Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 Review

In the world of tablets, the Apple iPad still reigns supreme. Samsung launched their 7-inch Galaxy Tab last year but it still not quite the tablet people think that can compete with the iPad. So what did Sammy do? They released the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 for those wanting a bigger screen because 7-inch is just not fun when you’re reading a magazine.

The Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 comes in two versions. The first one which was slightly thicker was unveiled before the iPad 2 was launched. When Samsung saw how thin and light the iPad 2 was, they quickly modified the 10.1 to its current form, lighter and slimmer and looks like an iPad 2 sans the home button, and renamed the first one to 10.1v.

Check out our review of this 10-inch Android tablet from Samsung.

Design

If you’re going to compare the Tab 10.1 to the iPad 2 black version, the only thing you would get is the aluminum band lining the edge of the tablet. The display size is much bigger but the bevel is slightly smaller. A lot of reviewers say that this is lighter than the iPad 2 but realistically, you can’t feel the difference.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1

The only thing you can see at the front aside from the display is the 2-mp front-facing camera which also indicates how this device should be oriented. Android buttons are included on the UI itself.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1

The Galaxy Tab 10.1 doesn’t have much buttons and ports as well. On top (landscape orientation) there’s the Power/Sleep button beside the volume rocker, and also the 3.5 mm audio jack beside the regular SIM slot. This tablet accepts a SIM card but can’t do calls, only SMS and mobile internet. There are small speaker grills on both sides and the proprietary Samsung docking port is at the bottom.

There’s no HDMI port nor a microSD slot here but Samsung reps told us that you can have both via the docking port when you have the required accessories. Samsung also has a keyboard dock for the Tab 10.1 as well if you wish to do some heavy typing.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1

At the back is an all white goodness with a silver band on top for the 8-mp camera and a LED flash beside it. It’s made of hard plastic though so you might want to have something to protect it from scratches. This attributed to the lightweight design for its size.

Display and UI

This Tab’s 10.1-inch display sports a wide 1280 x 800 resolution using a 16:10 aspect ratio. Images appear sharp and vibrant on its glossy screen.

Samsung applied their TouchWiz layer on top of the Android 3.1 Honeycomb UI on this device. If you’re not familiar with the Honeycomb UI, the bottom portion is dedicated for the main navigation (Back, Home, Running applications, screen capture) and device info like time, WiFi settings, battery, and notifications.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1

Clicking on the lower right area will expand that portion where you can also toggle different device settings as well as see detailed notifications. The upper right is where the App button and additional menus are located. Not quite intuitive as you tend to look at the bottom of the screen for navigation.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1  Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1

Samsung added their own widgets here so that you can easily look at some info without launching any app. The social hub widget and calendar proves useful on a large display. They also added some sort of quick launch bar which you can invoke by swiping the bottom portion up.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1

The App view is where you can see all apps installed in the device. Press and hold an icon for a couple of seconds will show bring up your home screens below so you can simply drag your apps onto a screen to create a shortcut. Nice implementation Goog!

Multimedia

A tablet should be a very good multimedia device and the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 makes a nice example… almost.

The music app looks clean and very easy to operate. No fancy view but it’s how I like it. Photos are viewed on a scrollable but plain wall. YouTube app looks nicer with its 3D wall.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1

As for video capability, DivX, MP4 and MKV were playable and it even has support for .SRT files (subtitles). I wasn’t able to transfer a 5GB mkv file onto it (for my 1080p test) though which is maybe a file system limitation. Viewing a 2GB 720p MP4 video looks really, really good on its screen. Crisp and clear colors. Just don’t hit the home or back button though. Luckily, video resumes from where you left off if you have to close the app.

