Tethering with the Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7


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Here we are with our final segment on the Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7 – a subject that seems to generate the most discussion – 3G or no 3G?

Creating a WiFi Hot Spot for the Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7

When on the go just create a WiFi Hot Spot on your smartphone and connect right up.

As with our previous Tab 7.7 work, this is a reader/viewer generated article and video for our audience, all based on the questions and feedback on things you’d like to see demonstrated or shown on the Galaxy Tab 7.7.

We fielded questions from our own site, our Facebook page,  Google+ Page and of course our YouTube channel, and came up with 5 short videos on various aspects of the Galaxy Tab 7.7.

The one question that keeps on popping up on both the Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7 and Asus Transformer Prime comments areas are to do with 3G versions of the two models. And the two questions that crop up here are a) how would you choose one over the other, and b) how would you get by with just a wi-fi version if you’re on the road?

Having an integrated 3G model definitely has its benefits from the word go. You can turn it on no matter where you are, and if you have a mobile signal, you are good to go for internet connection and therefore connect to all your apps, content, email, and anything else that requires an online connection.

Because 3G is built-in it’s instant-on, theoretically quicker because it uses it’s own hardware to connect and display online content, and you are not having to change your wireless settings every time you walk into a free wi-fi spot, although you may still want to do that to save on your monthly bandwidth.

And that brings me to some of the drawbacks to having a 3G tablet – it’s another account that you have manage, and if you sign up to a contract you may not use all your bandwidth and therefore waste it, or overuse and end up paying extra. Pre-paid plans do help with this and are much more popular these days.

The alternative to this is to pad your smartphone’s internet limit to a higher level and share that with your tablet, saving you on the cost of the 3G hardware (as there is a price premium for 3G vs Wi-fi only) and keeping your bill to just one that you can monitor and adjust as required.

I did a snap survey and I was very surprised with the amount of people that didn’t realise that “hotspot” activation on their smartphone was something they could do right now, today.

I know many of our readers are more advanced in their knowledge, but I thought this would be a good opportunity to show very quickly how to connect the Samsung Tab 7.7 to a smartphone, using two of the world’s most successful phones – the Apple iPhone and the Samsung Galaxy S II.

The iPhone is pretty straight forward, and there are a couple of steps you do need to do each time you want the personal hotspot feature to be activated. However, it does work smoothly and Apple have made it as simple as they could within the menu system they currently have.

The Android software is a little more interesting because you can take advantage of the widget feature that gives direct control and feedback from your home screen without having to open an app or go into a menu setting.

You do have to go into the settings menu once to set up access to the hotspot with password protection, but once that is done it is a simple case of downloading and installing a free hotspot widget that you can then toggle on and off, making it very easy to connect your tablet to your phone within seconds.

Here is the video for the Android hotspot connection feature:

 

And here is the method for setting up a hotspot widget on your iPhone smartphone:

 

And that ends our extensive look at the Samsung 7.7. We will keep answering your questions on this product so please feel free to ask anything that we haven’t yet covered.

Which do you prefer? 3G or Wi-Fi only tablets? Do you hotspot or just use it from non-online activities when you’re away from your home wireless signal?

For a more detailed and first look at the Samsung galaxy Tab 7.7  CLICK HERE; for the first Q & A segment in which we compared the Tab 7.7 to the iPad 2, CLICK HERE; for the segment where we used theTab  7.7 as an eBook, just CLICK HERE; for a look at multitasking on the Tab 7.7, CLICK HERE; and for a quick video editing app look, CLICK HERE.

Video Editing with the Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7

Hi everyone, we’re back with our first post for 2012!

These next couple of weeks are going to be pretty exciting with our attendance at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, but before we go we still have a couple of features on the Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7 to punch out for your enjoyment.

As with our previous Tab 7.7 work, this is a reader/viewer generated article and video for our audience, all based on the questions and feedback on things you’d like to see demonstrated or shown on the Galaxy Tab 7.7.

We fielded questions from our own site, our Facebook page,  Google+ Page and of course our YouTube channel, and came up with 5 short videos on various aspects of the Galaxy Tab 7.7.

The Galaxy Tab 7.7 has a basic video editor to add effects to videos stored on locally..

