A Special Needs Review of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus

The Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus

 

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Samsung, is the first of hopefully many tech companies, to step up to the plate and allow me to review their products from the unique perspective of a special needs parent, who just happens to be a hardcore techy. Not only do I understand the tech but also how it can be incorporated into the lives of the special needs family to assist a child with Autism in learning, communication and even social skills. 

The piece of tech I’ll be reviewing today is the Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus, by Samsung. This is a 7″ tablet powered by android OS version 3.2 Honeycomb. For those of you with hardcore techy blood pumping through your veins, I have all the specs at the bottom of this review. Remember, my main focus is how this device could benefit your child with Autism. There are already tons of your more typical tech reviews all across the web.

The rundown

Here is a quick rundown of what you get for the $299-$349 price tag and I’ll explain what this means for you and your child.

You get a bright, colorful and crisp, 7″ TFT display, sporting a resolution1024 x 600 pixels. This is kind of an oddball resolution and I’m not sure why they chose to go with it but it get the job done and I can promise you that your apps will look great on this display. My kids are really attracted to the bright, colorful images that are displayed on the screen.

This Galaxy Tab will connect to the internet via WiFi only. This means no overpriced carrier contracts to worry about. Let’s face it, WiFi is available everywhere. We connect to WiFi at the children’s hospital all the time. It’s free and works great for things like streaming NetFlix.

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The tablet comes in 2 flavors, 16GB and 32GB. The version I received for review was the 16GB version. Not only does this tablet have 16GB of internal or built in storage, it also has a microSD card reader as well for additional storage up to 32GB. What does this mean in terms of real life? It means that your child can store tons of movies, music, pictures, games and most importantly educational apps. What does this mean for you? It means car rides, doctors appointments or even trips to the store can become a bit easier and less stressful for you and your child, because, if anything like mine, they will be engrossed in their favorite animated movie and are effectively distracted. This could mean quieter outings with fewer battles. How many of us couldn’t use that, I mean honestly? This is also an important advantage over other devices, such as all of the iPad lineup and even Samsung’s own Galaxy Tabs 8.9 and 10.1….Why anyone would chose not to add it feature is beyond me.

Their are two cameras on The Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus, one is on the front (known as a front facing camera) and the other is located on the back. The front facing camera can be used for taking self portaits and videos and is spec’d at 2MP. This camera is also perfect for using apps like Skype for making free video calls to loved ones. My kids use this feature to visit with my sister who moved out of state last year. The get a big kick out of being able to be in the same room with her again. The rear facing camera is spec’d at 3MP and includes a flash. Both cameras do a decent job of taking pictures and videos. They won’t replace a high end camera but they get the job done and serve a very good purpose for your special needs child.

One of the things that we have utilized the camera features for is helping our kids to adjust to new people and places. While my kids tend to adjust to new people and places more easily then some, at times they do struggle. We will have Emmett, for example, take pictures and or video of his new surroundings, as well as take a picture of his new doctor or therapist. This allows us to help him become more familiar and comfortable with new things. He can view the pictures or watch the videos to better familiarize himself with his new friends. The front facing camera allows him to take pictures of himself with a new person in his life and that’s worked out great for him as well.

 Will this work for your child?

Nothing will ever work for everyone. It’s important to remember that every child on the Autism spectrum is different and has unique abilities and needs. Having said that, I will share with you why I think this particular device will be beneficial to many families out there and how and why it’s helped mine.

I’ll start out with my favorite feature this tablet possesses and that’s size. What good is a tablet device if it’s simply to cumbersome for a younger child to easily manage on their own. The fact is, that as parents to these kids, we want as much intervention as possible and at the earliest age possible. Many kids on the Autism spectrum have difficulties with gross and/or fine motor skills and as with my kids, could find larger tablets more difficult to hold and subsequently use. The Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus, by Samsung provides the perfect size and weight for a younger child to be able to operate on their own, comfortably. By comparison, the iPad is 9.7″ and most android tablets are around 10.1″ in size. My kids tend to have a more difficult time using the larger devices and seem to prefer the smaller screen size.

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While I would totally agree that bigger is better when it comes to TV’s, the same isn’t always true for portable computing. A 7″ display allows for plenty of room to view their favorite apps, in a crisp, bright and colorful fashion. My kids can easily navigate the touchscreen and can hold the tablet itself with one or both hands. My 3 year old son, Emmett, has been the primary user of this device and has been able to use it without any problems. This also helps to promote independence, as they are able to do something on their own.

