Tablets Guide

Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 (3G 16GB) review

Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 - The Starlet

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Multimedia and Battery Performance

"Tabbing" on the Dance Floor

With a slim profile of 8.6mm, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 is built to be a mobile entertainment device. On paper, it has everything to back that up - a 10.1-inch display with 1280 x 800 pixels resolution, Adobe Flash player support, full HD video playback support, stereo speakers, a 3-megapixel auto-focus rear camera with LED flash and a 2-megapixel front camera.

The viewing experience on the Galaxy Tab 10.1 is pleasant with vivid details and vibrant colors, considering that Samsung managed to pack a pixel density of 149 ppi (pixel per inch) on the 10.1-inch display. This is a tad higher than Apple iPad 2's display at 132 ppi. However, the display has a flaw common in most tablets - a reflective screen. It gets annoying after a while when you keep seeing the reflection of your background or yourself on the screen. And let us not forget the amount of fingerprint smudges on the same screen.

If you tend to hold the device on the lower half of the device, the stereo speakers would be clear to blast its music. This is unlike the placement of the speakers on the BlackBerry PlayBook where it is hard to avoid blocking the speakers with your hands when holding the device. From our testing on the Samsung, the quality of the speakers are average at best and you're better off with an external pair of portable speakers if you are serious about music quality on the move.

The Galaxy Tab 10.1 doesn't exactly come with a strong imaging proposition, given its 3-megapixel autofocus camera, considering how most Honeycomb tablets offer a 5-megapixel imaging resolution. However, it is also important to note that a higher megapixel count does not necessarily mean better image quality. We put the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 through the color and resolution tests to prove that point.

For those who are considering getting the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 over the Apple iPad 2, the battery performance is perhaps the most important section of this review. For the battery life assessment, we compare the Galaxy Tab 10.1 against the ASUS Eee Pad Transformer, Lenovo IdeaPad Tablet K1 and the Apple iPad 2. The battery test involves looping a 720p video with screen brightness and volume set to 100%. We also turned on Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity to ensure constant streaming of data through email and Twitter.

Tablet Comparison Table
Specifications/Device Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 (3G) ASUS Eee Pad Transformer Lenovo IdeaPad Tablet K1 Apple iPad 2
  • Dual-core 1GHz
  • Dual-core 1GHz
  • Dual-core 1GHz
  • Dual-core 1GHz
Display Size
  • 10.1-inch
  • 10.1-inch
  • 10.1-inch
  • 9.7-inch
Display Type
  • LED-backlit IPS TFT
  • LED-backlit IPS TFT
Display Resolution
  • 1280 x 800 pixels
  • 1280 x 800 pixels
  • 1280 x 800 pixels
  • 1024 x 768 pixels 
  • 256.7 x 175.3 x 8.6mm
  • 271 x 171 x 12.98mm
  • 264  x 189 x 13.3mm
  • 241.2 x 185.7 x 8.8mm
  • 565g
  • 680g
  • 750g
  • 613g

Judging from the results of the battery test, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 is still lagging behind the Apple iPad 2. It managed a battery life of 339 minutes (slightly more than five and a half hours), which is miles behind the Apple slate. However, if you take into consideration that the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 has a slightly better battery mileage than its fellow Android competitors, the battery performance is actually quite good.

The Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 shines in the portability index thanks to its overall dimensions, better than average battery life and weight of just 565g. It is the first Honeycomb tablet to narrow the gap with the Apple iPad 2. As with most other Honeycomb tablets, Google needs to really optimizes power management on the Android platform so that its tablets can compete more effectively with the iPad 2 to attract consumers.

For those who are looking for an alternative to the Apple iPad 2 with good battery life, you could consider the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1. But for those who really need battery life to be their top priority and don't mind the platform and OS choice, the iPad 2 is still king.

Under normal usage conditions, the Samsung tablet was able to last more than a day with occasional web surfing, checking social feeds and replying emails. As our battery test simulates fairly stressful usage conditions, we believe the Galaxy Tab 10.1 is able to last much longer under normal day-to-day usage conditions. After all, actual battery mileage will vary under different usage conditions.