Tablet Keyboard Review: Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7 Full Size Keyboard Dock Review
Editor's Ratings (1-5): 4.5
What's Hot: Very good typing experience, lots of dedicated Android keys.
What's Not: Adds 1 lb and 5.6 ounces to your road bag.
One nice thing about buying a Samsung Galaxy Tab Android tablet is that you know you can get a keyboard dock if you need one. Following the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 Full Size Keyboard Dock, Samsung has released the keyboard dock for the Galaxy Tab 8.2, Galaxy Tab 7.0 plus and now the Galaxy Tab 7.7. While the form factor is very similar and key assignments identical, each keyboard dock has fitted docking slot for that particular tablet's size. The full size keyboard dock offers excellent typing experience, dedicated Android keys, audio out for external speakers and a pass-through data sync port that doubles as charging port. And unlike the Galaxy Tab 10.1 Full Size Keyboard Dock that had some glitches when it first came out, the keyboard dock for the Galaxy Tab 7.7 works very nicely out of the box.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7 Full Size Keyboard Dock has a standard US keyboard layout, and a 30-pin docking slot that fits the Android tablet in portrait orientation perfectly. The keyboard measures 10.8 x 6 x 0.65 inches and weighs 1 lb and 5.6 ounces. It's heavier than a few other portable keyboards for tablets, but the added weight helps keep the keyboard steady for typists with heavy hand strokes. The keyboard is thicker on the back than the front, creating a slight angle for comfortable typing. The surface of the keyboard is matted so that you don't slide off easily when you type on it, and the bottom of the keyboard has rubber feet to prevent it from sliding on a tablet.
As with other Samsung Galaxy Tab Full Size Keyboard Docks, the chiclet style keyboard comes with a 30-pin connector docking port where you can charge and sync your Galaxy Tab 7.7. The docking slot is customized to fit for the Galaxy Tab 7.7, and it's easy to slide in the tablet or take it out. The shiny black plastic piece that holds the tablet in the dock is actually replaceable with another one, for example if you have a Galaxy Tab 10.1 as well as a Galaxy Tab 7.7, you can change the dock to fit the different size of the tablet. Just hold the keyboard vertically and press both sides (top and bottom of the keyboard) to release the black plastic piece. The Galaxy Tab 7.7 full size keyboard dock has a side 30-pin charging/syncing port; though the keyboard doesn't come with any charger or cable, you can use the charger and USB cable that comes with your tablet to charge or sync the tablet while it's sitting in the keyboard dock. A 3.5mm speaker out jack lives on the back of the keyboard dock, and comes in handy if you are playing music while typing on the tablet.
As with the keyboard dock for the Galaxy Tab 10.1, the Galaxy Tab 7.7 keyboard dock has a bit shorter and narrower keyboard than a 13" notebook keyboard. The chiclet style keys have enough space that your fingers feel they are at the right places. While the travel of this slim keyboard isn't big, somehow the keys feel responsive when you are typing on them. There is also a Cap Lock LED light on the right of the keyboard to give you indication when the cap key is turned on.
As with the other keyboard docks for the Galaxy Tab models, the Galaxy Tab 7.7 Full Sized Keyboard Dock has standard US keyboard layout that includes a long left Shift and a regular key-sized Shift on the right. The Space bar is quite long and there are four directional keys on the bottom right corner that you will enjoy using for Excel spreadsheet editing and more. Since Samsung made this for the Galaxy Tab specifically, you will find shortcut keys for Android functions, screen controls, audio volume controls, multi-media controls and more. Functions such as launching the app drawer, voice search, Gmail, web browser, Options and Android OS controls such as Home, Back and multi-task window, all have a dedicated key so that you can perform these tasks with a key press without touching the screen.
If you need to type long articles and notes on your Galaxy Tab 7.7 Android tablet, the full size keyboard dock is a great choice for faster typing than the on screen keyboard for most users. Without any glitches or bugs, the keyboard works out of the box with the tablet in all the apps we tested. The typing experience is quite good thanks to the chiclet style keys with good spacing and good feedback. The keyboard feels solid and doesn't slide on a slippery table. The keyboard can handle most Android and tablet functions with dedicated keys to save you from touching the screen, and it allows you to charge and sync the tablet while it'd docked. The only thing that's hard to do while the tablet is in the keyboard dock is playing videos as the tablet sits in portrait orientation.