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Mesh Charts

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In Use - more

Cameras
Front1.3
Rear3.0
Flash
Y
Connectivity
Wi-Fi
Y
Dual-Band
Y
3G
Y
4G
Y
Bluetooth
Y
uHDMI
N
HDMI
N
USB
N

One major highlight is that battery life is outstanding. The Galaxy uses a Li 4000 mAh battery. Even though I did not run a full battery test, I was able to use the Galaxy for several hours over the course of three days without having to charge it. This is a welcome advantage over its more power-hungry rivals.

The Galaxy has access to the full Android Market without needing to be rooted. So you won't run out of apps to use or try anytime soon.

Media

This tablet is one of the best I have seen at providing focused, high resolution images. I was pleased with both indoor and outdoor snapshots from the 3.0 MP rear-mounted camera that came out great on the first try. Picture taking is a breeze. Just click on the camera icon, point and shoot.

The auto focus feature worked well and there are many photo options that enthusiasts can play around with. The only drawback I noticed was the screen produces a lot of glare when used outside. Inside, glare is not an issue.

Watching video turned out to be a little bit of a challenge. Mpeg4, H.264, H.263, Divx/XviD codecs in 3gp(mp4), wmv(asf), avi(divx), mkv, flv formats are supported and Adobe Flash 10.1 comes installed. But I was blocked from both Hulu and Netflix, the former due to licensing issues and the latter due to Android's lack of DRM (which Netflix is starting to address).

HTML 5 videos from NY Times did play but produced very poor results. HTML5 video from html5video.org did provide a viewable experience, but nothing close to what I was hoping for.

Viewing videos from CNN, CBS, and NY Times produced pixilation and freezing. Some sites worked better than others with CBS providing the best quality and NY Times producing the worst.

Image Gallery

Even if the video stream were not broken or frozen, video viewing wasn't pleasant. HD video either in 720 or 1080 was choppy and not very watchable without long buffering times. Of the several movies and videos I tested, none where very clear and some were downright unwatchable. This was particularly disappointing because the overall display quality is very nice.

Samsung's proposed solution is to use its built in Media Hub application. After signing in with an account, you can view TV shows and movies. I found the quality of these video to be far superior to the videos I had tested through the browser. I am unsure of the differences, but it was evident that Media Hub is the best way to watch videos.

There is also access to a built in YouTube application that works well. Netflix is not available for this tablet. You can download an app to manage your Netflix queue, but you cannot watch movies directly on the tablet.

Some of the same issues mentioned above also applied to most still images I viewed on the Internet. Many of the pictures I viewed were saturated and showed distortion and heavy pixilation. I noticed these blemishes in pictures with resolution as low as 539 x 377. These imperfections seemed to increase with higher resolution photos. Oddly, built- in wallpaper images look great. But when trying to view comparable content via the browser, I could not replicate the same quality. I tested these same pictures on another computer at the same time and found that it was the tablet that was the problem.

Sound can best be described as okay. I was not blown away by the quality through the internal speakers, but it works well enough in pinch. If I were going to listen to music for any length of time, I'd use headphones or connect some speakers.

Closing Thoughts

The Samsung Galaxy Tab WiFi exceeded my expectations. Although I was disappointed with the audio and browser based video quality, the number of positives still outweigh the negatives.

The key question is whether spending $350 for a seven inch Android 2.2 tablet that will never get an upgrade to Honeycomb, let alone Gingerbread is a good buy. Even if it is one of the better (best?) 7 inch Android tablets out there.

You could roll the dice and spend $500 on the newer HTC WiFi Flyer and hope that HTC eventually releases the Honeycomb upgrade they are hinting at. Or if you don't mind moving up to a larger, heavier 10 inch format and spending $100 more, the Acer Iconia A500 Tab or hard-to-get ASUS Transformer will move you up to a Honeycomb based tablet.

But if you want a quality seven inch Android tablet and don't mind it running Froyo, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0 WiFi is pretty much the way to go.

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