samsung galaxy tab

Let's face it, we're all expecting big things from the Samsung Galaxy Tab, and what we really want to know is whether it's a star-performer or a dead dog.

So let's get this out of the way right off the bat – the Galaxy Tab is not as slick as we were hoping it would be.

Despite the 1Ghz processor, there are some significant performance issues here and in many cases they hamper the usability and performance of the Tab to treacherous levels.

The problems are most evident when browsing the web. Scrolling down your average website can be quite juddery. The smoothness of the iPad is nowhere to be seen, and our fingers had often swiped and left the screen before the device responded and began to scroll.

Pinch-to-zoom is also a laggy affair, with the zoom often arriving an uncomfortable pause after the pinch – if at all. It's all just a bit too slow. Clunky, even. We handed the Tab around the office for various editors to have a play with and the reaction was universally negative.

We tried a number of different browsers and they all experienced the same issues, albeit with some performing slightly better than others. Opera Mini seemed to do the best job, but even that didn't offer the slick experience we were after.

Accelerometer

The next major issue we encountered with performance is the hyper-sensitive accelerometer.

Unlike on some other leading Android devices such as the HTC Desire, there is no way to either calibrate the accelerometer or even turn it off. And that's a problem because we found it constantly tilting the screen in ways we didn't want it to.

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It leads to an increasingly frustrating experience and so the complete lack of a calibration tool – or at the very least, some way of turning the accelerometer feature off completely – is a major frustration.

Some apps have their own options regarding this, such as a 'landscape view only' mode, but this doesn't really make up for it in our book.

Multitasking

Multitasking on the Samsung Galaxy Tab is pretty good, though. The device was able to handle having multiple apps open at the same time, and switching between them, without too much slow down.

There were some instances where the browser took a few seconds to pop up on screen after we'd left it running in the background and then selected to switch to it again, but on the whole, the Galaxy Tab did not suffer too much in this department.

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Maps

Google Maps works a treat on the Galaxy Tab, and the added screen space over a smartphone improves usability a lot. Maps load quickly, although scrolling and zooming again doesn't feel as slick as the Google Maps app on the Apple iPad. There's obvious lag, which is disappointing.

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Battery life

While the iPad surprised us with it's economical use of battery life, the Samsung Galaxy Tab did the opposite. We charged it to full capacity, and it was begging for more juice after about four hours of sporadic testing.

Admittedly we did have screen brightness at maximum, and we took a few photos and recorded a few videos, but you only have to hold the device after an hour of solid use to identify one obvious problem - heat.

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The device gets extremely hot after watching videos or browsing the web for an hour. This will be a major drain on battery life and indicates that either the Coretex 1Ghz processor isn't efficient enough, or the Galaxy Tab doesn't do a good enough job of harnessing its power in an efficient manor.

Either way, it's a drain on power and it's a problem the iPad just doesn't have. With screen brightness on max, you can actually see the battery life falling away in front of your eyes. This is despite Samsung claiming 7-hours' continuous movie play.