back to article Samsung's Android tablet: split and eviscerated

The race to dethrone Apple's iPad as top tablet has begun in earnest, with Samsung's Galaxy Tab now available, and others such as RIM's BlackBerry PlayBook waiting in the wings. To see how the Galaxy Tab's innards stack up to those in the Cupertinian "magical and revolutionary" device, the repairmen and vivisectionists at …


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  1. mark l 2 Silver badge

    large megapixel does not mean better quality

    " 3.2 megapixelage is a bit sub-par for a device of this caliber, seeing how much smaller devices (like the original Droid) are packed with 5 MP imagers."

    When will people realise that having a larger megapixel image sensor without the optics to go with it will not result in better quality photos. I have taken some great photos taken on a 2 MP fuji digital camera from years ago because it has good lenses where as i have seen mostly crap photos from my phones 5 MP camera.

    1. Francis Boyle

      It's worse than that

      Squeezing too many pixels into a tiny sensor is just asking to ramp up the noise.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      The only reason

      The only reason you want high mega-pixel is for digital zoom. I used to work with a bunch of professional photographers, and they claimed that 2MP was all you needed for most sizes of images; however, as soon as you use digital zoom you need to start increasing the mega-pixelage. With a decent lens and optical zoom, 2MP is all you need.

      1. Mark 65

        Yep, roughly

        2MP on a compact is around 1800x1000 or so pixels. For close viewing you want around 200 dpi for printing (the dots here being the pixels from the image) which translates to 9"x5".

        I believe that 3MP is normally considered the minimum for A4 printing and remember my old (c2001) Sony DSC-P3 (I think) creating some great images of this size so your recollection is certainly in the ball park. I think my sister still uses the camera to this day.

        Where the higher pixel count comes in is for the casual photographer who doesn't get things right in camera and needs to crop afterwards (digital zoom after the fact), but current double-digit pixel counts are counter-productive due to noise etc and I believe Panasonic came out once and said that anything higher than 10MP in a compact is pointless.

      2. L.B

        Physics says otherwise...

        Although it may seem like these high MP devices provide better digital zoom, physics has other plans.

        I have a Nikon D40x DSLR that has a 10.2MP sensor, which is about 60% area of a 35mm film camera. At this size it is almost completely pointless to increase the sensors pixel resolution as it is already impossible to focus the visible light spectrum to a level where it would make any difference.

        There are good reasons why the manufacturers of these chips use the extreme ultra-violet wavelengths and costly lens+liquid submersion to make these things. The human visible spectrum just cannot be focused down to that level, even using the best lenses you can buy.

        Making bigger sensors is still expensive, and that is why real quality cameras are so expensive, and you will still pay thousands just for the body.

        Nearly all the small pocket cameras with 5+MP claims have very small sensors, and the ones on phones are just a few mm square with lenses made from cheap plastic in most cases.

        In the average consumer phone and small camera the use of high MP values is there for same reason that Intel used high MHz on P4 computers a decade ago; its just marketing.

        On a different note the same marketing bull is being used to sell TVs today, with them being advertised with 600Hz screens, or the Yellow pixels. Ignoring Amanfrommars and other aliens; we only detect colour using RGB (+low light mono) in our eyes, and over about 72Hz we don't really notice any flicker, and our TV is transmitted as just 50 or 60 frames a second.

  2. Michael C

    worst of both

    It's too big to be a phone, and too small to be a tablet. It has all the worst qualities of both, and the advantages of neither. It is DOOMED.

    Android is still not mature on the small screen, and apps don't scale to the bigger one, nor is the UI customized for it properly.

    Its as expensive as the iPad, but lacks some functionality (though it adds a camera that, in practice, can't be used for video chat without the person on the other end vomiting from you shaking like a leaf holding it, making their screen and your image dance all around, there's a REASON the iPad has no camera: they TRIED on, and everyone told them it was stupid to embed one in the bezel). Its a poor price position for the offering.

    No free hotpots like AT&T offers, and no way to enable disable a non-committal 3G access function from the device.

    Its GPU is weaker.

    No Airplay.

    You can't see a whole page on the screen at once.

    There are no document editing apps comparable to iLife Mobile for Android.

    Lower resolution.

    the battery will die so much faster. Both in terms of charge time, and lifecycles.

    This thing is a PoS. The iPad is not world ending, but the continual lack of any competitor coming to the market with an actually viable alternative is simply sad.

    1. MontyMole


      The size if fine for a portable video player.

      Yes, a bigger size is defintately more useful if viewing webpages, but if you are after a portable video player then the iPad is a bit big to be really portable and a phone is a bit too small to watch videos on, so something in between those two sizes is ideal.

