Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 Review

It's finally here. After those legal battles with Apple in Australian courts, the Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet (follow-up to the Galaxy Tab 10.1v) has hit Aussie shops starting at around $579. It’s thinner and lighter than the iPad 2, and Samsung’s TouchWiz UX interface for Android 3.1 Honeycomb is bright and inviting. We also now know which Galaxy Tab 10.1 accessories will be available in Australia. Let’s take a look.

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The Galaxy Tab 10.1 measures 8.66mm thick and weighs 565g (3G model) / 560g (Wi-Fi only). This is a big deal. It helps it feel a generation ahead of any other Android tablet, even though it’s basically got the same guts (1GHz dual-core Nvidia Tegra 2 chip like the Asus Transformer for example). The Galaxy Tab 10.1 sets the bar for what every other Android tablet should feel like.

Meanwhile, Samsung wants its recent TouchWiz UX tweaks to improve the visual look and feel of the tablet. They’ve added Swype support and a resizable keyboard, a mini apps tray along the bottom of the screen, and “Live panel” — a magazine-like collection of widgets the live on the home screen. “Quick Panel” improves one-click access to system settings like Wi-Fi, and Samung’s Social and Media Hub apps pretty much do what you’d expect.

Settings menus and the keyboard are now a whitish-grey. Fonts have a cleaner appearance. The weather and news Live Panes aren’t terrible. There’s even a dedicated icon on the status bar for screenshots (something Android didn’t previously have built-in support for). Overall, TouchWiz UX makes the OS look much better.

Good on Samsung for including a full version of Polaris Office 3.0 so you can view/edit Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents. You also get limited trials of Norton Mobile Security and Samsung Music Hub. Additional apps on the way include a Kobo eReader in addition to PressReader (for digital versions of newspapers like the Australian, Courier Mail and Daily Telegraph). For the absent minded, Samsung’s Dive service will also help you track the Galaxy Tab 10.1 via GPS if you lose it.

Besides Flash 10.2 video support, the Galaxy Tab 10.1 can playback video encoded in MPEG4, H.263, H.264, DivX, Xvid and WMV. It’ll handle 1080p videos at 30fps, but play them at the 10.1-inch screen’s resolution of 1280x800.

It’s worth noting the use of a PLS (Plane to Line Switching) LCD, which is basically Samsung’s version of IPS. It performs comparably — sometimes a bit better and sometimes not. It’s an impressive mobile display with a lot better standout performance than all of the other Android Tablets — except in one very important category. If you like to watch your HDTV with the colour Saturation control set to maximum then you will be right at home with the Galaxy Tab because Samsung has turned the colour obnoxiously high with no way to lower it (yet). This could be fixed easily with a software update by adding a colour picture control that lets users adjust the colour to their liking — see Gizmodo’s Tablet Display Shootout for more.

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We don’t have many cons, but the plastic backing is one. That’s partly how Samsung out-wisped the iPad 2. Not an absolutely deal breaker, though, as it still feels quite sturdy. It’s down to personal preference. As is the 16:10 orientation – those used to an iPad may feel it awkward to hold in portrait (to say, read a Kindle book). On the flip side, widescreen actually makes other apps a whole lot more usable.

TouchWiz UX definitely makes Android easier on the eyes, but if you had fundamental issues with Honeycomb before, this won’t do much to change your mind. Beyond the homescreen and settings menu, there’s not too much that feels radically different. The dock bar full of Samsung-developed mini-apps/widgets stays hidden until you tap the arrow icon on the status bar – but most of these apps are inconsequential at best.

Galaxy Tab 10.1 Accessories

Unfortunately, you’ll need the $50 “HDTV adapter” (HDMI) to connect the Galaxy Tab 10.1 to an external screen. Other Aussie accessories include:

- Keyboard Dock ($99) - Combo Bluetooth Keyboard / Case ($159; pictured) - SD card reader ($37.95) - Full-sized USB port adapter (supports mouse-input; $37.95) - Desktop Charging Dock ($39.95) - Book cover / viewing stand ($69) - Pouch ($34.95)

What's Next?