A regular on our Facebook page, Maans Le Roux, asked us about the video editor output on the Tab 7.7. One of the big issues with editing videos on smaller devices is many only save an edited video in a highly compressed format like .3gp.

The video output on this particular app that comes pre-loaded on the Tab 7.7 saves in high definition mp4, so it’s good enough to playback on larger computer and television screens, or upload to YouTube in good quality.

In fact, you can actually select the video resolution to suit different file sizes depending on how you intend to use the video.

One function we couldn’t see was to cut or crop a video’s length on the Video Editor app. This may not have been a final version on the unit we were using, so we’re not judging the app, more showing the basics of how to use the editing app and save the video to see what output formats are available.

Here’s the short video showing the video editor in use and the output selection:

 

Do you use video editing in portable devices, or upload videos straight to YouTube from your smartphone or tablet?

For a more detailed and first look at the Samsung galaxy Tab 7.7  CLICK HERE; for the first Q & A segment in which we compared the Tab 7.7 to the iPad 2, CLICK HERE; for the segment where we used theTab  7.7 as an eBook, just CLICK HERE; and for a look at multitasking on the Tab 7.7, CLICK HERE.

Multitasking With the Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7

Here we are once again with a reader/viewer generated article and video for our audience, all based on the questions and feedback on things you’d like to see demonstrated or shown on the soon-to-be-released Galaxy Tab 7.7.

We fielded questions from our own site, our Facebook page,  Google+ Page and of course our YouTube channel, and came up with 5 short videos on various aspects of the Galaxy Tab 7.7.

For a more detailed and first look at the Samsung galaxy Tab 7.7  CLICK HERE. For the first Q & A segment in which we compared the Tab 7.7 to the iPad 2, CLICK HERE, and for the segment where we used theTab  7.7 as an eBook, just CLICK HERE.

It's easy to do multiple tasks on the Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7, thanks to the Android platform and the slick Touch Wiz skin.

Multitasking in the Android environment is one reason I enjoy using the Google platform for tablets and smartphones. The ability to switch between open apps in a really simple but intuitive way has been one of Android’s main differences between it and other smartphone and tablet operating systems.

Allesandro Valenti from our Facebook fan page asked to see multitasking on the Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7, among other things, and we’ve created a video to show how easy it is to switch between apps, force close them and even manipulate and control certain functions while staying within a particular environment.

The TouchWiz overlay doesn’t really add or take anything away from the multitasking, and in the video you can see how quickly we can move from one app to another without much effort.

Multitasking situations crop up all the time now in our busy world. You could be reading an online newspaper when an email notification comes through, and you can quickly switch and reply, then return to browsing. Music can be played in the background while doing other things like ebook reading.

How seamless it is to switch between them is the key to a good portable device, and Android have made it one of their key development areas, with notifications and app switching a defining part of the Android Honeycomb environment.

Without further ado, here’s our short video of how multitasking works on the Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7:

 

Do you think multitasking is an important aspect your your mobile device, and does that factor form part of your decision making? Feel free to leave your comments, and maybe even tips on power multitasking, in the section below. See you there soon!

Again if you haven’t already seen the previous articles and videos on the Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7 you can find them here:

For the detailed first look article of the 7.7, CLICK HERE. For the first Q & A segment in which we compared the Tab 7.7 to the iPad 2, CLICK HERE, and for the segment where we used theTab  7.7 as an eBook, just CLICK HERE.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7 is a Great eBook Reader

Here we are once again with a reader/viewer generated article and video for our audience, all based on the questions and feedback on things you’d like to see demonstrated or shown on the soon-to-be-released Galaxy Tab 7.7.

We fielded questions from our own site, our Facebook page,  Google+ Page and of course our YouTube channel, and came up with 5 short videos on various aspects of the Galaxy Tab 7.7. These are unscripted, off-the-cuff segments to showcase the things that you said you’d like to see.

If you haven’t already seen the other articles and videos on the Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7 you can find them here:

For the detailed first look article of the Galaxy Tab 7.7, CLICK HERE. For the first Q & A segment in which we compared the Galaxy Tab 7.7 to the iPad 2, CLICK HERE, and for the segment where we take a look at Galaxy theTab  7.7 while multitasking just CLICK HERE.

