Samsung Galaxy Tab became our tablet of choice

Samsung Galaxy Tab became our tablet of choice

Summary: At the right price, the Samsung Galaxy Tab really is a front-runner for your tablet dollars.

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When I started my shopping this holiday season I'll admit that a tablet computer wasn't really on my radar. My immediate family are all iPhone users, and while there had been some discussion of the iPad, no one had really expressed any interest in them, other than my college-age daughter, who, after playing with one at the local Best Buy for about 20 minutes, told me she liked it, but couldn't figure out a practical way for her to carry it around that fit her schedule and lifestyle.

But as I cycled through ideas for a big gift for my fiancée, the thought of a smaller tablet than the iPad began to emerge.  There were two things that she had a real need/want for; a new, large screen GPS, and an eBook reader. She's the marketing director for an Internet-based industrial equipment supplier, and over the last few years has built up a trade show schedule that sees her on the road for at least one week a month, very often to places that make a lot of sense if you're selling to farmers and other agricultural equipment consumers, but seem like the back-end of nowhere to city people.

A large screen GPS desire came from her experience with rental vehicles; some windshield designs just ended up putting the smaller GPS screen too far away for easy, at a glance, use; a newer GPS, like the Garmin 1400 series I use, was something she felt would be helpful to her.  And an eBook reader just made sense for all the plane flights she takes, especially since I've been using eReaders for a quite a while and have over 500 eBooks in my collection, many of which were of interest to her.

Given how difficult she is to buy gifts for, I was glad to have some concrete, practical gift ideas for her for the holiday. But as I started to shop for these gifts it dawned on me that tablet computers were back in the running. With her eBook reader of choice, the Nook Color, running about $250, and the Garmin 1490, with lifetime maps, running about the same, the Samsung Galaxy Tab, at a non-contract price of $600-$650 suddenly seemed more practical.

The practicality was reinforced by a little research; the fully -capable version of the device, from T-Mobile was available online for only $349, with their unlimited data plan (actually 5Gb, then slower throttled speed, but no overcharge, if exceeded) an additional $40 per month. While many reviewers and bloggers have complained that the device should be available with an on-demand data plan (and it is, for example, from AT&T, if you pay $649 for the device) I couldn't picture a scenario where the data plan wouldn't be used by my fiancée, as she currently does so much email on her iPhone while traveling it makes it problematical that the battery survives the full day of the trade show.

The larger screen of the Galaxy Tab would make it a far more useful email tool than her iPhone, and with the included ThinkFree Office application, which can read Microsoft Office documents, make it much easier for her to review and do minor edits on documents sent to her while she traveled, without having to break out her full size notebook. In fact, her last few years of experience led me to believe that the Samsung tablet could actually replace her notebook computer while traveling, given what she actually used her notebook for while on the road.

So while we were out for dinner one night last week, I broached the subject of a tablet computer as a holiday gift, explaining why I thought it would work for her. She wasn't really aware of the Galaxy Tab, and was very skeptical about getting an iPad. I explained how the Galaxy Tab differed from the iPhone, and on our way home, we stopped at a corporate T-Mobile store so she could get a hands-on feel for the device.

The store had a nice display setup with the Tab connected to a set of portable speakers and playing a movie, but they had no issue with us disconnecting the speakers and picking up the device to use. The manager demonstrated a bunch of the phone features for her, included the vide calling with an Android-based phone on the other end, and I walked her through the Kindle eReader software, the Google-based navigation app, and showed her the ThinkFree Office apps.

As we stood there discussing the merits of the tab for what she would do with it the store manager came over to us and let us know that there were a lot of holiday promotions going on and he could take $100 off the price of the Galaxy Tab. This meant that the price of the unit, after the mail-in rebate, would be $250; the same cost as either the color Nook or our preferred GPS. It's also my personal sweet spot for impulse buys for electronic gadgets, though the choice was really my fiancé's. At that price, any arguments against the Tab we had went right out the door, and so did we, with the Galaxy in our possession.

And frankly, I think  if the initial announcement of the Galaxy Tab had been with a contract price of $250, the online headlines would have screamed "iPad Killer!" rather than the lukewarm response the Tab initially received.

When we got home I configured the Tab with her email accounts, showed her how to use the navigation, downloaded a few apps for things that she would regularly use, from the Android Facebook app, so she can monitor her company's facebook page, to additional navigation software, to a wedding planner app she can use to help with our nuptials next July, and just had her play around with it for an hour or two.

In the last few days she's used it for hundreds of emails, successfully navigated to previously unknown locations, and made good use of its 3G connectivity to do some research and get a little work done. Her initial experience has been excellent, and while the most stringent test will be while she's at a trade show in the middle of nowhere, on the edge of data connectivity, it really looks like the Samsung Galaxy Tab is a real winner. A practical business tool, in an excellent form factor, that replaces a number of other devices she would have to be lugging around with her on her travels.

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Topics: Collaboration, Hardware, Laptops, Mobility, Samsung, Tablets

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29 comments
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  • But did you ......

    buy her a wedding ring? ;-)
    Economister
    • RE: Samsung Galaxy Tab became our tablet of choice

      @Economister

      having one made to match the engagement ring

      Have a few months to get that ready :)
      David Chernicoff
      • Well, I guess....

