Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 Review and Test Report

By Cody Burke on 27 November 2011
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The Other Tablet: More Than Just an iPad Clone

Believe it or not, there are other tablets on the market besides the iPad.  Some of them may even be quite capable devices.  Android tablets have yet to make a real splash in the tablet world; they have been held back by a lack of quality applications, concerns over the fragmentation of operating systems, and the inability of manufacturers to compete with Apple on price.  Despite these shortcomings, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 has emerged as a legitimate contender.


The Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 looks almost identical to the Apple iPad 2, until you pick it up and start to use it.  That’s when you notice that it is lighter and thinner (6.9 by 10.1 by 0.3 inches and 19.9 ounces).  The shape of the Galaxy Tab resembles other Android tablets on the market, namely the Motorola Xoom, with its widescreen shape.   Essentially, it is taller and slimmer than the iPad 2, more like a widescreen TV.

The similarities between the iPad 2 and the Galaxy Tab 10.1 have not escaped Apple’s notice, and the company has fought tooth and nail to prevent Samsung from selling the devices in various countries.  After using the Galaxy Tab 10.1, this is no surprise; it is clearly an imitation of the iPad 2, and done well enough for Apple to take notice.

The Tab’s hardware is solid and satisfyingly slim.  It feels light enough to hold with one hand for reading, at least for short periods of time such as a 15 min subway ride or while waiting in line.  For longer periods of use, you will want to lean it on something or balance on your knee, but this is true of any device of this size.

The back of the tablet is a white plastic with the Samsung logo, so not as industrial or solid looking as the iPad 2’s metal back, but sturdy nonetheless.  There are three buttons on the side of the tablet, a power button and volume controls, as well as a 3.5 mm headphone jack.  A pair of headphones is included.  The tablet has two stereo speakers on either side, which put out surprisingly good sound.  It lacks USB or HDMI connections (as does the iPad), and uses a proprietary charging system.  The charging cable and plug are the only exception to the quality design and construction; both feel really cheap and seem like a bit of an afterthought, I have no trouble envisioning them breaking in regular use.

The Tegra 2 processor in the Galaxy Tab 10.1 delivers amazing graphics and fast performance, with no visible lag time when opening apps or switching between screens.  It is a fast tablet, and I noticed no real issues with apps freezing or taking time to load.  Switching between apps was smooth, and there were only slight lags in video playback when watching Netflix movies.  Video chat was decent using Google’s included Google Talk app, with only a slight delay.

Click here to continue to Page 2 – User Interface, Honeycomb, Apps

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