I Have a Galaxy Tab. Do You Have Galaxy Tab Questions?

By  |  Tuesday, November 9, 2010 at 8:56 am

Over at TIME.com, you’ll find my first take on Samsung’s Galaxy Tab, which I’ve been exploring since last Friday. Executive summary: It’s not an iPad killer, but it is the first legitimate iPad alternative; the hardware is nice, but the biggest downside is that the software makes it more of a giant-Android-phone-that-doesn’t-make-phone-calls than an all-new tablet.

I also blogged at Techland about Steve Jobs’ recent attack on the very idea of 7″ tablets. Spending time with the Galaxy Tab left me feeling like the size has possibilities, but simply cramming the iPad experience down onto a 7″ device would be a lousy idea which Apple won’t pursue.

I’ll have more to say about the Tab as I use it a bit more. At the moment, I’m having fun with it in a very real-world setting: I left for a business trip to New Orleans yesterday, and took it with me as my primary source of entertainment. (And mobile productivity, too: On the cab ride from the airport to my hotel, I sent an urgent e-mail using it.)

Got any questions about the Tab? Leave them in comments and I’ll try to answer ’em before I send it back to Samsung.


Read more: , , ,

65 Comments For This Post

  1. Nick Dixon Says:

    How long is stand by on the Tab? Can you just press a button and leave it for days on end like the iPad



  2. Sameer Says:

    Good to know you are liking your Samsung Tab.

    I want to buy a tablet. Would you recommend this over iPad?

    I am no android / apple fan. I am just a normal user. 🙂

  3. Harry McCracken Says:

    The iPad is the better-executed product overall by quite a bit, but I think certain folks will like the Tab's smaller size. If the idea of a "giant Android phone" pleases you, you might like the Tab a lot; if not, you might wait for tablets built on the more tablet-friendly Honeycomb version of the OS.


  4. Michael G Says:

    Can you tether it to your Phone? I have a Droid and am thinking of getting the Verizon version on no contract.
    How is the Battery life?
    Does it play 1080p video really?
    Is it easy to drop.. Hear that it is slippery without a case.
    What will you use it Most for, internet, gaming, check email, etc?
    Any Apps in the Android Market , that you have used to make voice calls over wifi? (That Sound decent)?

  5. Harry McCracken Says:

    I'm not sure if you can tether the Tab to a phone–if your phone can work as a hotspot, though, it should work. And the Sprint Tab I'm trying can also -be- a hotspot. It wont play 1080 video, since it has 600 lines of resolution. And I haven't found it slippery.

    I've used the Tab for Web surfing and e-reading (both good), video, e-mail, etc. I tried Fring for videocalls and had trouble. Haven't tried making voice calls with an app yet.


  6. Michael G Says:

    Thanks Harry for the Feedback!!

  7. Patrick Says:


    I've read a review that said web page scrolling was smooth and one that said it was barely usable. What has your experience been?

    Does having flash enabled/disabled change the scrolling behavior?

  8. Harry McCracken Says:

    As I mentioned, I sometimes ran across scrolling issues–but was often fine, too. After I finished my story, I saw the theory that it relates to Flash. I want to go back and see if I notice a connection.


  9. mjschmidt Says:

    You say it's not an iPad killer, and that its biggest downside is the OS, that it just feels like a big Android phone that can't make calls, but how is this different from the iPad which is "just a big iPhone" that can't make calls?

    To be clear, I'm not trying to troll here, just trying to understand why you feel this way about it when comparing it to the iPad, or have I misunderstood the iPad?

    Also, for the record, the Galaxy Tab _can_ make phone calls, just not in North America because the carriers won't allow it.

  10. Harry McCracken Says:

    Apple did way more work to rejigger iOS for the iPad than Samsung has done for the Tab. It came up with a bunch of interface features and conventions designed with tablets in mind. And there are now thousands of iPad apps that aren't just iPhone apps stretched out. By contrast, Samsung tablet-ized a few of the Tab's apps, but not all of them, and third-party apps are still designed with smaller smartphone screens in mind.