        @David Chernicoff

        you just blew that secret. ;-)

        All the best to you both.
        Economister
    • Message has been deleted.

      nomorebs
  • iPad Slayer

    Amazing, astonishing, fabulous are a few words that I would use for the Tab...To begin with I was skeptical to buy it but after reading reviews like yours, ended up buying one and can tell you for sure that am not at all regretting not buying an iPad...The Samsung Galaxy Tab is probably the best example of computing innovation in 2010 and would strongly recommend it over any of the tablets out there...

    Cheers

    Vivek Dewan
    ekguru
    • RE: Samsung Galaxy Tab became our tablet of choice

      @ekguru
      Have fun with that, I love my iPad for size performance and all of the wonderful aps.
      geoff.schardein
  • Really?

    Should I really believe the author has over 500 ebooks? Think about that number and how long/how many ebooks have been available. Does he just buy them to skim or does he do nothing else but read all day?
    peterseb80
    • RE: Samsung Galaxy Tab became our tablet of choice

      @peterseb80

      I've been buying eBooks from Baen (webscriptions.net), for example, for over 5 years. No DRM and and a great group of SF authors. My account with them alone shows over 450 books purchased, at an average price of about $4/book

      On the average, I read 2-3 books a week, and have for more than 30 years.

      Either eBooks have been around for a lot longer than you realize or you are a very slow reader.
      David Chernicoff
    • dude its not that hard to accrue books like that

      @peterseb80

      I'm not an ebook user, but my book library easily has more than 1000 books in it. I haven't read them all obviously, but I enjoy reading and now I have lots to read, so 500 ebooks, especially when your a reviewer isn't unreasonable
      KBot
    • RE: Samsung Galaxy Tab became our tablet of choice

      @peterseb80
      ebooks have been around for quite a while.
      depending on the format, I have a couple of thousand.
      newer formats like Kindle reside in the 300+ range.
      I travel a lot and read on those long cross country flights.
      rhonin
    • RE: Samsung Galaxy Tab became our tablet of choice

      @peterseb80

      I was reading eBooks on my Windows Mobile O2 nearly 10 years ago. Or did you really think Amazon and Apple invented it?

      ;-)
      tonymcs1
    • RE: Samsung Galaxy Tab became our tablet of choice

      @peterseb80 Son, I started reading on the HP iPaq using the MobiPocket Reader in 2005, and then my wife and daughters gifted me with a Kindle in 2008. I have on my Kindle about 70 books I specifically like, and have a couple of hundred I've already read. Like the author, I'm an avid Baen webscription member, and also check in on Tor. So, if you have a dislike for reading, feel free to move over to Yahoo! and quit showing your lack of intelligence here.
      gjones7603
  • RE: Samsung Galaxy Tab became our tablet of choice

    Galaxy Tab or rooted Nook Color????
    faxmonkey
  • RE: Samsung Galaxy Tab became our tablet of choice

    Thanks for the comments as I have wondering about this device. I looked at an iPad but found it to be too large as well. I have a Nook and really like the form factor. Now if they would just add an AMOLED display and offer a WiFi only version I'm in :)
    fwelsh
  • RE: Samsung Galaxy Tab became our tablet of choice

    I think the isue is that the Google license requires a continuous connection (like cellular) in order to access the Android Marketplace (I could be in error here), so that limits the vendor's interest in making WiFi only versions since they would need to support their own app environment. Which is what I believe Archos is doing with their Android-based Internet Tablets
    David Chernicoff
  • A correction.

    A woman engaged to be married is a fiancee; a man engaged to be married is a fiance (with an accent on the first "e" for both).
    yakadoo
    • RE: Samsung Galaxy Tab became our tablet of choice

      @yakadoo :
      nomorebs
  • RE: Samsung Galaxy Tab became our tablet of choice

    It's a big phone, no more. Calling it "the best example of computing innovation " like someone did is a bit exagerated, to say the least. The problem is that when Apple really innovate with the iPad, with a hard work to have something different than a phone, people still call a a big iPhone, and when Samsung deliver a tablet, with exactly the same OS as an Android phone operating system, some people scream in joy. I call it a typical Android fanboy attitude.
    atari_z
    • But who cares?

      @atari_z
      I have heard a bunch say the Samsung is simply a big phone, but who cares. Some Android apps are too busy for even 4" screens. The key is with the extra size, is it the "phone" you want? I have played with both, the iPad out of curiosity (no interest, it is useless to someone who uses Linux) and the G-Tab and 7" is about the perfect size.

      I do predict a 7" iPad by at most end of 2Q11 since there are tens of high quality capacitive high powered Android tablets coming early next year. And the Tab will get Gingerbread, so you can enjoy the pure "phone" experience now and then upgrade later and enjoy the move away from pure phone.

      And the corollary, who cares if the iPad acts simply like a big iPhone, if it has what you want, then so be it.

      TripleII
      TripleII-21189418044173169409978279405827
    • RE: Samsung Galaxy Tab became our tablet of choice

      @atari_z
      chuckle.....
      I have an iPad and can definitely say I have more functionality on my i4 than I do on my iPad.
      I'd call it more of a giant iTouch.
      rhonin