Is Samsung's Second-Gen Galaxy A Winner?
Samsung's Galaxy Tab 10.1 offers almost everything we want from an iPad 2 competitor. Its Super PLS display is nothing short of amazing; clearly the best display that we've seen on a tablet, with wide viewing angles and superior color. TouchWiz UX takes the visual experience one-step further by providing a more refined and differentiated user interface. However, Samsung should provide a way for users to create custom skins or disable TouchWiz outright for anyone with a preference for Android's default UI. Functionality could also use a big of tweaking. We love the Social Hub app, but it still feels more like it a glorified RSS reader. Synergy in webOS is truly more useful.
|Tablet Pricing||16 GB||32 GB||64 GB|
|iPad 2 (Wi-Fi)||$499||$599||$699|
|iPad 2 (AT&T 3G)||$629||$729||$829|
|iPad 2 (Verizon 3G)||$629||$729||$829|
|Iconia Tab A500 (Wi-Fi)||$399||$499||-|
|Eee Pad Transformer (Wi-Fi)||$399||$499||-|
|Galaxy Tab 10.1 (Wi-Fi)||$499||$599||-|
There's a lot we love about Samsung's second-gen Android tablet, but its price is a turn-off. Acer, Asus, and Motorola recently dropped their prices in the face of tougher competition, but Samsung seems intent on matching Apple's pricing structure. That leaves most shoppers in a difficult position because a 16 GB Galaxy Tab 10.1 costs just as much as a 32 GB Eee Pad Transformer or a 16 GB iPad 2 (the established incumbent).
The Galaxy Tab 10.1 is thin and sexy, but it's also missing a few features compared to other tablets. For example, the Iconia Tab A500 provides USB connectivity. The Eee Pad Transformer performs double duty as a notebook and tablet, while the Xoom offers better camera hardware. And, if you include the iPad 2, all four competing tablets offer HDMI video output. Even if we put aside those deficiencies, our biggest complaint has to do with recharge time. While the Galaxy Tab 10.1 offers similar battery life as other Android-based tablets, it takes nearly three times as long to charge. The fact that you have to hook up to a wall with the charging adapter (a PC's USB port won't do) only makes this more painful.
Samsung really needs to drop its price if it wants to make the Galaxy Tab 10.1 a clear stand-out in relation to the iPad 2. Right now, its price premium over other Android-based tablets is excessive, given other solid options.
If you're in the market for a premium tablet, Apple's iPad 2 is still on top, if only because of its superior third-party developer backing. However, as a product, the Galaxy Tab 10.1 comes in a close second thanks to its phenomenal display. Samsung clearly proves that it has what it takes to design a proper tablet. Now it's up to Google to improve the software situation.
The gap between Apple and its competitors will only close if Google pushes Android development more aggressively. Almost eight months have passed since Honeycomb's launch, and tablet-specific apps still number fewer than 300. The selection in App Market only seems higher because many apps are upconverted for a larger screen. Very few programs are explicitly designed for Android-based tablets.
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