Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Version Galaxy Tab

The Verizon Wireless Samsung Galaxy Tab offers a new level of temptation, and a new level of frustration, for would-be Android tablet owners. Verizon's hardware is identical to Sprint's (and slightly inferior to T-Mobile's), and its $599 price is the same as those carriers' no-contract rates. It's a solid device, but Verizon loads up its tablet with lots of potentially useful software, most of which fails, some disastrously.

There are five models of the Galaxy Tab coming to the U.S., and this is PCMag's third Galaxy Tab review. For basics on the Galaxy Tab, check out our review of the Sprint Galaxy Tab ($399-599, 3.5 stars). Verizon's hardware is almost exactly the same as Sprint's, except that the device has a black back instead of a white one. Otherwise, it's the same responsive and powerful Android tablet with its 1GHz processor, dual cameras, Android 2.2 "Froyo" and 2GB of memory plus an included 16GB memory card. (T-Mobile's version has more memory: 16GB internal, plus a memory card slot.)

All the Galaxy Tabs should get roughly the same battery life as they all use the same 4,000 mAh battery, but I've achieved varying results based on how hard they have to run their 3G radios in midtown Manhattan. With one e-mail account pushing in the background I got 8 hours, 52 minutes of video playback time on the Verizon Tab, reflecting Verizon's excellent network coverage (and thus the Tab not having to push its radio too hard.) To compare, the Sprint model only lasted 6 hours and 32 minutes.

Verizon's pricing plans are some of the best available if you want to use 1GB to 3GB of data per month without taking on a contract. That's been the sweet spot for iPad users so far, and Tab users should consume a similar amount of data. To compare Verizon's and Sprint's pricing plans, check out our chart of Samsung Galaxy Tab prices on five U.S. carriers.
Then there's the software. That's where Verizon really tries, and where Verizon fails, at least for now.


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