By ZAM KARIMbytz@thestar.com.my
Improvements big and small make the Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus Tablet a joy to use.
SAMSUNG is a seasoned maker of Android Tablets and it has hit the right notes with the Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus. The Tablet is superior in many ways to the original 7in Galaxy Tab which was released in 2010.
True to its name, the Tab Plus has a lot of enhancements which we will check out in this review.
The Tab has a sleek and sexy brushed plastic body and even comes in three colour schemes.
The slim body makes it easy to slip into a cargo pants pocket or handbag, as well as to hold in one hand for long hours.
Also, it's possible to make calls from the Tab without the aid of a Bluetooth handsfree kit which was not possible with the original.
However, putting a 7in Tablet next to your face to talk may attract strange looks or a few chuckles. So, it may be best to stick to a Bluetooth handsfree kit for making calls.
You can also make video calls from the Tab.
Bright and clear
The Tab has a PLS (plane to line switching) touchscreen panel with a resolution of 1,024 x 600-pixels. This type of panel is 10% brighter and offers a wider viewing angle of up to 2x compared to a standard screen. It also improves visibility when viewing the screen under bright sunlight.
The Tablet is powered by a 1.2GHz dual-core processor with 1GB RAM which made using it a smooth experience. It was quick to launch apps, and was responsive to taps and swipes.
There were occasional lags when switching orientation or swiping to other homescreens but they are bearable.
Like most Tablets, it also features WiFi, Bluetooth 3.0, accelerometer, digital compass, gyroscope and ambient light sensor.
(Please note: Samsung would like to clarify that this feature is not available here. However, we are still leaving in this part for our overseas readers.)
The Tab has an interesting feature that is not commonly found in other Tablets or smartphones - it has an infrared (IR) emitter.
Although IR has been replaced by Bluetooth for wireless data transfer, it hasn't outlived its usefulness. IR is still used in remote controls and this is why it's present here also.
The Tab comes with Peel Smart Remote app and with it you can control your home entertainment system right from the Tablet.
The app is very easy to use - you just have to select the product brand instead of the specific model which can be painful as there are so many.
After that you will have to point the Tablet at your, say, TV and the app will cycle through a number of commands. By letting the app know when it is successful, it will automatically configure itself for the specific model.
The Tab runs on Android 3.2 (Honeycomb) operating system with Samsung's TouchWiz UX user interface.
Honeycomb is optimised to work with small-sized Tablets and the TouchWiz UX interface adds a number of useful tools to the mix such as a task manager, world clock, finger-friendly note taking app, calculator and music player.
The 3-megapixel camera on the back could have performed better. Even outdoor shots weren't great - colours and sharpness weren't particularly satisfying, for instance. At least the camera fared better for macro shots as the images had more detail.
The camera can also shoot 720p HD videos and it produces passable clips.
The Tab also supports various video formats for playback such as MP3, OGG, FLAC, AAC, WMA and WAV.
Also, as it runs on Android it can also be used to view Flash app and games.
The 4,000mAh battery lasted about nine hours of usage which mainly consisted of web browsing, checking e-mail messages, updating social media statuses and watching one or two videos.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus is superior in every way to the original and a decent 7in Tablet.
Honeycomb and the TouchWiz UX makes the Tablet easy to use, and it has plenty of other handy functions. The IR, for instance, turns the phone into a handy remote for controlling home theatre systems.
The camera could have fared better but it is only 3-megapixel but at least it shoots 720p HD videos.
Overall, we had fun using the Tab and for RM1,399 it is quite a bargain for a Honeycomb Android Tablet.
Pros: Sleek and slim; very little lag; IR function; affordable.
Cons: Still images could be better.
Your chance to win this Tablet
GALAXY TAB 7.0 PLUS
PLATFORM: Android 3.2 (Honeycomb)
PROCESSOR: 1.2GHz dual-core processor
NETWORK: HSPA+, GSM 850/900/1900/2100, EDGE/GPRS 850/900/1800/1900
CAMERA: 3-megapixel with LED flash (back), 2-megapixel (front)
DISPLAY: 7in WSVGA (1,024 x 600-pixels) touchscreen
MEMORY: 16GB internal memory, 1GB RAM, microSD slot
CONNECTIVITY: Bluetooth 3.0, USB 2.0, WiFi
FEATURES: A-GPS, 720p HD video recording, gyroscope, accelerometer
BATTERY: 4,000mAh lithium-on
SIZE: 193.65 x 122.37 x 9.96mm
Review unit courtesy of Samsung Malaysia Electronics (SME) Sdn Bhd, 1-800-88-9999