samsung galaxy tab

We like the Galaxy Tab, we really do. But the fact is that Samsung has launched a device with a massive identity problem.

Is it a phone? No - it makes phone calls, sure, but it's too big to use as a primary mobile phone.

Is it a tablet? Again, no we don't think it is one. It's too small and fiddly and lacking in optimisations. Tablets need to distinguish themselves from smartphones by being bigger, better, more powerful, feature rich and interesting.

Essentially, they need a reason to exist. And this is where we're struggling with the Galaxy Tab.

The pricing is all wrong, too. Clearly, Samsung needs to avoid undercutting the prices of its own Android smartphones like the Galaxy S. But in doing so, it's made the Galaxy Tab £100 more expensive than the cheapest iPad - a class-leading product.

It may be the same price as the 3G iPad, but we can't help feeling that this product would be much more appealing were it slightly cheaper. A better-value, non-3G model would have a much better chance of success. There are rumours that such a device is on the way, but Samsung is yet to confirm.

We liked:

The Android interface is fantastic, and in indoor conditions everything works pretty well. The screen is bright and colourful. Watching videos and listening to music is easy, as is transferring content to and from the device.

The Android Market enables you to customise the device beyond recognition, and so you'll never get bored of it.

The size has its benefits, too. It's a lot more pocket and bag friendly than the iPad, but it's still a pretty hefty object to have to lug round with you everywhere.

Flash support is a major advantage over the iPad, and the ability to surf online video is very well received.

We disliked:

The sluggish web browsing is very frustrating. As Google readily admits, Android 2.2 is in no way optimised for tablets, and so we can't help feeling that the Galaxy Tab has come along a bit too early.

The screen is also quite disappointing. It's not terrible, but it's in no way a class-leading piece of glass. With the 7-inch screen, it's an incredibly portable device, and so an AMOLED screen would have gone down a treat.

The camera, too, is fairly poor. Again, it's nice to have this feature, but remember this is a £530 gadget. It's expensive, and so you expect all the features to be top-notch... But they're not.

Verdict:

We can't hide our disappointment in the Samsung Galaxy Tab. It had the potential to deliver a serious blow to Apple's iPad sales. But in truth, the Galaxy Tab is no match for the iPad. It's nowhere near as smooth, it's not as polished and remarkably, it's not even a match when it comes to value for money.

If portability and Android are your main concern, the Galaxy Tab is certainly a handy gadget to have in your geeky arsenal. But for £530, we were expecting a hell of a lot more.