The Samsung Galaxy Tab is definitely more than just an eBook reader. It is a true tablet and the first to rival Apple’s iPad, at least that’s what other experts on the Internet are saying. As much as I would love to write about this device on all of its multimedia functionalities (for instance that I ended up playing a rigorous game of Angry Birds and caught up on some shows watching Hulu), I will only be focusing on how it pertains to reading eBooks for this review.
The particular Galaxy we have is for Verizon. However, you are able to find it on other carriers such as AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, and US Cellular with prices varying on each. Samsung decided to have the Galaxy run Android 2.2 Froyo OS instead of waiting for the next release of Android. However it doesn’t appear to slow down the responsiveness of the device.
Since the device is running Android it was easy to install the updated OverDrive Media Console for Android. The new release allows direct downloads of EPUB eBooks and MP3 audiobooks. Once an eBook has been downloaded to the app, it’s easy to open a title and start reading.
The Galaxy, at 13.58 ounces, feels substantial in your hands but not overly heavy. It’s roughly the size of a paperback so holding it for long periods of time is easy even if you have small hands. The dimensions are 7.48” x 4.74”, definitely small enough to fit in a medium sized purse, if you are a woman. Sorry gentlemen, it’s a little big to fit in your back pocket.
One thing I have been impressed with is the screen quality. I read Barack Obama’s Of Thee I Sing and the colors looked amazing (might I add that they also were great on Angry Birds). Besides the screen quality, the device responds quickly to your touch. Pages turn easily by tapping screen and do not require the need to swipe your finger, which is something that I find as a positive.
A few things about the device that I noticed are that it does not have a vast amount storage capacity. I would recommend using the additional memory for apps, photos, and videos to ensure enough room for your library eBooks.
Another big item to mention is that the Galaxy will take a pretty big chunk out of your wallet. Most of the cell phone carriers will push you into a two year contract for a break on the device itself. However, it is possible to purchase it and use its Wi-Fi capabilities but it will cost you even more. If you’re curious just how expensive we’re talking, I saw it listed for $350 (with a two year contract for a cell phone carrier) all the way up to $700.
The bottom line for the Samsung Galaxy is to not purchase this device for only reading eBooks. If you do that you won’t be getting your money’s worth. You really need to want a tablet and a gadget that does more. If you keep this in mind, you’ll probably be fairly happy, especially if you are a fan of Android. And just in case you are curious, I haven’t beaten Angry Birds yet.
Megan Greer is a project manager for OverDrive.
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