Friday, February 3, 2012

Samsung Galaxy 10 - Initial Impressions

I started my tablet life a while back, when my work carrier gave me a Xoom to evaluate.  It was large enough but heavy and not particularly ready for prime time, or at very least, not ready to be put into the hands of the public.

The next unit was a Samsung 7 tablet.  I have had the 7 for many months and it follows me everywhere.  It is supercharged with a 32g card, rooted, tweaked and forced to do my bidding [insert evil laughter].  I had a feeling what my main complaint was going to be right off the bat: it was too small.  Actually it was too small and just a little too old.

In spite of these shortcomings, the 7 served me well.  It started to accompany me to meetings, where the bottom fell out, kinda.  It was simply too small to be effective.  Taking notes was a PITA.  Aside from that, there's nothing really wrong with the unit.

So I decided it was time to check into ten inch tablets.  Much to my dismay, the field had not changed at all from before.  I told my friendly T-Mobile rep that, like all men, size was important, so I wanted to upgrade to a ten inch tablet.  She gave me the choice of the Samsung Galaxy 10 or nothing so I wisely chose the 10.

As any reader of the blog knows, I hate iDevices, so that was out even if it was a choice.  It astounds me that with the success of the iPad, there aren't tons of worthy competitors, even with T-Mobile.

T-Mobile got the 10 to me with blazing speed, as in the next day.


The Galaxy 10 is one sleek, slim device.  There were all sorts of OOHs and AAHs as I unboxed it and my coworkers checked it out.  The Galaxy 7 is a rather bulky affair.  The Galaxy 10 is just a shade heavier but the weight is better distributed.

First up is inserting the SIM card and charging the beast.  The included USB to Galaxy cable appears to be the same as the Galaxy 7 but colored differently.  There was a charger in the box also, plus a few small meaningless booklets.  It was a pretty short learning curve and the getting started booklet handled things well.


When held in landscape mode, the speakers are on the sides.  The main connector is on the bottom. The power switch and volume rocker are on top, as is the SIM slot.  There is no place for an additional SD card, which is disappointing, but there is an adapter available that allows an SD card and USB access.  I don't believe we should have to pay an additional thirty dollars to use SD and USB but I'm funny that way.

Onscreen keyboards are an acquired taste.  They're fairly useless on a cell phone.  On a Galaxy 7 only the landscape keyboard is usable.  On the 10, both keyboards are good, as one would expect with more screen real estate.  And the screen real estate is nice.  The display is bright and sharp.  There is a ton of room to put shortcuts or widgets (or not).


You betcha there are cameras.  There are two: one facing you (lower resolution for video chatting) and one facing away (higher resolution for pictures and video).  I didn't bother checking the specs but they're not a secret.  I seem to remember 5 megapixels 720 video for the picture-taking side.

As things seem to go these days, there is no case.  In scouting the available cases I noticed some variety, including cases with built-in bluetooth keyboards.  The case is not optional: you need one to protect the device.  A side benefit to some is a stand that adjusts.  You don't want to type on a flat tablet, external keyboard or not.  Be aware that you will need a special case if you want to keep the device plugged in.  Look for an opening on the bottom, through which you will put the cord.


A pleasant surprise was the available volume.  There was plenty of it, unlike my Sensation phone.

The onscreen layout is a little different from the 7.  There are no dedicated buttons on the bottom.  Instead the app button is up top (why?) and there are soft buttons at the bottom for the main functions.  There is even a screenshot button (complete with annoying shutter noise).  In fact, one of my first duties was to kill all the noises and blinkies.  I'm a big boy and don't need a noise every time I hit a button or a program comes up.  Nor do I need the haptic (vibrating) feedback with every key press.

There are five screens by default.  You should never run out of space or screens.   Like most android devices, you can populate the screen with shortcuts, widgets, wallpaper, live wallpaper, and presumably dead wallpaper.

There are the usual rotating effects but also a new tilt function, which can control screen size or brightness.  I haven't had a chance to mess with this yet; I have brightness on AUTO for now.  There is a button to allow apps designed for smaller screens to fill the available space or pan in.


The Galaxy 10 comes with Alarm, Asphalt 6, Blio, Books, browser, calculator, calendar, contacts, Dropbox, ebook, email, files, gallery, Gmail, Google Search, Latitude, maps, Market, media hub, memo, messaging, MobileLife, Google Music, music player, navigation, pen memo, photo editor, places, Pulse, Qello, Quickoffice, security, Slacker, social hub, talk, TegraZone, video chat, video player, voice search, world clock, YouTube, and Zinio.  Your mileage will vary by provider.

Quite frankly, I'd love to be able to remove most of the included apps but I can't.  I suspect this will require rooting, which I haven't considered or checked on yet.  You cannot remove Slacker, Zinio, or any of the social apps.  While I like Slacker, I stopped installing it because it seems to turn itself on all of the time, regardless of whether I'm listening to it or not.  And I have as much need for social apps as I do for female plumbing.

As android people know, installing your own favorites is a matter of going to the Market, finding the programs and pressing INSTALL.   Here are some of the apps that make my life easier:

  • gStrings - guitar tuner
  • Premier Guitar, TabApp Pro, Guitar Squid - guitar goodies
  • Drudgereport, World Newspapers, Sparse RSS - news
  • ES File Explorer
  • WiFi and Airplane Mode widgets
  • QuickPic - superior to included Gallery
  • Opera Mini - browser
  • ConnectBot, AndFTP, Remote VNC - remote access tools
  • Wolfgang's Vault, XiaaLive Lite - streaming radio
  • Scanner Radio - listen to police and fire scanners worldwide
  • and 3 versions of Angry Birds for my nephews

Your mileage will vary.


As with all phones and tablets, there is a plethora of features that might look nice but ultimately will suck the small amount of privacy you have left from your device faster than you can say Illegal Wiretapping.  Do yourself a favor and turn off the location tracking features.  There is no significant reason for anyone to know exactly where you are, either via satellite tracking or wifi/cellular tracking.  If you absolutely must let the entire universe know what you're doing and where, this is what Faceyspaces is for.  Or Twitter.  Log in and let everyone know that it's 5:15 and you've just had a terrific potty experience at Barnes&Noble.

Don't forget to go into the camera app and turn off geotagging.


I've only had the device for a few hours but I can tell I'm going to seriously enjoy it.  The larger screen will make all the difference for viewing anything and note-taking.   The nephews will love the look of Angry Birds and the wife will love some of the games I loaded for her.

More as it comes to me....


  1. The only part I don't like is that not being able to remove apps. What's up with that?

  2. Where is my bloody avatar???