Samsung Hit a Home Run with the Galaxy Tab 10.1
Some of my favorite times are when I’m able to manage to get my hands on a new toy to test out. Right now is actually one of these times and I’m excited to tell you all about my latest play toy. I’ve been playing with this new gadget for about three weeks now and I’m absolutely thrilled to provide you with my Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 review today!
Samsung was kind enough to give me a free demo version of this tablet which I greatly appreciated. I must admit that I was a bit skeptical when my new toy arrived in the mail a few weeks ago. You see, I’ve been a long time Apple iPad fan so I really had my doubts about whether I would like Samsung’s latest tablet. The only other Google Android powered device that I own is an HTC Thunderbolt smartphone and it runs on the Android 2.2 (more affectionately known as FroYo) operating system.
To tell you the truth, I kind of expected this tablet to be running FroYo as well. I guess I didn’t really pay enough attention to the specs when I ordered this tablet.
My First Impression of Samsung’s 10.1 Inch Tablet Computer
When I first released this monster from it’s cage (AKA box), the first thing I noticed was that it was both thinner and lighter than my iPad 1. I didn’t have an iPad 2 in my hands to compare this tablet to and since I’m really familiar with my iPad, it seems fitting to use it for comparison purposes in this article.
The Head To Head Weigh In
If you’re wondering how Samsung’s new powerhouse measures up when compared to the iPad 1, the Apple tablet weighs in at 23.9 ounces and has a footprint of 9.56 x 7.47 inches and it’s .5 inches thick.
The Wi-Fi ready Galaxy Tab measures 10.1 x 6.9 inches and it’s only .34 inches thick. It also weighs in 4 ounces lighter than my iPad at only 19.9 ounces.
Okay, to be fair, the iPad 2 measures in at 9.5 x 7.31 inches and it’s only .34 inches thick as well. Apple’s latest iPad weighs in just a bit heavier than the Galaxy Tab at 21.4 ounces.
Now that we have the introductions behind us, let’s talk about what it’s actually like to use Samsung’s rival to the iPad.
My Second Impression
The second thing I noticed was that the design of the Galaxy Tab was very sleek and sporty in appearance. It has an aluminum frame, a classy looking white back, and an elegant black framed display. Truth be told, I actually think the Samsung tablet looks a bit more cutting edge than my iPad.
What About Boot Up Time?
When I first powered my new tablet up, it took 34 seconds to go from all the way off to fully booted up compared to the 26 seconds that my iPad 1 takes. I really don’t consider an eight second longer start up time a deal breaker because in practical use, I found myself just putting the tablet in sleep mode when I wasn’t using it. To make the tablet sleep, you just press the small button that is on the upper right aluminum bezel. When you do this, it goes to sleep instantly and wakes up instantly by pressing the button again. There really isn’t any lag at all which is really nice!
The Operating System Was A Pleasant Surprise
I really wondered what it would be like to use Android 2.2 on a tablet. I like it fine on my smartphone but the idea of using it on a tablet seemed like it would be a bit strange to me. When I powered this tablet up for the first time, I immediately realized that it was not running on version 2.2 of Google Android. It was actually running on Android 3.1 which has been nicknamed Honeycomb by Google. Google has this weird quirk about nicknaming each version of their OS with the name of a tasty dessert.
When the device first powered up, it automatically detected my Wi-Fi network and asked me if I wanted to connect to it. After entering my Wi-Fi password, the device immediately connected and I was ready to start using my fun new toy!
I really liked the fact that there were no complicated setup steps to follow. The most complicated thing I had to do was enter my gmail information so that I could download apps from the Android Market and this was as simple as keying in my email address and password.
I was quite surprised that it took me much less time to learn my way around the Honeycomb OS than it did to learn FroYo. I attribute this to the fact that Honeycomb actually felt a little like the iPad iOS operating system. The home screens are different but I noticed that adjusting the settings on the Galaxy Tab was very intuitive; much like the iPad is.
