Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 review

Has Samsung just developed the best Android tablet?

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For

  • Design and portability
  • Stunning 720HD screen
  • Intuitive interface

Against

  • Not many samsung apps
  • Slow to charge
  • Cheap plastic back

With the improved form-factor, the new TouchWiz interface and the specs as well it wouldn't be untrue to say that the Galaxy Tab 10.1 is the closest thing we've ever seen to an iPad beater.

There's no two ways about it; Samsung's stunning Galaxy Tab 10.1 simply wouldn't exist without Apple's bar-raising and category defining inventiveness. Cupertino Bay iPads have challenged other companies to think outside the tablet's rectangle and the Galaxy Tab 10.1 is living vicariously through Apple's design finesse. But, when Samsung has just delivered the best Android "Honeycomb" tablet on the market, who are we to judge?

Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1: Build

At only 545g, the Galaxy Tab 10.1 is lighter than the iPad 2 and it's slinkier as well thanks to tiny dimensions, giving us the perfect feel in our hand for pick up and play. Samsung opted for minimalism over connectivity so there's no USB, media card slots or anything else spoiling the sleek design. We will berate Samsung for not adding a metal back, relying on cheaper plastic instead. The only hardware buttons are the on/off button and volume with everything else navigated via the ultra responsive multitouch interface. The Galaxy Tab 10.1 wasn't exactly all guns ablazin' from off, taking longer than expected to boot but was instant on from idle.

Rather than hardware connectivity, Samsung has bundled the Galaxy Tab 10.1 with high bandwidth Bluetooth 3.0 and support for WiFi 802.11 (a/b/g/n) so it can handle streaming HD content with ease.

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Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1: OS

Though Android Honeycomb is meant to make multitasking faster, we didn't notice a speed bump but it does offer the ability to resize widgets and open apps now have a pop up thumbnail. making it easier to navigate.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1: Screen

It was when we first picked up the Galaxy Tab 10.1 that everything just made sense. The 10.1-inch 720HD screen is a smite bigger than the competition but it isn't about size - it's literally about the motion in the ocean - and, try as we might, we couldn't catch the gyroscopes and accelerometers out. Multimedia playback on the screen is abundant clarity from every angle and it is one of the brightest mobile screens we've seen.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1: Features

Despite Samsung's commitment to social networking, it's not as comprehensively integrated as HP's Touchpad. It does have a Social Hub to manage and synch all of your networking trails and includes Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync. Samsung has also added an e-readers and Music Hub to rival iTunes with tracks set as 99p a pop and £5.00 for a popular album.

We weren't that impressed with Samsung's own apps store. The apps hawkers at the Samsung marketplace have got nothing extra to sell you won't already find much more off at the Android Market. Tablets can live or die by their eco-system and most are a bazillion miles away from a fair fight with Apple. That said, we did get Dropbox and the Evening Standard app are great. Yes, there is Angry Birds in HD, you casual gamer, you.

On paper the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10 is unsurpassed with only the TouchPad offering 200Hz more on its processor. Here you get a 1Ghz dual-core ARM Cortex A9 processor combined with NVIDIA 's Tegra 2, which accounted for the fact this can fly through graphically intensive HD apps games like, Galaxy on Fire 2 without breaking a sweat. Other goodies include 1GB of memory, a 3MP rear and 2MP front camera that's fine for the bundled Google Talk. If you want Skype you have to download it. The rear camera is slow to take shots and the focussing seems more like a lucky dip but it can handle excellent 720 HD video recording and 1080 HD video playback.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1: Battery

The only connection is a dock connector that plugs in to a USB port or into a AC Adapter for charging. That's very slow charging - our review unit took nearly four hours to get back to maximum charge but the powerful 7000-mAh battery lasts for up to nine hours on light use.

These tablets take up too much juice to charge over USB but Samsung gets points for adding drag and drop simplicity. There's no bloatware install in the order of Apple's monopolistic tendencies with iTunes and it also plays Flash codecs - take that iPad.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1: Verdict

Certainly not perfect, lacking in decent apps and not quite the elusive iPad 2 beater we were looking for, Samsung's Galaxy Tab 10.1 is still the best Android tablet you can get. Samsung is charging £399, the same as Apple for the entry-level 16GB version and is selling a 32GB and 64GB 3G-enabled model but wouldn't give us the price on those.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 launch date: Mid August,

Link: Samsung

Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 price: Starts at £399 for 16GB model

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