Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7 review
A terrific tablet, with a great screen and all the features you could ask for, packed into an elegantly compact frame
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/m[sup]2[/sup] 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.
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.
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.
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
|Warranty||2 yr return to base|
|Dimensions||133 x 6 x 197mm (WDH)|
|Resolution screen horizontal||800|
|Resolution screen vertical||1,280|
|Display type||Super AMOLED Plus|
|Panel technology||Super AMOLED Plus|
|CPU frequency, MHz||1MHz|
|Camera megapixel rating||3.0mp|
|Built-in flash type||LED|
|Accessories supplied||In-ear headphones|
|Mobile operating system||Android 3.2|