Hands on: Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1. Wow!
It has taken a while to get around to this review of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1. Now, after 10 days of using it every day..colour me impressed. For starters this is by far the best Android Tablet I have seen..hands down!
Compared to the first iteration of the Galaxy Tab Samsung got it right this time..a stylish slab backed in white plastic with grey trim around the edge it weighs a mere 566 grams (20 oz) is thin as a whisper and above all is extremely well balanced in the hand so it feels much lighter than it is.
My tester is the 16Gb 4G (Telus) version and while I found being always connected handy..and I can see the value for some users but, based on my usage I’m not sure it is worth the extra cost as well as the monthly fee. WiFi works fine for me and for those rare occasions where I absolutely must be connected and there is no WiFi available I can tether it to my smartphone. As you can see there currently isn’t a huge difference in speed between 3G and 4G.
Honeycomb 3.1 (a 3.2 upgrade is coming soon)is much more mature than the 3.0 version that turned so many people off Android tablets and when teamed with the 1GHz dual-core Nvidia Tegra 2 Processor this tablet is as smooth as silk. Apps open quickly and run smoothly.
Then there is the 1280 x 800 LCD screen.by far the brightest I have seen on a tablet. Colour saturation is great and games like Angry Birds just pop. The screen is so bright that I had to turn the brightness way down for reading ebooks..even outdoors on a sunny day. Because of that I was able to get over 10 hours of reading out of the battery..an hour better than the advertised 9 hours.
The rear 3MP camera takes decent pictures and videos and the front facing camera is OK for video chats. Neither camera will win you any awards for cinematography.
The 10.1 now comes with Samsung’s TouchWiz software overlay which adds to the standard Honeycomb features. There is now a small arrow in the middle of the taskbar at the bottom of the screen. You press that, up pops the new Task Manager (to close and open apps), a Calendar (which uses Google Cal), a World Clock, a Pen Memo widget (for adding notes and drawing), a Calculator, and a Music Player. Widgets stay up on the screen at all times, even when you open other apps.
By now it is obvious that I like this tablet..now the 64 dollar question..is the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 a iPad killer. Well compared to an iPad 2 it is lighter, the screen is brighter and wide-screen, it multi-tasks better, (even better than the upcoming iOS 5) it supports Flash and is $20 cheaper. On the other hand iPad app ecosystem is larger and many apps are richer than their Android counterparts and the interface is simpler.
The answer depends on your particular needs and I can only speak for myself. I currently own an iPad 2(upgraded from an original last March) but, if I were buying a tablet today I would buy the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1
The Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 WiFi starts at $499 for the 16Gb version. The 4G version is available from Bell Mobility for $499.99 with a three year contract and for $649 from Telus Mobility with no contract.