Sunday, September 25, 2011

Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 Hands-on Review - Part I - Review

Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1
Hands-on Review - Part I
Review


Starting out with Android.
I started out mobile touch devices with a Palm Tungsten T5 before progressing to a Windows Mobile powered LG KS20. Back then mobile computing was always limited to what the device can do, until the arrival of Android. My first Android device is HTC Tattoo, which was an entry-level Android mobile phone. It opened up a lot more possibilities for mobile computing, thanks to the ingenious Google Android platform. I subsequently scored the HTC Desire, which was a one of the best Android phone of its time; HTC was really the only one making Android phones then. This award-winning Android phone was subsequently plagued with lack of on-board memory issue, calling for devices with larger internal memory. It was then when Samsung came into the Android market with the first Galaxy S, which enjoy its share of success. However, I stayed faithful to HTC and got myself the HTC Desire HD. Desire HD is the Bentley of cars, luxurious estate giving mobile computing otakus a whopping 4.3-inch of viewing pleasure. HTC Incredible S was the latest to join my league of Android devices.

The Beginning of the Android Wars
Seeing the success of Android as the next big thing up against Apple's iOS, every other mobile phones manufacturer jumped on the bandwagon of Android with different incarnations of Android Froyo devices. Among them were: Samsung Galaxy Tab (which was really caught between an oversized phone and a undersized tablet); Dell Streak (which sits comfortably in the palm as a mini-tablet/phone but fails in pocketability); Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 (which was rather oddly dated in terms of its Android version with an overly customized UI); Motorola Milestone (which made some impact with a slide-out keyboard for fingertips typing). In 2011, a slew of Gingerbread Android phones powered by Dual Core processors, started making their way in the market and paved the way for the entry of 10-inch dual core Android tablets powered by Google's tablet version of Android OS, Honeycomb. Computer hardware manufacturers saw the potential of Android tablets and immediately launched a couple of Android Honeycomb tablets, among them where models such as Asus EEEpad Transformer, Acer Iconia Tab and Motorola Xoom. The Xoom had its rather short spate of success before Samsung glorified its Galaxy line with two new Honeycomb tablets, Galaxy Tab 10.1 and Galaxy Tab 10.1v. Seriously, Samsung could have been more innovative with the nomenclature rather than tagging on the original Tab name! Nevertheless, Galaxy Tab 10.1 stands out from every other Android tablet. This is where you will learn to appreciate and tell yourself "I WANT A SAMSUNG GALAXY TAB 10.1!"


Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1
Official Site
Samsung first unveiled the Galaxy Tab 10.1 at Google I/O this year.
The special edition of Galaxy Tab 10.1 comes with an Android monogram rear shell.



Unboxing of Galaxy Tab 10.1
If you are a sucker for packaging, Galaxy Tab 10.1 is not that will impress you at first sight.

Lifting the Galaxy Tab 10.1 out from its tray.
Contents that come with Galaxy Tab 10.1 includes:
Charger, proprietary USB charge/sync cable, earphones, quick start guide and warranty card.
Charger unit
Charger with USB cable

Galaxy Tab 10.1
Physical Specifications
  Network: 2G, 3G, HSDPA/UMTS
Dimensions: 256.6 x 172.9 x 8.6 mm
Weight: 595 grams  
Display Type: WXGA Capacitive Touch Screen
Screen Size: 10.1 inches
Colors & Resolution: 16 Million Colors & 1280×800 Pixels
Hardware Features: Multi-touch,Samsung TouchWiz UX, Samsung Mini Apps Tray, Gyrosensor, Accelerometer, Ambient light sensor
 
System Properties 
Operating System: Google Android 3.1 Honeycomb OS
CPU: Nvidia Tegra 2 Dual-Core 1GHz Processer
Internal storage Capacity: Internal Memory 16GB / 32GB / 64GB
Expandable Memory: SD card or USB flash drive up to 32GB memory through USB adapter (sold separately)
Browser & Messaging:HTML, Flash, MMS, SMS, IM, Email, RSS, 3rd-party apps
Rear Camera: 3 Megapixels (2048 x 1536 pixels) with Auto Focus, LED Flash 
Front Camera: 2 Megapixels (1600 × 1200 pixels)
Video Recording: 720p HD Video Recording capability 
Video Playback: Capable of 1080p HD video playback in various file format (3rd-party app required)
 Connectivity: Bluetooth & USB v2.1 with EDR Stereo & USB 2.0
Headset: 3.5mm stereo headset jack
Radio: Stereo FM with RDS
WLAN: Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n
DLNA: Capable
GPS: A-GPS
HSDPA: Up to 21 Mbps
HSUPA: Up to 5.76 Mbps
Video Formats: AVI, XviD, DivX, WMV, MPEG4, H.263, H.264, RMVB & MKV (3rd-party apps required)
Audio Formats: MP3, AAC, AAC+, eAAC+, AMR, OGG, MIDI
Battery: Type Li-Ion 6860mAh Standard Battery
Playback Time: Up to 10 Hours
Talk Time: Up to 6 Hours
Other features: Adobe 10.3 Flash compatibility