As things stand, Samsung has yet to announce when (or if) Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwhich will arrive for the Galaxy Tab 10.1. Here’s hoping it’s soon — the current Asus Transformer tablet received an early ICS port, and we’ve seen it running on the upcoming Asus Transformer Prime.

And what of Samsung’s own Galaxy Tab 8.9 and Galaxy Tab 7.7? No word yet on Australian availability – but it’s early days yet. The 10.1 only just got cleared for sale.

Rumours: Is Samsung Making An 11.6-inch (2560×1600) Retina Screen Galaxy Tab?

Galaxy Tab 8.9 and TouchWiz UX hands-on video:

You can pick up the Galaxy Tab 10.1 from the likes of JB Hi-Fi, Good Guys, Myer, Bing Lee, Office Works and Harvey Norman for around $579 (16GB WiFi variant) and a RRP of $729 (16GB 3G variant). Vodafone is the first telco to provide a subsidised option, and Kogan and Mobicity are selling it too — though we really recommend giving this one some hands-on time before picking it up. Gizmodo readers recently voted the Galaxy Tab 10.1 as the best Android tablet currently available on our shores. We agree. For now.

More: Asus Transformer Prime Super Tablet Hits Australia In January


Comments

    Meh, too late. Bought an Iconia instead and can't see why someone would pay a premium for this at all vs features.

    While I would love to go out and buy this tablet the fact is its been on the market for ages overseas and even though its reasonably specked in a few months time the quad core tegra 3 chip will be out in a few tablets making this kinda obsolete before you even get it out of the box.

    One things for sure .. they are asking way to much for it considering its nearly out of date already. Apple really screwed Samsung over on this one. If they made it a lot cheaper I might still consider it .. but $580.00 bucks for the 16gb wifi model is a bit much considering this models age .. I might wait until its on its way out and is going for 400 bucks .. of course by then the next gen tablets will be out .. hmmmm.

      I wouldn't even pay $400 for the thing. I agree that it would be better to wait for the Tegra 3 devices to come into the market, and if they start at $500-$600 your better off spending that than $400 on one of these.

        $499 at www.kogan.com.au

          Yeah, Kogan. Delivered by Toll, whenever they feel like it, with the package half opened, ripped or dented. Kogan don't give a shit about the customer, just their money. I've had too may issues with just plain boxes turning up (days later than their emails suggest coz Toll lost the shipment under a pallet of other stuff, and hours on the phone getting shafted just because you dare ask where the hell the package is, days after the expected delivery date) boxes not even taped up or wrapped, dented with plastic bits chipped due to the handling. I'd rather stick my dick into a power outlet before I even think about going onto Kogans website ever again. Never, ever again.

      With the new Tegra 3 Tablets coming out, I agree this device may be nice, but is now way too old to even consider purchasing with what I would expect to have released within the next couple of months on the horizon.

        I got mine from Kogan and it works great. Was delivered in 5 days and coated in about 3 layers of bubble wrap.

        I'm going to have to disagree. I ordered the 10.1 through Kogan before it was banned. It arrived two days later.
        I pre-ordered the Galaxy Nexus from Kogan and it arrived via fed ex on the promised day.

        I only have praise for Kogan in my dealings so far.

        Actually I've ordered a number of items from Kogan and they have all arrived very quickly (within 3-4 days) and the packaging has always been fine.

        Their after sales service isnt the best, yes.. but their product delivery and price model is fine.

        same prob. with toll. theyre useless and lazy.

    "It’s worth noting the use of a PLS (Plane to Line Switching) LCD, which is basically Samsung’s version of IPS. It performs comparably — sometimes a bit better and sometimes not."

    I'm curious - is this just the saturation you're talking about here?

    I've heard a lot of people complain about Samsung phone/tablet devices being in a seemingly permanent 'attract mode'.

    Way too expensive for me too! Feels like Aussies are bearing the financial burden of the court case with Apple by being charged a premium price for this product. It is on for sale at $499.99 in the US, so why else the $80 (16%) premium for Australia? Even $400 is too much for me.

      I hear you. But worth remembering that 10% is GST -- so $30 difference in this case isn't bad considering we have 22M vs 307M people (economies of scale). Have seen the US/AU price difference much worse for various other gear -- and we've bitched about that here on Giz.

