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Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7 review

Verdict

A terrific tablet, with a great screen and all the features you could ask for, packed into an elegantly compact frame

Review Date: 2 Mar 2012

Reviewed By: Darien Graham-Smith

Price when reviewed: £400 (£480 from www.expansys.com inc VAT)

Buy it now for: £220
(see more store prices)

Overall Rating
5 stars out of 6

Features & Design
6 stars out of 6

Value for Money
3 stars out of 6

Performance
5 stars out of 6

When Samsung revealed its 7.7in tablet at IFA, it looked like a sterile exercise in gap-plugging. In the flesh, the Galaxy Tab 7.7 is a revelation. At 6mm thick and weighing only 340g, it’s small and light enough to carry around one-handed, yet large enough to make a comfortable web browser or ebook reader.

Despite its size, the screen offers a sharp 1,280 x 800 resolution – higher than many 10.1in tablets, including Samsung’s own. A measured brightness of 200cd/m2 might sound unremarkable, but thanks to the perfect contrast of a Super AMOLED Plus panel, it looks vivid and punchy even in broad daylight, with eye-socking colour reproduction. A tastefully narrow bezel completes the appearance of a flagship product – and with its sturdy metal back, the Galaxy Tab 7.7 feels like one too.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7

The only real disappointment in the Galaxy Tab 7.7’s headline spec is its reliance on last year’s version of Android. Honeycomb doesn’t lack any major features, but its performance can be jerky and uneven as you swipe between homescreens and scroll through web pages. A forthcoming free upgrade to Ice Cream Sandwich should smooth things out, but no date has been set for release.

Samsung extensions

On top of Honeycomb, Samsung has installed its TouchWiz UX extensions. These bring a few nifty features, including the ability to synchronise music and content via Wi-Fi (using Samsung’s proprietary Kies package), and quick access to common settings via the notification area at the bottom right of the screen. There are various market-type "Hubs" too, for downloading games, music and ebooks. The Swype input method lets you enter text by simply sliding a finger over a virtual keyboard, and it works well at this size.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7 - TouchWiz UX

Other preinstalled features are more hit and miss. Motion control lets you navigate and zoom by tilting the device, and adaptive brightness conserves battery life by dynamically dimming the backlight when displaying bright content. Both feel gimmicky to us, but you can easily turn them off.

Samsung also adds its Mini App Tray to the taskbar, providing instant access to seven custom widgets (including a task manager, notepad, calculator and music player) from anywhere in the system. It’s fine, but not as useful as it could be, as you can’t switch out the preset apps for shortcuts of your choice.

Internals and battery life

The Galaxy Tab 7.7 may be small, but its performance is on par with the best of the full-sized tablets. Thanks to a 1.4GHz dual-core ARM-A9 based Exynos processor, it scored 3,803 in the Quadrant benchmark, and completed the SunSpider JavaScript benchmark in 1,940ms – a mere 100ms behind the iPad 2. It fared similarly in the BrowserMark test, with a very respectable score of 89,775. (For comparison, the 5.3in Galaxy Note scored 59,473.)

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User comments

Darien, Would you consider giving this an A listing if the price was more realistic (say £400)?

By adamgashead on 2 Mar 2012

What's so unrealistic about the price? If it's a fantastic piece of kit - and going off the review it seems it is - what's wrong? Or must it cost less due to the lack of fruity type logo on the rear?

By everton2004 on 2 Mar 2012

everton2004,it's a good piece of tech but like it or not the ipad is the king at the moment to compete you've either got to offer something much more (and can charge more) or something similar and charge the same, (or less) I'd say if Samsung had priced it at say 390 - 400 it would have a winner on it's hands at 480, it's another niche also ran

By MrP77 on 2 Mar 2012

Excellent alternative to an Apple tablet… Excellent alternative to an iPad…

…if it was 2010, and Apple's as yet unannounced "iSlate" was rumoured to be $999/£999.

But back in the real world it's two years later, the third-generation iPad is about to be launched, and Apple's main tablet competitors are *still* trying to sell half-sized devices for the same money - and failing. Has RIM's PlayBook fiasco taught them nothing?