      1. DaveyP


        And a cheap Archos is even better.

    2. Anonymous Coward

      crow anyone?

      so when the next Ipad releases with a camera in the bezel are you going to post the youtube link so we can all watch you eating crow?

    3. paul 97

      I'll bite

      "It's too big to be a phone, and too small to be a tablet. It has all the worst qualities of both, and the advantages of neither. It is DOOMED."

      Stop sucking steve jobs off. Some people do want the biggest device they can fit in their pocket. Not for everyone but some people will find the form factor attractive.

      "Android is still not mature on the small screen" - how many phones are there now?

      "apps don't scale to the bigger one" Yes they do.

      Camera: Just because apple didn't put a camera on the iTampon - doesnt mean that no one else can do it correctly. Regarding shaky hands - what about phones - example Jesus phone 4? Or are they some magical device that doesnt shake.

      Get out of the reality distortion field.

      "No free hotpots like AT&T offers, and no way to enable disable a non-committal 3G access function from the device." - Not everyone lives in the USA or has to deal with AT&T

      "Its GPU is weaker." - you may be right there.

      "You can't see a whole page on the screen at once." Surely it depends on the page. Similar problem faces all small computing devices INCLUDING the iTampon. Screen resolution dicates this.

      "There are no document editing apps comparable to iLife Mobile for Android." Google docs as one from the top of my head .I know its not an 'app'

      "Lower resolution. " Your correct 1024 × 768 vs 1024 × 600. Wow what a difference. I expect the differnce in quality will blow me away! /s

      "the battery will die so much faster. Both in terms of charge time, and lifecycles." Any evidence to support this? Or is it just because its a smaller battery?

      "This thing is a PoS. The iPad is not world ending, but the continual lack of any competitor coming to the market with an actually viable alternative is simply sad." - Your probably right about it being a POS. Lots of alternatives (android , blackberry , windows , ubuntu and meego ) are in the works.

  3. Stuart Halliday


    I saw this device in Tesco today and I was much impressed with it.

    The U/I is smooth and the web browser shows a decent amount of real-estate.

    But it's is shockingly over priced.

    Maybe once its down to £300 I could afford to buy one.

  4. RobinHunter

    Its not that great

    The ipad works well and really is a good size. The samsung is plain odd. Steve jobs is right. Its either to small for a tablet or too large for a phone. The keyboard doc is good though.

  5. Stuart 18
    Big Brother

    the kids of today and math!

    384+128=512 or half a GiB (I'll whine about correct unit acronyms in another post). This means there must be an additional secret unmentioned 512MB of RAM that is neither DRAM or DDR for articles stated 1 Gig OR someone can't count. Please get back to me on this before I have to return lots of sticks of memory from the continual oversupply when I purchase.


  6. Stuart 18

    oops from Stu

    Now my fluff up! The two types of ram discounted by quantification were DDRAM and low voltage mobile DRAM not DDR sorry hey at least I get moderated and proof read by the lovely Miss Bee so it's her fault that the first post's not corrected. Sorry to all the literary pedants from a much humbled numeracy pedant.


  7. Daleos

    Can I have one of each please?

    I'd be quite happy to buy both a 7" and a 10" tablet. The 7" isn't really big enough for the home but a 10" is too big to lug around all day.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      Titular nonsense

      7" is great for me (fnar, fnar).

      I've got a netbook so its just the right size to carry about everyday.

      Got a phone too, so that's not a problem.

      1. studentrights

        What packet?

        Are you a kangaroo?

    2. studentrights

      Too big?

      Your netbook/laptop must not be getting any love.

  8. Aberdeen Angus

    I have both......

    Early days yet but I have a feeling that the Samsung will be more useful and most used. There are some funny opinions above about what the Tab cannot do, but ignore them, they are either born out of ignorance or carrier restrictions. The Tab is much more capable than the iPad, and I love my iPad. I also love my Nexus One so I have a foot in both OS camps and I should probably declare an understanding of both but a preference for Android.

    Ultimately, for me, it's a size thing and the Tab fits in my pocket so it will be used. The iPad will remain at home for desktop use. Size matters - just not the way some think.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      The Tab fits in your pocket?

      That's the give away. You must be a Samsung sales fandroid...

      1. Francis Boyle

        Real mean have real pockets

        And women have handbags

        1. Anonymous Coward

          And the rest...

          ...stick the Tab up their a**es?

        2. studentrights

          Yes and women disproportional buy Apple

          Thus plenty of room for an iPad. For women size matters!

  9. krkr8m


    "The Galaxy Tab (top) is both smaller and chubbier than its Jobsian rival (source: iFixit)"

    The Galaxy Tab is 11.98mm thick to the Ipad's 13.4mm. How is that chubbier. It is literally thinner. That picture looks purposefully doctored, or at least distorted, by angle and lens.

