Product Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1
Specifications Android 3.0 Honeycomb, 10.1in 1,280x800 screen, dual-core 1GHz Tegra 2 processor, 1GB RAM, 32GB storage, 2MP front camera, 8MP rear camera with flash, GPS, 802.11a/b/g/n, 246x170x11mm, 589g
Price Comparable to the Apple Ipad, varies by country, mobile operator and tariff, as well as accessories
KOREAN HARDWARE GIANT Samsung has always been a tablet leader. Its original 7in Galaxy Tab was interesting because it didn't just ape Apple's successful 9.7in design. But some time after its first effort the company is now introducing a 10.1in model in an attempt to beat Apple at its own game. The Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1in model is smaller and lighter than Apple's effort and sports better cameras too.
This review is based on a pre-production model shown off at Google's I/O conference, and the production version goes on sale next month. Pricing has yet to be confirmed but is widely expected to match the Ipad.
Samsung claims that the Galaxy Tab is the world's thinnest tablet. This model is 0.2mm slimmer than the Ipad 2 and slightly lighter at 589g, while the Apple tablet weighs 601g in its WiFi only variant. For day-to-day use these reductions make little difference beyond marketing, but the Galaxy Tab 10.1in device is certainly light enough to carry and use for extended periods.
The Galaxy Tab 10.1in 1,280x800 TFT screen is crisp and bright, with a wide viewing angle and excellent playback of movies and games. That said, touch controls seem to require more pressure than the Ipad 2, which makes it a less pleasant user experience. Operation is poor in bright sunlight however, thanks to the tablet's reflective screen.
The unit is encased in a matte silver frame and there is no removable storage nor standard USB ports. The tablet comes with a USB cable that uses Samsung's proprietary connector for charging and transferring data to the device.
The top of the casing has the power button, volume rocker and a headphone port. There are also some excellent dual speakers on the side of the casing, but annoyingly the microphone is very poorly positioned on the bottom of the tablet. This means that if you use it on your lap, applications like voice search will struggle to hear your voice.
This tablet comes with 32GB of storage, of which around 28GB is available to the user. The 1GB of RAM is capable of handling most tasks, although fast scrolling down long web pages can cause the tablet to struggle to render areas of the screen quickly.
The cameras on this tablet are great. The front-facing 2MP unit is good enough for basic videoconferencing via Google Talk. The rear camera shines though, with an 8MP sensor, which is capable of HD 1080p video recording and has a built-in flash. It's excellent quality, far better than we've seen on other tablets. The camera and video settings are adjustable and the only complaint is the relatively poor shooting speed, but that's common with most similar devices.
For connectivity the Galaxy Tab comes with full 802.11 a/b/g/n WiFi support and Bluetooth. There is also GPS, in case you don't miss the days of wandering around outside gawping at a huge paper map. Samsung has included a good quality set of in-ear headphones with a variety of ear buds, which are very welcome, although audiophiles will no doubt provide their own earwear.
The 6860mAh battery gives around 10 hours of battery life performing normal tasks and the company claims a standby time of over a month. Having such a large battery, however, does mean slow recharging, and it took nearly three hours to get the tablet from flat to full charge.
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