Gaming is a different matter though. I thought I can just install a regular Android game into a Honeycomb tablet which would run it smoothly on a scaled up version, well not all. The Android market will only display games that would run on the Tab 10.1, like Angry Birds.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1

I tried installing some Gameloft HD games but I can’t even get one to work. Shrek Kart, Real Football, Hawx, they would all close before you can start playing. The closest I can get to run is GT Racing but the accelerometer doesn’t work so I had to use on-screen controls. This is more of an Android 3.1 issue (or game devs too) rather than Sammy’s fault. What I’m saying is, don’t expect a lot of awesome gaming from an Android Honeycomb tablet as of this moment.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1

The built-in Ebook app here reminds me of the iBook by Apple. Anyway, I was able to import ePubs and PDFs without any difficulties thanks to the convenient file explorer available in the device (Dropbox works too). It won’t render text on PDFs properly though as you can see some bleeding on the letters even at 100% zoom. It’s readable but discomforting. ePubs however, are pleasing to the eyes to read.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1

Despite its light weight, I can’t comfortably hold the tablet in one hand when reading a book for a long time without straining my wrist.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1

Oh yeah, did I already mention that you can do messaging with this tablet? There’s a messaging app which you can also access via the social hub. The social hub app looks neat as well. No need for TweetDeck or the likes.

Web browsing

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I would say browsing on the Galaxy Tab 10.1 is really smooth. Pages load fast and are rendered as they are. It plays live streaming Flash videos and you can even play those Flash games in Facebook like CityVille. It is strongly suggested that you download Flash 10.3 player from the market though.

Camera

Although you can take decent photos with the Tab 10.1, using it feels really awkward. Nothing special with the camera app, there are fewer settings than what you can find in high-end smart phones.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1

Here are a few photos taken with the Galaxy Tab 10.1. Not bad I might say.

tab10.1-23 tab10.1-24 tab10.1-25 tab10.1-26

I did some test on the front-facing camera for some video chat but like the 7-inch Galaxy Tab, it doesn’t work with Skype. I can’t get it to work with Google Talk as well. I can see video from the other side but video from the Tab’s camera won’t transmit.

Performance and Battery Life

The Galaxy Tab 10.1 runs on dual-core 1GHz processors and a low-powered NVIDIA GeForce GPU.

Overall performance is pretty smooth (not buttery smooth) although there were a few times that switching between home screens becomes jerky. There was also an instance that I would get some stuttering when watching a huge 720p video.

Here’s the quadrant score (1549) which is lower than dual-core smartphones but on par with other dual-core Android tablets such as the Asus Eee Transformer.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 quadrant

I could get around 8 to 9 hours off the Galaxy Tab 10.1. Slightly lower than iPad 2’s ten hours but that’s to be expected considering the Tab has a bigger screen but a bit lower battery rating at 6860 mAh as compared to the iPad’s 6930 mAh battery.

I have to mention a couple of things with my experience on this Tab 10.1 though. I get “œforce close” issues with a few apps from time to time. These doesn’t only happen to downloaded apps but also on native apps like camera, YouTube, etc. Secondly, I encountered having the battery on the Tab drained quickly while it’s on sleep a few times. Then I also experienced a few “œhangs” where I had to do a hard reboot to get it started again. I’m figuring it’s isolated in this review unit but I can’t discount it being a problem of Android 3.1 since 3.0 had a few glaring bugs of its own. Or the TouchWiz UI can also be the culprit.

Verdict

What I like most about the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 is it’s beautiful design. The slim form makes it look more appealing than the ASUS Transformer’s edgy but thick design. It’s also light for a 10-inch tablet but not the ideal size for viewing magazines (too long) so you might want to opt for the 8.9 version instead if you’re into digital reading.

For those who are looking for the usual ports like microSD, HDMI or USB might be disappointed with the Tab but if Apple can make people buy the iPad with the same limitation why can’t Samsung right? If you want to play your favorite Android games on this tablet, prepare to be disappointed until Google can get it going right with Honeycomb. Then there’s the issue of video chat which is still not fully functioning as of this writing.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1

Otherwise, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 is a very capable multimedia tablet for browsing, watching videos, checking in on your social networks, and even doing some productivity work if you will also get the keyboard dock for it since it already comes with a Polaris app for your basic Microsoft Office files.

If you ask me, I think the sweet spot for a tablet is around the 9-inch size. If you don’t need the 3G capability, might as well wait for the Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9 instead.

The Galaxy Tab 10.1 will be available late August for Php29,990.

