A Day in the Life of the Samsung Galaxy Tab

A Day in the Life of the Samsung Galaxy Tab

Summary: You get more than mobile news coverage here on Mobile News, you also get read-world reviews of important gadgets. Here is a day in the life of the Samsung Galaxy Tab.

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In addition to important mobile news coverage, here on Mobile News you also get hands-on reviews of important gadgets and the technologies powering them. This approach includes real-world usage accounts to give you an idea how a particular device will fit into your own lifestyle. A popular method of sharing usage is by giving a "Day in the LIfe" with a device, showing how I use it in my regular work. Here is a day in the life of the Samsung Galaxy Tab.

Daybreak

The alarm sounds insistently at 5:30 sharp. Yes, I am a home worker and could sleep to a more appropriate hour, but my wife works across town and when her alarm sounds it's lights on for me. I grab the Galaxy Tab from the nightstand where I left it the night before and head for the coffee maker.

First cup of coffee of the day in hand, I settle into the comfy chair to catch the news and fire up the Galaxy Tab. The Tab is nestled in its Scosche FoldIO case (reviewed by Matt Miller) as usual, which adds little weight and bulk to the device. I check for email that has come in overnight, using the Email app Samsung has included on the Tab that is optimized for the tablet. I respond to email as needed, and flag others for attending to later.

Email done, I fire up Plume to see what it happening in the Twitterverse. Plume (formerly Touiteur) has become my Twitter app of choice for Android, having dethroned Tweetdeck for that honor. I like the way Plume displays the timeline on the big Tab screen, and especially like swiping back and forth to move between columns for the timeline, replies and direct messages. The ability to long-press any tweet and have the appropriate action triggered is a real time-saver.

I follow hundreds of RSS feeds as part of my work, and gReader Pro handles that task with aplomb. I can go through hundreds of news items in a short time, and I do that next. It is more efficient doing this with gReader on the Tab than using Google Reader on the desktop, which is impressive.

Workday

After my shower I make the 15 second commute to Mobile News Manor, my home office. Traffic was unusually heavy this morning, as I had to avoid the dog's toy in the path to the office. It's going to be one of those days. Once settled in my office, I pop the Galaxy Tab into the special stand that sits below the big monitor on my desk. You may have seen one of these stands before, it's a business card holder I picked up at Staples. It serves as a good stand for the Tab, for the price of $5.

The Tab sits on the stand in the Scosche case with the flap folded behind it. I plug the power cable into the Tab so it can charge while I am doing work on the desktop (which is really a notebook and external monitor/keyboard/mouse). Tab sitting in the stand, first I check the day's schedule using the Calendar app that Samsung optimized for the Tab in landscape orientation. Seeing no pressing meetings, I fire up Thinking Space on the Tab.

This is a great mind mapping tool for the Tab and one of my most-used programs. I use Thinking Space as a visual outliner for articles I am writing and for keeping track of articles I want to write in the future. It lets me capture the major points for the current article, and easily move the topics around as needed. I find it stimulates the creative process, as opposed to simple outlining which seems to bog me down.

The mind map for the article I'm writing displays on the Tab just beneath the big monitor used for writing the article. This keeps my outline a simple glance away, which keeps it from distracting me during the actual writing. This system has proven to be a very effective method for my work.

My morning is spent productively working on a number of articles, and researching on the web for others. I interact with the Tab as needed without removing it from the stand. It is a convenient way for me to work. Once the morning winds down, I decide to head out to the local sandwich shop for lunch.

Lunch Break and Afternoon Work »

Break Time

I grab the Galaxy Tab off the stand, unplug it and close the case. I head out to the lunch break with the Tab in tow. The place I choose for lunch has no Wi-Fi, but that's not a concern. I bought the Tab from Sprint for $399 with a 2-year data contract. I opted for the 2GB data plan which is $25/monthly. This provides connectivity no matter where I take the Tab. I leave Wi-Fi activated all the time, so it uses that while at home. Samsung has done a good job with handling the various connection options, and if Wi-Fi is not available it seamlessly switches over to 3G.

At the sandwich shop I settle in at the table with my lunch and fire up the Tab for some e-book reading. I am a voracious reader, and the Tab has become my reader of choice. The 7-inch display is the perfect size for showing a page at a time, while keeping the device light enough for handling comfortably. I read the entire lunch break.

Before heading back to the Manor I catch up with email sitting at the table. I find I can process email faster on the Tab than on the desktop using the Samsung Email app.

Back to Work

The afternoon is spent working much like the morning, Tab in its little stand again. I break at one point to have a video chat with a colleague, and I use the Tab with Qik just because I can. It has a front-facing camera, and the big screen makes the chat session enjoyable. Otherwise the afternoon work session is uneventful, but productive.

