When it comes to choices, Samsung definitely has that particular aspect well covered under their portfolio. With its Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 at the frontlines, the Korean company wasn’t just content with one tablet in its line-up and soon launched a salvo of tablets of varying display sizes. To a certain extent, it can be confusing for consumers when they have to decide on either a 7-inch, 8.9-inch or 10.1-inch variant of Samsung’s tablets.
Of course if all things were constant other than form factor, we would pretty much agree that more choices allow users to obtain a tablet that fits their personal usage style. However that's not the case because each tablet is released at a different time frame and offers some differentiation. The Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7 is another entry in their tablet lineup, but it does come with a strong selling point.
Measuring just 7.89mm thin for its side profile, the Galaxy Tab 7.7 gives many tablets a tough time in the race to flaunt some of the best physical specifications. The Tab 7.7 passes off as a very easy to handle tablet, thanks in part to its light weight of 335g and its slim dimensions. Reading on its 7.7-inch screen with a 16:10 aspect ratio wasn’t a chore for our eyes or hands that held it over a prolonged period.
Once our fingers spent sufficient time with the 7.7-inch display, the smudges on the screen were insanely visible. In short, be prepared to invest in a screen protector, preferably a matte option, to keep those fingerprints in check.
Along the thin edges of the Galaxy Tab 7.7, you’ll spot the SIM and microSD card slots on the left profile. A small groove lets you dig your nails in to remove the protective cover and insert the aforementioned cards within the tablet. The process isn’t as smooth as we hoped, but it’s not particularly hard to pry the covers open. The power and volume buttons reside on the top right corner of the tablet. Thin as it may be, these physical buttons are raised sufficiently to locate with ease without any visual contact.
Unfortunately, certain design concepts that we were not too keen on the earlier Galaxy Tabs are still present on the 7.7-inch version. The same 30-pin USB port is found at the bottom, used concurrently to charge and perform data transfers from your desktop or notebook to the Galaxy Tab 7.7. Proprietary connections are a chore since you can't use more universally used cables such as a microUSB connector and you're likely to be in a fix should you misplace the cable. So beware of this little nuisance.
Flanking the 30-pin port, is a pair of stereo speakers responsible for audio on the Galaxy Tab 7.7. Should you hold the tablet in a portrait orientation for movie watching, that the location of the speakers won't pose an issue. In reality, users are likely to adopt a landscape orientation to enjoy the 16:10 widescreen ratio to watch their movies. However, once you hold the Galaxy Tab 7.7 in the landscape orientation, either your right or left palm will block the speakers and muffle the audio.
With not much difference from its Galaxy Tab siblings, the 7.7 variant didn’t throw us any curveballs, nor did it surprise us with the standard TouchWiz user interface (UI). This includes the tray of mini apps, which gives you immediate access to basic apps such as messaging, phone and email. The Galaxy Tab 7.7 does have a new trick up its sleeve; the app tray is now customizable, so you can choose to load it up with more apps, or keep it relatively clean with essential ones.
The quick launch button makes another appearance alongside the back, home and multi-task shortcuts. Similar to the Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus, you can customize the quick launch button to access various shortcuts, such as the applications menu, search or camera. The default, being a screen capture function, is a feature that’s most useful given that screen capture isn’t a native function and only available on Android 4.0.
Speaking of which, the multi-task menu is still incapable of ending apps with a swipe, which is another feature found on the Ice Cream Sandwich variant. Fortunately, you can rely on the Task Manager found within the mini apps to close active apps and loosen the RAM usage on the Galaxy Tab 7.7.