Samsung Galaxy Tab vs BlackBerry PlayBook

Vs 20:30, 17 Nov 2010

We compare the BlackBerry PlayBook against the Samsung Galaxy Tab to see which 7-inch tablet device is equipped with better features

The overcrowded smartphone market has now new competitors in the form of tablet devices. This year has witnessed a slew of high-end to budget tablet devices launched in different part of the world. There are couple of tablet devices announced in India as well.

The two upcoming tablet devices that vie for stealing some of Apple's thunder are the new released Samsung Galaxy Tab and the upcoming BlackBerry PlayBook. Granted, the PlayBook was only unveiled in a very "controlled" manner, but RIM did throw some light onto what it hopes to achieve with the PlayBook, as well as some specs and stats too.

So, out of the two devices which is the soundest investment for a consumer that's looking to jump on the current tablet bandwagon: the Android-powered Galaxy Tab or the BlackBerry Tablet OS-powered PlayBook?

Size and Screen
Tablet devices, such as the iPad is pretty big at 9.7 inches, which means they're not as portable as some users would like. The PlayBook and the Galaxy Tab, on the other hand, are significantly smaller with their 7-inch displays and this should do them a lot favours with users that demand 'more portability'.

In terms of weight, the 380g Galaxy Tab is only just lighter than the 400g PlayBook, but this is to be expected as the PlayBook (despite being thinner) is slightly larger than the Galaxy Tab, which measures in at a very svelte 190.09 x 120.45 x 11.98mm.

In the display department, both devices have 7-inch LCD, 1024 x 600 pixel, WSVGA, capacitive touch screens with full multi-touch and gesture support.

This means that the only thing separating the two devices in this context is their weight and dimensions, which goes in favour of the lighter (380g v 400g) Samsung Galaxy Tab.

Verdict – Samsung Galaxy Tab

Processors
According to BlackBerry, the PlayBook is the "fastest tablet ever," which is quite a bold statement in itself. But why is BlackBerry so damn sure of itself?

Well, for starters, the PlayBook packs a Cortex A9-based dual-core 1GHz processor, which means it will have the edge (in terms of raw processing power) over single core processor tablets, like the HP Slate and the Apple iPad, thanks to its ability to divide processes between the two cores – as apposed to just using one.

The Galaxy Tab, like the iPad, does not have a dual-core processor. Instead, it's got a Cortex A8 1GHz processor with PowerVR SGX540 at its heart. And while this is more than enough to keep up with the likes of the iPad and HP's Slate, it can't really match the PlayBook's superior chipset in a strict processing race (at least on paper) – plus, the PlayBook has nearly twice the RAM of the Tab at 1GB.

Nevertheless, Samsung is already readying the deployment of its dual-core Orion chip for 2011 and you can bet your bottom dollar that one will be present in the next-gen Galaxy Tab, which will probably surface sometime in early 2011 – just in time to do battle with the second-generation iPad.

Verdict – BlackBerry PlayBook

Apps
Processing power is all well and good, but the vast majority of users derive their pleasure from applications, games and services, such as YouTube and BBC iPlayer – and not from benchmarking their devices. So, for a tablet to be successful within this context, it's safe to say that any manufacturer releasing one will need to have two key things in place: On-device data support and a very well stocked application store.

Anyone familiar with BlackBerry World will know that RIM has pretty much failed to provide an adequate apps store for its users – it's expensive, the apps aren't particularly good or up to much of a high standard. It gets worse, though. The new PlayBook's OS (the BlackBerry Tablet OS) is based on the QNX microkernel implementation of Posix, which brings with it some rather alarming implications, according to certain reports.

Nonetheless, the freedom that Adobe Mobile AIR, Adobe Flash, and HTML5 affords developers will mean that the potential for apps on the PlayBook is absolutely massive – but this, unfortunately, is all dependant on developers actually developing them and even with all the freedom in the world, RIM is still a long way behind both Android and Apple in terms of numbers.

For this reason, we'd say that from a base consumer perspective the Galaxy Tab is currently better equipped for direct and easy access to apps out of the box. Not only does it allow access to the entire Android Market and its ever growing mountain of applications but it also has Samsung Apps on there as well, which features an array of dedicated Galaxy Tab ones. These are extremely important to the vast majority of tablet users – after all, no one likes ports. They're just a bit of a cop-out.

Verdict – Samsung Galaxy Tab

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