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Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7

Editor's rating (1-5): rating starrating starrating starrating star
Carrier: Verizon
Manufacturer: Samsung
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What's hot: Super-slim, great display, fast, 4G LTE, good battery life.

What's not: Expensive.


Reviewed March 25, 2012 by , Editor in Chief (twitter: @lisagade)

You could make fun of Samsung for their "tablet in every inch increment strategy", in fact we have. But as Samsung's tablet lineup evolves, it's clearly about more than making tablets the way Levis makes jeans. There are variations in price and features that allow a variety of customers to buy into Samsung's ecosystem. The Samsung Galaxy Tab 7 Plus might seem redundant with the Galaxy Tab 7.7, but it's a lower cost tablet that's primarily sold in WiFi-only configurations. The Tab 7.7 is a higher end tablet with impressive display resolution, a very fast 1.4GHz Samsung Exynos CPU and Verizon Wireless LTE 4G that targets higher end buyers who might be on their second or fourth tablet. The 7 Plus is for buyers who don't want to spend too much but want the full set of tablet features that eReader-centric products like the Kindle Fire and Nook Tablet lack (dual cameras, GPS and full Google Play Store app access).

Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7

The Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7 has quickly become our favorite smaller tablet (7-8 inch category). It has a stunning Super AMOLED Plus display; in fact it's the first tablet with that display technology. It has higher than average 1280 x 800 resolution-- that's the same resolution used in 10.1" Android tablets and it fits better in 7.7" than 7" for readability. The Exynos dual core CPU with Mali graphics is unbeatably fast among dual core mobile CPUs, and only the quad core Tegra 3 (still a rarity) surpasses its performance. It has both dual band WiFi 802.11b/g/n and fast LTE 4G on Verizon Wireless. In other words, it's the cream of the 7" crop.

Here's the catch: you'll pay dearly for it. The 16 gig Tab 7.7 sells for $499 with a 2 year contract and $699 without a contract. Ouch! That's $70 more than the no-contract 16 gig iPad 3 on Verizon. You and I may prefer Android or a more portable tablet, but the average buyer will be hard pressed to pay more for a smaller tablet that lacks the new iPad's miraculous market power and app selection. It's also more expensive than the Motorola Droid XYBoard 8.2 ($429 contract/$599 retail) with LTE and a 1280 x 800 IPS display.

Design and Ergonomics

The Galaxy Tab 7.7 is pure Samsung: it's super thin at 7.89mm (0.31"), light at 12 ounces and comfortably curvy. Happily, it diverges from traditional Samsung design language by dropping the glossy plastic back in favor of brushed aluminum. It's by no means rubbery and rugged like the XYBoard 8.2, but it's one of the most pocketable and light Android tablets on the market. The controls are nicely integrated and easy to operate, and the tablet has a microSD card slot for expansion (again, fairly new for Samsung tablets and a most welcome addition).

Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7

The tablet has a 3.5mm stereo headset jack, a micro SIM card slot for the Verizon LTE SIM card and a 5,100 mAh Lithium Ion battery that's sealed inside. The end caps on the back are plastic for better wireless reception and the tablet uses Samsung's usual tablet 30 pin connector for charging and peripherals. It's compatible with Samsung's existing selection of chargers and adapters for USB host and HDMI. There is no USB port or HDMI port on the tablet itself so you must use adapters. Bummer.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7





Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7 Video Review

Display and Multimedia

The Tab 7.7 has a striking Super AMOLED Plus display with better than life colors and high contrast. Most folks love Samsung's Super AMOLED displays, and this tablet's screen is a strong selling point. Movies and photos look simply fantastic with enhanced colors and deep blacks. Text is sharp thanks to the very high resolution display, though if you look closely you'll see the jagged edges of characters with diagonal strokes (i.e.: x and y). The pixel density is higher than average at 196 ppi, so images and text look sharper than they do on the iPad 2 and 10" Android tablets. It's not up to the Retina Display's 264ppi, but it is better than most tablets on the market.

Typical of Super AMOLED Plus displays, whites have a slight blue color cast, but it's well controlled here and not as pronounced as on some of Samsung's smartphones like the Samsung Galaxy S II and Galaxy Skyrocket. For professional graphics folks and photographers, the oversaturated colors and cool color cast might be a negative; we suggest you look at the XYBoard 8.2 with its more accurate colors. The display is quite bright and remains viewable outdoors, albeit with muted color and contrast.

Thanks to the fast CPU and Mali 400 GPU, the Samsung is a multimedia powerhouse that can handle HD video playback and 3D gaming with aplomb. It can play 1080p high profile MPEG4 video (you'll want to plug it into an HD monitor or TV to make best use of 1080p video) and demanding games like the bundled Dead Space demo well. The small stereo speakers put out a decent amount of sound for a small tablet, but the sound isn't rich and full. You'll want to use headphones or speakers (wired or Bluetooth) to really enjoy music and soundtracks.