This second segment is in response to Facebook fan Marissa Cookson’s request to see some eBook reading on the Galaxy Tab 7.7.

Today we look at the Readers Hub and the functionality of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7 as an eBook Reader.

eBook reading is something that will come very naturally to owners of this 7 inch Android tablet. It’s the size of dedicated eBook readers, and although it’s not e-ink like the Kindle and other eBook readers, the Super AMOLED screen is actually more responsive and dynamic than e-ink readers could ever be.

Don’t get me wrong, I am a big fan of e-ink Readers, being the proud owner of a PRS-T1 which I do use for long reading sessions. But if you’re the owner of a Galaxy Tab 7.7, you’re probably not going to want more than one tablet to carry around. Ideally, a 7 inch can do a little of everything well, including book reading.

The Galaxy Tab 7.7 is an excellent reader, I am happy to report, and for many reasons. Firstly, without even looking at the software, the lightweight nature makes it comfortable to hold in one hand as a reader for extended periods. From a screen point of view, the real estate mimics that of a large paperback novel so it feels natural while reading.

One of the drawbacks (and there’s not that many for dedicated ebook readers to be honest) is that you do need external lighting in order to read. Here with the 7.7, you are able to read in any environment, lit or not, and adjust brightness settings to your requirements.

From a page turn point of view, the “curl” option gives the impression of a real book page being turned, and the powerful processor made it smooth and responsive to the fingers movement. I actually prefer that visual page turn to a simple fade or switch to the next page, which I find a little jarring (you do have the option for either).

Finally, the Reader Hub itself presents a fair few reading opportunities. Newspapers, books and periodicals are all available for purchase within this hub, and you can build up your collection within each category. Both Kobo and Zinio are huge online publishing companies with a wide reach, and Press Display delivers daily newspapers from around the world. Content availability is definitely not an issue.

If there was one change I’d like to see in the reader hub, I would prefer to have one sign-in for all three formats rather than having to manage separately. Ultimately they are separate companies but it certainly would make it easier to track and manage.

In all, the Galaxy Tab 7.7 succeeds as a reader. Let’s dive into some demonstrations on the new video below. Enjoy! (if the video isn’t showing it’s because we’re just in the middle of uploading now).

 

What do you think of the Galaxy 7.7 as an eBook reader? Would it be one of the major activities you’d be indulging in if you owned one?  Let us know what you think and feel free to leave comments below and as always, we’ll be there to respond.

For those of you who have yet to see and read the other articles on the Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7 can do so here:

For the detailed first look article of the Galaxy Tab 7.7, CLICK HERE. For the first Q & A segment in which we compared the Galaxy Tab 7.7 to the iPad 2, CLICK HERE, and for the segment where we take a look at Galaxy theTab  7.7 while multitasking just CLICK HERE.

Sony eBook Reader PRS-T1: First Look

I love a good book. Being spoilt with all the dynamic content that is available via the iPad for digital magazines, it’s sometimes refreshing to just read plain text and let the imagination do the rest. After all, the Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter and Twilight franchises started out as books full of words and lavish description. There is something about using your own mind’s eye to recreate an author’s passage without the benefit of a TV screen or computer monitor, or even tablet these days, to fill it in for you.

Overseas, the eBook market is massive, with a lot of legitimate choice for buyers who genuinely want to purchase content as they would a book off a shelf at a bookstore. Although Australia is still lagging to some extent in terms of electronic content availability, it is good to see that it hasn’t stopped manufacturers releasing new and impressive eBook readers, such as the Sony PRS-T1, which I’m reviewing here today.

Sony Reader PRS-T1 Front page

Intuitive touchscreen elements, great reading screen and lightweight but solid build.

To start with, the Sony is well designed and is extremely lightweight. At only 168grams, you would not notice this reader in a bag, and is a touch less than 9mm thick. Its 6” display sits well in a holding position, large enough to read a fair amount of text on the screen, but not too awkward too hold in one hand.

As far as physical button and connections go, it has five buttons on the bottom face, and a micro USB port for charging and computer connection, along with headphones and a power button. A micro SD card slot is located on the side for loading additional books to the 1,200 book capacity already available.

