Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7: Different magic


Samsung's impressive tablet lineup is already in its second generation, but the one that stands out is surprisingly at the lower end of both the size range and the age bracket. The ultra-thin and incredibly light Super-AMOLED-packing Galaxy Tab 7.7 may as well be the one the iPads should be afraid of.

Most of the tablets on the market are powered by dual-core chipsets, and the new Galaxy Tab 7.7 will have no trouble blending in. Scratch that. Some of its peers may find it hard to keep up. Sure, it will soon be looking at some quad-core slates fast approaching in the rear view mirror, but that time is yet to come. The Exynos SoC with those twin 1.4GHz cores is more than sufficient for a 7-inch device by our books.
What makes the Galaxy Tab 7.7 so special is the screen and the compact form factor. This is the first and only tablet to use a Super AMOLED Plus display and - you don't have to take our word - it looks gorgeous. Equally, if not more importantly, this is the only tablet to feature a 7.7" screen. So, is it Samsung's insistence on finding an empty niche where no one else in their right mind will care to look or is the Galaxy Tab 7.7 really that special?
There's a lot of ground to cover before we can give a definitive answer. But honestly, we can see why people looking for a genuinely compact and portable tablet with premium specs would go with the latter.

Key features

·         7.7" 16M-color Super AMOLED Plus capacitive touchscreen of WXGA resolution (1280 x 800 pixels)
·         Weighs 340 g only
·         Exynos chipset: Dual-core 1.4GHz ARM Cortex-A9 processor; 1GB of RAM; Mali-400MP GPU
·         Android 3.2 Honeycomb with TouchWiz UX UI (4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich upgrade in the works)
·         Quad-band GPRS/EDGE and quad-band 3G with HSPA connectivity (HSDPA, 21 Mbps; HSUPA, 5.76 Mbps)
·         Support for voice calls, texts and MMS
·         16/32/64 GB of built-in memory
·         3.2 MP autofocus camera, 2048x1536 pixels, LED flash, geotagging
·         2.0 MP front-facing camera; native video calls
·         720p HD video recording @ 30 fps with stereo audio recording
·         Stereo speakers
·         Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi Direct, dual-band, Wi-Fi hotspot
·         Stereo Bluetooth v3.0
·         HDMI TV-out (adapter required), USB host (adapter required)
·         microSD card slot
·         Standard 3.5 mm audio jack
·         Adobe Flash 11 support
·         GPS with A-GPS support; digital compass
·         1080p DivX/XviD/MKV video support with subtitles
·         Accelerometer and proximity sensor; three-axis Gyroscope sensor
·         Polaris office document editor preinstalled
·         5100 mAh Li-Po rechargeable battery

Main disadvantages

·         Non-replaceable battery
·         Proprietary 30-pin connector for charging and connectivity
·         No Full HD video recording (might be fixed by the ICS update)
·         No ICS yet (coming up though)
·         Keyboard dock works in portrait mode only
·         Not cheap
Besides being one of the best looking tablets, much of which comes down to the Super AMOLED Plus screen, the Galaxy Tab 7.7 manages to get the rest right too. The Exynos chipset, the rich connectivity, the solid battery backup and the multimedia skills round off an impressive package. The voice call support is a major boost too - the ultra-portable tablet saves you from carrying an extra phone.
In fact, it's the compact size above all else that make the Galaxy Tab 7.7 a worthy option to consider by those who find the iPads and other 10-inchers too much of a hassle to carry around. Of course, the iPad 3 and some of the most recent 10" droid slates have raised the bar too high in terms of screen resolution, but the Galaxy Tab 7.7 isn't so desperately behind in actual pixel density and the AMOLED screen still has an edge outdoors.

There is a lot going on for the Galaxy Tab 7.7. There're some question marks hanging over it too, which we'll try to address. Coming up next is the hardware inspection and that's good news for this here slate. It's highly unlikely to start on the wrong foot as long as we're talking Super AMOLED Plus and brushed aluminum. Shall we?

Design and build quality

So, the only 7.7" tablet in the world doesn't have to try hard to stand out, does it? Well, actually size alone won't help you spot it in a bunch of seven-inchers. The Galaxy Tab 7.7 is barely bigger than any of the 7" Samsung slates and almost the same size as the BlackBerry Playbook - only much slimmer.
And the second generation of Samsung Galaxy tablets is doing the Galaxy Tab 7.7 a favor by bringing only minor changes to the uniform design. It's a nice position to be in - we're looking at a tablet that's, in more than one way, one of a kind. Slim profile, brushed aluminum finish and Super AMOLED Plus, the Galaxy Tab 7.7 is one of the sexiest tablets around.

And yet, despite all the superlatives it deserves, the design won't be the Galaxy Tab 7.7 key selling point. That role is most certainly reserved for its 7.7" Super AMOLED Plus screen of WXGA resolution (1280 x 800 pixels).
There is nothing special about the resolution and some 7" tablets like the Huawei MediPad and the Toshiba Thrive 7 even push the pixel density above 200 ppi. If you did the math already, you'd know the Galaxy Tab 7.7 is close behind at 196 ppi. The Retina display of the new iPad is the standard-setter in tablets at 264 ppi.

The Super AMOLED Plus is 7.7 inches of pure brilliance • a comparison with the Galaxy Note smartphone

But if the spectacular image quality of Super AMOLED Plus displays is a must, the Galaxy Tab 7.7 has no alternatives. Except this little gem here we stumbled upon at the MWC. But well, we're yet to hear anything about the timeframe, let alone an expected release date.
There's no need really to go at lengths about the image quality of the AMOLED screen. The deep blacks, infinite contrast, color saturation and outdoor visibility are giving LCD screens something to aspire to.
The viewing angles of the Galaxy Tab 7.7 are impressive, with almost no loss of color unless the screen is viewed at extreme angles. No other tablet screen can even come close to that.


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