Hands on: Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, the new tablet to beat

May 30th, 2011 | by Alfred Siew

After seeing Apple launch its ultra-thin iPad 2, the Korean firm went back to the drawing board by designing an even slimmer version of an already attractive Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet (original hands on here).

The result: a tablet that is, hands-down, the one to get. From a quick hands-on today at a Samsung launch event in Singapore, I can say that the super-light frame (560g for the Wi-Fi model, 565g for 3G model) is definitely a lot more handier than many other Android tablets of the same size.

At only 8.6mm thick, it is also the thinnest 10.1-inch tablet by a whisker, beating the iPad 2’s 8.8mm.

The best thing is that it is priced very competitively in Singapore.  The Tab 10.1 3G starts from S$848 for the 16GB, S$978 for the 32GB and S$1,108 for the 64GB. The Wi-Fi version goes for S$668, S$798 and S$928 respectively.

The slim case somehow manages to pack in a generous 7,000mAh battery, which will surely come in handy when you are firing up the screen all day with Angry Birds, or well, working on your e-mail.

I believe the Tab 10.1 will ship with Android 3.1, which means it will come with the latest version of the Honeycomb build made for tablets. The Android experience is way superior to Apple’s icon-driven iOS, which while offering a nice zippy touch and feel, is looking increasingly dated, limited and closed.

Want to drag and drop files onto an Android tablet? Simply hook up via USB and transfer your songs, movies and Excel files over. Forget about iTunes. Want to simply download free apps? No, you don’t have to hand Apple your credit card details once you fire up your tablet.

And being a true “post-PC” device, Android gizmos like the Tab 10.1 don’t have to sync with your PC at all if you choose not to. All I have to do is log in with my Google password, and my e-mail, contacts, schedule and apps are all ready to be accessed (apps still have to be installed).

And Android 3.0 is so much more. The true multi-tasking lets you switch between apps without any of the limitations that Apple presents. A game can run in the background, along with several other apps, without losing any data or slowing things down.

The new interface is also a lot better than the Android 2.2 I use now with my older 7-inch Galaxy Tab, which Samsung says today will continue to be on sale. When e-mail comes in, a small indicator alerts you at the bottom of the screen, instead of the drag-down menu for the smaller-screen version.

Gmail, for one, is a stellar offering. It is as full-featured as what you get on a PC and you get all your mail labels as well as useful previews on a widget on the front page.

The browser too, is way more souped up and very, very fast. Try loading a “heavy” website like Techgoondu, for example, with all the embedded Flash-based videos and things are smooth as butter. No need for Flash, you say? But why choose? Just use it when you need it.

And what about apps? The gap between Apple and Google is closing day by day. There’s no need to choose an “HD” version of Angry Birds and a regular one. Android Market automatically detects that you are using a tablet and lets you download the right version. And you know what, Angry Birds is free on Android still.

With an 1GHz dual-core processor, just like most Android tablets now, the Tab 10.1 is smooth when going through all these tasks.

And one more thing – it supports downloads of up to 21Mbps with HSPA+, so where available, over-the-air downloads are going to be pretty fast.

If there’s one thing I will knock Samsung for, it’s that the Tab 10.1 has no memory card slot. To be fair, of course, the tablet is so slim, there’s probably no space for that. Another thing is the fact that it looks a little like an iPad. That’s not a bad thing altogether, because the iPad 2 is a well-made device, but there will be Apple fanboys calling it a copycat.

Not that it matters to me, of course. This is one tablet I can recommend heartily. That brings me to the biggest grouse – it’s only here in July!

 

Samsung GALAXY Tab 10.1 Product Specifications

 

Network

HSPA+ 21Mbps: 900/1900/2100
EDGE/GPRS: 850/900/1800/1900

OS

Android™ Honeycomb

Display

10.1” WXGA 1280×800 TFT

Processor

1GHz Dual Core application processor

Camera

Main(Rear) : 3.0-Mega Pixel Camera AF with LED Flash
Front : 2.0-Mega Pixel Camera

Video

Format : MPEG4/H263/H264
Playback : 1080p Full HD Video @ 30fps
Recording : 720p HD Video @ 30fps

Audio

MP3, AAC, AAC+, eAAC+, OGG, MIDI, AMR-NB/WB/WMA
3.5mm Ear Jack, Surround Sound Stereo Speakers

Enterprise Solutions

Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync

Quickoffice HD Editor

Value-added Features

Android Market™

GoogleMobile Services :
Google™ Talk Video Chat, Google™ Maps, Books, etc.

Samsung TouchWiz UX

Samsung Mini Apps Tray

Social Hub

Game Hub (upcoming)

Readers Hub (upcoming)
*Availability differs by region

Adobe Flash Player 10.3

Connectivity

Bluetooth® technology v 2.1 + EDR
USB 2.0
WiFi 802.11 (a/b/g/n)

Sensor

Gyroscope, Accelerometer, Digital Compass, Ambient Light sensor

Memory

RAM: 1GB; Storage: 16GB / 32GB / 64GB

Size

256.7 x 175.3 x 8.6 mm

Weight

560g (WiFi)

565g (3G)

Battery

7000mAh


Thanks everyone for the entries for the second iPad giveaway. We are consolidating the entries now and deciding on a winner this week. Stay tuned!
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13 Comments

  1. 5starlite says:

    Is there an LTE version?

  2. Jin Jin says:

    Great review! I am using Samsung Galaxy Tap 7″ and really considering this 10.1 version. You can see the ranking of Samsung tab in http://www.best-tabletpccomparison.com it is just behind iPad2! And most of the top ranking tablets today are Android 3.0 and nVidia Tegra 2 processor.

  3. Alfred Siew says:

    It uses a regular SIM card.

  4. YAU says:

    DOES IT USE AN ORDINARY SIZED SIM OR A MICRO SIM?

  5. victor says:

    Good review, alfred….it comes with USB..WOW.that is something very new…and excellent…forget about SD card/HDMI and whatever other ports that we hardly use….USB is the best to go and fits most people nicely…….this is the best market in town and i can’t wait to get my hands on it…..samsung will give apple a good run for their money…..we , the consumers will benefit the most……the best is that,with n optional keyboard this looks like a replacement for my business laptop……Great job …SAMSUNG….

  6. Hun Boon says:

    By the time it’s available in July, it would have been overtaken by yet another best-tablet-ever liao. 🙂

  7. Justme says:

    Alfred, the moment you proclaimed the original galaxy tab “the best tablet ever” (and it wasn’t even running honeycomb), you lost all credibility whatsoever.

    The competition can come up with the most gleaming and advanced hardware, but whats the point if there’s no software to run on them?

    Say what you want but the truth is that there just aren’t many quality apps to be found for Android. This despite me being willing to pay for apps.

    And this is why anyone who gets their hands on a droid tablet will eventually get bored with it, for it functions as nothing more than an expensive plaything.

  8. acupuncture says:

    I have to knock Samsung also for the lack of standard ports–usb, mhl/hdmi, sd.

    This is the first time I’ve seen that clam shell setup with the keyboard. That would be a plus however, it really needs to have a mouse! If they put out a clam shell setup similar to the Transformer–mouse, extra battery, Android specific keys, closes up as one device for portability, and contains standard ports with a reasonable price tag I think they could have a real competitor to the Transformer. . . otherwise I’ll stick with Asus.

  9. Ha Yabu Sas says:

    USB??? That’s new. I haven’t so far read anyone confirm that the 10.1 will ship with a USB port. All reviews so far mentioned a proprietary universal connector.

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