Verizon Galaxy Tab 7.7 LTE; beauty comes at a high price (review)

Summary:The Galaxy Tab 7.7 with LTE is a beautiful piece of hardware, but the price is too high with a 2-year contract and it comes with last year's operating system.

I am a fan of the 7 inch tablet form factor since I tend to take these sized devices on the go with me more than the larger 10 iPad. Samsung has released some amazing Android tablet hardware over the past year and the Galaxy Tab 7.7 with Verizon LTE is one of the best ever. However, with the Kindle Fire at $199, it is tough to compete with a $500 tablet that comes with at least a $720 value 2-year contract ($700 tablet price without a contract). You can check out a few photos of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7 in my image gallery.


Image Gallery: Check out photos of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7 with LTE on Verizon Wireless.
Image Gallery: Galaxy Tab 7.7 retail package
Image Gallery: Back of the Tab 7.7

In the box and first impressions

The Galaxy Tab 7.7 comes in an attractive black box with bright Verizon red interior. Inside you will find the Galaxy Tab, USB cable, A/C adapter, and Quick Reference Guide.

I previously took a look at the Galaxy Tab 8.9 and 10.1 and the Galaxy Tab 7.7 continues with a super sleek, attractive, and well built design. I couldn't believe how thin it was with barely enough room to squeeze in a 3.5mm headset jack on the top. The display is fantastic and extremely vibrant and when I saw it before the iPad 3 I thought it was the best display ever on a tablet and I almost pulled the trigger on one.

Specifications

Specifications for the Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7 include the following:
  • 7.7 inch Super AMOLED Plus display at 1280 x 800 pixels resolution
  • 1.4GHz dual core processor
  • Android 3.2 Honeycomb
  • CDMA and LTE
  • 16GB internal memory, microSD card expansion capability
  • 1GB RAM
  • 3.2 megapixel rear camera with LED flash and 1080p video recording capability
  • 2 megapixel front facing camera
  • Bluetooth 3.0, 802.11 a/b/g/n WiFi, and GPS
  • Dimensions: 7.74 x 5.24 x 0.31 inches and 12 ounces

The Galaxy Tab 7.7 is one of the best Android tablets I have ever tried out and the specs are top notch. The display is stunning and Samsung certainly knows how to get AMOLED display right.

I was a bit disappointed that ICS was not installed on the device since I don't like relying on possible updates that never seem to arrive on a timely basis. LTE is wicked fast and I have gotten great coverage where I live and work.

Walk around the hardware

Can you tell I like the Galaxy Tab 7.7 display? This Super AMOLED Plus display takes up most of the front and will likely blow you away the first time you turn it on. You will find the 2 megapixel front facing camera (perfect for Google Talk) above the display and that's about it on the front.

The traditional Samsung power button is on the upper left with a volume button below that and an interesting infrared port in the middle. I understand this can be used to control your media player.

The microSD and SIM card slots are on the left side. The Samsung charging port is on the bottom, which is a bit of a bummer because I prefer to use microUSB for all of my charging needs. The 3.5mm headset jack is on the top.

The 3.2 megapixel camera and flash are in the upper left of the back. There is a cool brushed silver back panel dominating most of the back with cool dark gray plastic above and below it.

Walk around the software

The Galaxy Tab 7.7 comes with Honeycomb and Samsung's TouchWIZ UI. Now that I have the similar ICS OS on my Galaxy Nexus, I am getting more used to Honeycomb and find it to be fine. There still are not that many tablet-optimized apps for Android though, but if you want a tablet mainly for the Google experience then you may find it worth a purchase.

Samsung includes a couple of their apps and utilities, including Samsung Apps, Social Hub, and AllShare. Verizon included a couple of their own utilities , including Media Hub, My Verizon, VideoSurf, and VZ Navigator.

The Peel Smart Remote application uses the IR port on the right side to allow you to control your entertainment system with your Galaxy Tab 7.7.

I thoroughly enjoyed using the tablet-optimized calendar and the Gmail application on the Galaxy Tab.

Daily usage and experiences

The Galaxy Tab 7.7 form factor is tough to beat and even though my iPad 3 has a super display, the vibrant colors of Samsung's Super AMOLED Plus is also compelling. Android still has lots of work to do in the tablet space and Samsung seems to be overwhelming the market with tablets that don't have much of a market. Do they really need a tablet at every 2 inches in display size and why is there a 7 and 7.7 tablet released at the same time? I understand people want choices and if Samsung has the funding that is their decision, but it seems like they could try to focus a bit in the tablet space.

I carried the Galaxy Tab 7.7 all over with me and if it was priced at $500 with no contract and the option to buy a month of data here and there then I might have purchased one. LTE on Verizon is a joy to use and like other LTE devices I was seeing download speeds in the 20+ Mbps range. Samsung should update this device to ICS soon, but that remains to be seen.

Now that I have my own Samsung Galaxy Note I think my 7 inch HTC Flyer will see less use. The 5.3 inch tablet is nice for on the go usage while my new iPad will be rocking the tablet space at home.

Related ZDNet topics

Topics: Verizon

About

Matthew Miller started using a mobile devices in 1997 and has been writing news, reviews, and opinion pieces ever since. He is a co-host with GigaOM's Kevin Tofel on the MobileTechRoundup podcast and an author of three Wiley Companion series books. Matthew started using mobile devices with a US Robotics Pilot 1000 and has owned over 200 d... Full Bio

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