Reader’s Hub, New Music Hub, Social Hub
Android Market, Gmail, Google Maps, GTalk
Twitter and Facebook Integration, YouTube, Polaris Office, Pulse
Surround Speakers, Digital compass

 Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 Up Close
Galaxy Tab 10.1, like the earlier Tab P1000, utilizes a proprietary port to sync and charge.
The port bears an uncanny resembrance to the Dock of Apple devices, however, they are not compatible of course.
On both sides of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 are speakers giving user a rich, loud and clear stereo sound with a good simulation for surround sound.
The SIM card slot sits on the top of the tab.
Galaxy Tab 10.1 adopts the friendly regular-sized SIM instead of micro-SIM.
Sitting beside the SIM card slot is the usual 3.5mm audio port, which is already a standard.
On the top left corner is power button and volume control buttons.
On the top of the bezel is the front camera and a concealed ambient sensor.
The rear camera and LED flash sits along the top edge in the middle.

Size Comparison to other Toys
Having too much toys is good! There is so little time, so much to play!
Make sure you choose the right stuff to have fun!

Galaxy Tab 10.1 in the hands
Android tablets are meant to be held in a landscape orientation, however, it can be used in portrait orientation comfortably as well.

Pimp my Galaxy Tab 10.1
I love to pimp my iPad 2 with cheap accessories that are not sold at specialty stores are premium prices.
See how I pimp my iPad 2 - 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.
My regular accessories provider has informed me with their new imports of cheap accessories and apparels for the Tab 10.1. I really should pimp the Galaxy Tab 10.1 as well, but since this is a loan review unit, I will only pimp this with a cheap Daiso clear B5 box folder - decent protection with an obvious show-off factor.

Verdict
What I like about the Galaxy Tab 10.1?
After having used having used Eclair, Froyo and Gingerbread Android OS on mobile phones, it is very clear that Honeycomb Android OS is not going to be much different from the mobile platform. If you already an Android user, getting a hand of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 is only about a matter of a few minutes. If you are not an existing Android user, it is not difficult too, since the experience on Honeycomb is very similar to using Windows XP/7 OS. The standard Android buttons have all been positioned on the "taskbar". The "taskbar" and "system tray" is very much like Windows XP/7. In short, Honeycomb is a clean and easy-to-use OS. Samsung's TouchWiz UI did not really change much of the stock Honeycomb OS. A neat feature is the pop-up App Tray, which is like the Swiss Army knife of apps, a panel of fixed general purpose apps. Samsung added a nice Screenshot button to the "taskbar", which captures the current screen (already a standard feature of iOS but requires root on Froyo and Gingerbread). I can now share what I see with others over social media. The joy of Android OS is the capability to have widgets on the home screens. A welcoming feature is resizable widgets. The lightweight Galaxy Tab 10.1 is the unrivaled in its own league and makes the Tab 10.1 more portable-friendly.  The camera on the Galaxy Tab 10.1 despite being only 3MP but captures good quality pictures. The good quality 10-inch screen provides comfortable viewing under most lighting conditions, even under bright sun light. The battery life is acceptable but not fantastic. On a regular day with plenty of emails, surfing and photo-taking, the Tab 10.1 can last till end of the day. I love the stereo speakers! The speakers are loud, clear and gives a good simulation of surround sound. I was playing back Lady Gaga's Judas and could hear the bikes roaring from left to right. The best part of Android system is of course the file system. The Android file system allows you to browse, copy, move, delete files and folders just like you do on a computer. Files stored on Android can be accessed by any installed app, making sharing and app-app integration seamless. Along with the optional USB adaptor, you can read your files stored on SD cards and flash drives. Inside the Tab 10.1, Nvidia Tegra graphics renders smooth running 3D games without lagging. Galaxy Tab 10.1 comes pre-installed with Polaris Office, a full-version Office app which allows you to view and edit Office documents and even .xlsx. The motion zooming feature gives a nice twist to the conventional pinch gesture.

What I dislike about the Galaxy Tab 10.1?
One small and disturbing thing is the lack of directional cursor keys. I really had a hard time positioning the selection marker between text and the full stop. If only they had a magnifying glass like that on the iOS. The feel of the device is plasticky and cheap, though this contributes to the lightweight. The Galaxy Tab 10.1 does not charge over standard USB port on PC and requires its adaptor to charge. The proprietary port means that I will need to buy another spare cable for office. The tad slow response on rotation can be a pain when you are in rush, but the reason is due to the rendering of the widgets and home screens.

