Measuring 120 by 191 by 12mm, Samsung's 7-inch tablet is significantly smaller than Apple's 9.7-inch device. There's only a couple of inches between the screen sizes of the two machines, but it actually makes a huge difference -- the Tab is about half the size of the iPad.
Beyond the lock screen, you'll find five customisable home screens, which you can fill to the brim with widgets and app shortcuts. Along the bottom of the screen are dedicated shortcuts to the Web browser, email and the full application menu.
How quickly you're able to navigate to the item you want will be largely down to you. If you make a habit of pinning your favourite apps to a home screen, you'll never be too far from the application your heart desires. If you decide not to customise the Tab, you could end up spending a few extra seconds clicking around menus, hunting for what you want.
Switching from portrait to landscape orientation automatically, via the built-in accelerometer, is also less elegant than it is in iOS. Switching often takes a while, with the screen disappearing before reappearing a moment later in a different position. There's also no hardware button to lock the display in one particular orientation, as there is on the iPad. That's a feature you'll quickly miss if you want to read something on the Tab while lying on your side.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab is a great device that packs neat hardware and well-integrated software into an appealing little bundle. The Galaxy isn't better than the iPad... But it isn't any worse either -- just different.
The iPad is slicker and simpler. If you're looking for a tablet to keep on your coffee table, and let you browse the Web on the sofa, the iPad is king. But, if you want something nimble but more feature-packed, the Galaxy is a decent choice.