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Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 hands-on review

Its crash diet has paid off
Thu Jul 14 2011, 16:33
Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1

KOREAN ELECTRONICS GIANT Samsung's first foray into the tablet market was greeted with a lukewarm reception, but if its Galaxy Tab 10.1 is anything to go by, then Apple might finally have some real competition.

The INQUIRER got a chance to play around with the final version of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 at an Nvidia event where the chip designer wanted to show off just what could be done with its Tegra 2 chip. Back in February, we played around with the Galaxy Tab 10.1 at Mobile World Congress, but in the following months Samsung has decided to go back to the drawing board, as apparently that design was just too thick.

Samsung's design revisions have resulted in a very thin tablet, though it has to be said it is not as astonishingly thin as its Galaxy S II smartphone. Compared to Apple's Ipad, you can notice a difference in thickness, however against the Ipad 2 the difference is neligible. The truth is, however, that the physical appearance isn't the biggest selling point of the Galaxy Tab 10.1, which runs Android 3.0, Honeycomb.

As for Samsung's choice of the Tegra 2, there's no other way to put it, the Nvidia dual core chip results in the Galaxy Tab 10.1 flying. The humdrum task of sifting through Android 3.0 panes are handled with ease but it's only when you start to download games from Nvidia's Tegra Zone that you start to realise the power of the chip. Although we had a limited time with the device, there was little doubt in our mind that the 1GHz dual-core chip is up to the job.

Google's hard work on Android 3.0 has clearly paid off. If you're an Android smartphone user, it takes all of thirty seconds to get used to the 'tabletised' Android 3.0 operating system that makes impressive use of the screen real estate. Perhaps the highest compliment we could pay to Android 3.0 is that it blended into the background and after five minutes we were unaware of its existence.

Samsung's original Galaxy Tab was mired in debates over whether Android was really capable of working on a tablet, but that issue simply does not exist anymore. We've seen it work with Asus' Transformer and Motorola's Xoom but it is Samsung's Galaxy Tab 10.1 that will have the best chance of taking the fight to Apple's Ipad 2.

Compared with the device we tried back in Mobile World Congress, Samsung looks to have done the right thing by holding back its Galaxy Tab 10.1 a little, making the device thinner, and producing a final product that is just as good as the fruit pad 2. µ


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