It’s one thing seeing images, leaked or otherwise, of a hot new product, it’s another entirely getting to fiddle about with one. And that was the case with Samsung’s Galaxy Tab as, while it looks good in the shots, and the specifications read well, it’s a different kettle of fish up close.

It’s better.

The first impression of the Tab is that it is the perfect size for a portable multimedia device. Its 16:9 7-inch screen is ideal for watching video content, text is still fully legible on both websites and ebooks, and it doesn’t suffer from the iPad’s cumbersome girth when trying to play action games. In short, it is the Galaxy Tab that will be a true game changer (pardon the pun).

Of course, it also offers way more, in terms of functionality, than Apple’s device. There’s cameras front and back for starters, and while the rear one is a mere 3 megapixels, that’s 3 megapixels more than the iPad. The memory storage is also upgradeable, being as it uses micro SD cards (up to 32GB), so you don’t have to choose between gradually more expensive options.

And there’s voice calling. This may be a little cumbersome to use, to be honest, and will certainly not replace a phone, but we could see that it would be ideal for conference calls, video or otherwise.

We’re also pleasantly surprised by the Tab’s chunkiness, it feels solid in the hand. That may not sound as exciting as some other company’s “slimmest tablet” claims, but it is reassuringly well-built, and that’s, perhaps, more important. Indeed, we saw someone drop one on the Samsung stand at IFA, Berlin, which clattered to the floor like a piano in a Laurel and Hardy film, but it was still fully operational and intact - thumbs up.

If there were any caveats, it would be that the swiping of a finger has a slight delay with on-screen motion, but we suspect that might be fixed in a later build of the firmware (and certainly before general release).

The other minor whinge is that there’s so many features that it’s impossible to have played with all of them in the brief time we had with the Tab at the show. Damn you Samsung and your fully-featured, wunderkind of a tablet.

We’ll just have to have a further fiddle another time.

The Samsung Galaxy Tab will be coming to the UK around October time (depending on the network providers) and price is unknown at present.

Check out how the Galaxy Tab does against the iPad and the Toshiba Folio 100.