Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 review: Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1

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CNET Editors' Rating

3.5 stars Very good
  • Overall: 7.0
  • Design: 7.0
  • Features: 7.0
  • Performance: 7.0

Average User Rating

4 stars 15 user reviews
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good As thin as the iPad 2 and even lighter, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 is the sexiest Honeycomb (soon upgradeable to Android 4.0) tablet we've seen. Also, it has an 8-megapixel back camera and a 2-megapixel front camera, and powerful dual speakers.

The Bad The lack of ports on the tablet will be a problem for some and the plastic back leaves it feeling less solid than the iPad 2.

The Bottom Line Sleek, sexy, and light, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 gets as close to the iPad 2 as any Android tablet before it.

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Editor's note: Thanks to the release of recent, high-quality tablets, the overall score of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 (Verizon) has been adjusted down from 7.7 to 7.0.

From a design perspective, no Android 3.0-based tablet has matched the iPad 2's no-nonsense aesthetic. The iPad 2 is sleek, sexy, thin, and light, with a minimalist design that eschews extra ports. Every Honeycomb tablet released so far has struggled to match that appeal.

The Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 is the first Honeycomb tablet that is not only as thin as the iPad 2, but is actually lighter.

Design and features
The first thing that struck us upon taking the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 out of its box was its slim profile. In fact, when it's lying next to the iPad 2 we honestly can't tell which tablet is thicker and unfortunately we don't have a micrometer handy to get down into the business of microns. The Galaxy Tab 10.1 weighs 1.24 pounds, compared with the iPad 2's 1.32 pounds.

Rather than several paragraphs filled with confusing numbers, I thought a chart would be much more appropriate. Here's a handy chart to illustrate the size differences between the Galaxy Tab 10.1 and other recent tablets.

Asus Eee Pad Transformer Acer Iconia Tab A500 Motorola Xoom Apple iPad 2 T-Mobile G-Slate Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1
Weight in pounds 1.52 1.66 1.62 1.34 1.38 1.24
Width in inches (landscape) 10.7 10.2 9.8 9.5 9.6 10.1
Height in inches 6.9 6.9 6.6 7.3 5.8 6.9
Depth in inches 0.51 0.51 0.5 0.34 0.49 0.34
Side bezel width in inches (landscape) 1.1 0.8 0.6 0.8 0.9 0.8

Taking another page from the iPad 2's school of sexy tablet building, the Galaxy Tab 10.1 has one of the cleanest designs we've seen in a tablet. From the front, its 10.1-inch screen is surrounded by its 0.8-inch black bezel and a silver aluminum outline at the edge. In the top middle sits its 2-megapixel front-facing camera.

On the top edge from left to right are the power/sleep button, volume rocker, and headphone jack. A speaker adorns the right and left sides and the universal connection port is found on the bottom edge, right beside a microphone pinhole.

There are no USB or HDMI ports. And, try as we might, we couldn't find ports for either SD cards or SIM cards. We're hoping Samsung's final release version will make finding the ports a lot easier.

The back of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 sports an 8-megapixel camera at the top and a plain white back. It's the feel of the plastic back that is the most disappointing aspect of the Tab 10.1's design. It doesn't feel as solid as the iPad 2, and as a result, doesn't feel as comfortable in our hands. Still, despite its 10.1-inch screen, the tablet never felt the least bit bulky.

The Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 is a Google Experience tablet, meaning it uses the base version of Honeycomb 3.1, with no customizations to its interface; however, Samsung does include its Samsung Apps, um, app. Samsung Apps gives you access to the company's own application store.

For more information on version 3.1 of Honeycomb, check out the Honeycomb section of our original Xoom review.

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Quick Specifications See All

  • Regional specs shown for US. AU specs are unavailable.

  • Release date 9 Jun 2011
  • Wireless Connectivity IEEE 802.11g
  • Type Android 3.1 (Honeycomb)
  • Weight 1.32 lbs
  • Storage 16 GB