I did work for a couple of hours in the afternoon at a local independent coffee shop to remind myself there are other people in the world. I carried both a laptop and the Tab for the remote session. I prefer independent coffee shops, but they are not without compromises. The free Wi-Fi network in the shop was out this day, yielding me unable to connect the laptop for normal work. Not a problem as the Tab can function as a mobile hotspot.

There are two methods for using the Galaxy Tab as a mobile hotspot. Sprint offers a mobile hotspot service for $30/month that allows 5 devices to share the 3G connection, or for rooted devices a free Google Wireless Tether app is available in the Android Market for sharing the connection. I used one of these methods to get my laptop online using the Tab's 3G connection. The Tab works well as a MiFi; I have seen a report of someone using it for 11 hours for connection sharing.

I used the Tab in the Scosche case next to the laptop in the coffee shop.. The case serves as an easel stand, so I can use it remotely much as I do in the office. I keep the mind map open next to me for reference. It's a nice auxiliary display for a laptop work session.

Leisure Time and Thoughts of the Tab »

End of Day

I realized the work day was over when my wife texted me that she was stuck in traffic and would be late. She realizes the Tab is always with me, so she has a better chance for me to see her texts quicker by sending them to the Tab. The Sprint model has full MMS/SMS capability, which comes in handy on the Tab.

Once the work day is done, the Tab becomes a leisure device for the rest of the evening. When not playing Angry Birds, which works well on the big screen, I alternate between Plume, email and web browsing as desired. I use the Dolphin Browser HD on the Tab, which functions as a full desktop-equivalent browser. I typically use the Tab in portrait orientation in the hand for this type of activity. There is really nothing I can't do with the Tab, making it a full web appliance.

My daughter brought our granddaughter over for a visit in the evening and I used the back camera on the Tab to snap some photos of the little dear. Samsung has done a good job with the camera optics, and I find this camera to be far better than that on my EVO 4G phone. It's also cool to have a 7-inch viewfinder on the Tab's camera. The texting ability comes in very handy with the camera, as it is the easiest way to send photos to my daughter when one I snap catches her eye.

When it is time to retire for the day, I use the Tab to read in bed. The backlit display makes this possible, where a Kindle or equivalent device fails. I read using the Kindle app so I'm losing nothing using the Tab over a dedicated reader. When done for the day I power off the Tab and set it on the nightstand, ready for the next day. The Tab has such good battery life that I do not worry about keeping it charged. I plug it in while at the desk where the charger is located, otherwise I never think about it. It can go two days without charging based on actual experience.

Thoughts

Last week the CES in Vegas was full of tablets, Android and other platforms. This segment of mobile tech is about to explode and my experience with the Galaxy Tab indicates this is a good thing. Google's Honeycomb version of Android that is coming will be optimized for the tablet class of device, but I can attest that Froyo handles them well enough for the time being to be very useful. I personally wouldn't wait for a Honeycomb device if there's a need for a tablet now. To help with that personal decision, my list of the 10 apps I use daily on the Tab may be worth checking out.

Topics: Tablets, Mobility, Samsung

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19 comments
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  • RE: A Day in the Life of the Samsung Galaxy Tab

    Thx James for these insights! I'm using an iPad at the moment, but the Galaxy Tab seems to be a good alternative, especially if you want to take it with you all the time (due to its size). Also, I'm quite missing a camera on the iPad!
    Angla
  • And if you didn't have it?

    Seems to me you'd use the calender on the computer, you probably will revert to checking email on a computer due to the keyboard anyway, once the novelty value wears off.
    The screen to too small for eBooks and battery too short, my guess is you'll switch to a Kindle for that, or back to print.
    An outliner on a computer separate from the one you work on so you can't simply tap a button and build the framework into the article?.... I don't think that will catch on. I think you'll ditch that idea when you find a better outliner on your computer.

    Sorry, but I remain unconvinced, IMHO, iPad is selling to fanbois and will do a few million, the various tablets, I think they're not big sellers.

    That Samsung tablet thing with the slide keyboard, now that's where I think the volume is.
    guihombre
    • RE: A Day in the Life of the Samsung Galaxy Tab

      @guihombre I've been using the Tab for months now and it has proven its value without question. Tablets may not be the option for you, but this is working well for me personally.

      In a year where I bought many gadgets as usual, including the iPad and a new smartphone, the Galaxy Tab is easily the best purchase I made all last year. YMMV.
      JamesKendrick
    • RE: A Day in the Life of the Samsung Galaxy Tab

      @guihombre, I use my Galaxy Tab all day. I charge it at night when I am sleeping. For my Tab, battery life is excellent.

