The Galaxy Tab 10.1 is the new version of the well-known Galaxy Tab 7, one of the first Google certified Android Tablets. So far, it has been released in one store only: New York Cit’s Best Buy, Times Square location. It will be released in many other stores on Friday the 17th. Samsung was happy to hear that we wanted to do a review of it, so they expedited one to us, so that it could then be praised in this review for all to read.
The dimensions of the 10.1 Tab are 256.6mm x 172.9mm x 8.6mm. That is .2mm thinner than its competitor, the Apple iPad 2, and 35g lighter than it, too, coming in at 565g. The .2mm difference in thickness is not enough to make it a selling factor. In my opinion, though, the 35g difference is noticeable. The Tab’s build quality is superb. The back of the device is constructed out of plastic, which is what makes it lighter. The plastic backing is just as sturdy as any other tablet. It all depends on whether you need the back of your tablet to be constructed from Stainless Steel in order to make you feel more secure with it’s degree of sturdiness. I don’t mind sacrificing the steel backing so I can use a lighter device. There are only 2 buttons on the whole tablet. One of them is the power button, and the other is a volume rocker. Above the 10.1 inch screen there is a 2 megapixel front facing camera for self photos and video chat. There is also a rear 3 megapixel camera with a LED flash and autofocus for taking photos and videos. The guts of the device are the same as all of the other honeycomb tablets.
The Galaxy Tab 10.1 contains a 10.1 inch screen which is obvious with the unusual name. The 10.1 inch screen packs a 1280 x 800 pixel display which contains more ppi than any other tablet currently on the market.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 comes loaded with Android 3.1 honeycomb. Android 3.1 is quite unlike an Android smartphone’s OS. While I think Google’s Honeycomb user interface is amazing, it is hard to get used to the new OS compared to the previous versions of Android. After having used Android 3.0 and Android 2.2 simultaneously for about 2 months I have now decided that Android 3.0 has features that I prefer much more compared to the previous versions. Samsung has created a customization called TouchWiz that was shown on the Galaxy Tab 10.1 at CTIA. I hope that Samsung comes out with this for the 10.1 device. I have TouchWiz on my Infuse 4G and love it. I would like Samsung to incorporate a feature that allows you to turn on and off the TouchWiz interface as needed.
The home screen allows users to swipe from one screen to the next with ease, and also has a 3D feel to it. You can configure each homescreen with shortcuts, sizable widgets, and even live wallpapers. I appreciate that apps can easily be uninstalled by dragging them to the trash can, which will then remove all data from that app. The navigation buttons are located in the lower left hand corner of the display. The icons are confusing, but once you know what they are, they work beautifully. The biggest change for me from previous versions of Android was the Honeycomb notification system, which is located in the bottom right hand corner of the screen. There is no more notification curtain, replaced with a list of notifications that are accessed by tapping or swiping on the digital clock. Doing so lists all of the notifications and some quick access functions.
At the moment the Tab is Wi-Fi only, but Verizon has a 4G LTE version coming out soon.
There are two pre-installed e-mail applications on the Galaxy Tab 10.1. One of them is the same e-mail application that comes on any android device. In addition to this, there is a Gmail application. I prefer the Gmail application due to the UI and how it accesses your e-mails.
The main downfall of Honeycomb is the lack of tablet-built applications. There are few tablet-built applications at the moment, and compatibility with older titles can be somewhat spotty at times. Most of the 200,000 android applications will work on the tablet but most will not scale for the full display. New tablet oriented apps are being added daily to the Android Market.
The Honeycomb web browser is quite different from the previous Android smartphone browser. It offers true tabbed browsing, just like it’s big brother, the desktop version. The browser even supports Chrome’s “Incognito” mode, which leaves no cookies or history behind. You can also have it synchronize with your desktop’s Chrome bookmarks. This browser is fast and smooth. It has full Adobe Flash support. There are three settings for Flash on the device: On, Off, and On-demand. When you have Flash on, the browser tends to be a little bit unstable on pages with high amounts of Flash. I like the on-demand feature because it loads the page without Flash but gives you the option to manually turn on whichever Flash element you would like.
While using any tablet to take photos or record video is awkward, this tablet does a good job. It takes really nice 3 megapixel still photos and shoots decent 720p HD video. The main camera features autofocus, an LED flash and a superb microphone. Samsung did some tweaking to the camera interface. I like this interface much more. You can change settings and change cameras much more fluidly. This device is a great video viewer with its 10.1 wide-screen display paired with stereo speakers.
Samsung equipped the Galaxy Tab 10.1 with a huge 7000mAh battery. I have been heavily using this for the past week. I am able to use it for a full day without a low battery warning. I can definitely see this tablet lasting through many days of moderate use. The sad thing is that a standard USB 2.0 port cannot charge the device. You must have a wall adapter or USB 3.0 port on your computer or laptop.
I really admire that Samsung was able to create such a dramatically improved tablet in the limited amount of time available to them since the Galaxy Tab 7 was released on November 11, 2010. They created this new masterpiece in just a mere 7 months, which is much more quickly than any of it’s competitors. The widescreen display looks fantastic on this device. This tablet is great for anyone from an avid Android user to a new tech user.