Samsung GALAXY Tab 10.1 Preview
We are holding a prototype version of one of the most-anticipated tablets this year, the Samsung GALAXY Tab 10.1, which has a lot going for it, not least because of the fact that Samsung went back to the drawing board when it saw how thin the Apple iPad 2 turned out.
Samsung's design concept in its Android devices is to keep things as thin and light as possible, for the sake of all-plastic design – just look at the Galaxy S II. Whether you like that approach or not is a totally subjective matter, some might prefer more noble materials like metal and glass for the chassis, but you can't argue that thin and light is of utmost importance in mobile gizmos.
Since this design philosophy has come up with 10.09x6.81x0.34” (256.2x172.9x8.6 mm) of 10.1” slate, weighing mere 20.99oz (595g), we are totally happy with it. To put it in perspective – this is the thinnest, lightest 10” tablet out there, slightly less so than even the Apple iPad 2, which has obviously been Samsung's goal all along, despite having a tad larger display.
The 10.1” screen itself is of Samsung's own PLS-LCD variety, with crisp 1280x800 pixels of resolution, which should bring with it 10% more brightness and wider viewing angles than the IPS-LCD technology in the iPad, for example. That's on paper, in reality we didn't notice much difference, but the display is very good nonetheless. The colors are vivid enough, it has very wide viewing angles, and the screen is bright enough for decent visibility outside, unless the sun is blasting directly on it, of course.
Another thing bugged us more, though, when looking around the silvery sides. Our Wi-Fi only version of the Samsung GALAXY Tab 10.1 has no memory card slot, so you are stuck with whatever the internal memory is. The versions with cellular connectivity will supposedly have SIM card as well as memory card slots, but not here. When looked in landscape mode, the tablet hosts two stereo speakers left and right, the proprietary dock connector at the bottom, and the top is reserved for a short power/lock button and a longer volume rocker, as well as the standard audio jack. The back is painted in white, with silvery stripe at the top, where the small round eye of the 3.2MP camera with adjacent LED flash reside in the middle. The screen bezel is plain black, so white, black and silver is the color combo of choice on the GALAXY Tab 10.1.
Overall, Samsung's flagship tablet felt quite ergonomic, mainly due to the fact that it's the thinnest and lightest of the 10 inchers out there, but also because of the rounded corners and tapered edges. It is a bit uncomfortable to pick up from a flat surface, though, the iPad 2's sloping edges are easier on the fingers in that respect. Your hand muscles will still tire if you hold the GALAXY Tab 10.1 with one hand, but after a longer period than most other 10-inchers we've held.