in our 2011 Tablet Countdown
Review models of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 aren’t yet available in New Zealand, but we got the 10.1v in its pre-production form. We’re told the 10.1v is only set for a limited release in New Zealand – because Samsung has since announced the thinner, lighter 10.1, as well as an 8.9-inch version of the Galaxy Tab – but it’s still worth your money if you want an Android-based iPad 2 competitor.
Like the Acer Iconia Tab, the Galaxy Tab 10.1v is running Android’s tablet-optimised Honeycomb operating system. This makes everything from web browsing to navigating the OS vastly improved on the 7-inch Galaxy Tab, with nice touches that include GMail’s improved interface designed specifically for viewing on a tablet. You have more options, and they’re more readily available when you need them, since there’s more screen space to present them on.
However, unlike the Acer Iconia Tab, the 10.1-inch Galaxy Tab comes in a Wi-Fi+3G version or a 3G-only version. There’s a catch though – while the price was still to be confirmed as of the time of writing, Samsung have informed us that the Galaxy Tab 10.1v will be more expensive than the iPad 2 (although, not reassuringly, “less than two grand – you can quote me on that”).
The good news is that while the Galaxy Tab’s resolution isn’t as high as the Iconia’s, the 1280 x 800 display is still very much worth your while. Like all the high-end tablets we’ve tested, the 10.1v is capable of displaying both text and images without even the slightest hint of pixelation. The text smoothing is particularly good on the Galaxy Tab 10.1v, which makes it a good choice if you want to read books and browse the web – two of the chief uses for tablets.
Gaming is great thanks to the responsiveness of the tablet, especially for games designed to take advantage of larger screens. The 10.1-inch screen gives you the ability to really pinpoint the pineapple that needs slicing or the trajectory of the angry bird, and while it’s not quite as responsive as the iPad 2, it’s still snappy enough.
Unfortunately, the Galaxy Tab 10.1v has some of the worst battery life of all the tablets we’ve tested – with fairly heavy use it might last a day at most – but since it doesn’t take a very long time to charge, it may not be an issue for you. Still, when an iPad 2 battery can last 10 hours of constant – and we mean constant – use, it’s a shame.
If you’re after a Honeycomb tablet and you want one with 3G as soon as possible, the Galaxy Tab is going to be your only choice for quite some time. Expect to pay for it, though.