    I don't mean this as a devastating criticism–a lot of those apps work just fine on the Tab's 7" screen. But it's still the single biggest downside.

    And right, the Tab's lack of phone functionality is a US carrier decision.


  11. mjschmidt Says:

    Okay, but the lack of tablet-sized Android apps _currently_ doesn't necessarily mean that you shouldn't buy an Android tablet. The tablet-sized apps will come, just like with iPad. The difference here being that Apple was supplying the OS and the hardware, and drove devs to have tablet apps ready for the launch, whereas Samsung can't make Google do the same. Google says 2.1 and 2.2 are really meant for tablets, but I imagine with 3.0 they will encourage devs to make tablet apps.

    Can you explain what changes Apple made to the iOS for iPad that make it more than a larger iPhone or iPod touch, because I have heard just as many criticisms around the web of the iPad being just that, and oversized iPhone or iPod touch.

  12. Harry McCracken Says:

    No, it doesn't mean you shouldn't buy a Galaxy Tab. But tablet-friendly Android apps may be written for the "Honeycomb" upgrade, and as far as I know we don't know when/if that will be available for the Tab.

    Apple built an e-mail, calendar, optional apps such as the iWork ones, etc. with new design elements such as pop-overs and layouts designed for a device with a larger screen and more pixels. You get a little of that on the Galaxy tab in apps such as the calendar and e-mail, but not as much.


  13. Larry Says:

    How is the video playback? I bet it is awesome!

  14. @brockatkinson Says:

    Does it fit in your jacket pocket, or any pocket, comfortably? Or am I just getting my hopes up?

  15. Guy Says:

    If you pop in your own sim, are there radios in the tab supporting t-mo or att freqs?

  16. Jim Frost Says:

    How is it to type on? One of the things that surprised me about the iPad was that I can touch-type on it; fairly error-prone and definitely not all that fast, but it's way, way better than the iPhone and good enough to use as a full travel computer if I'm doing relatively light work.

    So, how is it? I envision going crazy, with the thign too big for thumbing and too small for hunt-and-peck, to say nothing of touch typing. But it may be awhile before I can try one myself and I would love to get an ooinion from someone who has put in some time.

  17. Garrett Egresi Says:

    The Galaxy Tab comes preloaded with "SYPE," which if you have not yet had a chance to experience it, is the single greatest mobile keyboard accomplishment to date. It is very accurate and extremely fast. It takes a couple days to get used to, but is, in one word, amazing.

  18. DJ Says:

    Sadly tho I really hate the size and weight of the ipad and was really looking forward to galaxy
    it is too expensive should be $100 cheaper

  19. Ryan Says:

    Can you make phone calls from Gmail on Samsung Galaxy Tab as you can from a desktop computer?

  20. Edan Says:

    I have the US version and want to use it as a phone like the UK version. Any suggestions? Thanks

  21. ldw Says:

    Why no discussion (here or other blogs) of the new HP Slate tablet?

  22. Brian Says:

    Can you download Google Voice and use your assigned phone number to make calls? (Since US versions dont support voice capabilities)

  23. Vijay Says:

    I just bought a tab from verizon last night; ever since I spent 10 hours trying to use google voice/talk to make and receive calls; that I can do with my laptop.

    desperately need some help on how to use voice to make calls on Galaxy Tab.

    I'm sure everyone else who owns a tab would like to use this feature.

  24. Skip Says:

    I teach seminars. I prefer to use PDF files during the seminars rather than PPT files. I use a projector. I know there is a PDF reader so the files will not be a problem, but what about connecting to a projector? Also, is there an Android app for drawing on the screen like there is for the ipad?