Sony Reader PRS-T1 Inputs

Bottom of the Reader showing the Micro USB, headphones and power button

The E-ink screen looks amazing. In contrast (pardon the pun) to backlit tablet products that offer the same functionality, e-ink does not have its own display light, but acts like printed text and requires a light source to read by – just like a real book. It’s actually startling how different on the eyes the E-ink text is.

Sony Reader PRS-T1 Text Page

Just like reading the real thing.

It is deceptively easy to read whole chapters of a book without putting it down, partly because of the weight and partly because of the passive screen. The E-ink presents an effortless reading environment.

Page turning is a simple swipe motion on the screen, and no pressure needs to be applied to the screen, very similar to tablet actions. In fact, I found out today that the core software driving the operating system on the Sony Reader is an Android derivative.

Sony Reader PRS-T1 Buttons

Android platform provides a familiar platform and therefore intuitive navigation and functionality.

This actually makes lots of sense as the three buttons representing Home, Back and Menu are direct ports of Android buttons on earlier smartphones. Much of the navigation is icon-based, so in hindsight Android is perfectly suited to provide a seamless experience.

The Reader actually comes with a stylus but I haven’t seen the need to use it so far. The fact that there’s no holder on the actual reader makes me think a lot of others may make-do with their fingers. So far it hasn’t been an issue. You may want to use it for the free-form handwriting function, which you can save.

Sony Reader PRS-T1 Handwriting

Screen is reasonably responsive for stylus entry.

Battery power is quoted at around 4 weeks, with only a couple of hours charge. This is possible because the battery is consumed only when a page is changed – when a new page is displayed no power is required to retain the image. I’m still getting used to this – pressing the power button once puts the Sony Reader into sleep mode, and generates an image of the cover of the latest book you’re reading. This cover image remains until you press the power button again, and I kept doing double-glances before realising that this was its sleep mode.

Because of yet-to-be-finalised licencing agreements, the on-board bookstore and library (where you can actually “borrow books”) available to other countries is not yet functional in Australia. However, there are many places to find books online – the Book Bites blog lists over 30 currently available eBook repositories, both free and paid. The Sony Reader software also provides access to content from Borders & Angus and Robertson.

Transferring books has up to this point been an easy affair – I’ve downloaded an ePub title and then simply dragged and dropped onto the Sony Reader, which comes up as a drive once connected via USB. The Sony Reader software can also be used to transfer content that is DRM protected, specifically Adobe Digital Editions, but if your book does not have restrictions then using the standard Windows interface is simple.

The Sony Reader is also Wi-Fi enabled, and comes with a browser for connection to the internet. Most sites I visited defaulted to the mobile versions of each site, which makes sense for the 6” screen and lack of colours or flash playback. The touch screen also allows basic pinch and zoom actions, handy for web browsing when text is too small to be readable.

Sony Reader PRS-T1 with Ritchies Room in the Browser

Orientation can also be adjusted for website viewing. To avoid large downloads, the Sony Reader will load the mobile site if available.

In other countries the Wi-Fi would also serve as a portal for book purchasing and borrowing which would negate the need for an intermediary step to load purchased content from PC, instead directly through the PRS-T1 itself. This is obviously an advantage for the competiting Kindle, which has content available on tap through its range.

There are a few more features that enhance the reading experience. Touching a particular word in a book will bring up its definition and the option to search for that word on Wikipedia or Google. In fact, the Sony Reader has 12 built-in dictionaries, so you should never be lost for the meaning of a word.

Sony Reader PRS-T1 Dictionary

Built-in dictionary with direct search and wikipedia function, great for non-fiction books where you may want to dig further into a particular subject.

You are able to manage books by placing them in “collections”, and you have control over the naming conventions of these “folders”; you can choose to manage by genre, age or author – entirely up to you.

You can also load songs onto the Reader, so you can listen to music while you’re reading. If you were going to do this, I strongly suggest a large size Micro SD card, 16GB-32GB in size.

As far as e-book readers go, I think Sony is onto a winner here. The E-ink display is gorgeous and as long as you are willing to explore book titles yourself through the Sony Reader PC software and various websites as mentioned above, then the functionality of the PRS-T1 will reward you with many good reads over time.

Do you buy e-books yourself, and if so what websites would you recommend for users of e-book readers in Australia?