Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1

IN WHAT SEEMS like a strange twist of circumstance, I submit this review of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 for publication on the same day that Steve Jobs announced his resignation as Apple CEO. Apple and Samsung, as you may know, are locked in various legal battles, mainly due to Apple claiming that the Korean electronics giant has infringed on Apple patents in products like the Tab 10.1, the Galaxy S II smartphone and others.

By (Magnus Nystedt)

Published: Sat 27 Aug 2011, 11:18 AM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 8:02 AM

If there’s any truth to that I don’t know but I can unequivocally state that, in my view, Samsung’s latest tablet, the Galaxy Tab 10.1, is the first really serious contender to the throne still held on to by Apple’s iPad.

The first 10-inch tablet from Samsung was shown early this year at tradeshows like Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Then iPad 2 came out and plans changed and the Galaxy Tab is now much thinner, sleeker and overall more appealing. Inside runs a dual-core 1GHz Tegra 2 processor, which, together with 1GB of RAM keeps this tablet running at a comfortable speed. The display has 1280x800 pixel resolution and it’s bright and easy to read. If I can complain about anything, it’s that the colors seem over-saturated, but that’s not a big problem. Apparently it’s only the model with both Wi-Fi and 3G that is first to arrive in the region but Samsung has said that other models will follow.

What captures the imagination when you hold the 10.1 for the first time is the physical design. It’s 8.6mm thin, just a hair thinner than iPad 2. It’s also slightly lighter than iPad 2 (570gr compared to 601gr). This combined with the slightly elongated design, due to the wider-screen display, makes the Tab 10.1 feel very thin and light. Add to that, a high quality fit and finish and the 10.1 is a beautiful piece of engineering and industrial design.

All this contributes to a fast and good-looking tablet, that is well-balanced, asy to hold and operate with one or both hands.

Around the outside we find a 5-megapixel camera on the back, a 3-megapixel camera on the front, on/off button, 3.5mm audio jack and volume rocker on the top, and a proprietary connector on the bottom. Samsung has kept the outside very clean, which is commendable. You will find stereo speakers on either side of the 10.1 and they produce surprisingly good sound.

Running Google’s Android 3.1, the 10.1 doesn’t really produce any surprises in terms of software. Samsung has put some of its own software on top of Android, something I wish they didn’t or at least that they made it optional, but it’s not as intrusive as some other implementations I’ve used. Transferring files to and from the Tab is easy with file sharing over Wi-Fi or with Samsung’s Kies software.

My only real hesitation about recommending the Tab 10.1 to anyone is the situation with Android Market in certain countries around the region: customers can’t buy apps. No doubt there are many free apps for various purposes but until customers all around the region have free reigns to download free apps as well as purchase apps, Android remains shackled.

Although it has not been officially confirmed by Samsung, on the Samsung Mobile Arabia FaceBook page, there is a message saying the Tab 10.1 16GB 3G model is in the market now for Dhs 2,699.

· Magnus Nystedt talks and writes about technology as much as he can. Follow him on Twitter as @mnystedt for the latest on consumer technology in the Middle East.

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