  25. Devin Says:

    Just in case anyone is wondering, we found out that you HAVE to buy a minimum of 1 month ($20) on the "month to month no contract" Galaxy Tab from Verizon. We found this out while purchasing it and upon being told this, asked them to immediately cancel it so that we did not incur any revolving charges on our account. We took this back to our office to begin to try it out and quickly found out why the first month is mandatory.

    Verizon, not you, need this first month to activate the Galaxy Tab remotely. When you first turn it on, it asks you to select your language, then press Activate. You do not have the option to turn on wifi, or anything of the sort, just press Activate. This feature was not functioning because, as I stated earlier, we asked them to immediately cancel the contract so to avoid unnecessary charges.

    After 2 hours on the phone with Verizon support and no luck, we are going to be returning to our local Best Buy to see if they can help.

    I just thought I would pass along this advice, make sure you have your tablet activated before you cancel the month to month contract and don't be surprised when they tell you the first month is necessary.

  26. Lab334 Says:

    I had a similar experience yesterday when i went into my local Best Buy to compare the Ipad and the Verizon Galaxy Tab. The employees there told me I HAD to use the 3G in order to use the Galaxy-that it was mandatory to have the 3G-which made no sense to me if you do not have to have a contract. I was confused- so I asked them to ring it up and see if it prompted the mandatory data plan. It did, so i said forget I wanted to do some research and see what this was all about. After you took it to your local Best Buy did they provide any assistance to you? I tried to call Verizon but they were of no help- since i didn't own the product (even though my husband and I carry Verizon for our cellular service) they could not answer my questions. My concern is that after purchasing the Galaxy Tab and getting it up set up – that i then have to continue to purchase the clever "no contract month to month" data plan for the 3 G– even if i am just hooking it up to WiFi….Any information that could be helpful is much appreciated.

  27. Devin Says:

    We took it back to Best Buy and they sorted it all out. Luckily we had the same guy that we bought it from, so he was able to get it working fairly quickly. They turned the month to month contract back on so that we could activate it. Then we cancelled the 3G service. It works fine on our wireless.

    So the $20.00 month to month is mandatory, for the first month. Only because they need it to "Activate" the device, whatever that actually does.

  28. tcasteel Says:

    I was wondering how that would work. I definately do not want to pay month to month fees. I understand now that the inital fee is required. Thank you for the 'complete' answer!

  29. Mary Jones Says:

    Maybe that's a Verizon thing. I've been using my AT&T Galaxy for a month without activating the SIM card or buying a data plan. Works great with Wi-Fi, and with my wireless router at home.

  30. Enzo Says:

    I cannot find TIMES or FORTUNE magazine download on the Tab and I've called customer service and they said they don't have it "yet". (I live in Taiwan). Do you have any idea?

  31. arianna Says:

    Download the free Amazon Kindle software, and subscribe to the magazines through Amazon.

  32. Ticked in Michigan Says:

    The us carriers took a prize bull ( galaxy tab ) and cut its balls off!
    no phone!

    It ain't worth a fuck….

    I'm voting with my money… am taking my galaxy tab t-mobile back.
    I will wait until they get it right…. We WANT the phone on the tab.
    Why should the carriers care? They would sell more phone plans.
    It dosn't make sense…in a world where others are making more
    and more choices for me… this is one I won't let them make for me!

    I hope they taste good… casuse your gonna have to eat'em carriers!

    Ticked off in Michigan

  33. Ticked in Michigan Says:

    The us carriers took a prize bull ( galaxy tab ) and cut its balls off!

  34. joan Says:

    why wont my galxy tab turn on

  35. Steve Jobs Says:

    Why won't iTunes work on here?

  36. Bill Gates Says:


  37. Mark Santanio Says:

    Because it's not an apple system or are u saying when you plug it into the computer???

  38. Lucy Orchard Says:

    Do you have to have a phone contract with it, could you just have your wifi?

  39. Lucy Says:

    oh and I'm in the UK. This page is fantastic btw!

