I’m new to Tablet Computing. I have an iPhone, a laptop, and a desktop computer. Adding another processor to the mix seemed, if nothing else, silly. But I was curious: What is life with Tab like? In this case my curiosity harmed no cats. All it killed was a ton of time spent playing awesome video games without even having to bathroom break (assume the worst). Here, join me, on a voyage to the vague outer edges of the Galaxy.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 is about as thick as a Bic pen. It’s not heavy in the least, but it has a good weight to it so that it doesn’t feel flimsy. Though, honestly, I’ve been secretly neurotic as to its fragility; a drop-test was not on my agenda for this review. The Tab still runs on Honeycomb, yesteryear’s OS, which has a lot of Androidians pissed since they’ve been promised the slick new Ice Cream Sandwich for months. Granted none of these sweets mean much to me. All I care about is new, better. But all of this is new for me so whatever. Stay tuned for next week’s product review: an e-reader by a company called Amazon that uses revolutionary ‘electronic ink’(!). It’s great on the eyes…but no backlight?!
International patent battles aside—and, yes, I often had to politely correct my friends on their innocent mistake: “No, I know. But it’s actually the Galaxy.”—One reason I chose the Galaxy Tab is that (in theory) you can do anything you want to it. Given some time and a little research it can be, truly, your personal computer. The options for customization are endless, and because of the open source mentality, developers are constantly rolling new apps into the Android Market. The downside to this is that it means that Android is not one thing. Your device is one of many, and not all apps will perform as intended, if at all, on your tablet or phone. Google market does allow refunds, but getting your money back doesn’t fill the void left by a useless app that you’d downloaded, presumably, for a reason. Though with all the options, there’s likely an alternative. It just takes some exploration. Good ol’ trial and error.
Which brings me to my one major gripe with the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1. I tried everything short of physically smashing them together, but I could not find a way to effectively pair my tablet with my computer. According to the Internet I wouldn’t have this problem if I had a Windows computer. But I don’t, and so I do…have this problem. Eventually I resorted to using Google Music so that I could jam out with Herbie Hancock on the Galaxy Tab. But using Google Music means uploading music to, and then downloading it from, The Cloud. If I were willing to fiddle with these other programs I’m sure I’d find a way to manually drag and drop files like we do in the Future, but I’m not. I’d much rather be given what works. I’m willing to trade some Freedom of Choice for not having to figure something out. Yes. I may be what’s wrong with the world, but so be it.
Apps, apps, apps, and more to come. I jettisoned most of the preloaded widgets except for the clock and the weather. Do yourself a favor and download Dolphin Browser ASAP. It’s stellar. This thing is made for mobile Internet. Gesture browsing lets you assign websites with different doodles for super quick browsing (draw ‘G’ for Google.com, or ‘P’ for NYPress.com), swipe right for your bookmarks, and left for add-ons and extras. It’s really about time. In my book nothing beats Evernote for research. Normally I supplement it with my iPhone for pictures, videos and recording. The Tab is really too cumbersome for use on the move, but the resolution is great so it’s perfect as a scanner. CamScanner takes a little learning to get the end images right but certainly does the trick. But the truth is that all I really wanted to do on this thing was play games. There are so many games you can play! Grand Theft Auto III (Just as fun as it was a decade ago)! Osmos HD (beautiful and smooth)! Not to mention console emulators to relive the memories of days gone by playing games that you absolutely legally own(ed).
Now in an ideal technological world we’d all learn Computer Science right alongside Texas State history. They teach that everywhere, right? Computers can only do what they’re programmed to do. That is, what we tell them to. In effect a computer, in the hands of a skilled human, is an infinite tool. In hands like mine, it’s a super neat fun screen that I’ll likely toss when the new one comes out. From my little dip in the Galaxy pool I’m sold on tablet computing, and I feel that the Galaxy Tab is a great choice. Any tablet will do for excessive mobile media consumption. That’s what they’re made for. Me? I want a device that I can learn and utilize to its fullest potential. In doing so, it becomes my own. I want a tool for the future. If you take the time—it’s worth it—the Galaxy Tab can be just that.
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