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Samsung Tablet Is iPad's First Rival

Samsung's Galaxy Tab.

Samsung's Galaxy Tab.  Courtesy of Samsung hide caption

itoggle caption Courtesy of Samsung

Apple's iPad had six months of free reign. That is, for six months it's had no competition from another tablet manufacturer. Well, geeks everywhere are welcoming the upcoming release of Samsung's Galaxy Tab. It's a smaller tablet that uses Google's Android operating system. The tablet runs for $400 with a two-year contract with one of the three wireless providers who will carry it or $600 without the contract. Sprint will be first to offer the tablet on Sunday.

The reviews have been pouring in all day.

Walt Mossberg, of the Wall Street Journal, calls it, "a serious alternative to the iPad and one that will be preferred by some folks." It's can play Flash content and has two cameras. But:

On balance, however, I still prefer the iPad. For one thing, I like getting twice the screen size for a little more money up front—as little as $29 for the no-contract model with cellular capability. For another, the iPad has vastly more apps specifically designed for a tablet versus a smartphone—about 40,000 according to Apple, compared with just a handful for the Tab.

The New York Times' David Pogue could not disagree more. He loves, loves the size of thing — 7 inches, for the record — and fawns over Android features like voice commands and Google's turn-by-turn navigation. He declares:

The Android tablet concept represents more than just a lame effort to grab a slice of tablet hype. As with Android phones, it represents an alternative that’s different enough to justify its existence.

Matt Buchanan at Gizmodo had the exact opposite reaction. He said, indeed, size matter, but this tablet fits in a really awkward in-between space and even though this is "the best constructed Samsung mobile device ever" he still wasn't impressed:

It's like a tablet drunkenly hooked up with a phone, and then took the fetus swimming in a Superfund cleanup site. The browser is miserable, at least when Flash is enabled. It goes catatonic, scrolling is laggy, and it can get laughably bad. When better browsing is half the reason to go for a larger screen, that's insanity.

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