T-Mob’s variant of the Galaxy S III made its in-store debut on this very day, and we just had a chance to go hands-on with the flagship smartphone. The carrier brought the handset down to the Metropolitan Pavilion for Pepcom’s baseball-themed shindig and we just had to get our greasy paws all over its shiny Pebble Blue shell — and it is a serious fingerprint magnet. Aside from that, though, it’s hard to take issue with such a slim and marvelously engineered device. The plasticky build quality does leave something to be desired, but it’s something we’ve become accustomed with Samsung devices. We’ve also got to give it to Sammy for getting carriers, including T-Mobile, to leave well enough alone. Other than the innocuous logo on the back there are no physical differences between this version of the S III and its 4.8-inch cousins on other networks. There’s no keyboard, redesigned corners or rejiggered buttons. Truth is, you’d be hard pressed to tell the difference between Big Magenta’s variant and the international version.
It’s a strange feeling, receiving such a keenly anticipated phone to review. The hubbub of launch events, hands-on previews and heated debates suddenly dies away, leaving you with one small and intensely silent cardboard box. In this instance, the packaging contained the “marble white” version of the Galaxy S III (not the more daring “pebble blue”) alongside one burning question: apart from all the hype, do this handset’s paper credentials translate into a product that is worthy of serious cash and a 24-month commitment?
Those credentials are certainly more subtle than those of other recent devices. There’s no unusual camera, stand-out display or unibody build. Instead, we get an abstract design statement about the phone being “inspired by nature” alongside a list of incremental hardware improvements such as a quad-core processor, as well as fresh additions to Samsung’s customized Android 4.0 skin. As it turns out, these specs forgo immediate swagger in favor of creating a solid workhorse of a smartphone that is intent on attracting a long-term following. Read on and you’ll discover just how it pulls that off.
We’ve already established that the Galaxy Tab 10.1 is a great tablet. Then, just recently, we summarily found that the 1.2-inch smaller Galaxy Tab 8.9 is an even better tablet — at least for anyone who wants to take their slate places. So, following that logic, the even more petite Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus should be the best of the three, right?
Not so fast. We’ve been here before, and things weren’t exactly great. The original Galaxy Tab was, of course, a 7-incher and wasn’t universally well received thanks to a number of problems — the first being a $600 MSRP. Another issue was an Android 2.2 build that tried its best but was ultimately ill-suited for tablet duties. This new 7-inch installment packs a dual-core 1.2GHz processor, a tablet-friendlier build of Android 3.2 Honeycomb and a somewhat more palatable $400 price tag.
So, it’s clearly better equipped than its predecessor, but that one shipped a whopping 12 months ago. How does the newer, fancier Tab compete in this newer, fancier present? Read on to find out.
Nearly a month after its initial announcement, Samsung’s ready to deliver the Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus to the good ol’ US of A just in time for the winter gift-giving season. The WiFi-only device, which packs a 1.2GHz dual-core CPU with 1GB of RAM, Android 3.2, 3MP camera with 720p HD video capture and a 7-inch LCD with 1024 x 600 resolution, will be begging for your credit card as of November 13th at Best Buy, Amazon and other retailers. Are you an early adopter? No prob — you’ll have the opportunity to pre-order yours at “select retailers” this coming Sunday, though no specific outlets were called out by name. The 16GB is the only version arriving so far, but Sammy told us to expect the 32GB flavor later this year or early 2012 (likely for $499, if yesterday’s brief appearance on Amazon is any indicator). No word on partnerships with carriers yet, but we’ll keep you posted on any updates. View the press release in all its glory below.
