Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7 review: First Look

If the 8.9 and 10.1in versions of the Galaxy Tab are too big for you, then the upcoming 7.7in may be just the thing if it ever survives Apple's legal threats. Seth Barton brushes aside legions of lawyers to get a hands-on preview.

Samsung has just announced its new, and long-awaited 7in tablet to replace the original Galaxy Tab. That device was a little ahead of its time, pre-dating Google's dedicated tablet version of Android.

When Honeycomb did arrive, it lacked support for smaller devices, which explained the propensity of 10.1in tablets on the market. That has now been fixed, thankfully, and so more travel-friendly 7in designs will soon be commonplace. Although they will have to go a long way to beat this, Samsung's superb Galaxy Tab 7.7.

It's all about the display really, this being the first tablet to use the same Super AMOLED technology we've become accustomed to on Samsung's Galaxy S range of handsets. Just as impressive is that this display has the same 1,280x800 resolution as larger 10.1in tablets.

The combination is truly stunning, we watched pin-sharp video on the device, with all the benefits of AMOLED's plasma-like blacks and vibrant colours.

Video looks great on the 7.7in Super AMOLED screen.

We really like 7in tablets, as you can hold them comfortably in one hand. They're particularly good for those who want a powerful device to carry all the time, without resorting to one of the super-large screen phones. The volume and power controls here fall nicely below the fingers if you hold it in your left hand in portrait mode.

The volume and power controls fall nicely below the fingers when held in a certain way.

The build-quality on the sample we played with was excellent. It's only 7.89mm deep, super-slim by any tablet standard, and the metal casing feels classy - though not quite up to the aluminium unibodies of HTC's flyer or Apple's iPad. It weighs just 335g with full dimensions of 197x133x7.89mm.

The build-quality on the pre-production sample we played with was excellent.

It runs on Android 3.2, with Samsung's usual modifications - known as TouchWiz. The dual-core 1.4GHz processor sped through the basic range of tasks we tried, and a 5,100mAh battery should provide respectable battery life. For anyone feeling rich enough to run a second mobile data contract, there's HSPA+ support for faster 3G speeds - at present we believe only 3 supports this.

The Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7 is very thin.

It's not the most revolutinoary device, but our long wait for a Honeycomb 7in tablet has not been in vain and with its AMOLED display Samsung has taken a very strong early lead. No pricing has been announced however, and it should launch towards the end of this year.

So what are our first impressions?

Verdict

The Samsung Galaxy Tab looks and feels great, but it really is just a smaller version of its two larger counterparts. Whether there will be any point in choosing this smaller model over larger tablets will greatly depend on how it feels in use. We'll bring you a full review as soon as we can.

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