Should you buy the Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7?
Yes, if you haven't got any tablets.
Yes, if you want to place a phone call.
Yes, if you to do more mobile computing on-the-go.
Yes, if you want a easier and more efficient work flow to transfer, share and utilize files.
Yes, if you cannot wait to plug that flash drive into your tablet.
Yes, if you want something lightest.
Yes, if you are obsessed with Android OS.
Yes, if you are a diehard Samsung fan.
Yes, if you just don't think the new iPad HD makes a difference from its predecessors!

Check other posts in my blog for more juicy reviews on Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1!

Part I: Unboxing Review
Part II: Video Review
Part III: Galaxy Tab 10.1 vs iPad 2
Part IV: Galaxy Tab 10.1 Photography Performance
Part V: Galaxy Tab 10.1 vs iPad 2 Photography Performance
Part VI: Galaxy Tab 10.1 Videography Performance
The Tab 10.1 review was made possible thanks to Samsung Singapore for the sponsorship.

GALAXY S (Super Clear LCD)
 GALAXY Tab 10.1

 Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 Master Review

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