    Fanbois, if a products evidence of superiority must be manufactured it is an inferior product.

    1. drewsup

      Optical delusion

      It's not chubbier, it's just not as big, if you look at the thickest part of the ipad in the picture, it's thicker than the Tab, but because it's so much longer, it looks thinner. The Ipad tapers off to a thinner edge, which makes it seem way more svelte.

  10. BeardyOldUnixGit

    An proper small portable

    It's about the same price as the 3G iPad, which is fair enough. Well, actually it can be cheaper, depending on where you look for the Galaxy Tab and how badly you want to be ripped off for the Jobsian thingy.

    I bought one of these, having played around with several peoples' iPads (hmm, fondled others' slabs, perhaps?). My overwhelming impression of the iPad was "slick, responsive, too damn big". Size does matter, but not quite the way Steve says it does. I can use the Galaxy Tab while standing, holding it in one hand[2], which I can't do with the iPad; that has to rest at least an edge on something, be it a lap or a table. Yes, some apps don't handle the big screen well, but a surprising number do, and the (few, so far) I've found that don't I don't really care - I use them for function, not form and the function works fine. If I want to play proper games on the go (which is not often), I own a proper portable game thingy which only runs down its own battery...

    The real kicker is I find I can actually use it properly as a terminal, ssh into things and use them[1]. This is the first usable mobile computer I've had since someone sat on my Psion V. I mean, I'm sure you can do pretty much everything with an iPad too, but not while standing at a bus stop.

    [1] It's at this point, to revive a flame war even the gods thought long dead, that one discovers how great it is to know vi as well as emacs :-)

    [2] This being El Reg, I'm sure I don't have to point out the advantages of one-handed operation when engaged in certain other activities that are Not Allowed with an iPad...

    1. Kevin Hutchinson
      Thumb Up


      :1,$s/iPad/Galaxy Tab/g

  11. bexley

    android on ipad is comming

    It looks as though you will be able to install android on the ipad soon anyway, apple will of course hate that and try to stop everyone but meh.

    If that galaxy tab had been made bigger then it would not be so disadvantaged in comparasson

  12. Andus McCoatover

    There's bugger all in it!

    Jeezus H. Christ, unbelievable.

    But, iFixit's stripdown states "The battery is user-replaceable" !! By whom?? I wouldn't have the nerve to mess around with something so small. That's assuming I can BUY a replacement battery from Samsung, which I doubt...You'd need a Playmobil-sized engineer to (un)do half of the stuff in iFixit's teardown.

    Now, did the 'strippers' get it back together, functioning? Not stated, interestingly. They gave it 6/10 for serviceability, but....

  13. Kevin Hutchinson
    Thumb Up

    Camera quibbles

    A 3.2MP Samsung tab camera is an infinite percent better than the iPad non-camera. Regarding size, I think the Amazon Kindle has proved that people will buy a 7" screen and find it comfortable. Talking of Amazon, their site currently says "In stock on November 17, 2010.

    Order now and we'll deliver when available." - so I guess the demand is speaking for itself.

  14. Jean-Paul

    Can't even read a page of A4

    You can't even read a full page of A4 comfortably on it, let alone edit and annotate PDF's. So it won't replace paper soon for me.

    I've tried this tablet and even web pages require constant zooming in and out which is fine on a phone but what is the point on a tablet. And those that fit it within their pockets, blimey you do have large pockets. For me it would still be in a bag so it is not as portable as one though. However portability is great but if you still can't read what's on the screen without zooming whats the point.

    Yes I agree as a video player it is great, the movie I tried looked fantastic. But as just a video player I would rather get an archos then which is at least half the price and does the multi-media thing very well.

    Also when using it I noticed lag in quite a few place, very similar to the Samsung Galaxy S phone that I had. I guess if you never had anything better before you don't notice it, but it is definitely there. Did my head in when trying it out.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    iPad is too big

    iPad is too big - sorry Steve tablets dont need to be huge - in fact, if i'm using it as a book, then i want it to be paperback book size...

  16. Peter Scott

    Cameras, why?

    Why the argument about cameras, if you want a portable device you can put in your pocket and take photos with, try buying a compact digital camera. Don't bother trying to use a mobile, 8MP and a crap lens = crap photos.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @Cameras Why

      Video calls is the obvious use case. That' swhy the camera is on the bevel. Useless for taking pictures, but 3.2MP is fine for videoconferenceing.

      As for cameras on phones generally - try out the Nokia N8 - there is a real eyeopening camera on a mobile.

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