Sunday, July 10, 2011

Samsung Galaxy Tab (10.1 Honeycomb) Experience

I got my Galaxy Tab as a gift from attending Google I/O conference back in May 2011. I have been using it pretty much daily, brought it along on a family vacation with my family for a week - and my wife and son also have been using it to check emails, play games, browse around, etc.

When the Tab was given to us by Google, it had Honeycomb 3.0 on it - since then it has been upgraded to Honeycomb 3.1. I won't bother you with detailed specs - you can see it here, but I will write about my personal experience with it from the last 2 months.

A little bit about my pre-Tab habits
Since this is my personal experience, I need to tell you a little bit about myself and my gadget-related habit/lifestyle:

  • I am a software engineer, so I sit in front of a computer all day - with pretty much unlimited/unrestricted internet access. Of course, I have work to do and do not browse all day - but I do use the occasional time to go to the internet (both purposefully and just browsing around) from work (which is allowed). So basically I am not deprived of internet access while at work. 
  • I also own and use a smartphone - a Windows Phone device (HTC HD7). It has 3G broadband connectivity. So I have a mobile internet access. 
  • I also own multiple computers at home - one is dedicated for Media Center and another (desktop) for daily usage (with dual 24" monitors). 
So, in my habit, I do most of my internet-related stuff with the opportunities above: I do my news reading mostly during lunch hours at work or from my cell phone. I do manage my banking online and try to automate things, mostly done from my home computer. I do occasionally watch YouTube or other online videos from any of those devices. Emails and twitter are pushed to my phone via respective services. So the point is that my internet-related needs are mostly done/completed with the above.

My Personal Experience
When I get the tablet, I was excited *bright and shiny object*! But after the first week of trying to customize it, playing with it, downloading and installing apps and games, showing it to people - then I started to feel that although it's a cool gadget and all that but I kinda have no real need for it. I thought maybe it was just an initial boredom and I will get used to it and use it more after a while. But here I am 2 months a later - my conclusion is still the same - I have very little real need for it. If I have to put money to get it / buy it - would I do that? No. If it's gone, would I miss it? I don't think so.

Just to be sure - it's not because the Tab is a broken device or anything like that. It's a beautiful device, works really well, ultra-long battery life, gorgeous screen, awesome OS and apps, etc. But the problem is that personally I have very little real use for it.

Sure, there are some novelty use - like looking up twitter stream before going to bed (compared to using the phone), or looking at RedBox DVD availability, or playing Angry Bird. But these functions are trivial or novelty in nature - and they do not worth $500.

On the other hand, there are also some good valuable and practical functions that I found in the last 2 months of using it - such as notes viewing (I am an Evernote user) and Kindle app is kind of nice (compared to phone, but a real Kindle device is still much much nicer). Since I do not have a laptop to be mobile with my notes, the Evernote app in Android is really helpful. I can view my notes in my phone, but having a larger screen is really nice - same thing with the Kindle. But, as you see, those valuable and practical functions are there because the Tab fills in the need that exists because of the lack of devices - in my case was a portable computer (or a Kindle).

Some concluding thoughts
  • Depending on your habit and your gadget usage, a Tab may or may not be useful / worth it for you. In my case, if I would have had a netbook/laptop instead of a desktop, it can mean that I have even less need for the Tab. 
  • On the other hand, if you have a desktop and without a smartphone - the Tab is absolutely worth getting for mobility. 
  • For me, I have very little use for it other than the occasional reading on the Kindle app or some note reviews - again because my computing or gadget related needs/activities are already met by other means. 
So am I going to donate the device away because of my little use for it? Absolutely NOT. There are some nice little things that having a Tab provide you (they do not worth $500, but still nice to have):
  • Large GPS screen. Instead of using you Android phone, GPS with the Tab is kind of nice.
  • Tank Hero is awesome using the Tab. Your hand is not in the way, so you can see better.
  • Looking at your Google Calendar, email, etc is nicer on the Tab compared to a phone.

Some additional reviews from the web:

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