Well, it’s been a long time coming, but you fine folks living in the good ol’ U-S-of-A are finally getting blessed with Galaxy S IIs to call your own. Conspicuously missing from the party is Verizon, but Sprint, T-Mobile and AT&T are all getting in on the Super AMOLED Plus action under the guise of the Epic 4G Touch on Sprint and just plain old Galaxy S II on AT&T and T-Mo. As we had heard earlier the Epic 4G Touch is sporting a slightly larger 4.52-inch screen as will the T-Mobile variant, while AT&T is sticking with the 4.3-inch panel found on the international model. Sprint customers will be first to get their shot at owning one on September 16th for $200, with AT&T and T-Mobile a little further down the road. Otherwise there are very few surprises here, with a 1.2GHz Exynos pushing Gingerbread and TouchWiz to each gorgeous screen. All are packing 16GB of internal storage and being pitched as 4G handsets — with WiMax on board the Sprint model and HSPA+ for T-Mo and AT&T. Ma Bell’s is specifically championing its variant as the “thinnest 4G smartphone,” which might have something to do with the smaller 1650 mAh battery inside (the Epic 4G Touch is sporting an 1800 mAh pack). Check back soon for some hands-on.
That Samsung Galaxy R we’ve heard about? Yep, it’s real. Not that it’s much of a surprise to us, considering we’ve seen leaked press renders and even a four-minute video about the device, but Samsung and NVIDIA have finally banded together to give the “mystery phone” its official blessing. Here’s the skinny: the Galaxy R will house a 1GHz Tegra 2 CPU, a 4.2-inch WVGA (800 x 480) Super Clear LCD, dual 5MP / 2MP cameras in the rear and front (respectively), and Gingerbread with Samsung’s TouchWiz UI. The phone’s already available in Sweden as the Galaxy Z, but it’s finally on its way to parts of Europe and Asia (including China). No word on if or when we can plan on seeing the R in North America, but it’s likely that its launch would be quickly obscured by its older brother, the Galaxy S II, if it made an appearance. A full press release and demo video can be found after the break for your enjoyment.
Surely by now you’re mighty familiar with Samsung’s Android-conquering Galaxy Tab 10.1, but we’re still here waiting on that slate’s promised TouchWiz update. Now it’s on display, courtesy of an official video posted by the company. Whilst listening to some incredibly jazzy music that will make racing fans think they’ve accidentally booted into Gran Turismo 5, watch a disembodied hand show off some of the Honeycomb customizations that, for the most part, look fairly unobtrusive, including a bigger, friendlier settings screen. More interesting, though, is a look at the Mini Apps that are accessed by what looks to be a gesture from off the bottom of the display. Six proggies will be available at launch: a calendar, task manager, clock, note pad, calculator, and music player. We’re still not sure just when the OTA update will filter out to enable these suckers, but more importantly we’re not sure what to call them when it does. Mini Apps isn’t doing it for us, and sadly Java already has “applets” locked up tight.
That “future software upgrade” Samsung promised us for the Galaxy Tab 10.1 is “coming soon” according to the company’s site, though, when exactly “soon” might be is anyone’s guess. When it does start trickling its way on to Sammy’s slate, it’ll be bringing with it a host of new features, including that Honeycomb edition of TouchWiz that’s sure to be just as divisive as its smartphone ancestor. It does, however, pack in some nice functionality, like a multimedia clipboard for copying and pasting pictures and videos as well as text, and a Live Panel widget for pulling in news, weather, and updates from your social networks. Other features that you’re used to on Samsung devices are also coming along for the ride, including the Media Hub for purchasing videos and the latest, intense version of Swype. There’s also a remote tracking and wipe function for those who have a tendency to leave their gadgets behind at Starbucks, and it unlocks USB, SD card, and HDMI functionality — with the appropriate accessories of course. Check out the source link for a few more details.
Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 hits US retailers tomorrow, TouchWiz UX coming in future software upgrade (Video)
Folks in NYC may have been able to get their hands on one a bit early (not to mention those that attended Google I/O), but everyone else will finally be able to pick up a Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 starting tomorrow. As expected, the WiFi-only Honeycomb tablet will run $499 for the 16GB model and $599 for 32GB at your choice of retailers, and Samsung says it will be available through Sprint in “mid-summer” as well (still just WiFi-only). What’s more, Samsung’s also promising to deliver a number of new features in a “future software upgrade,” including the TouchWiz UX that was originally intended to be included on the tablet, and Samsung’s Media Hub, which promises “easier downloads of rented or purchased content” and additional capabilities when the tablet’s connected to a TV via a dock or adapter. Head on past the break for the complete press release and a new promo video that offers a glimpse of some of those upcoming features, and don’t forgot to check out our full review if you’re still undecided.