    Why would anyone buy that instead of an Ipad at this price point ???? to play with more expensive & inferior Apps ?
    Just weird

      Why?
      - Not everyone wants to buy into the iTunes ecosystem
      - Majority of the most popular apps are now also available / have equivalents for Android (pure supply and demand. More users now on Android).
      - Flash support (which removes need for many apps).
      - Galaxy Tab 10.1 hardware is superior (excluding build quality)
      - Galaxy Tab 10.1 is still price competetive against iPad.

      Oh, and I bought an iPad. Just sayin' let's keep it real.

        +1

        Nothing inferior about it, just different.

        ...I own a Galaxy Tab 10.1, Xoom and an Ipad 2!

          It does the job of being a tablet really well. The "plasticy feel" so many complain is a non-starter. It makes it light and saves your wrist for long reads. Its as sturdy as a thin electronic glass thingy needs to be - the glass holds it together.I remember some drop test that showed the iPads "sturdy" frame didn't help the glass-it smashed whereas the 10.1 did not.
          The price point is so that Sammy can make a profit. Princing is dropping already.

        Are they at $0.99/$1.99 like most Itunes Apps ??? last time I check prices were nuts on Android, even worst on nokia

          http://www.gizmodo.com.au/tags/app-deals-of-the-day/

      Maybe to watch Flash content on websites and/or play Flash games? Or for a proper 21st century 16:9 screen? Or maybe you just don't EVER want to have to deal with Apple again in your life? I'll give you an excellent example of why that might be. I just spent half a day with a friend of mine trying to get a GarageBand file made in v6.071 to open. Even 6.0 won't open it, which is absolutely ridiculous, which means my friend will have to pay for an upgrade and hope it doesn't screw anything else on his MacBook. The fact that some idiot who is supposed to be a professional saved these files, which are just from 4-track tape, in Garageband in the first place, rather than as AIFF or WAV files, shows what complete idiots Apple users are.

        Cool rant - completely irrelevant.

          This comment has been deemed inappropriate and has been deleted.

    The Ipad2 isn't much different then the 10.1 .. they are almost identical in spec. All the computers in my house are mac .. but my mobile devices are all android .. why because I can't stand itunes and because I like to able to change my battery and add more memory if I wish to.

    Other then the fact that the ipad2 is shiny and white and has an apple logo on it .. its pretty much identical to the 10.1 tab.

    I'll be waiting for the first gen tegra 3 tablets to be released .. oh and apple better bring its a game with the ipad3 if wants to keep up. :P

    Everyone complains about the price too much. Does no one believe in a fair price anymore? All you tight asses are going to out retail outta business.

      Up until a few months ago I worked retail for 7 years .. I got out because Australia simply refuses to compete with the global market and continues to force everyone to pay more for products.

      Retail in Australia will continue to struggle unless it decides to compete and realize that we are in a global market .. if my seven years in retail taught me anything its that people are rude and arrogant .. they dont really care about customer service anymore they only care about price and getting the best deal they can for there money. There loyalty lies with the store that has the cheapest price .. thats it.

        Kinda true, but to me customer service goes furthest. I'd rather pay slightly more in one shop that is courteous and serves me without hassle, than wait around to be ignored by staff that clearly don't give a sh!t for a slightly cheaper price.

    xda dev has custom HC3.2 roms/kernels for the 10.1 (and 8.9). Tegra2 overclocks comfortably to 1.4GHz+. There's a screen colour temp app for the 10.1 on xda dev. These improve the device noticeably. The usb adapter works fine with (low power) usb sticks ...maybe skip the official samsung usb adapter though as there are 3rd party adapters that are easier to use day-to-day, i.e. adapters with cords vs the rigid plastic samsung adapter.

      Yeah but as soon as the customer needs assistance they dont go online they come to a retail store. I have kicked out several "customers"who bought the products we sell online and want assistance with them. If your willing to go online then deal with your own problems !

        Kick out the customers??? this is a very good attitude for someone working in retail. How can you be so arrogant?
        To be honest, I don't see any customer services in aus, when you compare to the rest of the world. most of the time the retail staffs are reluctant to help and being quite impolite. This is way below the standard you can find in US or Japan.