The Sound Quality Is Exceptional
One of the things that I love about my iPad is the surprising amount of sound that comes out of it. The Galaxy Tab was no exception. When I compared the maximum volume on both devices, they sounded about even to me. The only real difference I was able to notice was that my iPad seemed to have a tiny bit more bass to it. My guess would be that this is because the iPad is thicker and there’s more room for the sound to resonate in it. The difference was actually really hard to notice and it wasn’t discernible in all of the songs I played on the device.
The True Test of This Tablet
Okay, I told you that I love my iPad but to tell you the truth, my teenage daughter uses it much more than I do. Sometimes I think it’s surgically attached to her as she rarely puts it down. Since she is so addicted and in love with her iPad, I figured that a perfect way to test the Samsung was to ask her to put the iPad away and play with the Galaxy Tab for a week or so and then let me know what she thought of it.
It took her a little while to learn the new system since she was very familiar with the way the iPad worked. At first she had a bit of a closed mind and commented that she felt like she was “cheating on her iPad” by using the Galaxy Tab. After a day or so, it was starting to become apparent to me that she was catching on when she began telling me some things that she liked better about the Galaxy Tab 10.1.
- She said that she thought both the front and rear facing cameras on the Galaxy Tab took better images than on my HTC Thunderbolt smartphone and her friends iPod touch. Her words were, “the cameras on this are WAY better!”
- She said that for some reason, if she has recently logged in to check her email on her iPad, she will be notified of new emails by a sound but if she hasn’t recently logged in, her iPad doesn’t notify her. She loved that the Galaxy Tab always notified her with both an audible alert and a visual new email indicator message.
- She also said that the graphics were “way better” on the Galaxy Tab. When I asked her what made her think that, she showed me that when she was looking at images on her iPad in the Safari browser, the images would get blurry when she zoomed in a little bit. When she did the same thing with the Galaxy tab, she was able to enlarge the same photo’s more before they started getting blurry.
- She also really like the tactile keyboard feedback feature. On her iPad the keys make a sound when she touches them but on the Galaxy Tab, the device vibrates briefly after every keystroke.
- She also commented that she was able to send larger video email attachments on this tablet than her friend could send on her iPod Touch or that she could send on my HTC Thunderbolt.
- The only thing she didn’t like about Samsung’s 10.1 inch tablet computer was the way the home screens worked. She was a bit annoyed with the way the icons are animated and appear to fade away as she swipes from homepage to homepage. On her iPad, the background image stays the same and when she swipes her finger across the screen, the icons just slide off the screen.
So What’s The Final Verdict?
One of my favorite things about this tablet is that I can actually multi-task with it. This is a HUGE selling point for me! I can jump from the Internet Browser to my Facebook app or email app and I don’t have to close the current app to begin using another one. I’ve always been a bit annoyed when I have to completely close the app that I’m working with on my iPad when I only need to quickly check my email or jump to another task for a brief minute.
I can comfortably say that Samsung hit a big home run with this device! I’ve been less than thrilled with some of the tablets that I’ve played around with over the years. Not only does Samsung’s contribution to the tablet computing world stack up very well when compared with the iPad, I believe that it surpasses the iPad in several areas.
I let a die-hard iPad user put this sleek electronic marvel through it’s paces and believe me when I say she really scrutinized it. Initially, I think she was just looking for reasons not to like it because she loves her iPad so much. In the beginning, she actually kind of acted like she was being punished by not being allowed to use her iPad while I was having her test the Galaxy Tab. This, however, soon changed and by the time that it was my turn to play with this new toy, I had to pry it out of her hands and I noticed that she was making comments like, “I wish my iPad did this!”
The only problem I have with the Samsung Galaxy Tab is getting time to use it. My daughter has suddenly decided that she needs both of these new gadgets and I often catch her using them both at the same time if you can believe that. How she does that is beyond me!
I thought that parents were supposed to buy toys that they actually want to play with for their kids. I’m not sure I like the way this one turned out. Now I can never use my iPad and I can never use my Galaxy Tab.
Oh well, it looks like the only solution is to buy a new toy to play with but you can probably guess how that will turn out for me.