When Samsung released the Galaxy Tab 10.1 it immediately became one of the best Android tablets available as far as we were concerned.
In terms of physical size it was similar to the iPad 2, Asus Transformer, Motorola Xoom and a series of other 10-inch slates. And as far as looks, speed, software, utility and portabilty go it was perhaps the primary iPad 2 rival.
But now, another version of this slate has come to town offering an alternative form to the iPad 2, as well as its bigger sibling Galaxy Tab 10.1 - the Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9.
In terms of software and operating system, you can expect the same from the Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9 as we have already seen on the 10.1-inch tab. Honeycomb, complemented by Samsung’s TouchWiz skin, is a treat on the slightly smaller format, and the slick responsiveness and speed in use are just as impressive as they were on its sibling.
So instead of telling you what we have already covered in our Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 review, we will instead focus on the different user experience you get from the 8.9-inch size.
The smaller screen doesn’t hinder the user interface in any way. You get the exact same perks as you would on the bigger slate, the only difference being that the screen is smaller and thus the pixel density in increased making the image quality one of the most enjoyable we’ve ever tested.
Below are some specification comparison charts where you can see that their characteristics vary only in form factor, weight and audio hardware. However, we believe that the lack of stereo surround sound on the 8.9-inch version is an extremely minor characteristic that won’t do much in steering one towards the bigger or smaller Tab. In fact the only factor one should consider in choosing between the two is which size works better for you (and perhaps the slightly lower pricing of the 8.9 Tab…)
Frankly, we loved the slightly smaller frame of the 8.9-inch tab; the size makes the slate extremely portable, easy to hold and even easier to maneoever. It's not as cumbersome as a 10 inch tablet, but has a far more immersive screen than any 7 inch slate.
When holding the 10.1-inch Tab, tapping away on the keyboard with your thumbs is difficult, especially when trying to reach those mid-keyboard keys. The 8.9-inch rectifies that, making typing seem a lot more natural and comfortable. Also, Samsung have made the 8.9 over 20% lighter (at 470g) than the larger model, plus it feels slightly more booklike in size, so it’s easier to hold for extended periods.
Of course, if 10-inch slates are generally a bit too big for your taste, you could always choose from the array of available 7-inch slates. But, truthfully, the 7-inch form factor is also very particular and doesn’t work for everyone. Naturally, it enjoys all the advantages of being a light and handy solution, but it is not for those who would want their content displayed on a bigger screen for a full desktop-like browsing session.
In comes the perfectly sized Tab 8.9. Neither too big to hold comfortably, nor too small to reduce the browsing or video experience it provides a perfect answer for those (and we suspect there are quite many of you) who are looking to find something in between the two currently most popular dimensions. It also gives Samsung’s latest tablet a minor, but very real point of difference between itself and Apple’s market leader.