Review Index:

Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 Review - The Best Android Tablet?

Subject: Mobile
Manufacturer: Samsung

Introduction, Design and Ergonomics

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Courtesy of Samsung

Samsung's first product to make a splash into the Android tablet market was the original 7" Tab, and while its performance numbers were on par with other similar tablets produced in 2010, it left many consumers wanting more multimedia, gaming, and productivity features like what was available with Apple's iPad and iPad2. Many vendors, including Samsung, were dealing the same issues and challenges associated with the lack of tablet support in Android-based games and applications because Android's SDK only comes in one flavor for general mobile devices, not tablets with larger displays. 

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Courtesy of Samsung

After hearing feedback from consumers and hardware reviewers, Samsung completely redesigned the Tab 10.1 to accommodate users eager for enhanced video and gaming capabilities that take advantage of modern technologies like Android's latest Honeycomb OS and NVIDIA's Tegra 2 processor that support higher resolution displays beyond 1024x768 (the Tab 10.1's display runs at 1280x800). They also gave the Tab 10.1 a slimmer profile that is comparable to the iPad2. The Tab 10.1 can be purchased for around $499 for the 16GB version and $599 for the 32GB version, which is also on par with its Apple counterparts. We are reviewing the 16GB version to check out all the new features in Honeycomb and see what surprises Samsung included with the Tab 10.1 that justify the $500 price tag.

Continue reading our review of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1

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Courtesy of Samsung

When the Tab 10.1 went to production, many users were excited about getting their hands on Samsung's custom user interface called TouchWiz. However, the UX wasn't ready for prime time, and Samsung didn't ship the first Tab 10.1s with the TouchWiz interface and instead gave users Honeycomb's stock interface instead. Samsung promises to release the TouchWiz interface in a software update in August. This update is expected to bring a fully customizable TouchWiz UX, Live Panel, Mini-Apps, and an updated interface for Samsung's Media Hub. It will also include the Amazon Cloud Player, Amazon’s Kindle and Words with Friends apps.


Samsung Tab 10.1 Tablet Technical Specifications

Carrier: Wi-Fi Only

Form Factor: Touchscreen Tablet

Color: Gray or White Back

Operating System: Android 3.1, Honeycomb


  • Front Camera: 2.0 Megapixels
  • Rear Camera: 3.0 Megapixels, Auto Focus with Flash

Dimensions: 10.1" (W) x 6.9" (H) x 0.34" (D)

Weight: 19.9 oz.

Battery: Li-Polymer, 7000 mAh

Memory: 16GB Internal Memory

Connectivity: Wi-Fi, 2.4GHz, 5GHz Bluetooth 2.1+ EDR Connectivity

Display: 10.1” Widescreen HD WXGA TFT Display

User Interface: Widgets, Smart Unlock, Accelerometer, Bilingual: Spanish/English


Video: 1080p playback, 720p capture Video Codec: MPEG4, H.264, H.263, XviD, WMV7/8, VP8, MP43, VC-1 Format: 3GP(MP4), WMV(asf), AVI

Fun and Entertainment: Full HTML Web Browser, Books, Browser, Email, Gallery, Gmail, Google Maps, Android Market, Google Search, Google Talk, Voice Search, Latitude, Music Hub, Navigation, Places, Pulse, QuickOffice, Samsung Apps, YouTube, Music Player


Design and Ergonomics

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One of the biggest improvments with Samsung's second-generation Tab is the larger widescreen 10.1" display that runs natively at 1280x800. The entire unit also has a thin profile that matches up with the iPad2 very well. In fact, the Tab 10.1 measures out at 8.8 millimeters thick and the iPad2 is 8.6 millimeters in thickness. The Tab 10.1 also beats the iPad2 in overall weight (565 grams versus the iPad2 that weighs in at 601 grams). Kudos to Samsung for making their tablet more slim and portable, which will help when you slide it into a protective cover and leather case that adds more thickness and weight as well.

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Samsung discussed using its own Exynos CPU in the Galaxy Tab 10.1, but NVIDIA's Tegra 2 seemed to  fit the bill for most vendors bundling Honeycomb with their tablets. There are several advantages to using the Tegra 2 for this tablet-based computing. The Tegra 2 is a 1GHz dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 CPU, which is excellent for multitasking, mobile web browsing, hardware-accelerated Flash applications, and console-quality graphics.

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The Tab 10.1 comes in grey and white and includes 16GB and 32GB storage options. Both models include Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n support, bluetooth 3.0 support, and 1GB of memory. The front camera tops out at 2MPs, while the back camera manages 3MPs and includes auto focus, an LED flash, and 720p video recording functions. The bad news is that it doesn't include an HDMI out, USB port, or mini SD card slot so consumers need to determine if 16GBs is enough space for all their high-definition videos and other multimedia files that take up a significant amount of storage space.

August 10, 2011 | 04:44 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

The Samsung Touch Wiz application was released on August 8, 2011, just prior to the publishing of this review. I agree it's unfortunate that it wasn't available sooner or in time for this review.

If you want the update you can snag it my using the device update feature on the settings menu -> About Table menu -> Software update.

Note you'll need to have an active Samsung account to complete the download and install the update.

It took my tablet about 20-30 mins to complete the install. It's easy and straight forward.

If there's any time maybe you can do an update on this review using the TWiz update? I'm interested in your thoughts.


ps. And no I don't work for Samsung, just a friendly reader /owner of this device.


August 10, 2011 | 05:05 PM - Posted by Super Six Two

Most android fans would be glad that TouchWiz isn't there. I won't buy one simply because I knew they would be adding it. I like the true android experience. Just like with my PC's I just expect the hardware from the manufacturers. Let them stick to what they are good at and let google do its thing with android.

August 10, 2011 | 08:51 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Just bought a Asus Eee Pad Transformer for $400. Has HDMI, external sd. 10.1 etc. So why is the samsung a 100 dollars more and you get less (no sd or hdmi) greedy!!!

August 16, 2011 | 01:22 PM - Posted by Ashish87 (not verified)

Just bought Tab 10.1 for 250$ makes me feel good coz I love Samsung and a tough competitor of Apple!!

August 10, 2011 | 11:17 PM - Posted by GMAN (not verified)

No SD slot? I don't get it. Does it add that much to the thinkness? What are they trying to be the iPad? Have a Transformer and a ICONIA and find the SD slot a must have. The full size USB port ( ICONIA ) for flash drives is also a must have for me. Oh well guess I will give this one a miss.

August 11, 2011 | 05:12 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

The Touch wiz update seems to remove the WMV drm support that came with the tab out of the box.

If you use digital copy because your a noob or just like a hassle free experience you might not want to update your Galaxy Tab.

September 6, 2011 | 07:42 PM - Posted by Anthony Nguyen (not verified)

I love the Samsung Tablet 10.1 with 32Gb. It is light and portable, and the best part is the hd screen that is soothing in my eyes when I work and read ebooks on kindle for tablet software for hours. It is big enough to hold most of my documents and programs. When something, I don't need, I just store on my labtop, if I need space, I just move files to my labtop to make room for the tablet. It is not a big deal as long as I can access more files from my laptop. Of course, the SD feature would be nice, but I found out that it will outgrowth its limit quickly in a few years. For now 32Gb is big enough for my need. Thanks Samsung, you are the best.

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