First look: Galaxy Tab 10.1 brings much of the iPad to Android
Samsung's sleek, 10.1-inch Galaxy Tab is finally an Android tablet that even an Apple fanboy could loveFollow @MobileGalen
Game on! The Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 running the slightly updated Android 3.01 OS is about as close as you can get to an iPad 2 without having an Apple logo on the device. Samsung will release the new tablet on June 8, but InfoWorld.com got early access to a final unit.
The Galaxy Tab 10.1/Android 3.01 combo shows that Google and its hardware partners have been listening to the complaints about the awkward first generation of devices like the original Galaxy Tab 7 and about the rough edges in the Android 3.0 "Honeycomb" OS that debuted with the good, but not great, Motorola Mobility Xoom. I'm curious what further refinements are coming in the Android 3.1 update due later this spring.
[ Also on InfoWorld: "Tablet deathmatch: Apple iPad 2 vs. Motorola Xoom" | "RIM BlackBerry PlayBook: Unfinished, unusable" | Compare and calculate your own scores for the iPad 2, Xoom, Galaxy Tab, PlayBook, and ViewPad with our tablet calculator. ]
Sleek hardware a close copy of the iPad 2
The Galaxy Tab 10.1 as a device is very much like the iPad 2: the same thinness, with roughly the same dimensions (due to its widescreen display, it's wider but shorter than the iPad 2). But the Galaxy Tab 10.1 is 12 percent lighter, shaving 2.5 ounces off the iPad's 2's 21.5 ounces -- you can really feel the difference when you hold one in each hand.
The bezel is simple and clean, like the iPad 2's, with just the hardware features you need: well-positioned power and volume controls at the top, front and rear cameras placed unobtrusively (and they have much better image resolution and quality than the iPad 2's), an audio jack at the top, small speaker notches on the sides, and charging/syncing connector at the bottom. Unlike the iPad 2, the Galaxy Tab 10.1 orients its jacks and buttons to working in landscape (horizontal) orientation.
Neither vertical nor horizontal orientation is more or less right as the primary one, though I find the widescreen of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 to be problematic, as I did with the Xoom. There's not enough depth for websites and textual apps when in landscape orientation, and there's too little width when in portrait orientation. Except for playing video, the 16:9 ratio of the Android tablet screen feels wrong compared with the iPad's 4:3 ratio.