Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1: First impressions
The Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, which is scheduled to reach the US market in June, will be Samsung's second attempt to offer an Android alternative to Apple's tablet offerings. Samsung's earlier tablet, the Galaxy Tab 7.0, was received with mixed reviews, largely because it was released on a version of Android without tablet-related user interface and performance enhancements.
After Samsung's first foray into tablets, Google released "Honeycomb", a new version of Android that addressed tablet-related shortcomings. To promote tablet development, Google gave attendees of their developer conference, Google I/O, free pre-releases of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 to play with. Disclosure: I attended and received a free tablet.
While the Galaxy Tab 10.1 isn't perfect, it's the first Android tablet I've used that offers a comparable user experience to the iPad 2. Motorola's earlier Honeycomb-based tablet, the Xoom, isn't horrible, but has a UI that doesn't feel "smooth" (and has a mediocre display).
The Galaxy Tab 10.1 is, in fact, lighter and thinner than the iPad 2, with twice the RAM (1GB). And, with a 1280 x 800 display, it also bests the iPad 2 in terms of display resolution. The browser can also, unlike the iPad 2, view Adobe Flash content.
Powered by a 1 GHz dual-core Nvidia Tegra 2 processor, the user interface is generally responsive. Hardware-wise, the build quality is a big improvement to the plastic-y feel of the Galaxy Tab 7.0.
Aside from browser response, there are a few things that aren't ideal in terms of hardware. The 3MP rear camera on the Galaxy Tab 10.1 is adequate, but doesn't seem as good as the HTC Evo's. There are also few peripheral ports on the Tab; these were most likely omitted to maintain its slim profile. Samsung will reportedly be releasing a docking device that provides an SD slot, USB ports, and an HDMI output.
All in all, this is the best Android tablet I've tried, and the first viable Android contender to the iPad 2.