Name: Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1
Specs: 10.1-inch widescreen Super PLS (1280x800) screen, 1GHz dual-core Tegra 2 processor, Android 3.1 Honeycomb OS, 32GB, Wi-fi, Bluetooth, , 720p HD recording, Dual cameras, and DLNA support.
The Back Story: Late last year, Samsung introduced what many experts considered to be the iPad’s first-true competitor: the Galaxy Tab. Though it suffered from a lack of a true tablet OS (running the mobile-friendly Android 2.2 Froyo), it still managed to impress buyers and become a surprise hit during the holiday season, shipping over two million units. With Samsung's Galaxy division dominating worldwide smartphone sales and becoming one of the major franchises in the mobile game, the Korean manufacturer looks to strengthen its tablet line-up by introducing a larger version of the seven-inch model, the Galaxy Tab 10.1. Donning the biggest and most gorgeous touchscreen found on any Android tablet, along with the latest Honeycomb OS and an improved design, does the Samsung's latest offer enough to compete with the competition or will it be just another Android tablet? Here's our take.
• Beautiful, sharp display: The Galaxy Tab's biggest selling point is obviously its enormous touchscreen. Samsung decided to stray away from its popular Super AMOLED screen and welcomes a 10.1-inch Super PLS (Plane-to-Line-Switching) display, which does an immaculate job of producing stunning visuals and amazing viewing angles. Images and text look crystal clear due to the screen's ridiculously bright resolution. The widescreen format delivers great viewing HD videos and web pages, while games like Fruit Ninja and Angry Birds offer vibrant output and no color distortion.
• Updated Honeycomb version: Enhanced multitasking is at the forefront of Android 3.1, offering faster command speeds and the ability to simultaneously open 20 apps instead of only five. Five customizable homescreens are available with each one laying out eight columns and rows for app and widget placement. The notification bar at the bottom right lets you do anything from skip songs on the music player to read incoming messages. A pop-up menu near the Home button informs you of all open programs, too. Another cool feature is the ability to transfer previously downloaded apps from a secondary Android device after synching the tablet with your Gmail account.
• Multimedia powerhouse: With NVIDIA’s Tegra dual-core under the hood, users will experience top-notch visuals and gameplay. Music lovers can upload and store their library to Google’s Music Beta cloud service and wirelessly stream media from any compatible device. There’s also a cool video editor called Movie Studio that offers sweet features such as multi-format export and YouTube integration. Also, bass-bumping speakers are built-in on each side of the device and generate powerful sound. Finally, Samsung gets cools points for including a set of earphones—something no other tablet has offered.
• Sleek and solid form factor: There’s no denying that Samsung’s tabby is one sexy portable beast. Up close it bears a striking resemblance to the iPad with its decorative aluminum trim. On the other hand, it’s slimmer and lighter than Apple’s tablet, measuring at .3 inches thick and 1.25 lbs. The glossy, plastic back panel is built to take heavy bumps and feels great in hand, plus its curved edges add to the device’s aesthetics.
• Impressive dual cameras: No one really uses tablets to snap photos, but the Galaxy Tab might encourage shutterbugs to be more adventurous, since the rear 3MP camera manages to capture clear and detailed images in both light and dark environments. It’s capable of shooting 720p footage, too. Video conferencing and picture quality is also better on the front-facing 2MP camera compared to the Motorola Xoom and some Android smartphones.
• Browser needs tweaking: The Android-based browser occasionally freezes and struggles with Flash videos, resulting in slow performance. Another issue is it constantly loads the mobile version of certain sites instead of the desktop variant. We recommend downloading Mozilla Firefox or another third-party browser for the meantime.
• Wi-fi only and spotty connection: It's simple: no wi-fi access means no Internet connection. And unless you're picking up a strong wireless signal (max three out of four bars), expect online sessions to drag.
• Lack of output slots and ports: Anyone looking to mirror content onto their HDTV will need to invest in additional accessories because there is no HDMI port. A USB port and memory card slot is missing as well. With that being said, mediaphiles will be compelled to pick up the 32GB model.
Final Say: So is the Galaxy Tab 10.1 an improvement over its seven-inch brethren? Yes. The most noticeable improvements are the larger screen, the faster dual-core processor, and the minor UI advancements. The jaw-dropping new PLS display along with the thin and lightweight form-factor will place it high atop the Android tablet echelon. Furthermore, Samsung just announced plans to roll out a new edition of TouchWiz and countless new features in a future Honeycomb update. The true mobile warriors who have the need Internet connectivity to get the most out of their tablet, might want to direct themselves towards the equally priced iPad 2, or pre-order the Verizon LTE-enabled version that's slated to be released within the next six weeks. Still, the Galaxy Tab 10.1 shows promise; more than almost all of the other Android tablets, and it sits pretty knowing its the best looking tablet out there. Pertinent for those of you that need your tablets to function as well as it's formed.