Galaxy Tab 10.1 at Work with me
I utilize Google's cloud services for my work, since my work involves moving around and require portability of documents. I keep all data synced to Google, hence Android devices allow me to sync my data seamlessly. All my mail accounts are Gmail-based and are immediately synced with the Galaxy Tab 10.1 I do a lot of work on Microsoft Office with most my files stored on cloud, while confidential files on flash drives. In order for me to utilize these files, I either retrieve them from cloud or stick my flash drive via the USB adaptor. Transferring of files onto the Tab can be easily done over the USB connection as well. Simply drag-and-drop any files or folders like you are using Windows explorer; I cannot never get the same done on my iPad. Polaris Office immediately allows me to view, edit and present on-the-go, without having to pay for the app. Kudos to Samsung for pre-installing Polaris Office. After making changes to my files, I will often have to mail out documents and pdf files. The Android file system allows me to browse, select and attach to Gmail easily. If I attempt to do this on an iPad, I can never get it done easily without paying for the right 3rd-party app. The unrivaled lightweight is a saver, especially if you carry it for 8 continuous hours on the move.

Galaxy Tab 10.1 at Play with me
I love taking photos and putting these photos from my cameras to the tablet is easy with the USB adaptor. When I am travelling or away from my PC, I can preview, do simple edits and immediately upload and post it on social media platforms. There is no longer the need to lug a heavy laptop or netbook and fear running out of juice. I love bringing my music and videos with me, so that wherever I go, I can be entertained. I love my HD videos on the 16:9 aspect ratio screen. When I am sharing with friends and family, the high-quality speakers impressed everyone. The multiple file format support means I can simply drag-and-drop any video files from my PC onto the Tab. The Flash-capable platform gives me the optimum web-browsing experience, no holds barred. The Galaxy Tab 10.1 can be one brilliant entertainment machine that is easy to setup and ready to go, unlike my iPad. The only next thing is how am I going to charge my Tab on a long-haul flight?

Why Galaxy Tab 10.1 over other Honeycomb tablets?
The reason is simple: Lightweight.
Acer Iconia Tab has a nice addition of mini HDMI and USB port. However, these added to the already heavy metal shell, making the Iconia Tab a brick to carry around!
Asus Transformer has a nice docking station which beefs up the capability of the tablet. If you are to carry the docking station around, might as well bring a laptop! The lack of 3G functionality is a major setback!
Motorola Xoom was almost in my inventory of devices instead of the iPad. Despite the lack of USB port for flash drives, it was clearly the better among the rest of the Honeycomb tablets. However, when I read about the Galaxy Tab 10.1 at Google I/O, I knew I had to wait for the Galaxy Tab 10.1. The Galaxy Tab 10.1 is much lighter and slimmer than the Xoom!

Am I going to buy the Galaxy Tab 10.1?
I did wait till the cows come home, hence I scored the iPad 2 when it was re-stocked. I can only have one main tablet doing all the work for me. Galaxy Tab 10.1 fits the bill but getting the Tab means letting go my iPad. Will it be a fair trade off? Check out my upcoming post where I compare Galaxy Tab 10.1 v.s. iPad 2!

Should you buy the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1?
Yes, if you haven't got any tablets or want to chuck that netbook.
Yes, if you to do more mobile computing on-the-go.
Yes, if you want a easier and more efficient work flow to transfer, share and utilize files.
Yes, if you want to stand out from the rest of the white tablets gang.
Yes, if you cannot wait to plug that flash drive into your tablet.
Yes, if you have tons of HD videos to watch on the long lonely bus or train ride.
Yes, if you want something lightest.
Yes, if you are already a Galaxy S II fanatic.
Yes, if you are a diehard Samsung fan.
Yes, if you are part of Samsung Master Reviewers Programme.
Yes, if you want to support me



Check other posts in my blog for more juicy reviews on Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1!

Part I: Unboxing Review
Part II: Video Review
Part III: Galaxy Tab 10.1 vs iPad 2
Part IV: Galaxy Tab 10.1 Photography Performance
Part V: Galaxy Tab 10.1 vs iPad 2 Photography Performance
Part VI: Galaxy Tab 10.1 Videography Performance

This review is made possible thanks to Samsung Singapore for the sponsorship.


Disclaimer
Please respect the copyrights of the photographs and content in this post. Please support my work by linking back to this post via this address: http://mybearbrick.blogspot.com/2011/09/samsung-galaxy-tab-101-hands-on-review_22.html
 
This is an individual and independent user review, for more information on the official product, please refer to: http://www.samsung.com/global/microsite/galaxytab/10.1/spec.html

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