Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7 : Brief impressions and Review

Posted on January 26, 2012

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I have been using the latest Galaxy tab 7.7 for more than a week and I must say this is the best Android tablet I have used to date. My experience with Android tablets includes the Acer Iconia, Galaxy tab ( 7 inch), Galaxy Tab 10.1 and Galaxy Tab 7.0 plus. Unlike those previous Android tablets, the 7.7 is the smoothest with virtually no lag . Moving among homescreens is silky smooth just like my iPad2. Launching and executing apps is also noticeably faster compared to the previous Android tablets. Using it as a phone is not practical as it is simply too big. The phone functions works very well and calls are crystal clear.

My unit a 3G/Wifi 16 GB model is from Hong Kong with firmware ZSKL2. The unit comes with a headphone set, a desktop charger with the connector attached and an extra USB cable is provided. The Tab is very well built and oozes class especially with its back metallic casing. I must say is the best Samsung Tablet built quality I have used to date.

I tested it with the dual USB connectors that I bought previously for my ex Tab 10.1. It works very well and detected the USB thumb drives and SD card as /mnt/sdcard/extStorages/UsbDriveA. However due to Honeycomb’s limitations, one cannot write /copy files from the phone internal SDcard to the external USB devices , including the builtin external micro SDcard. One can only copy files from such external devices to the tablet internal SD Card.

I rooted  it the next day. Rooting is freaking simple – I just need to boot into stock recovery and update the root.zip file. I used the same method which I used in the 7.0+.  Thereafter I download the app superuser and busybox from the market to complete the process. Now there is an improved version of the root.zip at forum XDA with superuser builtin. My main reason of rooting was to use the Titanium Backup from my Galaxy Note. Restoring all the apps and its associated data was a breeze and all apps was perfectly restored on the Tab 7.7.

I than tried to installed ClockworkMod recovery using Rom Manager ( choosing SGS II ) but was unsuccessful. This could work with my previous 7.0+. So no choice now but to wait for the developer at forum XDA to come up with a proper CWM Few  days later, I upgraded the firmware OTA in succession to ZSKL2 and finally to ZSLA2.

The most frequently asked question is how is this latest Tab 7.7 compared to the older Tab 7.0 plus ?

The Galaxy Tab 7.0+  is about 2mm thicker than the  Galaxy Tab 7.7, and it is 5 grams heavier than the 345 gram Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7. The weight difference I would say is negligible but the thinness of the 7.7 tab is amazing. At 7.9 mm , it is even thinner than the Samsung Galaxy S II smartphone ( 8.5 mm) and Galaxy Note ( 9.7 mm). The whole unit feels very light in the hand. However its width is about 10 mm wider than the 7 +, so holding it in one hand is not so comfortable unless one have large hands.

One immediate stand out on the Galaxy Tab 7.7 is the display – with WXGA resolution at 1280X800 pixels together with a Super Amoled Plus screen – one word , gorgeous with colors strikingly clear and sharp. The Tab 7+ only has a TFT-LCD screen with a displays 1024×600 pixels . I would say it can match the well acclaimed display of Google’s  Galaxy Nexus ( super Amoled and 1280X720 pixel) and the Galaxy Note ( Super Amoled 1280X800 pixels ). One would feel very comfortable viewing the screen. At medium to high brightness, viewing under sunlight is too satisfactory.

Comparison of display with  Galaxy Note ( at maximum brightness ) : TOP Left : Galaxy Note and BOTTOM Right : Galaxy tab 7.7

Performance wise, the Tab 7.7 has a higher speed processor 1.4 Ghz dual core versus the 1.2 Ghz dual core Tab 7+.  The 200 Mhz difference is reflected in the slighter faster execution of apps. Camera wise,  both the Tab 7.7  and the  Tab 7.0+  are the same at 3 MP. with auto focus and LED flash. Both tablets are able to record videos up to 720p (HD-ready). They both share the same 2-megapixel front camera.  However due to its better resolution, the  Tab 7.7 gives a a better viewing experience for  photos. Though the camera is only 3 megapixel, I do not see much difference in quality between it and the 8 megapixel in my other Galaxy Note

LEFT : Galaxy Note and RIGHT is Galaxy tab 7.7

The Tab 7.7 comes with a bigger battery pack of 5100 mAh versus 400 mAh on the 7.0+ . Based on my usage, battery life on the 7.7 Tab is about 2-3 hours more. The Tab 7.7  can easily last 10-12 hours with continuos usage – 2-3 hours browsing, refreshing emails, updating RSS, Tweeter, news feed every hour.

The Tab 7.7 will be offered in 3 storage options : 16/32/64 Gb while the Tab 7.0+ has only 16 /32 GB options. However in Malaysia, we will only have 16 GB for both models

The Tab 7.7 design of the micro SDcard slot and simcard slot is much better than the 7.0+. It is now much easier to open these 2 slots. On the older 7.0+, these were recessed inside the edge and it is quite difficult to open up these 2 slots.

Video playback on default video player is excellent – it could play all my mp4, avi,mkv and youtube flac downloads very well and smoothly. I have also tested playing HD movie clips H.264 1080p from the web http://www.h264info.com/clips.html : very smooth playback

WiFi detection is fast – I have no issues with my home DLink WiFi router and at some public places WiFi eg Old Town White Coffee, MacDonalds, Starbucks etc. I have been reading some users on the older 7.0+ Tab, Galaxy Note, G Nexus  having problems detecting Telekom UniFi black router but I do not have the chance to test this yet

As just an academic exercise only, I tested Sygic Aura Navigation on it. GPS lockup was very fast, within seconds. I have no plans to use this as a GPS device as it is just too big

Both tablets runs on Google’s latest OS Honeycomb 3.2 and the supplied apps is similar in both models.

Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus      Galaxy Tab 7.7 
 Android 3.2 Honeycomb      Android 3.2 Honeycomb
 1.2GHz Exynos 4210(Cortex A9 Processor)1GB RAM      1.4GHz Exynos 4210(Cortex A9 Processor)1GB RAM
 7″ WSVGA(1024 x 600)      7.7 WXVGA(1280 x 800)
 PLS TFT-LCD      Super AMOLED Plus
 3MP AF with LED Flash(2.0MP Sub)      3MP AF with LED Flash(2.0MP Sub)
 16/32GB Storage + microSD      16/32/64GB Storage + microSD
 193.65 x 122.37 x 9.96mm / 345g      196.7 x 133 x 7.89mm / 335g
 Battery 4,000mAh(Movie Play Time Up to 8 hours)      Battery 5,100mAh(Movie Play Time Up to 10hrs)

Based on MalaysianWireless.com The Tab 7.7 is expected to be launch in Malaysia in Feb 2012 at an estimated retail price of RM 2299 . This is about RM 600 more than the older 7.0+ and about RM 400 more expensive than the Tab 10.1.  If true, this is indeed a premium price for a 7.7 inch tablet. Other local news leak of release is soyacincau.com quoting price will be less than RM 2500

Reviews of the Tab 7.7 :

TechRadar : http://www.techradar.com/news/mobile-computing/tablets/hands-on-samsung-galaxy-tab-7-7-review-1010196

TrustedReviews : http://www.trustedreviews.com/samsung-galaxy-tab-7-7_Laptop_review

RitchiesRoom : http://ritchiesroom.com/2011/12/09/samsung-galaxy-tab-7-7-the-best-7-inch-android-tablet/

SPECS of the Tab 7.7 : http://www.gsmarena.com/samsung_p6800_galaxy_tab_7_7-4136.php

This is the best video review by minipcpro  I have found so far on this Tab 7.7 :