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samsung galaxy tab plus

Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus — inches of irritation [Review]

The Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus is the kind of device that you try to like. Dual Core Processor, a Gig of RAM and a very convenient size for reading books, watching video and surfing the web. It just about fits in your coat pocket too.

Unfortunately, it falls way, way short on expectations. The setup requires a computer scientist with Linux skills and just using it requires training, tutorials, handholding and the kind of time that busy dads and business folk like me simply don’t have on hand.

In short, do not buy this for any of your family members unless you want them to disown you.

Typing is atrociously complicated and difficult with the most bizarre autocorrecting I’ve seen to date. And, unlike Swype, where tapping a word brings up a display of other possible words, with the Tab’s default keyboard you have to delete the entire word first and start again. This means you constantly have to look up to ensure that a random word hasn’t been inserted.

This device certainly isn’t for the faint of heart. But what if you’re an Android junkie and you know how to setup your own device? You have this Android thing figured out already? You can RTFM? You know how to install a decent third-party keyboard and can root the device to run Ice Cream Sandwich? (It comes with Honeycomb). You don’t scream WTF!? every time press-holding the full stop results in a smiley face instead of the question mark that’s indicated above it?

Well, in that case, I’d almost say go for it. The Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus has a solid build, a surprisingly pleasant form factor and plenty of storage space for apps, media and photos.

The poor screen could be forgiven if this tablet were to come in at say, a US$200 price point to compete with the Kindle Fire. But at US$680, you’d have to be smoking something to buy this tablet.

And hell, you’ll still be disappointed, as the screen is complete and utter rubbish. The screen packs in the same number of pixels as my iPod Touch. Unfortunately, the Tab is four times bigger than the iPod Touch. The poor resolution is made worse by the fact that websites will render their desktop editions rather than mobile formats. So text shows up really, really tiny and grainy.

I did have some measured success with the Kindle app with text set large enough, but the viewing angle is so crappy that I couldn’t read comfortably while in bed.

Out of the box, the screen continuously increases and decreases brightness and does so inappropriately, leaving you to squint at a faded screen in a bright room or burning your eyes out in the dark. So you have to set it to manual, but then some apps, such as the browser, will simply override the brightness setting in any case and you have to set it at application level.

If it’s an Android tablet you need, I’d rather suggest getting the Galaxy Note, also by Samsung. The 5.3″ form factor doesn’t sacrifice too much screen space compared to the Tab and the screen is vastly superior in all respects, making everyday use more bearable. With the Note now running Ice Cream Sandwich, the latest version of Android, it also delivers a much improved UI over the Tab 7.0 Plus’ Honeycomb software.

The Note is a bit large for a phone, but it does still fit in your jeans pocket, the only drawback being that you’ll have to walk a bit funny.

Oh, and one more thing: I (painfully) typed the review above on the Tab 7.0 Plus itself, using the Samsung Memo application. Unfortunately, press-holding on the text would not allow me to select and copy the text, so that I could paste it into an email. Luckily, there was a share button, so I could send the entire note via email as an attachment. The attachment was delivered as a .VNT file. Windows couldn’t find an application using its Web Service to open .VNT files. Luckily, a hobbyist online has written a Python script to convert .VNT to .TXT. No worries then… All you have to do is install Python on your computer and run the script using the Command Line. Easy Peasy. Anyway, it’s an utter nonsense tablet. Avoid at all costs.

Author Bio

Henk Kleynhans
CTO at @comparecourses. Storyteller. Built Wi-Fi networks in Africa, lobbied governments on spectrum reform, connected the Dalai Lama to Desmond Tutu. More
  • I think vnt files can be opened in Notepad. Yes, there will be some irrelevant header text, but you can ignore that and copy and paste only the real content.

  • Anonymous

    I think you’re smoking something…

    Avoid this review at all costs!

    Sent from my Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus

  • This is a fine review of a device with very little to offer in the way of innovation or hardware advancement. But of course, you are entitled to your own opinion and we welcome it with open arms 🙂 If you’re looking for a decent tablet, try the PlayBook, iPad 3, Galaxy Tab 10.1 or even the Kindle Fire.

  • Anonymous

    This Tablet was released last year… How can you be talking about innovation and hardware advancement? I would say that it’s a lot more innovative and advanced than the original Galaxy Tab…

    The Playbook? I like Android, not BlackBerry Tablet OS… But I would agree that the iPad 3 is pretty good, but I still prefer Android…

    Yes, I would agree the price you quoted here is too much, but I’m sure you can find it for cheaper… But this Tablet is great! and when/if Samsung release the ICS upgrade, then I’m sure it will be awesome!

  • Anonymous

    A fine review if you say so yourself…

    A review 8 months after the tablet was released, you’d expect a tech site to keep up with the times…

  • Our reviews are not constrained to a timeline. Some products are reviewed on launch day, others have to wait. What counts is that the information is out there and people are able to make a conscious buying decision in regards to their next gadget. We are exceptionally current, love our gear and will continue to pump our quality reviews once it meet’s our high reviewing standards. 

  • Henk Kleynhans

    Hi Francois, I did the review very much using my “Dad Test” methodology. I.e. is this a device I could give to my technophobic overworked father without him calling me every few hours for support. I can’t imagine trying to explain to him on the phone how to strip out headers in .VNT files… 

  • I wasn’t commenting on the review per se, but just wanted to mention that you don’t really need the python script.

  • Jdvaha302

    Obviously you need to learn more about Android if you’re having hard time setting the 7.0plus tab up! It is just the same as any android phone on market easy to use out of the box! As far as the resolution goes it is not the best but far from the worst. The speed is Great on both wifi & 4G.

