One of the most useful things you can do with a Google Android tablet is mobile email. For those who say tablets are just big smartphones, the mobile email capability is one area where they can be proved wrong.

Yes, it is true that a tablet running the same version of Android as you find on a mobile phone does its mobile email in the same way. But the big screen gives you some crucial advantages.

First off, there is the readability. Squinting to read text of long emails on a smartphone is not fun, and often you can’t see enough text at once to get a real feel for what is being said. On a tablet that is not a problem. Even tablets with smaller screens can offer a higher resolution display than a smartphone can, and that means more text can be viewable at once, and at a font size that does not hurt your eyes.

Second there is composing text. Many of us are quite comfortable tapping at on-screen keyboards on smartphones. But the larger keyboards of tablet devices are often much, much more comfortable to use. The keys are more widely spaced, and you can tap away with greater accuracy than is often achieved on a smartphone which ultimately means faster typing.

And there’s no problem with the range of email accounts that an Android tablet can support. Office workers will find support for their Exchange based email accounts. For the rest of us there is support for standard email accounts like Yahoo! or an email account provided by your Internet Service Provider. There is also, of course, support for Google Mail. In fact, you’ll need a gmail address in order to take advantage of the Android Market and some other services.

You can send and receive email using the Wi-Fi connection on your tablet so there’s no need to worry too much about constant use of your 3G data. And you can configure automatic timed downloads so that email gets to your inbox in a timely fashion.  Your tablet can synchronise email so that what’s marked as read on the device is marked as read on the server, and you can delete email from the tablet and the server at the same time. This means you can set up an email account on your tablet and the same account on your PC and the two will stay in sync.

Setting up an email account on your Android tablet is not a tricky task, and on our Samsung Galaxy Tab it is extremely straightforward. But you may need to get some bits of information together before you start. Your password and SMTP and POP server details might be required. If you don’t have this information to hand just check your ISP’s web site – the information ought to be publicly accessible. You won’t always need that information though – your device may well be able to find the servers details automatically.

Step-by-step: set up an email account and send an email

Set up gmail

You need to set up a gmail account to take advantage of the Android Market. To do this on a Samsung Galaxy Tab tap ‘Applications’ then ‘’Settings’ and choose ‘Accounts and sync’.

Google Android email setup

Add an account

Next tap ‘Add account’ at the bottom of the screen and now you can choose to add a Google account from the range on offer by tapping ‘Google’.

Google Android email setup

Enter details

On the next screen read the information then tap ‘Next’. If you already have a Google account tap ‘Sign in’. if not tap ‘Create’.  If you are signing in enter your username and password and tap ‘Sign in’.

Google Android email setup

Backup settings

After a few seconds your account will be registered. Make sure ‘Back up data with my Google Account’ is checked, then tap ‘Next’, then Finish setup.

Google Android email setup


When a new gmail comes in a notification sound is issued and a new icon appears in the notifications bar at the top of the home screen. Pull this down and tap the message to go to it.

Google Android email setup

Read and reply

Your gmail message is neatly laid out on the page. Tap ‘Reply’ to compose a response then use the on screen keyboard to tap your reply. Tap ‘Send’ when you are done.

Google Android email setup

Email signature

When you are looking at a gmail message tap the Menu button then choose ‘More’, then ‘Settings’. Tap ‘Signature’ to set up a sig to go at the end of each message.

Google Android email setup

Choose ringtone

In ‘Settings’ (step 7) tap ‘select ringtone’ to choose a specific ringtone to act as your notification sound for your gmail email. Tap ‘OK’ when you are done.

Google Android email setup