Samsung's original 7” Galaxy Tab was one of the first Android tablets to hit the mass market, but a high price point and a not-so-tablet-friendly Android version 2.2 left a lot to be desired. The smaller form factor that made the device more portable than its chief rival at the time, Apple's iPad, was a great move, but it just wasn't enough. Thankfully, Samsung has recently released a follow up to the original Galaxy Tab, dubbed the Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus, and they sent one over for us to take look at.
To spice things up this time around Samsung has crammed the new tablet with some of the latest hardware and an IR blaster that allows users to control their TV using the newly released Peel Smart Remote app. But is it enough to compete in today's flooded tablet market? Head past the break for our review.
Right out of the box we were impressed with the overall look and feel of the 7.0 Plus. It features a slick faux brushed-metallic back with a 3.0 megapixel camera and LED flash poking out. On the bottom you'll find two speakers that put out acceptable volume and a microphone. However, as we continued to tour the exterior of the device we noticed a few odd decisions made by Samsung. First of all, the front-facing camera is on the top right in portrait mode rather than smack dab in the center, making things like video chat a little awkward at times. Where that camera should be, in our opinion, there's a third speaker instead. Now, don't get me wrong, there's nothing bad about about a third speaker, more volume is always nice, but it just seems like this setup would be much better suited for smartphone than a 7” tablet.
Under the hood you'll find a dual-core 1.2 GHz processor along with 1GB of RAM and the latest version of Google's tablet-specific OS, Android Honeycomb 3.2. All that has games, apps and we browsing running as smooth as ever, though time spent scrolling through menus and settings was surprisingly sluggish at times. There is also a microSD card slot that will let us expand the tablet memory on top of the internal 16GB or 32GB.
One of Samsung's major selling points for the Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus is the addition of an IR blaster (something we first saw on Vizio's tablets) and the new Peel Smart Remote app. After a quick and easy to follow setup Peel turns the tablet into a fun and easy to use TV remote, allowing us to browse through our cable provider's channel guide, adjust volume and select inputs. There are also customizable viewing guides based on what types of shows we like – comedy, sports, news, documentary, etc. It works pretty well and I personally have been using quite a bit, though it's not without it's faults. The app can only be used with a single TV/cable box combo (this is supposedly going to be updated at some point) and those of us with a DVR are out of luck when it comes to managing or setting recordings.
Samsung's new 7-inch tablet is definitely a speedy device. It looks really good and feels even better in your hands. The smaller size makes it more portable than competitors like Apple's iPad and Samsung's other, larger tablet offerings and the $400 price tag is more than reasonable. The addition of Peel and the IR blaster was great move by Samsung and though there are some features we'd like to see added, we were pleased overall. If you're looking for a super portable tablet with all the features you'd find on a larger device (and more) Samsung's Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus is a no-brainer.