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Gadgets & Gizmos

From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Slightly downsized, Galaxy Tab 8.9 is a comfortable fit


Samsung seems to be trying to satisfy different users' preferences with its line of tablets, ranging 7 to 10.1 inches. Galaxy Tab 8.9 falls in the middle, a slightly smaller version of Samsung's biggest 10.1-inch tablet -- 12 percent smaller to be more precise.

It's one of the thinnest tablets around (.34 inches) and weighs less than a pound (15.8 ounces) --  a comfortable fit in your hands, and compact enough to easily toss in your tote or backpack. Using the softkeys to type is still a bit of a stretch compared to smaller tablets or the phone, but easier compared to the 10.1-inch size.

The colors are rich and crisp with its HD widescreen 1280x800 display. Details didn't get lost when watching the generally dark HD trailers for Dark Knight Rises and The Hobbit.

The 1.5 Ghz dual-core processor lets you multitask and browse quickly both in Wi-Fi mode and with AT&T's 4G LTE network. Unlike the iPad, the Galaxy Tab is Adobe Flash Player enabled, which means more websites you can visit. TouchWiz user interface lets you resize panels, and organize app icons to your liking.

The Galaxy comes with two cameras: a rear-facing primary camera with 3 megapixels that has auto focus and flash. The front-facing camera shoots at 2 megapixels. Neither would be a replacement for a good-quality digital camera, and there's some shutter lag, but they're adequate for a tablet. Other features include several modes and effects, HD video recording up to 720 dp, and HD playback up to 1080p.

Just a few issues I encountered: The touchscreen didn't always react to my touch, and I had to retry a few times to register, especially near the edges. And, in order to keep this light, Samsung uses plastic for the backing, which feels a bit too fragile. A sturdy case is recommended for protection. Oh, and there's not slot for an SD card.

Here are some more of the details:

  • Carrier: AT&T
  • Price: $479.99 for 16 GB tablet with 2-year commitment (Note: Check out the tablet/phone packages available for $479.99)
  • Android 3.2 operating system, Honeycomb
  • Camera:
    • Front-facing 2.0 megapixels
    • Rear-facing is 3.2 megapixels wiht auto focus and flash
  • Dimensions (W x H x D) 9.1 x 6.2 x .34 inches
  • Weight: 15.8 ounces
  • Color: metallic gray
  • Battery:Li-polymer, 6100mAh
  • Usage Time: Up to 9 hours
  • Standby Time: Up to 400 hours
  • Internal memory: 16GB for AT&T tablet, 16GB or 32GB for Wi-Fi only
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, USB 2.0 H/S, Bluetooth 3.0
  • Display:8.9” WXGA (1280x800) TFT (PLS)
  • User Interface: Widgets, Smart Unlock, Accelerometer, Bilingual: Spanish/English
  • Audio: MP3, M4A, MP4, 3GP, 3GA, WMA, OGG, ACC, FLAC
  • Video: 1080p playback, 3GP, MP4, AVI, WMV, FLV, MKV (Codec: MPEG4, H.263, Sorenson H.263, H.264, VC-1
  • Fun and Entertainment: Full HTML Web Browser, Books, Browser, Email, Gallery, Gmail, Google Maps, Google Play (formerly Android Market), Google Search, Google Talk, Voice Search, Latitude, Music Hub, Navigation, Places, Pulse, Polaris Office, Samsung Apps, YouTube, Music Player, Media Hub, Social Hub
  • Document files: 
    • Word File: doc, docx, xml, txt, rtf, dot, dotx
    • Excel File: xls, xlsx, csv, xlt, xltx
    • PowerPoint: ppt, pptx, pot, potx, pps, ppsx
    • PDF: pdf


[Last modified: Wednesday, May 2, 2012 12:02pm]


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