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Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1: A slim and sexy Android tablet

JR Raphael | June 9, 2011
Samsung's new tablet is the thinnest currently available -- but is it actually worth buying?

(Flash content on Android, it's worth noting, loads only on demand; as such, you don't end up seeing things like Flash-based ads unless you choose to tap and load them.)

The only performance-related issue I noticed was a tendency for the screen to sometimes take too long to rotate when turning the device, particularly on the home screen. This seems to be a common hiccup with Android Honeycomb tablets, however, and not exclusive to the Galaxy Tab 10.1.

In terms of battery life, the Tab can last a solid nine hours with continuous video playback. For regular day-to-day use, you should easily be able to go a good few days without needing to charge.

 

The Tab's display

The core component of any tablet is its display, and the Galaxy Tab 10.1 shines in this department. The Tab's 1280 x 800-pixel LCD is bold and vibrant, with brilliant colors and crisp definition. The color-intensive configuration makes the Xoom's screen (also 1280 x 800) look almost muted in comparison.

That said, the Tab's display did seem a bit oversaturated at times. In photos, for instance, skin looked significantly more orangey than it should -- not necessarily a bad thing for the pale among us -- while the Xoom's color representation was far more true to life.

Like any glossy-surfaced gadget, the Galaxy Tab looks worse in the sun. But while the screen appeared more washed out in outdoor conditions, I was able to view images and read text with relative ease, even in direct sunlight. Still, I found the Xoom to generally fare better in bright conditions.

I had no qualms with the Tab's touch-screen responsiveness; it struck me as roughly comparable to that of other high-end Honeycomb tablets.

 

A sweeter Honeycomb?

As with all Android devices, setup and synchronization was simple: After inputting my Google account credentials, the system automatically imported my preferences from my Android phone. It pulled over all of my emails, contacts and calendar information -- even the home screen wallpaper I had set on another device. Apps that I had downloaded to other devices appeared within five to 10 minutes. The Tab easily synced up with my Chrome browser bookmarks and with my recently created Google Music account, too. Thanks to the latter connection, I was able to stream anything from my entire music collection within minutes of turning the tablet on -- no waiting or downloads required.

Samsung's Galaxy Tab 10.1 runs Android 3.1, the updated version of Honeycomb released by Google one month ago. With the 3.1 release, Honeycomb has evolved tremendously from its initial rough-around-the-edges form. The system is smoother, and glitches present in the early release have largely been ironed out. A smattering of new features is also available, including the ability to resize home screen widgets and to turn the tablet into a fully functioning USB host, capable of connecting to cameras, keyboards, joysticks and other external devices.

Galaxy Tab
The Galaxy Tab currently runs a stock version of Honeycomb (Android 3.1); however, Samsung may add its TouchWiz overlay later.

 

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