Congratulations on your purchase of the Galaxy Tab. Now it's time to check your Tab to make sure everything works properly and to get the most out of your Tab 7.0 or Tab 10.1.
The first two things you should consider are accessories and insuranceaccessories to give you more flexibility and protect your investment, and insurance to protect yourself from accidental damage or theft.
After you turn on your Galaxy Tab for the first time, make sure that everything works by testing your hardware connections (such as your headphones) and your camera, and also set up the Tab so the screen rotates or stays locked when you rotate the unit.
The next step is to connect to the Internet because without doing so you can't check for updates to the Android operating system.
Finally, you should set your wallpaper so the screen looks the way you want and password-protect your Tab to protect your data from prying eyes.
The article concludes with a reminder to visit the Android Market to shop for apps, which is the topic of my next article.
1. Consider Screen and Keyboard Accessories
It may seem strange that I'm listing hardware accessories as the first thing you want to consider after you've purchased your Tab. After all, you may know what you want to do with your Tab, but you may not know how best to protect your Tab from the elements, transport your Tab, and make it easier for you to interact with your Tab. Finding accessories in all three areas is important, and though these accessories cost a bit more money they're worth it in the long run.
If you purchased your Galaxy Tab from a store, you may have already looked at some accessories. You can also find a number of accessories from Samsung as well as from third-party companies.
The first thing you need to think about is screen protection because if you have a broken screen it's almost certain that your Galaxy Tab will be unusable and you'll have to purchase another one.
Note: ZDNet published a review of covers for the Galaxy Tab 10.1 on November 4, 2011 that not only looked at the Samsung cover but a pair of other covers as well. You can read the review at http://www.zdnet.com/blog/perlow/samsung-galaxy-tab-101-cases-review/19152.
If you have a Tab 7.0, a quick search of "Galaxy Tab 7.0 covers" on your favorite web browser will show you a number of different covers to consider, including the cover Samsung offers.
When you think of screen protection, don't think of just a case. You can add a thin, transparent sheet on top of your screen that will protect your Tab 7.0 or Tab 10.1 screen from scratches and also reduce the inevitable finger smudges. ZAGG (http://www.zagg.com) offers its invisibleSHIELD protector for all models of the Galaxy Tab, including the Tab 8.9.
You may also decide that you want to use a physical keyboard when you're on the go instead of relying on the on-screen keyboard so you can type faster and have more screen space. Samsung offers its own keyboards for the Tab 7.0 and Tab 10.1, but there are other options available.
For example, the Samsung keyboard for the Tab 7.0 only lets you type in vertical orientation. However, other keyboards come in a clamshell case in which you place the Tab in one side of the case and the keyboard connects to the Tab using a Bluetooth wireless connection.
When you close the case, the keyboard doesn't touch the screen. Logitech (http://www.logitech.com) sells a similar type of keyboard case made by ZAGG for the Tab 10.1. These cases also allow you to remove the Tab from the case if you wish.
2. Consider Insurance
There are two primary ways that you can lose information on your Tab: from damage to the unit itself and from theft. The standard warranty on your Galaxy Tab doesn't include replacement of your unit if it becomes broken (such as if you drop it and break the screen) or if someone steals it.
Any existing insurance policy you have for your home or business probably won't cover your Tab, either. Therefore, you should consider insurance as a means to complement your existing product warranty.
There are companies that include computer insurance as part of their policies. In the case of Safeware (http://www.safeware.com), they provide insurance policies for computers, tablets, and smartphones. If you have a data plan through a carrier such as AT&T or Verizon, they may also offer extended warranties or other insurance options for replacing your Tab in case disaster strikes.
3. Test Your Hardware Connections
Before you turn on your Galaxy Tab, the instructions that came with your Tab (you did read them, didn't you?) tell you to charge your Galaxy Tab before you turn it on. If the Tab charges successfully, then you'll know that the USB cable and the power supply work properly.
After you turn on the Tab, you should check other hardware connectionsincluding the volume control and speakers, as well as headphones you purchased to use with your Tab. Also connect the USB cable to your computer to make sure that both your Tab and computer recognize each other.
If one or more connections don't work, be sure to check your operating system settings first to make sure that nothing is set incorrectly (such as the volume being placed on mute). You may need to reset your Galaxy Tab and try testing the hardware again.
If all else fails, review any and all free online support options both on your wireless carrier website (if you use a carrier) and on Samsung's site. For example, you may want to review online forums or leave a message on a forum to get feedback from others.
4. Set Your Screen Orientation
The Tab 7.0 is set to change its screen orientation by default so when you rotate the unit 90 degrees, the screen also rotates 90 degrees to vertical or horizontal mode. The Tab 10.1 is set to stay in horizontal mode by default if you rotate the unit or not.
You can reset the Tab 7.0 so the screen stays in its current mode by dragging the status bar to the bottom of the screen and then tapping the Orientation Lock icon; the icon turns green to signify that the screen is locked in its current mode. On the Tab 10.1, tap the time in the status bar at the bottom of the screen. In the status box, tap Auto rotation. The icon turns green to signify that the screen will rotate when you rotate the unit.
5. Try Your Camera
You should give both the front and the back of your camera a try to see how it works. You should try taking still pictures and also use the camcorder to take videos to ensure that the settings work as you expect them to. If they don't work for you, your Tab gives you plenty of options.