    Show me the Transformer Prime.... Take my money now God damn it!

      I accidentally hit report on this when all I wanted to do was reply and say ..

      ROFL .. I am right here with you on that one Ed .. it looks like one hot tablet!

    Have pre ordered mine can't wait to get it.

    I love it that this is now available in Australia. I bought the tab 10.1 off shore 2 months ago and though I loved it when I got it, it has now become unusable due to a display issue and because the warrantee isn't international I have to send a unit that is now basically useless across the other side of the world with no promise of resolution. I would think that Samsung could have more loyalty to its supporters and its product and look after those that have stood by them through the whole legal dispute.

    And is the Giz editorial opinion still that the 8" is better than the 10" in light of the Reader's vote?

    ASUS Transformer is currently the better buy.. you only need to do a little bit of research into the different tablets available to come to the same conclusion. This may, and will likely, change in the future.. but for now the Transformer is the better buy.

    Got the tab 10.1 two months back from kogan and had a warranty replacement also done promptly but they sent me the soft black version instead of the white one I had previously. I actually like this one over the white :)

      Oh and the problem was that it stopped working as an MTP one fine day...It's all good now!

    Do Samsung Galaxy products always have to stay as the first articles for a few days? Galaxy Nexus stayed for a few days and now this. . .

      Yup, welcome to the future :)

    hhmm might just get one to use until the prime is out then hand the 10.1 over to the g/f.
    I still would much prefer a dumb terminal type tablet that I slot my phone into.
    padfone come out already will ya!!
    http://event.asus.com/mobile/padfone/

      I'm right with you there on the padfone idea.

      All I want is a way to use my smartphone on a larger screen while I'm chilling out at home.

      Imagine this;

      You already own a smartphone. It does everything you need from a portable device, but sometimes you wish the screen was bigger.
      That's OK, because here's a device that uses your smartphone's computing and communication powers, and displays it on a tablet-like screen that you use to interact with your smartphone.
      Because most of the un-necessary electronics have been removed, that space is filled with battery, giving you several day's use out of your screen.
      This device may have radios or hard connections to connect with your smartphone. Probably both. It will be much cheaper than a tablet, thinner and lighter, and compatible with any mobile OS you need, because it's not a computer - it's a monitor! A gorgeoous, hand-held, portable, multi-connectable monitor!

      This is what I want.

      You can have that idea for free. Now go ahead and make yourself rich and me happy!

    The screen aspect ratio is not 16:9 it is 16:10. If the resolution was 1280x720 then it would be 16:9.

    So glad I waited for this model, absolutely leaves the other products for dead in terms of style, use, weight, design and speed.
    Way to go Samsung!

    Of the Android tablets I've tried this is the best. The screen is great, it's reasonably fast, good battery life and nice form factor. That being said it has enough annoying issues that using it can be frustrating at times. In particular, we wanted to download video content to the tablet via Wi-Fi. It appears the chip/processor handling the Wi-Fi only has sufficient speed to cope with about a 1Mbps throughput. For large files we're therefore limited to using the USB connection. The proprietary USB connector is another problem if you forget it. Why on earth was a standard connector not used? Finally, like many Android platforms, things just don't mesh together as seamlessly as they might. Overall, not bad but still lots of room for improvement.

    Looking to buy a galaxy 10.1, but a look on the internet has identified a number of issues faced by mainly US customers - oil slick, Wi-fi connectivity issues and image freezing. Does anyone know whether this has been addressed/fixed in the Aussie versions? Why is no one here seemed worried about these so-called known issues?

    What is tegra 3? im a uni student not massive on technology just want something small and light i can carry with me is it worth waiting for this tegra 3 thing?

    Is it true that the Galaxy 10.1 will only print to Samsung printers?

    i bought the ipad 3 version couldnt eben put pictures on it with the apple camera kit error code format not supported or too much power just crap ipads for teenagers and itunes and iphone users

    Does the Galaxy 10.1 come with DICTION ? (as the new I-pad has). I'm a 67 year old one finger typist who would love this feature for emailing. Been to 3 stores and none have been helpful.

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