About half a decade ago, Samsung was just another name in the crowd when it came to mobile phones. Nokia’s dominance knew no bounds, which made it difficult for other manufacturers to be heard in this cut-throat segment. Fast forward to 2010, and the tables had turned with Samsung emerging as the new superpower in the mobile space. Apple’s gamble with the iPad paid off well and since then no one has been able to really tap that success. Google seems to finally be getting their act together with the Honeycomb 3.1, and all that’s needed is some well-designed hardware to complement it.
So far we’ve seen Acer and Motorola’s attempt at a tablet, but none of them really grabbed our attention. Samsung’s Tab 750 or 10.1, as it's known internationally, had a very rocky start. With Apple slapping copyright infringement notices for ‘impersonating’ the iPad’s design and banning sales from certain countries, could it be possible that the company saw the Tab 750 as a real threat? That’s what we are about to find out.
Design and Build
As soon as you unbox it, the lightweight and slim profile will put a big smile on your face. The Tab 750 is the slimmest 10.1-inch tablet in the market and the lightest as well at just 565g. Despite the low profile, it doesn’t feel like a cheap toy in anyway. Samsung have achieved this by using plastic for the chassis instead of aluminium. Now, before you cringe at that thought, it’s a very high quality plastic that doesn’t creak if you apply pressure. It has a good finish as well as all the ports and buttons line-up perfectly in their grooves. The glossy screen features an 800 x 1280 pixel resolution and Samsung have used a PLS TFT display with Gorilla Glass to make it scratch-resistant.
Feels really good in your hand
The power and volume rocker buttons have good feedback and you can easily find them even in the dark. There’s also a 3.5mm headphone jack and a slot for the 3G SIM card. The Galaxy Tab 750 comes with stereo speakers that are placed on either sides in landscape mode. This makes sense, since when you watch a video, you get a proper stereo sound. Down below, we have a very iPod’ish 30-pin connector for charging and transferring data. Not sure what made them go with this, rather than a standard microUSB port. Notice that there’s no memory expansion option, so you’re limited to the built-in storage, which is 16GB. The rear portion has a 3MP auto-focus camera with a single LED flash.
Looking good in white
The Galaxy Tab 750 is available in white and black trims. In the box, you get the data cable and charger, a handsfree kit (even though there’s no telephony functions), extra ear-tips and a USB Connector for on-the-go functionality.
Samsung has launched the Galaxy Tab 750 with Android Honeycomb 3.1 and has ported their TouchWiz UX UI over as well. This puts it ahead of the curb compared to the Xoom, as far as out-of-the-box functionality is concerned. Where stock Honeycomb is a bit dull and boring even, TouchWiz is a lot more colourful and lively.
The redesigned notification bar is a lot more user friendly
Navigation is quick and painless thanks to the dual-core Nvidia Tegra 2 processor under the hood and 1GB of RAM. Now and then, we did notice some intermittent slowdowns, but nothing a little update can’t fix. AnTuTu gave me an overall score of 4210, while Linpack dished out 20.3 MFLOPS for single-threaded run and 38.1 for the multi-threaded run. The scores are a bit low, since the apps aren’t optimized for Honeycomb 3.1, I think.
Unfortunately, the apps in the dock can't be customized
The TouchWiz UX UI is borrowed from the Galaxy S II, only modified a bit for the larger screen. Samsung has included a bunch of different widgets and wallpapers for you to choose from. You can fine tune the widget by adjusting its size as well. You also get a little icon dock at the bottom, which gives you quick access to Task Manager, Calendar, World Clock, Pen Memo, Calculator and Music. You can access these apps at any time, no matter what you’re doing since the bottom bar is always visible in Honeycomb.
Some new additions to the 'Settings' menu
Samsung has also installed their own icon set and have modified the notification tab, which makes it a lot more user friendly. What used to be tiny toggle switches on the stock Honeycomb for Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, etc. are now bigger and easier to spot. In ‘Settings’, Samsung have added the ability to connect to Kies, their syncing software, via Wi-Fi. There’s a new ‘Mode’ option in the brightness setting, which lets you choose between Dynamic, Standard and Movie. This changes the colour tone of the display. Power saving mode lets you manage the battery life. Finally, we have motion settings that enable cool tricks like tilt zooming.
It’s pretty clear that amongst all the Honeycomb tablets in the market, Samsung has done the best job of customizing it and making it, if anything, better to use.