  40. Kinsly Says:

    Can the UK galaxy phone option work in the US. As we all know, samsung disabled that function in the US but the function was enabled in the UK. So the question remains, can the UK galaxy tab work in the US. The four bands still work so theatrically it should. Right?

  41. User Says:

    You can bypass the activation step by doing the following:

    Volume up one time
    Vol down 2x
    Vol up 3x
    Vol down 4x

    That permits you to use the device in wifi-only mode. If you want to use 3G mode, you will need to do the Verizon activation.


  42. Guillyan Says:

    I had a galaxy tab and sold it due to the fact that one special page did not work, but for some reason it works on the I pad or I phone. but now I think that there is a new version of the galaxy tab. here is some questions for you.
    1. Is there really a new version of the galaxy tab?
    2. If so can you still make calls on the T-mobil or At&t network ?
    3. here is the other question, why does the page I needed to work does not work on it.. it gives me an error, Here is the page that I need : https://aces.alamo.edu/cp/home/displaylogin

  43. Radius Says:

    Do they make a stand alone version that doesn't have to be hooked up to some cell phone carrier?

  44. Anthony Says:

    Does galaxy tap support java ?

  45. jillian Says:

    how do i activate my galaxy tablet on amazon? I have the kindle on my tablet but i cant figure out how to activate it so i can buy books through my kindle..i might be missing a handbook or something bc it was a gift. PS i love it

  46. Sam Says:

    how can i use my galaxy tab calendar (the one in application) to sync with my google calendar?

  47. selva Says:

    iam using galaxy tab , when i tried to call india through mobile voip (action voip) they are unable listen my voice

  48. harika Says:

    i having galaxy tab. i need to copy picsfrom tab to vaio laptop? how can i do this…… need any devices if wat kind of devices…………….plz help me out………………..

  49. Dave Says:

    This blog sucks to see none of your questions answered! No wonder i never heard of this site lmao SMH

  50. joanne weller Says:

    setting VPN on the Galaxy is killing me! The instructions are fine, but I still don’t know what goes in the “VPN name” box and what goes in the “set VPN server name” iI have no idea what goes where…HELP…

  51. vivekanand Says:

    Hi There,

    Right now I am in US, could you please let me now which Galaxy Tab do I need to buy that should work in US as well as in India as well.

    Please advice.


  52. david Says:

    When you bought your galaxy tab did it come with a phone number for you to give people in order to text you?

  53. jawaad Says:

    i want to know how can i install &use voip service in galaxy i tab other than fring

  54. adeeb18 Says:

    i can make centralization from outlook to my contacts ??

  55. ravi Says:

    Does Galaxy tab work in India. I'm planning to take tab to India as a gift to my brother.

  56. Mickey Says:

    How do I make contact GROUPS on the Galaxy Tab?

  57. pam Killoran Says:

    i have just bought the galaxy tab and after a struggle worked out how to add video's….but!! it wont let me add my email address(yahoo) have you any help you could give me.thanks Pam.

  58. jan tan may yen Says:

    Why doesn’t my galaxy tab vibrate when I turn on vibrate?

  59. beral22v Says:

    wow…no phone….disappointed….this is why I purchased the tab….why do they give you a number for it then.

  60. Trisha Says:

    I’m thinking of buying this, the question I have is I already have Wi fi for phones n laptops, do I need to have a Verizon plan to search the web and other apps, I have AT&T for my phones n don’t want to add on mote plans, do I need Verizon data plans?

  61. Dale Davenport Says:

    can you recommend a "voice to typing" app for the galaxy Tab? Preferably FREE.

  62. betty taylor Says:

    can I use the galaxy tablet with out useing internet just as a reader

  63. answer Says:

    I am thinking of getting a galaxy tab, but my mom say's that you have to make payments on it each mouth like you would a phone is this true.

  64. Diane Says:

    Why does my tablet have/need a phone number? I just got it wed and got notification yesterday that it has a phone number…. Why do I need that?

  65. John Says:

    Why does the tab have a phone number. Can you make calls?