Tablets Guide

Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus review

Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus - Keeping Up with The Competition

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Overall rating 8/10
Design:
7.5
Features:
8.5
User-Friendliness:
8.5
Performance:
8.5
Value:
8
THE GOOD
Slim and lightweight
Good battery life
Reasonable price
THE BAD
Sluggish performance at times
Build quality can be improved


Performance

Matching Up to the Competition 

With the quad-core processor era dawning upon us, it is strange to see Samsung equipping the Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus with a 1.2GHz dual-core processor and 1GB of RAM. This puts it on par with many of its competitors in the market and likely to be outgunned by more powerful quad-core tablets expected to be released later in the year.

Anyhow, to have an idea of its performance, we compared the Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus with the Huawei MediaPad and Acer Iconia Tab A100. As per every performance benchmark, the Apple iPad 2 is included as a standard benchmark to match for all tablets. 

The following benchmarks are used for raw performance evaluation: - 

  • Quadrant evaluates the CPU, memory, I/O and 3D graphics performance. This is an Android OS based test.
     
  • Smartbench 2011 is a multi-core friendly benchmark application that includes both the Productivity and Games Indices for a more complete gauge of the overall performance of Android tablets.
     
  • SunSpider Javascript benchmark measures the browsing performance of the tablet. 

How the Tablets Stack Up
Device Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus Huawei MediaPad Acer Iconia Tab A100 Apple iPad 2
CPU ARM Cortex-A9 Exynos dual-core 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon dual-core 1.2GHz NVIDIA Tegra 2 dual-core 1GHz Apple A5 dual-core 1GHz
GPU  Mali-400MP Adreno 220 ULP GeForce PowerVR SGX 543MP2
RAM 1GB 1GB 1GB 512MB
OS Google Android 3.2 Google Android 3.2 Google Android 3.2 Apple iOS 4.3


Running on the same Exynos chipset as the Samsung Galaxy S II, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus blew the competition out of the water with its superior performance in the Quadrant benchmark. The Samsung slate easily took the crown this round with a score of 3563, which is more than double its rivals' scores. 

The Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus proved its worth yet again in the Smartbench 2011 benchmark by clocking scores that are miles ahead of its competitors. It appears that the Exynos chipset does have an edge against Qualcomm and NVIDIA Tegra 2 dual-core processors. 

Being an OS independent benchmark, the SunSpider JavaScript benchmark will provide you with an idea of the browsing capabilities of the different tablets. The Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus once again reigned supreme here by clocking the fastest time taken to crunch the scripts, slightly edging out the Apple iPad 2. Despite the results, during our time with the Samsung slate, we did not find the web surfing experience to be noticeably better than its peers. 

As you should know by now, benchmark statistics are just one part of the user experience. We found the performance of Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus to be generally positive although we could not ignore the occasional lags we encountered when navigating the user interface. It took more than one touch gesture at times for the interface to register our touch input, which can be quite frustrating. As this is something we have encountered before on the Galaxy Tab 10.1, we are inclined to believe that the Samsung TouchWiz is to be responsible for the slight sluggish performance of the Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus. 

Do note that the above benchmarks are conducted with stock firmwares, and hence do not reflect the day-to-day usage conditions of the tablet that could have more software and services running.

 

Entertainment DNA 

As a mass consumer tablet, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus comes with a suite of multimedia features to satisfy the entertainment needs of mainstream consumers although power users would have wished for some aspects to be better.

First, the Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus comes with a comfortable screen size of 7-inches with a resolution of 1024 x 600 pixels. While this is typical of 7-inch tablets, we had hoped for a higher screen resolution on the Samsung slate as Huawei has proven that it is possible with its MediaPad (1280 x 800 pixel resolution). The Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus utilizes a Plane-to-Line Switching (PLS) LCD technology on its display, which claims to provide improved viewing angles and 10% better brightness compared to In-Plane-Switching (IPS) LCD technology deployed on the Apple iPads and ASUS tablets. While PLS LCD does have its merits, it could have been better if Samsung flexed some of its Super AMOLED muscles on the Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus the same way it did with the upcoming Galaxy Tab 7.7

Second, Samsung throws in a microSD memory card slot that supports up to 32GB capacity. While the Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus comes in 16GB and 32GB variants, the presence of a microSD memory card slot bumps up the storage capacity of the device so that you can have a library of videos and music files to accompany you on long road trips or journeys. 

Third, the Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus comes with dual cameras - a 3.0-megapixel autofocus rear camera with LED flash and a 2.0-megapixel front facing camera. As usual, we will put the rear camera through our camera quality test to assess its imaging capabilities: - 

In the past, the camera performance of tablets wasn't an area of interest to consumers (because of their sub-par quality), but this perception is set to change with the introduction of the ASUS Eee Pad Transformer Prime. Although it is too far-fetched to compare the Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus with the ASUS Eee Pad Transformer Prime, we felt that Samsung could have done a better job in this aspect. With ASUS setting the bar high with the Transformer Prime, we are eager to see how the competition, especially Samsung, responds.

 

Battery and Portability Performance 

Last but not least, we have the battery performance test for the Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus. The BlackBerry PlayBook currently holds the title for having the longest battery life among the seven-inch tablets and we are interested to see if Samsung is able to give Research in Motion (RIM) a run for its money with the Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus. For the battery performance section, we compare the Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus with the Huawei MediaPad, Acer Iconia Tab A100 and BlackBerry PlayBook. Our standard battery test includes the following control parameters: 

  • Looping a 720p video with screen brightness and volume at 100%
  • Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity turned on 
  • Constant data streaming through email and Twitter 
Tablets Compared
Specifications/Device Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus Huawei MediaPad Acer Iconia Tab A100 BlackBerry PlayBook
Processor
  • Dual-core 1.2GHz
  • Dual-core 1.2GHz
  • Dual-core 1GHz
  • Dual-core 1GHz
Display Size
  • 7-inch
  • 7-inch
  • 7-inch
  • 7-inch
Display Type
  • PLS LCD
  • IPS-LCD
  • LCD
  • TFT-LCD
Display Resolution
  • 1024 x 600 pixels
  • 1280 x 800 pixels
  • 1024 x 600 pixels
  • 1024 x 600 pixels 
Dimensions
  • 193.65 x 122.37 x 9.96mm
  • 190 x 124 x 10.5mm
  • 195 x 117 x 13.1mm
  • 194 x 130 x 10mm
Weight
  • 345g
  • 390g
  • 410g
  • 425g

The Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus managed to clock a very respectable timing of 342 minutes (close to six hours of uptime), putting it far ahead of its competitors except for the BlackBerry PlayBook. If you take into consideration the different battery capacities of the BlackBerry PlayBook (5300mAh) and Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus (4000mAh), that may explain why the former gains the upper hand.

The overall portability of the device is affected by not just the battery life, but also its dimensions and weight. Generally, a higher battery life coupled with a lower weight and volume, will make a device more portable. In the Portability Index, we will assess each device on how well they balance battery life with their physical sizes. 

Being the slimmest (9.96mm) and lightest (345g) seven-inch tablet with a good battery life, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus easily nosed out the other tablets in the Portability Index. 

 

Casual Usage Scenario

The battery test above simulates fairly intensive usage conditions on the device, therefore you can expect better battery performance on the Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus under normal usage conditions. If you are using the tablet for occasional web surfing, reading and engage in some multimedia streaming, you can expect about a day of usage from the Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus.

Do note that actual battery life varies according to different usage patterns, so your mileage will vary.