It may be a bit difficult to pay attention to the spate of Honeycomb tablets that seem to be popping up left, right and center — you know, now that Ice Cream Sandwich has been officially promised — but what’s not easy to overlook is an 8.6mm slate. Checking in at a sliver of a pinch thinner than the illustrious iPad 2, Samsung’s rethought-out, redesigned and definitely-not-renamed Galaxy Tab 10.1 is the first Android tablet to date that seriously goes toe-to-toe with Apple in both specifications and design. Granted, the consumer models aren’t slated to ship out until June 8th, but given that Google handed us one last week during its annual I/O conference, we figured we’d spend the following weekend wisely. You know, photographing, benchmarking and testing this thing to the hilt. (Of note, the unit tested here was the Limited Edition model, devoid of TouchWiz, 3G and a microSD card slot, but is otherwise identical to shipping units aside from the design on the rear.)
The Tab 10.1 — not to be confused with the older, since-relabeled Tab 10.1v — weighs just 1.31 pounds (marginally besting the iPad 2′s 1.33 pound chassis), and if looks could kill, few people would’ve made it out of Moscone West with all organs functional. But as you well know, style only gets you in the door — it’s the guts, the software, and the marriage of it all that makes or breaks the tablet experience. Hop on past the jump to find out why we think Samsung truly delivered on the promise of a Google-powered tablet, and why you should all seriously consider socking away funds as early June approaches.
If you don’t already know all about the Samsung Galaxy S II, where have you been the past two months? The successor to one of the most popular Android handsets to date carries a burden of expectation almost as sizable as its 4.3-inch Super AMOLED Plus screen. It promises to be thinner, lighter, and faster than the Galaxy S that preceded it, while garnishing Android 2.3.3 with a set of TouchWiz customizations that might actually enhance, rather than hinder, the user experience. As such, the Galaxy S II earns Samsung full marks for ambition, but does this slinky new smartphone live up to its interstellar hype? The answer, as always, can be found after the break.
We were there, talking you through the entire thing in our liveblog, but if you want a more personal taste of what Samsung’s CTIA Wireless 2011 keynote was like, the company’s thoughtfully put it up on YouTube for general consumption. It features the introduction of the audacious new Galaxy Tab 8.9 and 10.1 models, both ever so slightly thinner than Apple’s iPad 2, with the latter also claiming the title of being “the thinnest and lightest large-screen tablet in the industry.” You can see it above, right alongside the Galaxy S II, which is in itself one of the skinniest smartphones you can hope to buy. Make your way past the break for the full presentation.
It’s only been six months since Samsung launched its highly successful Galaxy S assault upon the US market with a series of carrier customized phones: the Vibrant and Captivate GSM twins for T-Mobile and AT&T, the WiMAX-rocking Epic 4G for Sprint and the Fascinate for Verizon. More derivatives arrived later, with the Mesmerize, Continuum, Nexus S, and LTE-equipped Galaxy Indulge. Still the Vibrant was the first, and the closest in appearance to the original Galaxy S, losing the front-facing camera, but gaining a search button. Unfortunately, Samsung was slow to upgrade early devices like the Vibrant beyond Eclair, and to fix the well-documented AGPS problems. As such, the release of the Samsung Galaxy S 4G for T-Mobile — basically an updated Vibrant with HSPA+, a front-facing camera, a bronze battery cover, Froyo out of the gate, but no dedicated internal flash storage — is bittersweet. While beneficial to those who waited, it’s a slap in the face to those who purchased the Vibrant. But is it a worthy upgrade? How does it fit into T-Mobile’s high-end Android lineup? Read on for our full review after the break.