Making Your Galaxy Tab More User-Friendly

The Samsung Galaxy Tab is the best high-end Android tablet on the local market right now (and priced to match), but its interface isn't ideal for everyone. Here's how Lifehacker reader Assaph tweaked his Galaxy Tab with a few familiar Lifehacker tweaks to make it work better.

I have an HTC Desire, and I love HTC Sense. I recently got a Galaxy Tab from work (lucky bastard, I know) and I found a few things missing.

Browser

The browser Samsung has put on the Tab is appalling. It does not reflow text on pinch zoom, does not zoom on double-tap and is generally a poor performer. Dolphin HD to the rescue. Dolphin HD is a really good browser, supports plugins (including Firefox sync for those who haven't switched to Chrome) and is generally very adept at recognising page layout so a simple double-tap zooms and reflows text perfectly.

Launcher

Again, Samsung left a lot to be desired compared to the Desire. Adding applications to the home screen required too many clicks, the shortcuts were not particularly good, and the apps drawer had a very random sort order (which included holes if you uninstalled an application!). The solution here is Go Launcher. It has a 5x5 mode which is perfect for the Tab, you can customise it extensively (e.g. sorted application list with vertical scrolling) and the shortcuts are easier to work. It allows you to resize widgets to fit the 5x5 screen (as most widgets are built for a 4x4 max), which together with Fancy Widget make the home screen feel much nicer. My only quibble is that the themes are mostly designed for a 4x4 screen so do not stretch quite as well.

Other issues

I still miss the HTC_IME keyboard mod, as the word prediction on the Samsung keyboard sucks. The default keyboard doesn't let you put in an ellipsis with less than 6 keystrokes! I'm trying, but so far not fussed about, both Swype and SwiftKey. Swype doesn't have a landscape mode which makes the keyboard awkward, and I'm still trying to get used to SwiftKey's word completion. The only good thing that Samsung added — and which I wish was on the Desire — is a little drag-tab that lets you position of the cursor accurately within text. It also seems that contact linking (pulling in multiple contact entries from Gmail accounts, Twitter, facebook and the like) is an HTC Sense function, but as I don't use the Tab as a phone that bothers me less.

Lastly, it seems that the market requires you to set up the primary account to recognise paid apps. On my phone my personal Gmail account is first and work is the secondary account, while on the Tab it's reversed (work being the first account entered). This sadly means that I can't use my paid apps from my phone on my Tab, at least until I do a factory reset.

It's always good to hear how devices can be customised for productivity — if you've got additional Galaxy Tab tweaks to share, we'd love to hear them in the comments. Thanks Assaph!


Comments

    Just FYI, SwiftKey has a Tablet-specific layout coming soon. The prototype got a great write-up from Engadget :o)

    http://www.engadget.com/2011/01/12/exclusive-swiftkey-tweaks-its-android-keyboard-for-tablets-han/

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