Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 Review

With the popularity of the tablet form factor growing, thanks mainly to the iPad and Transformer tablets, more and more companies are capitalizing on this new found cash source. One such company is Samsung who already with a successful mobile phone portfolio, one that is set to overtake Nokia as the dominant cellphone manufacturer in the world, has turned its eye to the tablet form factor. The Galaxy Tab 10.1 is a ten inch tablet that runs Android 3.1 and will compete directly with the likes of the Transofmer, Iconia, Xoom and iPad 2.

Pricing

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Specifications of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1:

  • General:
  • Android Honeycomb 3.1 Operating System
  • 1 GHz Nvidia Tegra 2 dual core processor
  • 1 GB of RAM
  • Dimensions: 10.1″ x 6.9″ x 0.34″
  • Weight: 19.9 ounces
  • 16 GB or 32 GB of internal memory
  • Full Adobe Flash Support
  • Display:
  • 10.1-inch Widescreen HD WXGA TFT Display
  • Supports 1280 x 800 pixel resolution
  • 1080p HD playback of videos and movies
  • Advanced Flash support provides fast frame rates and high quality graphics for a PC-like visual experience
  • Bright screen and vibrant color rendering
  • Camera:
  • 3 megapixel camera with auto focus and flash and 720p HD video capture
  • 2 megapixel front facing camera for video chats
  • Multiple ports and expansion slots for sharing photos and videos, including HDMI (with adapter), sharing with up to 5 Media Hub compatible devices, and wireless AllShare capability
  • Communications and Internet:
  • Wireless N Wi-fi networking
  • Bluetooth Connectivity
  • Full Flash support for PC-like Web browsing
  • Full Google integration with pre-loaded apps and services
  • Multiple email options
  • Access to Android Market with apps and games

Design & Features

The Galaxy Tab 10.1 is the slimmest tablet ever. It also happens to be the lightest as well. The tablet is just 0.33 inches thick. There is a 1GHz dual-core NVIDIA Tegra 2 processor on board with a 3 megapixel camera around back and a 2.0 front facing camera in the front. The rear facing camera can record video at 720p. Other ports include a microSD card slot, 3.5mm headphone jack and a proprietary 30-pin USB port. That means your standard USB cables won’t work with this, just like the Apple iPad.

Overall the design of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 is one that speaks elegance. It is extremely light and during our tests we found it easier to hold than the iPad 2. More importantly, the added thinness means that even when you put a case on the device it will still be thin enough to compete with a case-less iPad 2.

Our only drawback design and spec wise is the lack of a standard USB port, and we wish that Samsung would have included a bit more aluminum. That said, adding more aluminum would have added to the weight so in the end, keeping off more metal was a wise idea.

Performance

The days of Android phones performing under par are over and as Samsung showed us with the Galaxy S II, it is possible to create a phone that can surpass even the heavily favored iPhone. The same can be said of the Galaxy Tab 10.1. The original Tab 10.1 was a lot thicker than the current iteration and after going back to the design board, Samsung came out with version 2.

The Tegra 2 processor performs beautifully and navigating the apps on the Tab 10.1 is a breeze. We were a bit let down by the camera on the Tab 10.1, that said, we highly doubt most people will be using a 10.1 inch electronic as their major photography device, so this might be more of a personal quip.

As for apps, the Android market is still in its infant stage concerning tablet apps, and after all, Honeycomb 3.0 has only been out for a couple months. That said, there are still hundreds of tablet orientated apps, but still nowhere near as much as the iPad. We do not doubt that these numbers will pick up significantly as the months continue to pass and more and more Android tablets hit the market.

While we wait for such a day, Google’s Music App, inclusion of Flash 10.x and Adobe Air will provide enough oomph to keep users happy until the Market is filled out with tablet specific apps.

Conclusion:

In reviewing the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 we were more than pleased with the way Samsung has challenged Apple and so far has beat them at their own game, if only in specs. However, there is a great deal of work that is needed in the applications department. This however is not Samsung’s fault, but still affects our perceptions. Don’t get us wrong, the Galaxy Tab 10.1 is a solid tablet, but we would like to see more apps that take advantage of the screen.

As for price, for $499, $599 and $699 you get 16GB, 32GB and 64GB respectively. Those numbers sound familiar? That is because they are the exact same price points of the iPad 2. Samsung is clearly targeting Apple with the Galaxy Tab 10.1, and thanks to a slew of lawsuits by the latter against the former, it is clear that Samsung has irked Apple. What is yet to see is if the Galaxy Tab 10.1 will cannibalize sales of the iPad 2.