Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 Tablet Review
Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 Strengths
- Stylish design and high quality build – the Samsung tablet is lighter than the iPad at 565 grams and a hair’s width thinner at 8.6mm.
- 10.1-inch multi-touch capacitive screen – it’s an impressive screen, at least parallel to the iPad 2 (measuring 8.9-inches), delivering bright and saturated colours. It also displays a sharp image with a screen resolution of 1280 by 800 pixels. If you’re viewing the tablet from an angle there’s little drop off in contrast so it’s great for passing photos around or when more than one person is looking at the screen. Overall the screen is of comparable quality to the iPad 2.
- Runs Google’s own tablet PC optimised operating system – Android 3.1 – Honeycomb. This means it’s slightly more polished than Android 3.0 tablets and delivers a snappier performance. The upgrade provides the same features as Honeycomb 3.0 but with extras such as resizable widgets. Android is easy to use but not as intuitive and slick as iOS on the iPad. Honeycomb gives you more options to customise your tablet where Apple went for the less-is-more approach when they designed the iPad – it’s less customisable but very simple to use.
- The Android Market is available directly from the device so it’s straight forward to search and download the apps available for this tablet.
- Samsung have added the Samsung Touchwiz interface to Android to improve the user experience. This means you have features that let you customise your home screen and you can switch quickly between open applications. You also have a number of “Hubs” covering the e-reader and newspaper/magazine reader, music playback and accessing social networks. The Polaris Office app provides the option to create and edit your word-processing documents, presentations and spreadsheets.
- It has a powerful processor that happily plays high-definition video. It also is Adobe Flash compatible so you can watch web video in this format. The iPad still prevents Flash content from playing so having access to it on the Galaxy Tab 10.1 is a big bonus for a lot of users.
- Web browsing experience is speedy and coupled with the screen, websites look great.
- A 3-megapixel camera with flash that includes autofocus on the rear of the Galaxy Tab 10.1. It is used for taking stills and shooting video. It’s a decent quality camera in comparison to other tablets and the resolution is far superior to the iPad 2. However, the quality is far from a bespoke digital camera.
- A front-facing 2-megapixel camera is included for video chat through services such as Skype. The iPad has a lower resolution front-facing camera.
- Just like the iPad 2, you have the option to buy a 16, 32 or 64GB version of the Samsung tablet. The larger memory size you buy, the more files, such as apps, music and video, you can store on the tablet. Given there is no option to expand this memory after you have bought the tablet, it’s advisable to go for more rather than less.
- Excellent battery life at around 9-10 hours of continuous video playback – comparable to an iPad 2.
- Powerful audio output, if you want comparable audio to your TV then you’ll still need to hook up some external speakers but the output from the Galaxy Tab 10.1 is at least as good or even better than other tablets reviewed.
- A range of sensors including a gyroscope and four-way accelerometer mean that this device is great for gaming. It will detect movements as you turn and rotate the screen in order to control the game you’re playing.
- Assisted-GPS sensor means it will work with mapping software such as Google Maps so you can get directions to where you’re going based on your current location.
- You can buy a HDMI cable accessory that allows you to hook the Galaxy Tab up to high-definition TV and watch videos from your tablet on the big screen. A similar accessory to the one you can find for the iPad 2.
- You can purchase a Wi-Fi only Galaxy Tab 10.1 that will get you online when you’re in range of a Wi-Fi hotspot or your home Wi-Fi connection. Alternatively you can buy the HSPA+ version that still gives you Wi-Fi connectivity but also adds the ability to get a mobile data contract and connect using HSPA+. HSPA+ is a faster version of the current 3G mobile phone network which would allow you to get a mobile date connection to get online even when you’re not in range of a Wi-Fi signal. It’s worth checking if HSPA+ is available where you live before you make any decisions based on this. The iPad 2 doesn’t give you this option.
Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 Weaknesses
- Android is lacking apps specifically designed for a tablet format. There are still quite a lot but not close to the number you can get for the iPad 2. The apps should come in time but currently you don’t get the extensive range of software you can get for the iPad. You can download apps designed for Android smartphones but they don’t make full use of the screen size.
- Just like the iPad 2, there is no MicroSD card slot so there’s no option to buy a MicroSD card and extend the memory on the device – you’re stuck with the size of memory that you bought in the first place. The options are 16, 32 or 64GB of internal memory – make your choice wisely.
- There’s also no USB port (same as the iPad 2) so there’s no function to plug in peripheral devices such as a mouse or USB keyboard.
- If you want to get files on to the Samsung tablet via a MicroSD card or USB stick then you’ll need to buy dongles that will plug into the Galaxy Tab 10.1 and give you the necessary ports to do so. The USB dongle could also be used for attaching other USB peripherals – a keyboard or mouse for example.
Tablet Review – Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1
The Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 is the best Android tablet yet. It ships with the latest version of Android (3.1) and has the best hardware specifications available in the market. What really differentiates it from other Android Honeycomb devices (Motorola Xoom, Acer Iconia, ASUS Eee Pad Transformer) is that it’s very light and very thin. This makes it ultra-stylish and it feels great in the hand. At last the iPad 2 has a competitor and the Galaxy Tab edges it on performance from the lighter format, to better cameras, to higher-spec motion sensors.
The only thing holding the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 back is the eco-system around Android Honeycomb. Currently there’s far, far fewer apps available in comparison to the iPad App Store. The range of downloadable films and TV programmes also comes up short. Developers will continue to create new apps and Google will eventually ensure the range of movies, TV and music mirrors that available in the iPad App Store. But, there’s still a substantial wait until it gets there. Without a USB port or MicroSD slot, the options to expand the tablet are limited also.
In summary, the hardware features are comparable or better than those offered by the iPad 2 so once the Android eco-system catches up, this tablet should out perform the iPad 2. For the time being the Galaxy Tab 10.1 is competitive with other Android Honeycomb tablets so, if you don’t want to buy an iPad, it’s recommended over those.
Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 full specification and user reviews