tablets

Samsung Galaxy Tab Tablet eBook Reader Review

We were impressed with the Galaxy Tab: it offers a lot of power in a fairly small package.

March 09, 2011
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Reading Books

If you're done playing around with the tens of thousands of Android apps and ready to settle down with a good eBook, download the Aldiko app. Or the Barnes & Noble NOOK app. Or the Kobo App. Or the Kindle app. Really, since the Galaxy Tab runs Android, you can download apps for just about every eBook store out there.

Most of these apps function like the Apple iPad's iBook app: each one is a portal to eBooks purchased with that specific app. The downside to this is there's no way to merge content amongst multiple apps. If you found a book that's only available through the Amazon Kindle app, you can't read it in another program. But eBooks and the reader programs are small, so you won't run out of space, as the Galaxy Tab offers 16GB of internal storage.

Reading Books Image
The Aldiko book reading interface

Browsing around an eBook is done with horizontal swipes along the touchscreen. These feel similar to turning the page of a paper book: swipe left to proceed to the next page, swipe right to return to the previous one.

You can also access more navigation options by tapping the screen to bring up reader menu. Most of the elements of this menu are aimed at aiding navigation. The top right of the screen has a search feature, which lets you search the document for a given word or phrase. Toward the bottom of the screen is a scrub bar that lets you navigate through the document—it's similar to how a scrub bar would work on a video or music file, only you're skipping between pages and not time stamps. The "Go to..." button lets you access the table of contents, go to your bookmarks, add bookmark, or jump to a specific page.

Buying Books

Since the Tab runs Android, there are quite a few book stores available. We were going to use Google books (it seems like a natural fit) for our explanatory walkthrough, but almost every link in the app was broken when we tried it, we'll use Aldiko instead.

Buying Books Image
The Aldiko book store: many other online bookstores can be accessed

The Aldiko store is an amalgamation of different stores. At the moment you can purchase (or download free) content from Feedbooks.com store, O'Reilly's eBooks, and Smashwords. Once you've booted up the program, just click the shopping cart and these three services will start showing you their wares. The top of the screen should have a little carousel of bestsellers' thumbnails, underneath which are a few different categories. Chances are, though, your best bet is with the little magnifying glass in the top right corner: searching is definitely the fastest way to find the book you want.

Then, once you've tracked down your eBook query and decided it's worth whatever price is listed, just click on either the cover or the little green price rectangle and you'll be taken to a longer description of the piece. From here you just click that inviting green price box again, fill out your info, and that shiny new eBook is all yours.

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eBook Formats

The Samsung Galaxy Tab basically supports any given eBook format: it just requires you to use the right app. If the book you really want is an Amazon exclusive and only available in the.AZW format, you can just download the Kindle app.

Of course, each file is linked to the app that you've purchased it with, which could get confusing if DRM ends up ruling the eBook space. Having dozens of different apps each with their own proprietary content might make finding the eBook you're looking for a bit difficult.

Newspapers & Magazines

Much like the iPad, the Samsung Galaxy Tab uses apps in lieu of a true subscription service. Most of these apps are free to download from the Android marketplace.

eBook Battery Life

Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.

Sections

  1. Introduction
  2. Product Tour
  3. Screen
  4. Battery & Controls
  5. eReader
  6. Music & Audio
  7. Movies & Video
  8. Email & Web Browsing
  9. Internet Apps
  10. Apple iPad Wi-Fi (16 GB) Comparison
  11. Amazon Kindle Keyboard Wi-Fi Comparison
  12. Barnes & Noble Nook Color Comparison
  13. Conclusion
Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.
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Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.

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