Last month at Mobile World Congress Samsung announced the Galaxy Tab 10.1, a NVIDIA Tegra 2 based Honeycomb tablet. Since then, Apple's iPad 2 raised the bar for ergonomics and performance. Not wanting to be outdone, Samsung just announced a redesigned Galaxy Tab 10.1 that's both thinner and lighter than Apple's iPad 2.

The new Galaxy Tab 10.1 measures only 8.6mm thick and weighs 595 grams. The iPad 2 by comparison is 8.8mm thick and weighs 601 grams. The display is a Xoom-like 1280x800 using Samsung's PLS display technology.

The old 10.1 on the left and the new 10.1 on the right

Samsung Galaxy Tab vs Apple iPad 2
  Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9 Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 (New) Apple iPad 2
Depth 8.6 mm 8.6 mm 8.8 mm
Weight 470 grams 595 grams 601 grams
Screen Size & Technology 8.9-inches PLS 10.1-inches PLS 9.7-inches IPS
Screen Resolution 1280x800 1280x800 1024x768
Battery Capacity 6000 mAh 6800 mAh 6930 mAh

Network connectivity is pretty decent. Like the Galaxy S II you get HSPA+ 21.1 support, as well as 2.4GHz and 5GHz WiFi with two spatial streams. The assumption here is that the 10.1 uses an NVIDIA Tegra 2 SoC however we'll find out soon enough. Samsung is promising LTE and WiMAX versions of the new Galaxy Tab 10.1 as well.

Ergonomics aren't the only area in which Samsung is competitive with the iPad 2; there's also pricing. The Galaxy Tab 10.1 WiFi will be available in 16GB and 32GB versions, priced at an iPad 2 competitive $499 and $599 respectively. The 10.1 will be available starting June 8th. Cellular enabled versions will ship at a later date, pricing TBD.

As expected, Samsung also announced the Galaxy Tab 8.9. The specs between the 10.1 and 8.9 remain the same; all that really changes is screen size from what I can tell. You still get the same 1280x800 PLS display but in a much more dense package.

Samsung Galaxy Tab Lineup Pricing
WiFi 16GB 32GB
Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 $499 $599
Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9 $469 $569

Pricing on the 8.9 is a bit lower than the 10.1. Again there are only two versions: 16GB and 32GB, priced at $469 and $569 respectively. The prototype I played with had a SIM slot; however, Samsung didn't announce pricing on the 3G/LTE/WiMAX versions.

Samsung is playing the ambiguous SoC game again and only referring to these two tablets as having a dual-core applications processor. I'm guessing we'll see a mix of Tegra 2 and Samsung Exynos based versions depending on region. Samsung's 8.9 prototypes at the show floor had NVIDIA's Tegra 2 under the hood.

Both tablets will ship with Samsung's new TouchWiz UI for Honeycomb. Having a custom UI on top of Honeycomb does go against the spirit of Google's latest Android OS, but it looks like manufacturer differentiation wins out.

The biggest UI change is the addition of an app dock at the bottom of the screen similar to the dock in OS X. Drag up to reveal the auto-hiding dock and tap to launch an app. The default Honeycomb app switcher is still present.

The new tablet TouchWiz also has new size adjustable widgets that look very good on the big screen.

Samsung only had prototypes of the 8.9 and 10.1 tablets for hands on use at the show. The mechanically accurate samples were both behind glass.

It's far too early to draw any conclusions but I will say that the Galaxy Tab 8.9 is a dream to hold.

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  • eliotw - Tuesday, March 22, 2011 - link

    "Samsung only had prototypes of the 8.9 and 10.1 tablets for hands on use at the show. The mechanically accurate samples were both behind glass."

    Were the prototypes a different form factor ? What was mechanically different ?

  • flashbacck - Saturday, March 26, 2011 - link

    The prototypes were the original fatter and heavier 10.1 that they had showed a few months ago. The "mechanically accurate" ones were the correct size and weight.

    Which kinda makes their whole announcement bogus. They're declaring these awesome new tablets that are thinner and lighter than the ipad2, except... they don't work. Yeah.
  • ChristoAcosta - Saturday, March 26, 2011 - link

    When you get a chance, please look up "announcement" and "prototype."
  • flashbacck - Saturday, April 2, 2011 - link

    you'll have to explain that to me.

    They showed prototypes of the 10.1 and 8.9 (on old hardware).

    They announced newer versions on new hardware (non-working hardware).
  • Pino - Tuesday, March 22, 2011 - link

    This smaller size withou any resolution compromise seems to be interesting.

    Looking foward.
  • ImSpartacus - Tuesday, March 22, 2011 - link

    Yes, and the batteries look similar in capacity. I wonder if the Tab 8.9 could have superior battery life?

    If they both use Tegra 2, I think the 8.9 is the better buy.
  • strikeback03 - Tuesday, March 22, 2011 - link

    Looks like the 8.9 has about 78% of the screen area and 88% of the battery capacity, so if battery drain for the screen is linear with size the 8.9 should beat the 10.1
  • vol7ron - Tuesday, March 22, 2011 - link

    Normally, it's not linear though. The initial charge costs more, but once current is passing through, it's relatively low, right?
  • bobsmith1492 - Tuesday, March 22, 2011 - link

    The backlight takes a lot of power, so a smaller screen with a smaller lit area should take less power.
  • WaltFrench - Tuesday, October 11, 2011 - link

    Agreed, and perfectly logical.

    Of course, you're omitting the power drain by the CPU and all other circuitry besides the backlight; that would presumably be constant across the two devices and significant that the hours might be the same, perhaps even a bit worse.

    Always hard to be very precise when you don't have all the data.

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