We got our hands on the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 and so far, it is quite an exciting Android Tablet. It has a great 1280×800 display which is spacious and comfy to use and read on. The second thing that is striking is its weight :at 599g it *feels* substantially lighter than the iPad (which is actually not that far, with 680g).
To make it lighter, Samsung is using less metal than Apple does on the iPad. The gain is appreciable, but some would (understandably) prefer the fancier materials and build quality – it’s a matter of taste, but being light does add some overall value too. I’m still torn on that one.
The sides of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 look like aluminum, but it feels more like plastic (it’s hard to tell from the photos). The back, however, is made from a black textured plastic. It looks pretty cool and offers a very good grip. The Samsung aluminum logo looks nice too, so is the 8 Megapixel camera module. The integration of the Google logo and the serial number plate is more questionable, but it’s got to go somewhere.
On the right side, there is a SIM card slot, and the Galaxy Tab 10.1 supports wireless broadband via HSPA+ with a *theoretical* download speed of 21Mbps. In the real world, it’s much lower.
Android 3.0 (Honeycomb) looks and works much better on a tablet than a blown-up smartphone version (2.x). I still reserve final judgment for when the first tablets will be commercially available, but right now, it fair to say that the improvements will be substantial.
The local WiFi was super-slow, so even browsing the web was difficult, let alone installing apps. The performance seemed OK, but not really super fast or smooth. I wonder if the Xoom would be faster – we’ll have to see. I suspect that the software is not completely done yet so we will need to wait for the final software to get some answers on that.
The Galaxy Tab 10.1 uses NVIDIA’s Tegra 2 chip, so if the performance is as good as it should be (look at our Tegra 2 overview and our Tegra 2 benchmarks), the Tab 10.1 should be a much (much!) better tablet than the original 7″ version. The better support for Flash (thanks to the Tegra 2 chip) also means that going to a Flash site to play video should look pretty good — if you video service doesn’t block the tablet (like hulu and many others do in the U.S). But hopefully, a deal will be worked out.
Things are looking pretty good but let’s not forget that an iPad 2 release is imminent, so Samsung has to put this on the market soon.
Android 3.0 (Honeycomb)
101″ 1280×800 display
HD video recording and playback
10.9mm thick, 599g
Dual-core Tegra 2 processor with GeForce graphics
Video hardware encode/decode capability
HSPA+ wireless broadband
Samsung doesn’t say, but I take it that WiFi is supported