Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 Review: The Sleekest Honeycomb Tabletby Anand Lal Shimpi on June 13, 2011 5:07 AM EST
- Posted in
- Tegra 2
- Galaxy tab 10.1
- Android 3.1
The 10.1 is light enough to wield single handedly without fatigue, assuming you're holding it in portrait mode. In landscape there's some basic physics that comes into play, the long side of the 16:9 display pulls down and wears on your wrist after a while. In portrait mode the Galaxy Tab is remarkably comfortable. After prolonged usage I either orientation can be a problem, but I honestly believe Samsung's 8.9-inch variant may be the answer to all of our problems when it ships later this year. Unfortunately by that point you may as well wait for a Kal-El version rather than jump on what will most definitely be an aging Tegra 2.
Around the 10.1's perimeter are the usual suspects, just rearranged. The upper left edge is home to a subtle power/lock switch and a volume rocker. Neither are terribly pronounced nor are they impossible to find. With the Galaxy Tab's symmetrical industrial design it's very easy to lose your bearings and hold the tablet upside down. The subtle buttons do little to help avoid any confusion. Luckily Honeycomb, like iOS, can be oriented in any direction.
A curved 1/8" headphone jack also graces the top edge. Because of how thin the Galaxy Tab 10.1 is part of any stereo plug is going to be exposed when fully inserted into the jack, however I didn't notice any issues with the connection in my testing. Samsung ships the 10.1 with a pair of in-ear headphones with integrated mic. The mic has a single button that can be used to pause/skip songs (click once to pause, twice to skip). The headphones look expensive but the audio quality isn't anything to be impressed by.
The left and right edges are home to two individual speaker grills. The speakers are high enough on the sides that they typically aren't covered by your hands when holding the tablet.
Finally along the bottom edge of the 10.1 there's Samsung's proprietary dock connector, oddly reminiscent of Apple's iPad dock connector but just slightly narrower. If you wanted to, you could definitely get the iPad's dock cable stuck in your brand new Galaxy Tab (ahem, don't do this).
Three different, far too similar dock connectors
The Galaxy Tab 10.1 draws too much power to be charged while running off a standard USB port that doesn't implement the USB charging spec. To quickly charge the tablet you'll need to use Samsung's supplied USB to AC adapter which is a bit larger than what you get with the iPad:
Unlike the Eee Pad there are no microSD card, HDMI or USB ports available on the Galaxy Tab 10.1. This is a Honeycomb tablet in the strictest sense, it's a device for consumption not something that's going to transform into a netbook alternative. Samsung does advertise a "full size" keyboard dock, however it's only available from Samsung's website ($69.99) and it is currently out of stock.
The missing HDMI support is a bit unusual for a Tegra 2 based Honeycomb tablet, but presumably Samsung could coax a digital output out of its custom dock connector via an adapter if it wanted to.
Samsung offers the Galaxy Tab 10.1 in white and dark grey versions at the same price points. Also pretty standard are the Galaxy Tab 10.1's two cameras: a rear-facing 3.2MP (2048 x 1536) sensor and a 2MP (1600 x 1200) front facing sensor complete the package.
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headbox - Monday, June 13, 2011 - linkWith specs like those, I bet Samsung sells hundreds of these!
Omid.M - Monday, June 13, 2011 - linkIf they sold hundreds, they'd probably shoot themselves. I think you mean hundreds of THOUSANDS :)
Good review, Anand, but I think this tablet is unfortunately another stop-gap: I think the true Android tablet will be 8.9" form factor and based off Kal-El, and hopefully in LTE form.
Hardware wise, I don't see much advantage of an iPad 2 over the Tab 10.1, so it boils down to ecosystem and UI philosophy (Honeycomb vs iOS). Well, and SDK; Brian and I have had a brief chat about this :)
bplewis24 - Monday, June 13, 2011 - linkI believe the OP was making a point about the lack of consumer interest in android tablets right now, no matter how good they are.
MonkeyPaw - Monday, June 13, 2011 - linkI think its a lack of awareness. iPad. Is just all people know, and its well marketed compared to Android tablets. I have impressed many people with the capabilities of my Nook running CM7. Either people aren't convinced of the value of android tabs, or they are too heavily associating them with cell carriers. They might not think they can be purchased outside of a contract. That, or its hard to beat apple marketing.
bplewis24 - Monday, June 13, 2011 - linkI agree on both counts. The mainstream tech media has played a part in this as well as Apple's own marketing. The bottom line is that Anandtech is one of the few tech sites to give Honeycomb tablets positive reviews.
KoolAidMan1 - Monday, June 13, 2011 - linkThis is really the first one that has deserved positive reviews. The Xoom in particular was garbage. Honeycomb hardware is finally getting there in terms of displays and physical form factor. Once the Tegra 3 gets into Android tablets later this year the hardware will finally give legit competition to the iPad 2.
B3an - Monday, June 13, 2011 - linkWhat are you talking about?
Tegra 3 Android tablets wont be competitive with iPad 2 hardware wise, they will be considerably superior.
These Android tablets right now, like the Galaxy Tab 10.1 are already more than competitive on hardware. The Tab 10.1 has twice as much RAM, a better screen, and also higher resolution. The only real area where iPad 2 is unquestionably better is it's GPU. But thats about it. Overall the Tab 10.1 wins on hardware.
KoolAidMan1 - Tuesday, June 14, 2011 - linkLegitimate competition means being superior to the iPad hardware, not as good as or worse than. Otherwise there isn't much point give the app selection and excellent hardware you get with the current iPad. Right now it is a wash or considerably slower, especially when it comes to the GPU as you pointed out.
Not hating btw, this is objective reality. I think that the conclusion of the article is correct: if you are on the fence then one should wait. The Xoom was terrible, and while the Transformer and Galaxy 10.1 are huge improvements, the real Honeycomb tablets worth getting excited about will be out later this year once Tegra 3 is in them. That and more developers on board is when we'll see real competition in the tablet space.
PeteH - Tuesday, June 14, 2011 - linkI think it's also worth pointing out that GPU is probably more important to most people's tablet experience than anything else in the silicon.
So long as Apple's GPU performance continues to exceed what is available to other tablet manufacturers they will have a significant advantage. And since Apple effectively has more silicon available to it at a given price point compared to their competitors (they only have to pay to fab their chips, they don't have to pay a further markup to someone like NVIDIA) it could be very difficult for anyone to catch them in the near term.
The0ne - Thursday, June 16, 2011 - linkSometimes I feel as though Android is the brother to Linux :) If it weren't for phones I think pads wouldn't have a chance. Android needs better and more marketing/PR so consumers are aware of them. My nephews own phones with Android but they'll go huh if you as they what OS. Ask an iPhone user and they immediately know because well, it's iphone :D