Samsung P7500 Galaxy Tab 10.1 Specs:
10.1 inches TFT capacitive touchscreen (800 x 1280 pixels)
Dual-core 1GHz ARM Cortex-A9 processor
ULP GeForce GPU, Tegra 2 T20 chipset
Android OS, v3.1 (Honeycomb)
HSDPA, 21 Mbps; HSUPA, 5.76 Mbps
3 MP, 3264×2448 pixels, autofocus, LED flash
Video recording: 1080 @ 30fps
Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, Wi-Fi hotspot
Bluetooth v2.1 with A2DP, EDR
2 MP front-facing camera
16GB storage, microSD slot via proprietary dongle
246.2 x 170.4 x 10.9 mm
565 g
Standard battery, Li-Po 6860 mAh
SRP: Php29,990
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  • Messie

    Boss Calvin, pwede request? I hope you can try a PS emulator on the Galaxy Tab 10.1 and see if it runs smooth. If there is any reason why I will buy an Android tablet now, it will be for the sake of playing my favorite PS One games on it (FF IX / Star Ocean 2 on the go anyone?)

    Thanks po!!

    • sige sige!

      • Messie

        Thanks! Looking forward on your feedback! =D

      • Messie

        Any updates po boss calvin? =/

        • nabalik na pala yung galaxy tab eh. pagdating na lang ulit ng transformer i try ko doon. parehong honeycomb naman eh.

  • gosh

    i still prefer ipad over this

    • red

      yeah i have an ipad 1st gen and im enjoying it…… jailbreak is all you need 😀

  • I guess that Samsung is competing with Apple with the Galaxy Tab 10.1. No HDMI, no calls, no other ports exept for the docking, power button and the ac/dc port.

    http://www.blogorich.com

  • len

    Hello po. Yung camera specs po, 8MP po talaga? I’ve read somewhere na 3MP lang po for the 10.1 and 8MP for the 10.1v. Then yung weight 565 g for 10.1 po. Thanks po.

    • hi len you’re absolutely correct. i had them mixed up. thanks for catching that! it’s 3mp and 565g.

  • With all those glitches, the iPad looks way more attractive. I hope they get to fix that before release.

  • Really good reviews!
    I already have galaxy tab 7 and i am happy with it, but i want Honeycomb. But I do not know if I buy it just for the OS?
    I have found some other reviews here : http://www.reviewsor.com/mobile/samsung-galaxy-tab-10-1-reviews-13459.html

  • Noel

    is it possible to stream any pinoy vid? on stream PH channels like abs-cbn and GMA? for instance http://www.pnoytv.com/..it does not play….even http://www.dzmm.com.ph/tabid/338/Default.aspx doesnt work…can you suggest any pinoy streaming sites?

    thanks.

    • pwede yan. make sure you download the adobe flash player from the market.

      • Noel

        d po pwede..ive the latest flash…please check the site links given..d talaga pwede…yun sa DZMM…sabi “pls install adobe flas 9..”…adobe flas 10.xxx na nga ako…

        try it sir para maka comment po kau ..

        • wala na yung unit sa akin sir. so ibig sabihin hindi backwards compatible yung mga Flash videos? dapat magupdate na yung site ng DZMM?

          • Noel

            d po cguro luma ang site flash’s software kc …they are using 10.3.xxx…so, there should be any other prob.

    • mehmeh

      can anyone please tell me how to get connected to the simcard like the sun broadband to get connected to internet…just bought a samsung galaxy tab p7500 but i dont know where to set the sun broadband sim to get connected to the internet…anyone has the idea? thanks in advance.

      • settings > wireless and network > mobile network

  • agnes marcelino

    bakit ayaw gumana ng sunbroadband sim plan 350 ko sa galaxy tab 10.1? pero nung dinemo sya bago bilhin, gumana naman.

    • Griswold

      baka mali yung APN name?

      • agnes marcelino

        saan ko makikita apn name? kapag iniinsert ko yung sun sim, lumalabas sim network locked..pero nung binili ko, sun ang ginamit ko at ayos naman.after 2 days, dina gumana sun broadband sim..kaya hindi naman siguro sya nakalock sa ibang network..plan 350 ang sun ko.

  • angelo

    hi. Any suggest on how to watch abscbn live streaming in Samsung galaxy tab 10.1. .
    Kasi sa window ay wala problema. But here in Samsung galaxy tab OS Android ay
    Asking to install silverlight which not support.
    Any help pls. Sayang naman kong sa PC lang maka nood ng Live Streaming and not here
    In Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1
    Regards,
    angelo

    • kung silverlight yung gamit ng abs cbn hindi talaga kaya. no silverlight support and android. microsoft technology yun. hehe.

