Reviews

Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 Review: is this Android’s next superstar tablet?

June 21, 2011 | by Andrew Kameka

Reviews, Samsung Tablets

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Samsung was the first to introduce a viable Android tablet with the Samsung Galaxy Tab. But only months after its release, Motorola earned the honor of releasing the first device running Honeycomb, an Android version designed specifically for the tablet experience. And while Honeycomb clearly provided superior software to the Tab, the Motorola Xoom was too big and too heavy for some.

The Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 is Samsung’s attempt to provide the ideal tablet experience. Quickly pivoting from the hardware shown off in February and redesigning its tablet to be thinner than a Parisian fashion model, Samsung has made the Galaxy Tab 10.1 light on hardware and heavy on software virtues. Available now in 16 GB and 32 GB models, Android enthusiasts will soon decide if Samsung got it right. Let us help you decide if you’ll even give it a chance.

Hardware….here’s the skinny

By now, you should already be familiar with the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1′s beautiful hardware. It’s the thinnest tablet known to man (8.6 mm), has a large LCD screen (10.1), and is light as a feather (1.24 lbs) even when held in one hand. The presence of a Tegra 2 processor also makes for a premiere gaming experience, and the dual-core goodness can handle all of the heavy-lifting users throw at it. All of this is wrapped in solid black bevel on the front, and a white plastic casing (or more solid gray back).

For all its marvels of design, the SGT 10.1 still fails to achieve cant-miss status because it has only one port. That port is responsible for charging, connecting to peripherals through an adapter, and connecting to a computer. The lack of USB ports makes for a difficult transfer method of data, and the reliance of Samsung Kies, which is practically impossible to use on a Mac, is the least desirable way that I’d choose to connect to a computer.

Once you manage to get the Galaxy Tab 10.1 up-and-running, the 7000 mAh battery will keep pace with demands for a reasonable amount of time. After hours of playing Samurai II and watching videos through the awesome YouTube app for Honeycomb 3.0, the battery was still at about 40 percent. Battery will drain quicker when playing games or watching videos, but normal activity (web browsing, reading, etc.) should support up to 9 hours depending on the current settings.

Camera and Camcorder

The value of cameras in a tablet seems marginal to me, but it’s important to have a decent camera for those rare occasions that someone wants to take a picture or record a video. The SGT 10.1 has a 3 megapixel rear camera and a 2 megapixel front-facing camera. Samsung adds a customized app to maximize both lenses, and includes the following shooting modes: Single Shot, Smile Shot, Action shot, and Panorama. However, the camera’s auto-focus is not as strong as it is on mobile phones, so don’t expect to get the same great panorama images that you produce on the Galaxy S phone line.

I was actually more impressed with the photos and videos taken with the recently reviewed Samsung Infuse 4G, but the Galaxy Tab 10.1 has similar controls to optimize results. Users can adjust brightness/exposure, change White Balance modes, shoot in Sepia or Black-and-white, use a timer, and easily switch between cameras. The controls are easy to manage and serve a purpose of enhancing photos and videos. Be quick about it – the slow reaction times and shutter speeds of both lenses sure as heck won’t.  Here are a few sample shots.

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