We’ve just scored some hands-on time with Samsung’s latest Android tablet, the new and improved Galaxy Tab 10.1. Officially unveiled at Mobile World Congress, the device was re-announced — with new and improved specifications — at CTIA in March. The tablet that we fondled is a “Limited Edition” Tab, complete with a white alien-engraved backing made just for Google I/O attendees. Our first impressions? Thin. Like, really thin. And the Galaxy Tab 10.1, in case you haven’t looked at the pictures yet, is absolutely gorgeous. Darkened chrome bezel, textured polymer backing, nearly perfect weight… it’s all there. The device we have is running Android 3.0 but we’re being told that it will be updated to the just-announced Android 3.1 in the “new few weeks.” Having handled the original Tab 10.1, we’re definitely happy that Samsung took some extra time to refine the design before pushing it out to market. We’ve got a handful of images waiting for you in the gallery linked below, so have a look for yourself and let us know what you think.
We just spent some more time with the Verizon iPhone’s one added feature — a feature that is sure to make GSM iPhone owners jealous — the personal hotspot. The mobile hotspot implementation on the CDMA iPhone is, like all things Apple, pretty simple and takes little effort to get up and running. There’s a blue notification bar that appears on the top of the device’s screen that shows you how many clients are connected and a simple interface to toggle the hotspot on and off and set the password. Mobile hotspot functionality will be available on the Verizon iPhone at launch for an extra monthly fee — likely $20 to line up with other similar services.
Has the addition of the mobile hotspot pushed any of you current iPhone owners over the edge? Ready to switch?
We’ve taken a few more candids for you to take a look at.
We just grabbed some hands on time with Samsung’s latest device to debut on Verizon Wireless, and here are some of our initial thoughts. First off, the build quality on the Continuum seems solid — definitely a notch better than the Samsung Captivate and Samsung Vibrant. The device still feels a bit plasticky and a tad light, but again, it’s better than what Samsung has put out in the recent past. The screen is fantastic. It’s a Super AMOLED display with separate “ticker” display below, though there aren’t actually two displays on there. The four menu buttons are basically silkscreened over the display, which breaks it up into two separate sections. Software then controls the main section and the ticker section, and they can work independently of each other. Pretty cool, huh? Lastly, the grip sensor. There’s a capacitive layer on the edge of the handset and as soon as you pick it up (or even just touch it), the ticker display lights up and is fully functional while the main display stays dormant.
The raw specs of the Samsung Continuum are as follows: 1GHz Hummingbird processor, 384MB RAM, 512MB ROM, 3.4-inch (480 x 800) Super AMOLED main display, 1.8-inch (96 x 480) Super AMOLED “ticker” display, 3G EV-DO Rev. A, Wi-Fi b/g/n, Bluetooth 2.1 + ERD, 2GB internal storage, 8GB micro-SD card included (expandable up to 32GB), 5 megapixel camera with LED flash and 720p video recording, 3G hotspot capable, DLNA capable, Android 2.1, and the SWYPE keyboard is pre-installed. We have our hands on gallery with the Continuum below followed by the press release.
As you can clearly see, no, we didn’t snag the royal purple BlackBerry Style, but Sprint and RIM were nice enough to hook us up with a steel grey (also known as black) unit, and we’re up and running. After a quick Enterprise Activation, the emails are flowing like wine. But there are no beautiful women instinctively flocking like the salmon of Capistrano — yet. Here are some of our first impressions on the device we exclusively showed the world way back in April:
- It’s not as big as we figured it would be. The BlackBerry Style is a little thick, but not overly hefty, and definitely manageable.
- The keyboard is… not as great as we hoped, and expected, it to be. It’s good, more than usable, but it feels a bit like the Torch’s keyboard — not enough travel tactility. Maybe we’re spoiled by our Bold 9780, but even though the keyboard isn’t as good, it’s most probably better than your current phone’s QWERTY keyboard, so that’s a plus.
- The screen is just what you’d expect; you don’t really notice the fact it’s a lower-than-optimal resolution due to the fact that the screen size is much smaller than on the BlackBerry Torch. Also without a touch layer, the display looks a little thinner and sleeker. Colors look good, crisp, and clear.
- The external display by default when closed is a clock, and when you receive messages, you can simply page through them without having to open the handset, just like on the Pearl Flip. Definitely a nice feature.
- Here is what we’re not in love with in our limited time with the Style… talking on the phone. With the device flipped open, the ear speaker doesn’t fit right against your ear and face. It’s on a diagonal angle because the phone’s hinge sits under the body of the phone. For example, instead of the hinge forming a straight V-shape, the flip part sits under the main part of the phone, and this recessed hinge design doesn’t offer the most comfortable phone talking experience. We’ll let you know if we get used to talking on it more in our review.
- The camera is pretty decent, seems as if it’s the same sensor as the one in the BlackBerry Torch and the BlackBerry Bold 9780.
- There is a non-button in place of the left convenience key button and it’s kind of irritating. Not because there is anything wrong with it, but because it looks like a button would work there, and you’re left with only the right convenience key as a result. [Update: it's the cover for the microSD slot]
All in all, for a $99 (with contract) BlackBerry smartphone rocking 3G, Wi-Fi, GPS, a 5 megapixel camera, BlackBerry OS 6, a QWERTY keyboard, and more, it does feel like an improvement over the Curve series in many ways. Especially for the younger, hipper demographic, the BlackBerry Style doesn’t feel too much out of place in that context. We just wish Sprint and RIM would have launched a slightly less expensive BlackBerry data plan (just email and BBM) with the Style — those high schoolers, and their parents, wouldn’t be able to resist the new 9670. It goes on sale October 31st on Sprint.