Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1

As we write this review, it is known that the sale of the latest Android Samsung tablet must be stopped in Europe, after legal action from Apple. Look at the picture and it's not hard to see why. The Galaxy Tab 10.1 looks creepy, like a cheeky iPad 2 - and probably does not help that the different capacities and configurations are priced exactly 3G to close corresponding models from Apple. Samsung plans to appeal against the decision, but once the current stocks are sold, there's no telling when or if there will be no more.
It's a shame because the Galaxy Tab has a lot going on. The looks have been updated since Samsung first demonstrated the device in February, but it's still lighter than the iPhone 2 at 565g, and a fraction of a millimeter thinner. The plastic back is not as bulletproof as the metal case of Apple, but like the Asus Eee Pad Transformer - so far our favorite Android tablet - it feels sturdy and warm.
The screen is also a delight - a multitouch 1200 x 800 LCD display providing more screen space than the iPhone two and a sharper dot pitch. Super-based PLS technology from Samsung - the company itself take IPS - it's so bright and colorful as you could ask, offers excellent viewing angle and a maximum brightness of 492cd/m2 arrest (brighter than the Apple display) with a punchy contrast ratio of 600:1. The only drawback is that, predictably, the widescreen format feels a bit awkward in portrait.
Internally, the Galaxy Tab 10.1, based on a 1GHz Nvidia Tegra 2 dual-core processor, again to match the Asus Transformer. It was no surprise, therefore, see the SunSpider JavaScript benchmark complete in a very similar 2.4 seconds - just a touch behind the iPad 2 of 2.1 seconds. The BBC home page opened in 5.6 seconds, and the Android-only benchmark Quadrant of the Galaxy Tab scored 2200, again a typical score for a high-end tablet.
In practice, this is a tough experience Honeycomb. Scrolling and rotation animations seem a bit choppy compared to the iPhone 2, and when you swipe to scroll up or down a page, there is a slight delay before the motion register. But these are niggles Android general, and they are easy to live with. Overall, the apps and front-end are as responsive as you could ask.
Samsung TouchWiz 4.0's also overlaid on the regular adjustments Android interface. These include "Live Panel" - large informational widgets for your home screens - and a "mini apps Tray" along the bottom of the home screen. The notification and the settings area on the bottom right of the screen is replaced by its version of Samsung, offering simple one-touch access to frequently used settings.
A flashy "tilt to zoom 'feature was also added to the browser and the various interface elements have been refurbished with a clean black-on-white look. These changes are not overwhelming, but they add little to the experience. Potentially more useful is the pre-installed copy of Office Polaris, plus a number of customized Samsung applications. These include the Social Hub, which combines your social networking services into a single interface, and the Music Hub, an integrated music store powered by 7digital service.
If you want existing media files from your PC to the Galaxy Tab 10.1, it is a breeze. Choose Samsung's software provides wireless sync, but once the drivers are installed, the tablet also works as a regular MTP device, so you can use whatever media manager to the player via a standard USB syncing. The speakers are excellent, delivering remarkable book given the size and the presence of the device.
Many popular video formats can be played out of the box, and there is support for Windows 7 the built-in transcoding capabilities to help with movie files in the wrong format. We also found that 720p YouTube videos played without a hiccup, just like standard-definition content from the BBC iPlayer mobile app - although high-definition streams were unwatchable.

To record your own video, the rear-facing camera captures sharp 720p image, but it's a bit grainy. Photos look better: posterior 3.2 MP autofocus camera takes photos with crisp detail and a good, realistic colors even in lowish light - and an LED flash to help if things too dark. The front-facing camera is as sharp, but uses a smaller 2MP sensor and a fixed focal length.

It is inevitable, we have some cramping on the hardware. The biggest disappointment is battery life: In our ongoing video test, the Galaxy managed just 10.1 Tab 7HR 18min of playing off a full load - less than half the life of the iPhone 2, and 80 minutes less than the Asus Eee Pad Transformer.

It's annoying that the only standard connector is a 3.5mm headphone jack (plus a SIM lock on the 3G version). Otherwise, all power and data is via a private 30-pin connector. If you want to connect an external display, set the external HDMI adapter, available for around £ 20 online.

There is no microSD slot either, so if you want extra storage, you must similarly priced SD or USB-2 adapter. The USB adapter can also be used to connect a mouse, but it is not enough power for an external keyboard, if you do too much typing, you can use Bluetooth keyboard or buy a special dock for £ 80 . That's 20 pounds less than the keyboard of the transformer, but this model includes an additional battery that Samsung dock is missing.
The OS has also allowed a number of shortcomings. The Android Market is smaller than Apple's App Store, with no way to filter smartphone apps are not optimized for tablets. The interface lacks the relentless clarity of IOS, and Samsung's tinkering with the front only complicates things further. On the other hand, gives you the freedom to alternative browsers and soft keyboards to install, not to mention Flash. And of course you can sync an Android device with as many PCs as you want, using whatever software you want.
Overall, the Galaxy Tab 10.1 is a very likeable machine. With its smooth performance, lightweight chassis and excellent screen and speakers, it captures the instinctive, tactile appeal of Apple's tablet is better than any rival we've seen. It has its weak points - especially the battery life - and it's hardly innovative. But if you can find in the shops, it's the best Android tablet we've seen, and an attractive alternative to the iPhone 2.


Post a Comment

Design by Free WordPress Themes | Bloggerized by Lasantha - Premium Blogger Themes | Facebook Themes