Exploring the Samsung Galaxy Tab Universe

Samsung Galaxy Tab

The Samsung Galaxy Tab is, depending on who you ask, the best tablet based upon the Android operating system. The Galaxy Tablet has been one of the most popular and successful Android tablets on the market since its original release a couple years ago. Samsung has produced numerous versions and models of the Galaxy, and deciding which one you want may be somewhat confusing.

Memory Options with the Samsung Galaxy Tab

One of the main factors in determining the price you’re going to pay for your Samsung Galaxy Tab is how much memory it has. When it comes to tablet memory, there are two values that you need to look at.

The first number is the amount of RAM that the unit has. RAM stands for Random Access Memory and determines how many apps your tablet can run at one time. The more memory, the more apps you can run concurrently.

The other number that needs looking at is the internal storage memory. This is like the hard drive in your computer. The more internal storage memory your tablet has, the more pictures, movies, music, and apps you can download and store on it without needing an external storage Micro-SD card. Samsung gives you the option of choosing between 8, 16, and 32 GB of internal storage.

The older versions of the Galaxy Tablet separate RAM and internal memory, whereas, according to the full spec sheets, the newer versions use a system whereby the internal memory (up to 32 GB) is shared between storage and the operating system.

Screen Size Can Make a World of Difference

When looking for your new tablet, you’ve got three screen sizes to choose from. These are seven-inch, 10-inch and 11-inch tablets. You may be thinking that there really can’t be much difference between seven inches and eleven inches, but that four inches, when held at arm’s length or less, becomes more like eight or nine inches with your TV when viewed from eight or nine feet away.

Imagine you’re watching a movie. Now just think how much of a difference that three or four inches would make in your level of enjoyment of that movie. When held at arm’s length, that difference can be similar to the difference between a 35-inch TV and a 45-inch TV when viewed across the room. I recently replaced my tablet. My old one had a seven-inch screen. My new one has an eight-inch screen. That one inch really makes a difference.

The Operating System

Samsung’s older tablets made use of Android 2.2, whereas the two newer tablets run Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. Ice Cream Sandwich gives you more control over opening and closing apps. It gives you a process manager that can easily close apps you don’t want open anymore. I find that Android 4.0 also loads quicker, as well as opening the apps I use a few seconds faster than previous editions.

There’s also the issue with app compatibility. Many app developers force you to run a specific version of Android in order to run their products. In other words, that spreadsheet app or Angry Birds game may not run on Android 2.2, whereas it will run on 4.0.

How Do You Want to Connect to the Internet?

Once you’ve decided on which version of Android you want to run, what size screen you want, and how much memory you want, you need to decide on how you want to be able to connect to the Internet. You can choose Wi-Fi only, or you can add 3G cellular connectivity, as well.

The Wi-Fi adapter allows you to connect to 802.11n wireless networks, but you’re not going to get the full 50Mbps of speed that your laptop or ultrabook gets. This is a shortfall evident in every tablet I’ve looked at.

If you want to be able to connect to the Internet when you’re away from home or work, you need one of the 3G cellular options. All the major US cellular providers are represented and you need to specify which network you prefer at the time of purchase. You have your choice of the following cellular networks:

  • T-Mobile
  • Sprint
  • AT&T
  • Verizon

Be Productive or Just Have Fun

While not as powerful as your laptop or home computer, you can do some of the same things on a Samsung Galaxy Tab that you can on larger computers. You can listen to music, check out pictures, and watch TV and movies with your tablet, all with applications that come with the tablet.

You can also download an armload of games, such as the aforementioned “Angry Birds.” The list of apps that run on the Samsung Galaxy Tab, currently sits at “very impressive” and just gets more impressive every day.