Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 Android tablet review

The tablet Apple is trying to ban - reviewed
Photo of Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 Android tablet
From £399.99 to £599.99, depending on spec

Samsung was very early out of the starting blocks with its original Galaxy Tab, which ran on Android 2.2. Now the company has come up with a 10.1in tablet which runs on Android 3.1 – and it’s an absolute stunner.

Stylish build
Samsung has been in the wars with its tablet and smartphones, facing legal challenges from Apple that have stopped sales in some markets. But you can buy the Galaxy Tab 10.1 in the UK, and it is a superb tablet.

Samsung has taken a no-nonsense approach to the Galaxy Tab 10.1′s hardware, producing a tablet that is light and thin – just 8.6mm thick and 257x175mm on the desk. It weighs a very portable 565g. There are no front buttons, and the slim edges offer just a small pair of speakers, SIM card slot, volume rocker and on/off switch.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1

Oh – and a proprietary charge connector. There’s no microSD card slot, so your choice of 16GB, 32GB or 64GB of internal storage will be important.

Fast and slick user experience
With a Tegra 2 dual -ore 1GHz processor on board and 1GB of RAM, the Galaxy Tab 10.1 is a fast mover. We had little trouble switching between apps at pace. There’s full support for Adobe Flash, so you’ll have a much broader spectrum of video content available to view online that you would with Apple’s rival iPad 2. And the screen itself, with its 1280×800 pixels is sharp and clear. In fact, one of our favourite uses during testing was streaming video.

The Galaxy Tab 10.1′s Android setup offers five home screens, and Samsung has decided to add a little to what Android 3.1 offers natively. So, for example, there’s a Social Hub app which gives you social media updates, and an e-book centre which brings together your various e-books in one place. We aren’t overly excited by the music hub that’s powered by 7Digital – but if you aren’t either, it’s easily ignored.

Spec options
The Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 is available in lots of configurations. There are versions with 16GB, 32GB and 64GB of internal storage on offer – each of them with Wi-Fi, and the option of additional 3G mobile connectivity as an option, and you can choose from either a predominantly black or white chassis. The variety is good to see, as it means a range of pockets and technical requirements is catered for, with prices starting from as little as £399.99 – undercutting the tablet’s arch-rival, Apple’s iPad 2.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1

The downsides
In spite of our enthusiasm, we do have a few small gripes. We’d have liked to see a better rear-facing camera than the 3 megapixel one included. When the front camera shoots at 2 megapixels, this looks particularly underpowered. We’d also have liked memory expansion and a non-proprietary charging cable. The battery did see us happily through a weekend without the need for a recharge, but carrying proprietary cables these days is a bind, and it also means you need to by adaptors for things like in car charging, HDMI and standard TV out. 

Prices and options
SIM-free:

16GB, Wi-Fi: £399.99 inc. VAT
16GB, Wi-Fi: 3G, £499.99 inc. VAT

32GB, Wi-Fi: £479.99 inc. VAT
32GB, Wi-Fi, 3G: £599.99 inc. VAT

64GB, Wi-Fi: £599.99 inc. VAT

Available from Vodafone on various monthly contracts.

Company: Samsung

Website: http://www.vodafone.co.uk/

Contact: Vodafone on 08080 408 408

Positives
  • Sleek design; fast processor; good apps.
Negative
  • Poor main camera; no memory expansion; proprietary charge connector.

Verdict

Even with our caveats, it's hard not to really like the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1. It's a neat tablet with minimalist chassis design, a superb screen, and no real problems handling applications, thanks to its powerful processor.