  • s2s

    who knows the price of Galaxy tab 10.1 3g 32GB?? I’m going to buy this product! and I’m so excited..

  • usid1438

    i was having a problem in viewing streaming videos in my galaxy tab 10.1 already update the adobe flash player.. yet still not working.youtube lang po gumagana. ito ba ang issue sa honey comb OS? coz i’ve read some comments also here asking help same problem with me.i have SGS2 w/ gingerbread 2.3v and i havent experience this kind of problem. Appreciate your help with this.. TY in advance!!!

  • Rodel Ramos

    Hi, meron na po bang chance na maka panood ng live stream s Samsung Galaxy tab like abscbn. Napaka laking sayang naman at kong di magamit sa live stream.sana magawan naman ng paraan ng samsung.Any idea mga kabayan.TY, , Rodel

    • usid1438

      hello rodel,

      just found out how to play streaming videos in my tab.. guess, have to share here also..

      ” IN YOUR BROWSER,GO TO SETTINGS(upper right corner of the browser), go to properties, CLICK ADVANCE SETTINGS.. LOOK FOR PLUG INS.. plug ins should be change to always “ON”.. hope this will help other people having this kind of problem!!..

  • steve

    http://galaxytablife.com/2011/07/galaxy-tab-10-1-moisture-oil-slick-problem/

    meron ba ganitong prob d2 sa pinas about this oil slick issue sa samsung?

    • i think i’ve read about it sa yugatech may nagkaganyan na problem. parang nabasa ko rin somewhere na naayos na ni samsung yan.

  • ana

    i just want to ask bakit nung ng insert na ako ng smart sim sa galaxy tab ko that i got sa smart as retention…..ndi po cya guamagana?….. ndi ko po tuloy magamit ung unlimited data usage po….pls. help at lagi pong ng cracrash ung facebook for android….and one thing din po talaga po bang pag kernel version ang os ay ang nakalagay [email protected]#1….di ba po ba dapat android honeycomb ang nakalagay?….please do help me…..thanks so much….

    • naka on ba data mo? you can see it in settings > wireless and network… check mo rin settings doon for APN and the like. if ayaw pa rin, dalihn mo sa Smart paayos mo sa kanila yung settings.

      for facebook for android try reinstalling it. or baka may update na sa market. sa android version nakalagay yung honeycomb. yung kernel version jibberish code/number.

    • usid1438

      be sure po to turn off the WIFI connection.. sim is auto detect when u start your tab.

      and regarding facebook… better use your browser instead of using facebook for android.. still not stable..

  • uly

    nag insert po ako ng sim card sa galaxy tab 10.1, text messaging gumagana pero kapag phone calls ayaw parang hindi ata supported ang phone calls nito any suggestion kung paanu gumana salamat

    • di pa gumagana ang phone calls sa honeycomb i think. ganun din sa ibang tablet na na-try ko eh.

  • joyce

    i have samsung tablet 10.1 but i can’t play Cityville game like ussual. Not like u picture… the game just lauch for express game only…
    So.. what i must to do? Can u solve my problem…pls
    Tx before…. 🙂

    • even if you can i won’t suggest playing cityville on the tab. the touchscreen gameplay is horrendous and it the gpu can’t handle the game properly.

  • sirazur rahman

    I bought this tab some days ago. It is very easy to use it. It has high end leatherette case and high end silicone keyboard make into high build quality. I am really happy with this tab.

  • Emman

    got a problem with my smart sim in my samsung tab2 10.1… everytime i insert the sim, the wifi automatically turns on. when i try to turn it off it goes back on in itself… if i turn on my mobile data, di ako maka internet coz walang nakalagay na 3G or H mlapit sa battery indicator. whats d problem?

    if palitan ko siya ng ibang sim like globe or sun, walang prob and i can connect to internet. prefer ko sana ang smart kasi mas malakas ang signal dito sa amin. please help…

  • eina

    hai po .. hindi po ba pwede ang phone calls sa tab.10.1 ?

    • Griswold

      eto nakasulat sa taas

      “This tablet accepts a SIM card but can’t do calls, only SMS and mobile internet. “

  • i have samsung tablet 10.1 so few ago days it faced to me a virus so how can i remove all that virus .

    i have other question . if i try to update it's not allow to update so what can i do