Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9 review

An amazing hand-sized tablet that almost beats its big brother

samsung galaxy tab 8.9 review
The Galaxy Tab 8.9 is one of the best Android tablets out there

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Samsung galaxy tab 8.9

Samsung makes much of its Touch Wiz interface, which provides a few interesting enhancements beyond the basic Android 3.2 operating system. The user interface isn't so useful that it makes the Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9 notably better than the competition. Samsung and the other tablet manufacturers will have some serious competition when the new Amazon Kindle and Kindle Fire start shipping.

The Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9 helps you find media, but it's cobbled together from apps and services that Samsung doesn't own. There's a Media Hub app from Samsung that does make it easy to rent and buy TV shows and movies, but when you want to buy an ebook, download a magazine or newspaper, or even purchase a song, you'll have to rely on third-party services such as Zinio and Kobo.

That's an interface problem, because it means putting in more work to obtain this media - you have to register for each separate account. Still, Samsung does offer a Reader Hub app that at least guides you to each service. As for the mini apps, they add some small value to the device, but nothing overly unique.

Samsung galaxy tab 8.9

There's a pen memo app for jotting handwritten notes, a calculator, clock, calendar and task manager.

Samsung provides several unique widgets, including one that shows the feed from Twitter and Facebook in one handy box. On the main screen, you'll find widgets for a photo, the time, weather forecast and current news. There's also a calendar reminder, a finance widget and small icons for favourite contacts.

Samsung galaxy tab 8.9

Once again, the Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet provides a few extra user interface components that beat the Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9, including an app wheel for storing favourite apps and one that shows open apps. However, the mini apps and widgets included with the Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9 are better than what you'll find on tablets such as the Toshiba AT100 and Acer Iconia A500, in that they're for more than just storing app icons.

It's worth noting that the clear screen and accurate touchscreen on the Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9 make the interface pop on the screen - it's easy to control this tablet and the bright screen makes the UI more engaging.

John Brandon

John Brandon has covered gadgets and cars for the past 12 years having published over 12,000 articles and tested nearly 8,000 products. He's nothing if not prolific. Before starting his writing career, he led an Information Design practice at a large consumer electronics retailer in the US. His hobbies include deep sea exploration, complaining about the weather, and engineering a vast multiverse conspiracy.