Meet Samsung's Galaxy Tab 10.1
So far, all of the Honeycomb-based tablets we've tested have been thick, chunky, and heavy in relation to the Apple competition. But we frankly expected as much from vendors trying to nail down core functionality in their first-generation tablets.
Make no mistake, models like the Xoom and Iconia A500 are impressive in their own right. They simply don't compare to the iPad 2. Shaving off one-third of a pound and one-quarter of an inch might not sound very significant, but you really feel the difference between a first-generation tablet like the original iPad and its successor when you're holding the device in your hands.
We were hoping to see successive models emphasize refined aesthetics. That's what the iPad 2 gave us, and it's also what we see from Samsung's Galaxy Tab 10.1. At 0.38" thick and 1.3 pounds, Samsung's second attempt at a tablet really shines. Physically, the Galaxy Tab 10.1 is everything that we want from a tablet. It’s thin, lightweight, and embodies the sleek design that the iPad 2 features.
|iPad (3G)||iPad 2 (3G)||Xoom||Iconia A500||Eee Pad Transformer||Galaxy Tab (3G)||Galaxy Tab 10.1|
|Weight||1.6 lb.||1.33 lb.||1.5 lb.||1.65 lb.||1.5 lb.||0.8 lb.||1.3 lb.|
The iPad/iPad 2's 4:3 screen was specifically chosen for its similarity to a pad of paper (hence the name). Conversely, we have yet to see a Honeycomb-based tablet with a 4:3 aspect ratio. Google and its hardware partners all seem focused on video content, based on the 16:10 displays on all of the competing tablets in the chart above. As a result, you'll feel compelled to hold the Galaxy Tab 10.1 in landscape mode.
The left and right sides of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 are bare, aside from a pair of speakers. Their position close to the top edge lets you grip the tablet in the middle without muffling the audio.
You'll find the headphone port, volume rocker, and power button on the top edge of the tablet. If you're right-handed, that'll feel like a natural configuration, letting you hold the Galaxy with both hands while pressing on a button with your left thumb or index finger. It's not as convenient for lefties; your right hand can't reach any of the buttons without reaching around.
The port on the bottom of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 serves two functions: charging and USB synchronization. Samsung achieves this with a proprietary cable that adapts to a standard USB connection. While this simplifies cable management, any damage to the cable leaves you dead in the water until you get a replacement from Samsung.
The Galaxy Tab 10.1 comes in two color schemes: metallic gray and white. But you only see a difference on the back-side. In both colors, the chassis is constructed using a very durable resin-based plastic that's given the texture of brushed aluminum. Our only complaint is that fingerprints have a tendency to accumulate, though less so than on the black piano finish of HP's TouchPad.
|Camera||iPad 2||Xoom||Iconia A500||Eee Pad Transformer||Galaxy Tab 10.1|
|Front-Facing||0.3 MP (640 x 480)||2.0 MP (1600 x 1200)||2.0 MP (1600 x 1200)||1.2 MP (1024 x 768)||2.0 MP (1600 x 1200)|
|Rear-Facing||0.7 MP (960 x 720)||5.0 MP (2592 x 1944)||5.0 MP (2592 x 1944)||5.0 MP (2592 x 1944)||3.0 MP (2048 x 1536)|
|Flash||None||Dual-LED flash||Single-LED flash||None||Single-LED flash|
The camera hardware on Samsung's Galaxy Tab 10.1 is significantly better than the iPad 2, but it falls short compared to other Honeycomb-based tablets. The Xoom, for example, has a higher-resolution rear-facing camera with dual-LED flash, which results in snapshots as good as many point-and-shoot cameras. Samsung's use of a single-LED flash makes it more comparable to the Iconia A500.