Galaxy Microsystems is a popular video card OEM that tends to bring high end graphics solutions at a more affordable price point than its competitors. Well, they’ve been working on expanding the product range and one such product may be of interest you to you guys. The GalaPad 7 inch WiFi tablet is a premium tablet powered by Tegra 3, delivering high end performance without totally making you pay through the nose for it. Thanks to Galaxy Microsystems and Banbros Commercial Inc., their official local distributor, I was able to get some hands on time with the GalaPad. Here are my thoughts.
Build Quality and Design
After handling a bunch of budget tablets from local brands and Chinese OEMs, the build quality of the GalaPad was really refreshing. Despite being only 9.9mm thin, the build quality was rock solid. The design is sleek and minimal, which I like. The tablet features almost no curves whatsoever, save for the rounded corners, and it has a glass-like finish that gives it a premium feel. That and the silver trim kind of reminds me of the industrial minimalist feel of the more recent iPhone designs, except it’s on a tablet.
It could have been slightly better though. The logo is too eye-catching for its own good and GalaPad is a weird name no matter how you cut it, especially if you aren’t familiar with the Galaxy brand (Galaxy + Pad = GalaPad, get it?). It’s also one mother of a fingerprint magnet, with both sides featuring that glass finish. Typically, the fingerprints are only obvious on the front of some tablets because the back isn’t as glossy, but on the GalaPad you get them both in front and back.
The Horse Under the Hood
The GalaPad 7 inch WiFi tablet is powered by an Nvidia Tegra 3 SoC that features a 1.3GHz quad core CPU and 416MHz 16 core ultra low power GPU. You read that right. While other 7 inch gaming tablets only feature quad core GPU, the GalaPad gives you 16 cores to handle graphics. There’s also 1Gb of RAM and a choice between 8 or 16Gb of internal storage, which can further be expanded up 32Gb via microSD.
That’s not all. The Tegra 3 actually has a 4.1 CPU core configuration. That means in addition to the four high performance cores, there’s also a fifth companion core clocked at 500MHz for when the GalaPad isn’t doing anything heavy on the system. This allows the GalaPad to save power by running on the companion core when it isn’t doing anything heavy and just switch to the high performance cores when it needs that extra juice.
The GalaPad features a 7 inch WSVGA (1024 x 600) IPS display. It’s not the best out there, even if it is an IPS panel, since there are a few 7 inch tablets that come with HD displays (1280 x 800) somewhere in the same price point. Still, it will give you a pixel density of 170ppi, which is still acceptable for things like browsing the web, reading ebooks and gaming, but not so much for reading comics and manga unless you want to be constantly zooming in and out to read the smaller text.
Being a WiFi tablet, the GalaPad doesn’t come with a built-in 3G module, but it doesn’t skip on other wireless connectivity options either. There’s Bluetooth so you can wirelessly transfer files to and from other Bluetooth-enabled devices or connect Bluetooth accessories like keyboards, mice and headsets. Finally, there’s built-in GPS, which really comes in handy as you can use the GalaPad 7 inch WiFi tablet as your car’s navigation system. There’s even an official GPS car cradle accessory so you can conveniently do just that.
One pet peeve of mine when it comes to gadgets is when they don’t come out with accessories that improve the user experience. Thankfully, the GalaPad 7 inch WiFi tablet doesn’t have that problem, and you can immediately get an official screen protector and back case to protect your precious investment from scratches and dings. There’s also the aforementioned GPS car cradle so you can easily position the GalaPad in your car and use it as a navigation system. Finally, there’s a digital AV adapter, which is essentially a Micro HDMI-to-HDMI cable to hook up the tablet to a display or projector and use it as a media center of sorts. Neat!
Pricing and Availability
The GalaPad 7 inch WiFi comes with a retail price of Php9,995 and has already been available in the Philippine market for a few months now. It’s not clear whether this is for the 8Gb or 16Gb model though, so I’ll try to clarify this as soon as possible. If you prefer a 3G model or one with a larger screen, Galaxy Microsystems is also at work on a 7 inch 3G variant and 10.1 inch variant to be released sometime within the year.
Make no mistake, the GalaPad is NOT a budget tablet. It is a premium tablet that is competitively priced with the more recognizable brands out there and can even go head to head against the Nexus 7 without batting an eyelid. The price tag isn’t for everyone, but it certainly offers a lot of value for those who can afford it. Think the GalaPad is for you? It’s available in black or white and in 8Gb and 16Gb configurations.
GalaPad 7 Inch WiFi Specs
- 7 inch WSVGA IPS display (1024 x 600, 170ppi)
- 1.3GHz Tegra 3 SoC, 416MHz 16 core ULP GPU
- Android 4.1.1 Jelly Bean
- 1Gb RAM
- 8/16Gb internal storage, expandable via micro SD
- 2mp front-facing camera
- WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS
- Price: Php9,995