Phonecalls from the big screen
Android 4 and all the latest apps make Samsung's Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 a peach to play with
Samsung's Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 can be your "giant phone". The first 10.1-inch tablet computer I've tested even comes with a voice-call function. And it's more affordable at Bt16,000, compared to the Bt19,000 Tab 10.1.
A shortcut on the home screen brings up the phone-call screen with a number pad so you can make a call just like on a real phone.
The same application lets you create an automatic rejection list to spurn unwanted calls, storing numbers you enter, and make Internet phone calls based on your account details.
I tried it out on TrueMove and made a voice call with good audio quality, as heard over the built-in speakers, a Bluetooth headset or the wired headset that comes with the Tab.
To avoid confusion the Tab 2 10.1 supports 3G connections via all of Thailand's mobile-phone operators. I tested it on the fast HSPA+ 3G connection of TrueMove H at 850MHz and was impressed in the speed of downloading and installing applications. Browsing Web pages was fast and smooth and I quickly uploaded photos to Facebook and checked my e-mail.
The Tab 2 10.1 is powered by a mighty 1GHz dual-core processor - playing HD video clips effortlessly - and has a 10.1-inch TFT screen with 1280x800-pixel resolution. The tablet is quite thin at 9.7mm and weighs 583 grams.
While the Tab 10.1 runs on Android 3, its successor uses Android 4, code-named "Ice Cream Sandwich". Android 4 is great. When I fired up the tablet up for the first time, I entered my Google account and it automatically imported all the settings and applications from my previous Android 4 tablet.
Samsung also has the TouchWiz user interface to make navigation and use of the tablet more intuitive. It comes with a Mini Apps bar for handy access to the nine most popular applications - Phone, Messaging, Calculator, Alarm, Email, S-Planner, Music Player, Task Manager and World Clock. The first seven appear on the first screen and you just slide the bar to see the others. You can edit which apps appear.
The Mini Apps design ensures convenience. You can access the applications from any screen by tapping an arrow at the bottom - the bar will slide up. Tap the arrow again and you can hide the bar.
Then there's the Samsung Live Panel, where you can customise the widgets on five home screens. You can, for example, view feeds from your social-network friends live via the Social Hub widget, or organise a slideshow from your Picasa online albums.
Another nice touch in the interface is the soft button for capturing whatever's on screen - no key combination necessary.
Tap Plus also supports Kies Air if you get it from Samsung App. Use Kies Air to download and upload tunes, photos and other files without a USB cable. Just connect the tablet to your home Wi-Fi network, activate the application, and type in its IP address on a Web browser on your PC. You're connected to the tablet wirelessly.
If you want a large-screen tablet for reading, watching movies and playing games - and for making phone calls - consider the Galaxy Tab 2 10.1.
_ Platform: Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich)
_ Network: HSPA+ 21Mbps 850/900/1900/2100
_ Processor: 1GHz Dual-Core Processor
_ Display: 10.1-inch WXGA (1280x800) PLS TFT
_ Cameras Main three-megapixel, front VGA for Video Call
_ Memory: 1GB RAM, 16GB internal storage, expandable with microSD card up to 32GB
_ Connectivity: Bluetooth 3.0, USB 2.0, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Wi-Fi Direct
_ Battery: Li-ion 7,000mAh
_ Dimensions 256.7x175.3x9.7mm
_ Weight: 583g