Friday, March 25, 2011

Reasons why I bought a Galaxy Tab instead of an iPad....

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Okay, I finally took the plunge and bought a tablet, a Samsung Galaxy Tab. For those who are curious why I chose a Galaxy Tab over an iPad (first generation), here are my reasons:

Price

The Galaxy Tab is only a little bit more expensive than a Wi-Fi only iPad, yet it's a lot cheaper than a Wi-Fi/3G iPad;

Connectivity

With 3G and Wi-Fi, I can connect to the internet wherever there's a hotspot or a 3G/HSDPA signal. The Galaxy Tab is capable of tethering, so I can also plug it to my laptop to access the internet. It can also be a personal hotspot, if a number of nearby devices need internet access.

I'm no iPad expert, but it seems that according to a number of forums (fora?) I have checked out, tethering and being a portable hotspot range to being impossible (particularly with iPads locked to certain carriers, with certain iOS versions, or with specific data plans) to possible (with unlocked versions, with some data plans with some providers, or with certain iOS versions) to difficult, achievable only after jailbreaking, resorting to some exploits, or performing some hardware hacks. With the Galaxy tab, tethering and being a portable hotspot are standard features of Android 2.2, easily enabled via a menu selection (assuming of course, it isn't locked by some provider);

Software

Granted, the iPad has tons more apps than via Apple's App Store than the Galaxy Tab's Android Market, but in essence you can install any Android App you want, even those from outside the Android Market or those written by independent developers. With an iPad, you can only install Apple-authorized apps, and you need to jailbreak your iPad if you want to install unauthorized ones. A lot of the good apps for the Android OS are actually free, like the ever popular Angry Birds game. It costs 5$ for the iPad and iPhone;

Size

With a screen size of only 7", the Galaxy Tab is smaller than the iPad with it's 9.7" screen. While that gives the iPad a lot more screen real estate to work with, the smaller screen size of the Galaxy Tab makes it smaller, lighter, and therefore more portable than the iPad. This makes it a perfect fit for my Samsonite shoulder bag (which I've had before I bought the Galaxy Tab and isn't designed specifically for tablets). Bigger isn't always better, especially when portability is a priority for the user;

Cameras

The Galaxy Tab has front and rear cameras, while the iPad has none (the iPad2 has front and rear cameras though). It's not necessarily a deal breaker for the iPad, but it's a nice feature to have which can be useful at times;

Phone

The Galaxy Tab can be used as a phone (albeit a huge one). You can make calls, video calls, send SMS or MMS messages. iPad? Nah. iPad2? Ditto;

Storage

The Galaxy Tab has a microSD slot for additional storage. iPad has none.

GPS

The Galaxy Tab has a built in GPS receiver for navigation. The Wi-Fi only iPad doesn't, though the more expensive Wi-Fi/3G versions also have GPS.

Downsides?

No matter how you slice it, a Samsung device won't have the flash and panache of an Apple device. The iPad is simply sleeker and cooler looking (and the iPad2 more so). And sometimes, you'd wish you have a bigger screen. Oh, the iPad has a longer battery life (9 hours versus the Tab's 7) too.

Bottomline?

No device is perfect. You choose what best suits your needs, requirements, and budget, regardless of brand. Whatever you choose, in a year or two it'll be obsolete anyway.

The Galaxy Tab and iPad are both technologically at par with each other, except for the camera, phone bits and microSD slot (okay, so they're not at par) which are absent from the original iPad, and the Tab's smaller screen. It's just that Apple limits the iPad's functionality so it and the service providers which carry it can make a profit over what can be installed and what it does. Jailbreaking solves the problem, but only if you risk voiding the warranty. Just doesn't seem worth it for me...even in exchange for the Apple logo.

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