  • Fifthblindmouse

     hey, I got news for you this review would have been more helpful 8 months ago when people were actually buying this device now that the tab 2 is out the 7 plus is in the shadow (even tho it is a superior device) – good try tho

  • Sunrise

    You lot commenting all presume that everybody wants to buy the latest or best, your oversights almost invalidate your own comments. I am currently looking at this tablet and found the review helpful.

  • Betacircuits

    galaxy is better.. as simple as that.

  • Sheev Kumar

    I don’t agree with you. I  have been using this one for a month and other than slightly poor screen resolution, I don’t find anything wrong. This one has GSM communication facility and memory can also be upgraded unlike many other tablets. 7.0 plus is the best tablet for its price value.

  • Auze

    Wow. Burn this article i think. Why rubbish the device based in part on your poor experience with the Samsung memo app?

    And $680?? I took the plunge last weekend and have the 16gb 3G version on the way for $390AUD delivered. If you want to help people make a “conscious buying decision” then quoting an average buying price would be good deal more helpful.

  • Bringem

    you are of course  an apple user. everything is done for you on apple even your opinion, thinking and customizing. android lets you be creative not stupid. as far as screen res… how far do you need to be away from the screen anyway. if you or those looking over your shoulder to watch a movie, put the movie on the TV instead of several people huddling around any device even a 10 inch or in apple terms 9.7 inch. that is why they made TV’s.

  • Hoangde

    Wow.  I’m amazed at this type of reviews on a tech site.  Seems like the reviewer don’t know much about tablets or about doing reviews.  First off, you can get a tab 7 plus for under $300 in many places online.  I got mine brand new on craigslist for $200.  Second, comparing a 7 inch tablet to a 10 inch iPad is like comparing apple to oranges for me.  If you are comparing OS’s, I agree Honeycomb is an incomplete OS… Ice Cream Sandwich will serve the Tab 7 plus much better.  Third, to suggest buying Kindle Fire or Blackberry Playbook is very ignorant.  The Kindle Fire out of the box is so limited.  Try doing video chat or listening to music via bluetooth on there… oh wait.. Kindle Fire doesn’t have bluetooth nor any cameras.  As for the Playbook… REALLY?  Buying into a company or product that will be belly-up soon?!?!  The Playbook is on it’s last breath.

    In short, when you do a review, please do a better assessment.

  • eeyoreofborg

     I got my 32gb version for $400 USD.  If you want easy, stick with mac.  If you want versatile, go with Android(Linux).  Can you tell I’m a linux snob?

  • Mfingwe

    Not really, I like the Galaxy Tab 7.0 + I am with it a week now…the machine can whiz fast

  • Guest

    This review is extremely flawed. As with any new experience you have to give it some time to adjust and fit it into your life. Clearly this person is an Apple guy, nothing wrong with that but also not the best person to write an Android review. As for me this tablet has everything I need it for which is mainly textbooks for school and Netflix and some email. I like that I can use the remote on it to control my TV and that it fits in my cargo shorts pocket.

  • Henk Kleynhans

    At risk of soliciting more scorn, I thought I’d address some of the comments directly! 

    Firstly, my angle on reviews: I’m a dad. This means I have little time & patience to “configure” a device. The point of tablets is that they’re to be part of the “Post PC” generation, not for hobbyists. I’m also a product designer and I’ve built plenty of bad (and, I think, good) products. There are certainly many good features to the Tab 7.0 Plus (e.g. the File Manager), but I decided to apply the “Dad Test” to this tablet: Will my 60-something, technophobic dad be able to use this device out of the box without having to call me for tech support twice a week? 

    The price: I’m sure you CAN get it cheaper elsewhere, but most people will be buying this in a retail store. My nearest outlet, a Vodacom store, had the 3G+WiFi version on display for R6800, roughly $790. 

    The competition: I mentioned the Kindle Fire as a price comparison, not as a recommendation. If you want a device at a similar price but with a fantastic screen, I’d recommend the Galaxy Note. It’s slightly smaller, at 5.3″, but has a far superior AMOLED screen and a faster processor. 

    “Apple Guy”: No, I’m not an “Apple Guy”. I prefer Android over iOS, mostly because I hate iTunes and the App Store’s policies. I have owned various Android devices and one iPod Touch. I use both Windows 7 & OS X on a daily basis. I’m comfortable with any desktop or mobile OS, but get cantankerous when keyboards don’t work smoothly on devices in the year 2012. 

  • ocir

    your review is good only good for you, it sounds paid by……
    my children can even set up their own TAB 7 plus, ages 11, 14 and 19,
    How can`t you…

  • Damjam

    This “review” is nothing more than one person’s opinion due to his lack
    of common sense. You cannot just suggest that people don’t buy something
    because you are too useless to properly compare it with similar
    devices. Also, what type of tech review site lets people who are biased
    towards one platform, make such unprofessional reviews just criticising
    features they don’t like. Way to go Gearburn. You have an idiot working for you.

  • Jamie A

    I’ve got a Samsung Galaxy tab – it was a snip to set up and I think it’s brilliant!

  • moonskin

    Please disregard this review if you know anything about Android. I absolutely LOVE my Galaxy Tab 7 Plus and am typing this comment on it right now with no problem! So yes, it may require some customization to setup the way you want. But what Android device doesn’t? The ICS OS upgrade is available for the 7 plus and you can download the free ICS keyboard, which both work great! I would not trust any reviews from a person who obviously does not know how to work with an OS other than one he is used to and does not take the time to do his homework. Do not waste your time considering this review if you have the opportunity to use the Galaxy Tab 7 Plus. In my opinion it was the best 7 inch tablet you could buy a couple years ago (if you could afford the steep price tag) and still holds it’s own today against its opponents. I use it every day and take it with me everywhere (once I found a suitable case for it online)! This reviewer should stick to reviewing children’s toys.