Shame, as it looks like the Samsung scattergun approach to tablet sizes finally has one that hits the mark - shave 40% off the price (making it 4:3 would probably be too much to ask) and they'd have a hit on their hands, but at the same price as an iPad then I'll be surprised to see it shift units in any significant volume.

By petermillard1 on 3 Mar 2012

Oh ffs, let us have an edit button!

By petermillard1 on 3 Mar 2012

Great fuseor out and about!

Great little tablet whilst out and about! I use it to check my computer cluster stats whilst at my best mates house. A great little gem!
David
http://www.indiegogo.com/The-Alzheimers-Blitzkrieg
?a=441422

By ashane on 3 Mar 2012

This unit is bargain in HK.

It only cost $368 pounds ($4550 HK dollars *no sale tax here)in Hong Kong. I will get this soon. (3G verison, can use it as phone)
http://www.price.com.hk/product.php?p=132982

By V_FPolo on 4 Mar 2012

An Excellent 7.7" tablet

For this size, screen and power its a whizz a true portable gem - have only used one for a month as a test but waiting for the new Note which is insanely fantastic.

I bet the fruit releases a tab much smaller too to compete in this market as it has no doubt realized the demand is there.

By nicomo on 4 Mar 2012

Edit key please!

*month!!! no a few hours!

By nicomo on 4 Mar 2012

Adamgashead: At £400 I would certainly give the Galaxy Tab 7.7 a "recommended" award; but I don't think it would actually replace the iPad 2 on the A List, if only because we still find iOS makes for a slicker user experience. But Android's coming up fast: I wouldn't bet against it stealing the iPad's crown at some point this year.

By DarienGS on 5 Mar 2012

7" the magic size?

I bought a Blackberry Playbook when 2.0 came out, and was really surprised at how good this size of tablet was. I already had a ASUS 10.1 tablet, but now carry my 7" on around with me everywhere. I had looked at some of the big phones, but the combination of an Android phone with hotspot capability and a 7" tablet seems just right

By DJ2003 on 5 Mar 2012

Small size translating to small price?

What about the iphone4's 3.5" screen compared to the Galaxy Note's 5.3"? I don't recall any suggestion that a small size might equate to a small price there (and it certainly doesn't).

By TheHonestTruth on 5 Mar 2012

"adaptive brightness conserves battery life by dynamically dimming the backlight"

I didn't think OLED technologies have backlights...

By cerebros on 6 Mar 2012

OLED

"dynamically dimming the backlight when displaying bright content."
OLED displays do not have backlights, that's the whole idea, you should really know that.

@£480 it is far too expensive, many net books are far cheaper and contain more expensive components, so Samsung could easily cut the price and wipe the floor with Apple and still be in profit.

By Brian_Jones on 8 Mar 2012

You're right, I should have written "dimming the display" – though from the user's perspective it does look and work just like the familiar battery-preserving trick of turning down the backlight on a laptop screen.

By DarienGS on 8 Mar 2012

10" tablets are just TOO big...

That's why I think this is a winner.

I had an iPad on loan for a while, and I didn't like carrying it round with me. Too large to fit in a pocket, to heavy to hold in 1 hand. Too scared of dropping it!

7" tablets are winners. I have an Ainol Paladin 7", a Chinese tab, that runs ICS; a bit underspecced (MIPS chip, which is a a pain), but perfectly useable, I wouldn't be without it!

I will replace it with a Galaxy Tab 7.7 as soon as the 3G version ia available for a decent price here in the UK...

By skooptech on 13 Mar 2012

Love it

I have had mine for about 10 days, since a mate picked it up for me in Hong Kong airport. Perfect size, weight, display, resolution. Just waiting for Ice Cream Sandwich (or CM9 maybe, if anyone develops it).

By rollsg on 13 Mar 2012

Love it

I have had mine for about 10 days, since a mate picked it up for me in Hong Kong airport. Perfect size, weight, display, resolution. Just waiting for Ice Cream Sandwich (or CM9 maybe, if anyone develops it).

By rollsg on 13 Mar 2012

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