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Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 review

The Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 is the latest addition to Samsung's range of Honeycomb tablets. Can this much-discussed machine live up to the hype? Read on for our full review.

The Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 is in part famous for being famous in that it has been the subject of fierce litigation from Apple, which claims its design is too similar to its own iPad. But far from being a straight knock-off, it does have an identity of its own.

The Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 is a remarkably well built tablet. It curved edges with their dark silver banding and black backplate are all very visually attractive, and the rubbery finish on the back helps with grip.

On the back there is a 3 megapixel camera. That’s slightly under specified in today’s terms, and almost as good as the over specified 2 megapixel camera that sits on the front screen bezel.

There’s a distinct lack of ports and connectors around the edges, and while this helps a lot with the tablet’s clean lines and sleek appearance it might irritate. There is a headset connector along one long edge – the same one that carries the power switch and volume rocker. The other long edge has a connector for a proprietary charge cable. The two shorts edges each house a speaker grille, but nothing else.

That means there’s no PC connectivity via USB – you need to use that proprietary charge cable which ends in a USB port that plugs into a mains power jack adaptor. And there’s no HDMI. Nor is there any memory expansion slot. If you want these things, you’ll need to buy adaptors for that single, proprietary connector.

The screen is superb. At 1280 x 800 pixels it is nicely high resolution and it is clear, sharp and bright. The positioning of Samsung’s logo along one of the long edges indicates that Samsung rather expects you to use the Galaxy Tab 10.1 in wide screen format much of the time, though of course automatic screen rotation means you  have the choice of portrait format too.

Internally a Tegra 2 dual core 1GHz processor and 1GB of RAM ensure things run along really nicely, while you can opt for 16GB, 32GB or 64GB of internal storage.

The Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 runs Android 3.1 and as usual there are five home screens for you to fill with widgets.

Samsung offers some help in getting started, filling three screens up completely. On one it shows off an email widget that can deliver notifications and a breaking news headlines app. On another it shows off its Social Hub app which provides social media updates, a calendar app, and links to individual contacts. As usual you juts tap and hold on any home screen to add more.

Samsung also does its usual trick of adding a fair bit to the standard Android basic software. Its Social Hub app we’ve already mentioned. There is also a music hub powered by 7Digital and an ebook centre which can import your reading from various stores.  Meanwhile the Samsung Hub helps you find apps optimised for the tablet’s large screen.

An image editor is quite nicely featured and could lead to some fun as there are plenty of blurring and distortion effects on offer.  Polaris Office lets you create and edit Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents.

There’s even the ability to tilt the device for zooming if for some reason you find pinching the screen difficult or annoying. And Kies via Wi-Fi for file sharing is a great addition as the little screen capture icon that sits on the bottom panel of the screen.

Overall, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 is a very good large format Android tablet, up there with the best we’ve seen. It is a real shame you can’t expand on the storage memory, though.

Written by Sandra Vogel