The Tab 7.7 has an IR blaster and it comes with the Peel AV remote and TV listing application. This worked fine with our TV, cable box and receiver and it was easy to set up controls over IR. Peel is more TV listing-centric rather than being a full-featured omni remote for all manner of AV gear. In spirit, it's the complete opposite of Dijit on the Motorola XYBoard that goes all out to control your AV gear and sticks with a simple TV listing grid.


The Exynos is king of the dual core mobile CPU world. It's significantly faster than TI OMAP CPUs and the old Nvidia Tegra 2. This is the first time we've seen the Exynos paired with LTE, and we're thrilled. CPU chipsets have to interface with wireless radios, and so far Qualcomm has led the way with LTE integrations with TI falling in at second place. Samsung has it down now, and the 1.4GHz Exynos works perfectly here with excellent responsiveness and synthetic benchmarks. Better yet, battery life hasn't taken a hit, and reception is stable on LTE.

The tablet feels very responsive; in fact it's downright quick. Benchmark numbers are tops on most counts. If you have a need for speed in a 7 to 8 inch tablet, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7 is currently our top pick.


  Quadrant GLBenchmark 2.1Egypt Offscreen AnTuTu Sunspider JavaScript Test
Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7 3545 49 fps 7050 2003
Toshiba Excite 7.7 3996 61 fps 9559 2002
Motorola Droid XYBoard 8.2 2822 28 fps 5555 1807
Nexus 7 3638 64 fps N/A 1720
Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 2705 28 fps 4841 2288


LTE 4G Performance

The Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7 has 3G EV-DO Rev. A and 4G LTE on Verizon's network. As with all US tablets, it does not handle cellular voice, it only does data. You can use VoIP apps like Skype and Google Talk over WiFi and the data network as a consolation. Unlike the XYBoard, this is not a world tablet with GSM for use overseas.

Reception on Verizon's well built-out LTE network is stable and the Tab 7.7 managed to pull in the same signal as Motorola's tablets (that's a compliment because Moto is the RF king on CDMA networks). We did note that the Samsung dropped LTE in weak coverage areas where the XYBoard held on tenaciously. Download speeds were likewise a bit slower on the Tab 7.7 vs. the XYBoard, though respectable overall. In poor coverage areas we got 7 to 9 Mbps down and 2 Mbps up. In stronger coverage areas we got 14Mbps down and 8Mbps up. Like all recent Verizon tablets, the Samsung can act as a mobile hotspot and share its 3G/4G data connection with needy notebooks, tablets and other gadgets.

Battery Life

Big win here for Samsung: the Galaxy Tab 7.7 just won't stop. We saw 10 to 12 hours on a charge with LTE on in a mix of web browsing, email, word processing and watching a few streaming videos on YouTube and a 30 minute 30 Rock episode on Netflix. Somehow, Samsung managed to fit a very high capacity 5,100 mAh into the Tab 7.7's lithe frame, and beyond that they've done some excellent power management.


The Galaxy Tab 7.7 has Samsung's usual camera combo: 2MP front and 3MP rear. Though higher than average resolution, we can't say the front camera looks any sharper for video calls than other tablets' 1.3MP cameras. It does the job with the usual noise and lack of color. The rear camera takes better shots than you might expect from such a low resolution. Images are reasonably sharp and quite colorful, though the camera tends to white out bright screens. You can use the cameras for video chat in apps like Skype and Google Talk video chat.


The Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7 is currently one of our picks for 7-8" tablets. It has a great display, is very fast and is easy on the eyes. It's super-slim, has fast Verizon LTE for data most anywhere and Samsung has finally changed to a classier metallic back and added a micro SD card slot. Our only complaint? The price.


Price: $499 with 2 year contract, $699 without contract



Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7 vs. Motorola Droid XYBoard 8.2 Comparison

Samsung Galaxy Tab Full Size Keyboard Dock Review



Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7



Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7

Above: the Motorola Droid XYBoard 8.2 and Galaxy Tab 7.7 on Verizon.


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Display: 7.7" Super AMOLED Plus capacitive touch screen. Resolution: 1280 x 800, supports both portrait and landscape modes.

Battery: 5,100 Lithium Ion rechargeable. Battery is not user replaceable.

Performance: Dual core 1.4GHz Samsung Exynos CPU. 1 gig RAM, 16 gigs internal storage.

Size: 7.74 x 5.24 x 0.31 inches. Weight: 12 ounces.

Cellular: 3G EV-DO Rev. A and LTE 4G on Verizon Wireless.

Camera: 2MP front and 3MP rear camera that can shoot 720p video.

Audio: Built in stereo speakers, mic and 3.5mm headset jack.

Networking: Integrated WiFi 802.11b/g/n and Bluetooth 3.0.

Software: Android OS 3.2 Honeycomb with Samsung TouchWiz UI and widgets. Will recieve a free upgrade to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. Standard suite of Google Android applications including web browser, email, gmail, YouTube, Maps, Navigation, Gtalk, Search and the Android Market.

Expansion: 1 SDHC microSD card slot.


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