      One of my biggest uses for the Tab is reading books using Kindle for Android. It's a perfect size. And I don't need two hands to hold it while I read.

      Personally, I love the Tab and am glad I got the whim to buy it.
      notinkeys
  • James's daily tablet routines mirror my iPad use except ...

    There are a few differences between the iPad and the Galaxy Tab that differentiate how each of these tablets are used on a daily basis. (I understand from prior posts that James has a WiFi only iPad model .. correct me if I'm wrong, please.)

    I believe all tablet users recognize the superior utility of a tablet's larger screen size, "instant on" features and greater mobility duration capabilities. As such, early morning email and daily news briefs in the morning have become the de facto way tablets are used over any other computing device.

    Because of a tablet's superior battery charge life, light weight and 3G mobility capability, the tablet has become the device most used outside of a normal computing environment. That is to say, I take my iPad with me far more times than I take my MacBook laptop outside my home computing area. Actually, in the rare times I need the additional mobile computing power of my laptop, I also take along my iPad as well. (For the 3G capability and because its form factor allows it to fit inside my laptop case easily.)

    As James pointed out, there are tablet apps that take advantage of WiFi signals to allow the tablet to become a secondary monitor for a laptop environment and, as such, the added screen real estate afforded by a dual monitor system is useful at times.

    Now, whereas the Galaxy Tab has a built in camera capability, those functions form a part of any Galaxy Tab owner's daily routines. With those capabilities almost a given for the gen 2 iPad model, iPad owners can look forward to similar experiences.

    However, the iPad has a greater screen size than the Tab and as such, I have found viewing videos on it a use that I have increasingly taken advantage of. As such, it seems James takes pictures on his Tab while I watch video on my iPad.

    James didn't mention his other uses for his Galaxy Tab but I have downloaded and use many apps that enhance the utility and usefulness of my iPad.

    Although I'm not the voracious reader that James seems to be, I have downloaded several books and have read them on my iPad. (More for the novelty of it rather than a normal activity on my part.) However, I have used the iPad's iBook capability to download several pdf owner's manuals for reference purposes. (Camera, automobile owner's manuals and a few other pdf files.) Although I don't use them that often, the iPad's form factor makes using these manuals an easy task.
    kenosha77a
    • RE: A Day in the Life of the Samsung Galaxy Tab

      @kenosha7777

      I would agree with this perspective. I do hope that the next ipad has a little higher resolution. When reading, I find the letters can be a little jagged. This doesn't bother my wife but it does bother me. On a side note some make a pretty convincing argument that the 7" size pads are more an economic decision then a better size option for the manufactures. Apple has ordered so many ipad size screens that the competition can not economically compete like they would like in that screen size so they went the cheaper route of 7" and are playing it up as a better solution.
      Kabcock
      • RE: A Day in the Life of the Samsung Galaxy Tab

        @Kabcock
        That's an asinine CrAppleHolic assumption. Especially in light of the fact that Samsung supplies half those screens to CrApple and builds more than 70% of all the LCD/LED screens used in the world today of every size imaginable. Samsung Electronics expanded their growth by over 17% year on year. They are the largest Electronics Corporation in the World and just one division in the parent Mega-Corporation that leads the World in Chip production alone (killing even Intel). They are also the leading memory maker and in literally every single device as one part or another. They dwarf CrApple and in Smartphones alone kick CrApple's iPwned4 to the curb, second only to Nokia in Global Sales. Even Nokias have Samsung parts in them! ;)

        Go buy yourself some stock (at one share) of Samsung Electronics at $826. It'll be a bargain and is the only division stock shares that are publically traded. With 17% last year they are expecting over 20% this year with net asset totals of well over 200 Billion known assets within the entire Samsung Chaebol!
        i2fun
  • One final point

    James points out his tablet's calendar functionality. I have been using computers for quite sometime and prior to owning a tablet, I never used a desktop or laptop computer's calendar apps. (I preferred to use my good 'ole Franklin Day Planner for such things.)

    However, since getting the iPad, I've used its included calendar app on a daily basis. Interesting.
    kenosha77a
    • Do you carry it everywhere?

      @kenosha7777,
      Suppose you don't have it with you, I say 'ok, lets meet on xxx at yyyy', how do you add it to the calender?

      Likewise, the reminders of the meetings, how can it remind you, if don't have it with you?

      So most likely the calender app on a smartphone will dominate that market, because the handset is small and travels everywhere.

      I suspect Galaxy tab sales numbers will disappoint, they don't have the gadget lust of Apple to drive the initial sales.