Something else to consider when investing in a device like this is durability. As I mentioned previously, I’m a hardcore techy at heart and I’m really picky about things. I like to take care of the few things that I have and keep them looking new. My kids on the other, are more impulsive and aren’t as gentle with their belongings or mine, for that matter,as I would like to see them be and understandably so. I want to know that a device that I invest by very limited funds into will last long enough for my kids to get some use out of it.

With that said, I have to say that I am honestly impressed with the construction of this tablet. While is all plastic, it’s sleek and solid. It feels like one solid piece of glass in your hands. There are no sharp edges and the joints are all solid. The buttons (power and vol+/-) are sturdy and responsive. These are hallmarks of a well built device. The screen is scratch resistant as well. Emmett has accidentally and not so accidentally dropped this tablet on at least 4 or 5 occasions and there isn’t a scratch. Every time I clean the screen, I’m always looking for scratches and scuffs, all things I hate, and the screen remains undamaged. While I’m sure that Emmett will one day scratch the screen, I’m really, really impressed with how much it has stood up to so far. I’m very comfortable with Emmett using the Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus without supervision.

Conclusions

This is one, very well built, feature filled and high performance 7″ android tablet. Having said that, nothing is indestructible and everything has it’s limits. However, I think that this device is perfect for young children and adults alike.I would highly recommend this device to anyone that would like a tablet based tool for use with their child touched by Autism. This it the best bang for the buck in the tablet arena, in my opinion.

I would never recommend something that I haven’t personally used and found useful with my 3 boys on the Autism Spectrum. Emmett absolutely loves this device and with over 250,000 apps to choose from on the Google Play Store, your sure to find the apps that will be right for your child. If you have any questions at all, please send me a message via the contact form at the bottom of this page.

I give this tablet a 5/5 for use with children on the Autism Spectrum.  

The Complete List of Hardware Specs

Carrier: Wi-Fi Only

Form Factor: Touchscreen Tablet

Color: Metallic Gray

Operating System: Android™ 3.2, Honeycomb

Camera (Front): 2.0 Megapixel

Camera (Rear): 3.0 Megapixel Auto Focus with Flash

Features: Auto Focus; DivX®; HD Recording; HD Playback (on another HD device)

Dimensions (W x H x D):7.6 x 4.8 x .39 inches

Weight:12.1 Ounces

Battery: 4000mAh

Usage Time: Up to 8 hours

Standby Time: Up to 600 hours (Wi-Fi on), Up to 1500 hours (Wi-Fi off)

Internal: 16GB

External: micro SD card slot supports up to 32GB

Frequencies and Data Type: Wi-Fi Only

CPU: Samsung Exynos™ 2×1.2GHz

Display: 7″ Display

Main Display Resolution: 1024 x 600 Pixel

Main Display Size: 7″ Display

Main Display Technology: TFT

User Interface: Widgets; TouchWiz; Social Hub; Accelerometer

Audio: Music player; Compatible Music Files- MP3, AAC, AAC+, eAAC+, FLAC, WMA, Vorbis, Midi, AMR NB/WB, AC3(only with Video), WAV

Video: Video Player; Compatible Video Files- 1080p playback (HW codec only)Format: 3gp(mp4), avi(divx), wmv(asf), flv, mkv, webm Codec: HW – MPEG4, H.263, H.264, VC-1, DivX; VP8, WMV7/8, DivX3.11, Sorenson H.263

Fun and Entertainment: Google Play Store™, Samsung Media Hub, Social Hub, Peel Smart Remote, Amazon™ Kindle™, AllShare™, Kies Air, Next Issue, Photo Editor, Pulse

Business and Office: Microsoft® Exchange ActiveSync, Virtual Private Network (VPN) Access, Polaris® Office, Video Chat, Cisco WebEx, EAS IT Policy, HW Encryption, Sybase Afaria

Messaging Options: Email; Corporate Email; Instant Messaging; Swype™

Where to get it

Here are links to Samsung’s online store where you can purchase this particular device:

Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus 16GB $349

Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus 32GB $449

Follow Samsung:

Twitter: @SamsungTweets

Facebook: Samsung USA

Got Questions or Want Your Product Featured

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Good thing tablets and other technological advances help children and people with special needs.

David Domincki

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