Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1: A Second-Gen Android Tablet

Meet Samsung's Galaxy Tab 10.1

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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.

Thickness Compared to AA Battery

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.

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Header Cell - Column 0 iPad (3G)iPad 2 (3G)XoomIconia A500Eee Pad TransformerGalaxy Tab (3G)Galaxy Tab 10.1
Screen Size9.7"9.7"10.1"10.1"10.1"7"10.1"
Aspect Ratio4:34:316:1016:1016:1016:1016:10
Weight1.6 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.

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CameraiPad 2XoomIconia A500Eee Pad TransformerGalaxy Tab 10.1
Front-Facing0.3 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-Facing0.7 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)
FlashNoneDual-LED flashSingle-LED flashNoneSingle-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.

  • killerclick
    No surprises here, iPad 2 is still on top, being the engineering masterpiece that it is. Take a look at side-by-side comparisons of iPad 2 and Galaxy Tab 10.1 on YouTube and you'll see how much smoother animations and video recording are on the iPad 2.
  • Martell77
    I'm going to be in the market to buy about 150 tablets soon and from this article it appears that the ASUS 3.2 is the best all around for price/performance/recharge. While it doesn't win alot, it appears to be a consistant performer and has a relativly short recharge time.

    Or am I missing something here?
  • dthx
    The reason why Samsung doesn't want to lower it's price is easy to understand: there are many (stupid) persons who are convinced that the iPad is superior to any other tablet just because it's priced higher... Samsung wants to make sure they capture that part of the market.
    But the author is right: if there is one reason Apple should sue Samsung, it's for copying the price structure of the iPad!
  • Haserath
    Samsung Galaxy Tab needs a split keyboard feature in portrait mode; it isn't comfortable enough to have to stretch to hit the virtual keys.

    The 10.1 is still too slow for certain browsing. Flash is good as long as you don't want to rewind or fast forward through it. It sometimes slows down when I try typing also.

    Since Apple produces both hardware and software, they can optimize their OS for the exact hardware they put out.

    After trying the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, I would say it's just a little too immature still. A good year or two and tablets will be perfect for browsing, gaming, and some other tasks while also being lightweight and easy to use even compared to laptops.
  • Hmmm, many talk about iPad dominance but don't know all the facts. Just looking at a device in the store doesn't cut it folks. Android tablets are going to start cutting into market share, like it or not. For an IT person or true techie, most would choose an Android tablet. 4 core coming soon and they are going to rock the scene. Example: my Acer Iconia costs quite a bit less than iPad2.
    -Full USB port for mouse, keyboard, portable hard disks/thumb drives, cameras
    -Overclocked and stable dual core CPU @ 1.504 Ghz (big change in performance)
    -Customizable and open operating system (and it's going to get better with ICS)
    -Honeycomb 3.2
    -Netflix and Hulu working
    -Mount drives from Linux, Windows, and OSX
    -Websites with Flash that look the same as on a PC browser (now theres a concept)
    -Wide screen 16:9
    -5MP rear camera + front facing camera.
    -HDMI out
    -Charges back up in 1hr
  • dennisburke
    Price, proprietary cable management, and lack of expandable storage all lead me to want to wait to see what happens after Windows 8 becomes available.
  • iceman1992
    PowerVR SGX545MP2 (dual-core)
    i think it's supposed to be SGX543MP2?
  • tacoslave
    call me when Kal-el comes out
  • damric
    I'll be getting this for $199 with my Sprint upgrade :D
  • thrasher32
    Wake me up when someone does something innovative.