Korean gadget maker Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. (SEO:005930) was
one of the first to deploy a major Android tablet, releasing
the 7-inch Galaxy Tab. The small tablet wasn't exactly the
"iPad-slayer" the market had been waiting for, but it occupied a
unique niche in the food chain. Now Samsung is stepping up to the plate,
releasing a 10.1" direct challenger to the iPad and looking to go strong,
where past competitors like Motorola Mobility Solutions, Inc. (MMI) struggled.
A surprisingly slick iPad 2 design
forced Samsung back
to the drawing board. It responded by trimming over 2 mm off its
design. In its new form, the Galaxy Tab 10.1 is a mere 8.6 mm thick --
0.2 mm less than the iPad 2. And with 4G wireless connectivity, it weighs
in at 595g -- 15 grams less than the iPad 2.
The tablet’s construction is also apparently high quality. Referencing
the "Limited Edition" test builds that Google handed out to attendees
of its I/O developers conference Engadget writes:
The consumer model is a spitting image of the LE
variant, save for the motif on the rear; the one you'll pick up this month has
a glossy white plastic rear, while the LE model had a glossy white plastic
rear... with an Android army adorning it. Weight's the same, size is the same,
build quality is the same. It's a tremendous thing to hold, and it truly oozes
quality from corner to corner.
PC World adds:
In my hands-on testing, the Tab 10.1 achieved
perhaps the best design compliment an Android tablet could hope for--often
being mistaken by passers-by (including Apple iPad users) for an iPad 2.
Engadget seems to be the only ones who benchmarked it thoroughly,
thus far. They say the tablet's 7000 mAh battery offers 10 hours of
battery life when playing video at 65 percent brightness. That's only 0.5
hour less than the iPad.
Both the iPad 2 and the Galaxy Tab 10.1" should be similar in processing
power as both pack dual-core ARMv7 proprietary CPUs (ironically Samsung
manufacturers and likely helped design the iPad 2's CPU). The one
advantage the Galaxy Tab 10.1" has is it packs 1 GB of DDR2 memory, versus
a mere 512 MB in the iPad 2.
The 16 GB model is priced the same as the iPad 2 for the 16 GB model with Wi-Fi
only -- $499 USD. As with Apple a 32 GB model ("the one with the
bigger GBs") is available for $599 USD. And Verizon will be offering
4G-equipped models for $130 USD more than their respective Wi-Fi counterparts
-- the same premium as with the iPad 2.
The Galaxy Tab carries a minor update to Honeycomb -- Android 3.1.
[T]his is the best
Honeycomb tablet to date, and lucky for you, the one's available to purchase!
Only time will tell if the Android Market will prove to be as well-stocked as
the App Store, and if you're willing to wait, this here slate provides a
world-class Gmail experience, better handling than the iPad 2 (in our humble
opinion, anyway) and a higher resolution display.
PCWorld chimes in:
Whether you go Wi-Fi only or opt for a connected
version, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 is the first Android tablet that makes a
credible, and successful, run at competing with Apple's iPad 2. It matches iPad
in most every way-design, price, and even that intangible IT factor. Where it
falls short lies is in sacrificing ports, but that alone isn't a dealbreaker;
heck, Apple's been doing that from the outset. Google's Android Market
continues to make it more difficult to find tablet-optimized apps than Apple's
App Store does, but again, that may not be a dealbreaker. If neither of those
constraints phase you, then the Galaxy Tab 10.1 is one of the top tablets you
can consider buying today. And it becomes the flagship Honeycomb tablet for
showcasing what Android 3.1 can do.
reviews all around were much more positive than
with the Motorola Xoom, and better even that the somewhat warmly received
original Galaxy Tab (7-inch model).
Sounds like the wait was worth it -- Samsung may have a winner on its hands.
That would certainly be a godsend for the struggling
Android tablet market.