      And I predict that the keyboard gizmos will be the real winners. Both larger smartphones (e.g. Nokia E7) and tablet keyboard combos (like the Samsung from a few days back) are where the volume is at.

      But all just my opinion of course.
      guihombre
      • RE: A Day in the Life of the Samsung Galaxy Tab

        @guihombre
        RE: "Suppose you don't have it with you, I say 'ok, lets meet on xxx at yyyy', how do you add it to the calender?"

        Those are good questions. Although I take my iPad with me on most days of the week (its really no big deal), any iPad calendar appointments can have several alarms set to them. For example, an alarm can be made for days in advance of the event, on the day of the event and actually, any time before the event.

        Here is something you may not know, but all Apple calendar apps can be synched automatically via a MobileMe account.

        I have such an account so when I set a calendar event (with alarms), that event gets synched to my other Apple devices .. in this case, a iPhone Touch, an iMac and a MacBook laptop.

        Additionally, with a MobileMe account, I can access my email and calendar events from any web browser on any internet connected computer. Apple has a nice MobileMe web app that performs the same functions.

        So .. if I don't have one of my Apple mobile devices with me at the moment but I do have access to a internet connected web browser, I can set any calendar event thru that option.

        However, your real point is this: If I had a smartphone than that would be all the electronic devices needed to accomplish daily calendar task away from my home computer area. (BTW, in my case, that smartphone would be an iPhone since I have currently chosen to adopt the Apple ecosystem. I don't presently own one now but that Verizon "option" is looking good since I've been a long time Verizon subscriber) But I digress.

        Getting back to the issue at hand, your conjecture would be correct. A smartphone does cover email, calendar events and other daily tasks rather well and you wouldn't really need a tablet at all.

        But the point of tablet use or why tablets have been adopted for daily use as James and I have done, is really about it's screen area advantage over a smartphone screen. Really, if you can afford a tablet device, then a person, IMO, should get one .. whether that tablet is an iPad, a Galaxy Tab, a Win 7 tablet or any other soon to be announced tablet device.

        The only way I can describe this acceptance of an optional device (and a tablet is definitely an optional personal device) is by the following analogy. I had always relied upon paper maps for driving destination information .. even after auto installed GPS units had become available. I remember giving very logical reasons why I didn't think these GPS gadgets were necessary. Then, I purchased an auto with one of these units. It didn't take long for me to forget all the logical reasons why I didn't need this optional device. And I would never think about driving a vehicle (if I could help it) without the assistance of an onboard GPS map display device again.

        A tablet is like that.
        kenosha77a
  • Can the Galaxy Tab print out documents?

    Since the release of iOS 4.2.1, I have taken advantage of my iPad's wireless print capability on several occasions.

    Does the Galaxy Tab offer similar features? Just curious.
    kenosha77a
    • Android (and Apps) do not have CUPS yet.

      @kenosha7777
      Would be nice.
      Dietrich T. Schmitz, ~ Your Linux Advocate
      • RE: A Day in the Life of the Samsung Galaxy Tab

        @Dietrich T. Schmitz, Your Linux Advocate

        They will also need SAUCERS.
        notinkeys
      • RE: A Day in the Life of the Samsung Galaxy Tab

        @Dietrich T. Schmitz, Your Linux Advocate
        Thanks .. I hope Android gets that feature soon.
        kenosha77a
  • Thanks for the tip on Plume

    I've been getting lockups on my Samsung Galaxy S using TweetDeck over the last few days--I am already liking Plume!!
    Dietrich T. Schmitz, ~ Your Linux Advocate
  • RE: A Day in the Life of the Samsung Galaxy Tab

    i saw a screenshot of your email. is that a Gmail app or the default email app? i'm wondering why I don't have that kind of layout in my Tab.
    reggieramos
    • RE: A Day in the Life of the Samsung Galaxy Tab

      @reggieramos That is the Samsung Tab Email app preinstalled on my device.
      JamesKendrick
  • RE: A Day in the Life of the Samsung Galaxy Tab

    Another wonderful article that makes me feel like we are getting back to the good old days of jkOnTheRun.

    I've been hankering for a Galaxy Tab since there release but didn't jump as purchased a MacBook Air instead and ran out of gadget funds. I'm now torn in a position to either get a Galaxy Tab or wait a little while until the surge of tablets from CES 2011 become available.
    GuyOnTech
  • Honeycomb

    Yes, but still, android 2.2 (froyo) is made for phones, not for tablets.. I use the galaxy tab, and i am very disapointed because there are rumors that the 3.0 update will not be made..
    Not even one update and its already out of date.. 600? wasted..
    sketi