Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 - Black (front and side)

Samsung have made a stellar attempt to compete in a market that Apple has defined. It is the best of the Android powered tablets currently on the market. The build quality is superb, it sits comfortably in the hand, the touch screen is responsive and of excellent quality. That said, being powered by Android 3.2 is the Galaxy Tablet’s Achilles heel.

The Android interface is unintuitive and widgets that work well on a cellphone have not been translated effectively to the tablet platform. For instance, the populate task managing application Wunderlist; on Samsung Galaxy SII Android smartphone the widget scales perfectly to the screen size. On the Galaxy Tab, the widget looks too small and it is obvious that its operation was not designed for tablet use.

Apple worked around this by making developers create apps specific to the iPad and iPhone, apps that work on both do not just scale to fit the bigger screen but their interface changes for tablet or cellphone use. Google, with the Android Market, have done nothing to separate the cellphone and tablet apps and widgets. Thus, the majority of apps available in the Android Market are simply stretched out versions of the cellphone apps.

This is a huge fail, why settle for apps that have been retrofitted for a tablet when the competitive iTunes Store offers tons of apps, of quality, specifically designed for use on a tablet? Basically the Galaxy Tab feels like a stretched out Galaxy SII.

The Galaxy Tab 10.1 does handle the available apps extremely well. They open and run smoothly, not once has an application crashed or even lagged. Gaming on the Galaxy Tab has the same liquid feel as the iPad 2 – the graphic performance is excellent and this coupled with the surprisingly good sound quality it makes gaming really awesome.

The performance is down to some hardcore internals, the backbone of the Galaxy Tab is a 1Ghz dual-core NVIDIA Tegra 2 processor – which is a bit of a monster! Samsung also went ahead and stuck 1GB of RAM into the Galaxy Tab. So in terms of performance, the Galaxy Tab is somewhat more powerful than the iPad 2. However, this came at a price, the battery life. It is by no means poor, giving two to three days of regular use but the iPad 2 gives roughly five days, based on my actual usage.

The Galaxy Tab does compete with the iPad 2 in tech specs and hardware quality, but when it comes down to actually using the device, the iPad feels streets ahead. The Galaxy Tab just feels too much like a big Android cellphone, while the iPad feels like a tablet computer.

If you have no intention of joining the Apple team for some religious or other reason, then have a good hard look at the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1. Its superior hardware and the ability to upgrade to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, which fixes some of my quibbles regarding the user experience, in the not too distant future, may make you a very happy Samsung Tablet user.

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Brendon Ambrose – Managing Editor | About Me – Scared of: Clowns, spiders and Hilary Clinton; Dream Wing Man: Jacob Zuma; Started Writing Tech: 2005 for Gadget.co.za; Favorite cereal: Frosties; Find me on: Twitter & Facebook
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