First released at the tail end of 2011, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus marked a notable improvement over the original Galaxy Tab, thanks to the slimmer build, addition of Android 3.0: Honeycomb, and significantly lower entry price of $400.
In the time since, Samsung has pushed its smaller tablet offerings forward another notch with the introduction of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0, which offers some modest enhancements over the Plus and Android 4.0: Ice Cream Sandwich installed out of the box, and does so at a much more appealing rate of just $249.
As such, paying anything near the starting price for the Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus at this point would be a mistake, though refurbished models are still out in the open for much less. And with Ice Cream Sandwich just (finally) released for the tablet within the last week, we decided to take a fresh look at this still-capable option.
Looking much like a squeezed-down iPad with a Samsung logo in place of a home button, the Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus (Wi-Fi) is a slim seven-inch tablet that feels pretty good in the hand, and features a slightly wider bezel on the sides than the Nexus 7, offering a little more holding room for one-handed reading.
All told, the tablet measures 7.62 inches tall and 4.81 inches wide, with a thickness of just 0.39 inches, making it just a hair slimmer than the Nexus 7. At a weight of 12.1 ounces, it's on par with the Nexus 7 but lighter than the new Kindle Fire, and has both the right shape and heft to enable lengthy media or play sessions.
Beyond the aggressively placed Samsung logo, the front of the tablet includes the 1024x600 7-inch display and a 2.0 megapixel front-facing camera for video chats. The back side offers a metal-like silver plastic backing with a 3.0MP lens and flash for photos and video recording, as well as another Samsung logo (lest you forget the manufacturer).
On the left side of the tablet is a micro-SD slot for up to 32GB of expandable storage, while the right side houses a power/standby switch, a volume rocker, and a small infrared blaster for use with the Smart Remote app. Atop the tablet is a 3.5mm headphone jack, while the bottom contains the dock connector for USB connections and charging, as well as tiny speaker grates.
We managed to make a couple of small nicks on the display over the course of a couple weeks of use. Unfortunately, the screen seems a little scratch-prone if you're not keeping it covered up between use.
Inside the tablet, you'll find 16GB of internal storage for apps, movies, music, and more, and it's all powered by a dual-core 1.2 Ghz processor, with performance (as detailed later) highly dependent on the Android version installed.
If you're considering the Plus, you'll absolutely want Ice Cream Sandwich running on it from day one. And if you already own the Wi-Fi tablet, download the free over-the-air update immediately!