The door bell ring and the driver has a delivery for me. I am not expecting anything. I sign for the mysterious package and go back inside to the office looking for clues as to what on earth this could be.
I open the package and to my surprise is a note saying : “Play well” and under the note is the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 !
“hold my calls – I am going to be very busy for the rest of the day” everyone is instructed. This is going to be fun ! I guess real-work will have to wait…
(update 6 September 2011: What to get: iPad or Galaxy Tab ? – the verdict is in…)
At first glance the Galaxy Tab looks like its rival the iPad2. Nice & thin, limited slots (MicroSD and MicroSIM), speakers on both sides, volume, front and rear facing cameras and the power button.
The initial boot up of the system takes you through the setup process, connects you to your WiFi and Gmail , set up the time etc. etc. etc. – doesn’t take too long and is straight forward.
Once all that initial stuff is done, you are ready to use it.
hmmmm…. Well, that is not strictly true.
The Galaxy Tab 10.1 runs Android 3.1 also known as Honeycomb. I haven’t used any Android based systems before, so there is a surprise in store: a learning curve that frankly I wasn’t prepared for nor was I expecting.
Right off the bat, I encounter my first problem. As with any new toy, you tend to tap all the new Application icons. Easy. But how the heck do you CLOSE any applications ? There are no actual buttons (ala iPad).
This drove me nuts – I kept swiping away, tapping, double tapping, tap-the corners, make the pinch move, swipe from the corners (ala Playbook)– I cant figure out how to close any applications !!!
Now, I am not the smartest person out there, but I am fairly technically minded and feeling very stupid at this stage, I resorted to asking Google. Luckily Google reveals that this is a common problem virgin-Android people have.
The answer to how you close applications: You DONT. Yip, Android is so smart and good that is manages memory and system resources so that you don’t need to close your apps. Not sure if this is a blah-blah answer, but there you have it.
Armed with this empowering info and feeling smug with my knowledge, I continue: Ok whats next ?
When you open the HOME screen, you will see the various apps/ widgets :
My home screen has two Widgets (clock and the weather) and has some shortcuts to apps. These are called Primary Shortcuts – how to add/ change/ remove these – still a mystery to me…
Naturally to see the other apps you have on the device you would just scroll/ swipe to find them as you would with other tablets. WRONG ! You have to click on the APPS button on the top right – and that brings up your apps.
On the bottom of the screen there is a “system bar” of sorts that has these four soft buttons on the left side :
The first button is the “close my app” button – a type of back button.
The second button is the “home” button
Next is the “recently used Apps” button – this has a list of all the apps you have recently used/ opened so you can quickly get back to any of them. NOTE: at this stage it seems that you can’t remove programs from this list until you do a hard reboot of the device !
Final button is the “screen capture” button – that takes a screen shot of your screen
I noticed that I am on “page 3” and when I swipe tot he left and to the right I see some blank pages.
This is where I can add more apps so that they are easily accessible. eh… HOW ? Eventually I work out that with Android, you have the LONG HOLD. So you hold you finger down for a long time and tablet vibrates and other options open…ahhhh…. so NOT obvious !
Now I am getting irritated. So I am going to do what no techie has done before – READ THE MANUAL. You would think that this is simple. Again not true. It turns our that the Galaxy Tab 10.1 is also known as the P7500. However what do I look up ? do I look up P7500 or do I look up Android Honeycomb ???? Both searches yielded a lot of rubbish.
To my surprise I have discovered that there is software that allows you to synch Outlook with your device – not obvious either….
Summary of day 1:
Initial out of the box impression: whilst the device looks amazing, screen is superb and the system operates very fast, however it is defiantly not straight forward at all for non-Android people. Steep learning curve just to get going (took me forever to find out where the SETTING button was so I can get WiFi to work).
Besides the beginner frustration, I am starting to tame the beast. It has promise and as a real tablet it looks like it can be a great device.
At this stage it is too new for me to make an assessment, however now that I have the manual, I am sure to get moving faster.
Back to playing….eh…I mean work of course…
update 6 September 2011: What to get: iPad or Galaxy Tab ? – the verdict is in…