For our smart device reviews, we're going to do something a little different here. PC hardware can be reviewed with hard numbers, charts and all that jazz, but the same can't really be said for smart devices. We're going to concentrate more on the look, feel and experience of the device, rather than numbers. After all, virtually all personal use of a smart device comes down to these factors, but we will still include some benchmarks so you can see how they perform. If there's anything you'd like to see added or removed from these reviews, please do e-mail us, as we want to morph these reviews around you, the reader.
One of the first tablets I received to review as my new position as smart devices editor was Samsung's Galaxy Tab 8.9 4G. Samsung are a company known for making products in so many categories, with fridges, TVs, smart devices and so much more. Today we're taking a look at the Galaxy Tab 8.9 4G tablet.
Samsung's Galaxy Tab 8.9 is one of many in a family of Galaxy tablets from Samsung and the one I've received to review is the 4G variant, with the help of Australian telco, Telstra.
A first impression of the Tab 8.9 4G out of the box was just how light it was. Compared to my third-generation iPad, the Tab 8.9 4G is light to hold in your hand and after little while, it just feels a little heavier than a high-end smartphone, such as the Galaxy S II or Apple's iPhone 4S. The tablet I received had been reviewed before, so I can't really tell you what the unboxing of the device was like or provide any box shots, as they aren't in the best of conditions.
Samsung's Galaxy Tab 8.9 4G has Android 3.2 "Honeycomb"ť as its operating system and while it's a good OS, in this world of Ice Cream Sandwiches and Jelly Bean's, it's just not up to scratch. I would have thought Samsung would have updated the Tab 8.9 by now, but nope; they're still stuck on Android 3.2, when we have 4.0 on most high-end Samsung smartphones now and 4.1 on the ASUS Nexus 7. Samsung have used their TouchWiz UI, which has been painted on top of Honeycomb, so they've tried to pretty-up Google's Honeycomb OS and for the most part, it helps.
This tablet is aimed toward a segment of the market that, in my opinion, is different to the iPad. People who want the iPad, will either simply get one or look at other higher-end options such as Samsung's bigger Tab 10.1, the upcoming Galaxy Note 10.1 or ASUS' offerings. The 8.9 4G seems like the perfect in-car, on-transport companion, with its amazingly fast 4G speeds and its super-lightweight feel.
Specifications, Pricing and Availability
As you can see, the Galaxy Tab 8.9 is kitted out quite well, with a dual-core 1.5GHz processor, which handles multi-tasking without a problem. The rest of the specifications of the Tab 8.9 fall in line with most tablets of this price range, but the standout spec here is definitely the inclusion of 4G connectivity.
For a tablet like this, with its 4G connectivity, I would suggest putting it on a plan with Telstra if you're in Australia. Buying this tablet outright would not be something you'd do, as the main reason of getting this tablet over the normal Tab 8.9 would be for its 4G. Telstra are currently running a special in conjunction with Samsung through redemption. This special offers a $100 cash back from Samsung on the purchase of the Galaxy Tab 8.9 4G if purchased before October 1, 2012. All you need to do is redeem online before October 30, 2012 and you'll be $100 richer with a great tablet in your hands.
The 16GB version comes in four plans with Telstra, which I've shown below.
The 32GB also comes in four plans with Telstra, as shown below.
The unit I received was the 16GB model, but the Tab 8.9 4G also comes in higher capacities - 32GB and 64GB. The size that you would be looking to get would mostly depend on the type of tablet user you are. Play lots of games? Go for the bigger 32GB or 64GB option. Store lots of music, photos and movies? The same advice. But if you're just playing a game here or there, downloading some music sometimes and you aren't going to be storing copious amounts of data, the vanilla 16GB size is absolutely more than you'll ever need.
Availability wise, you should be able to walk into any local Telstra store and pick one of these slates up. The only limitation you'll find is the 4G coverage in your area. Currently 4G coverage is only in capital cities and a certain radius around them. Outside of these 4G coverage zones, you'll be kicked back down to 3G. This isn't necessarily a really bad thing as Telstra's 3G network is a world-class offering and the speeds are still quite impressive on 3G.
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