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Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 takes on the Motorola Xoom, we get hands-on

Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 will go up against the Motorola Xoom in the battle of the 10-inch tablets, boasting clashing dual-core processors and the latest Android Honeycomb software.

Google may be waving the Motorola Xoom around like an over-caffeinated majorette, but Moto's tablet isn't alone in the race to be the best Honeycomb hottie. The Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 also packs the latest version of Google's Android software, and keeps things light with a stripped-down case.

Both the Xoom and the Tab 10.1 have dual-core processors running at 1GHz, and both offer 802.11n Wi-Fi and HSPA+ for fast Web browsing. The Tab 10.1 keeps its weight down by forgoing the microSD card slot, micro-USB port and mini-HDMI socket sported by the Xoom. Instead, it's got a single 30-pin dock connector to link it to the world.

Both tablets have Android 3.0 Honeycomb on board -- the first version of Android to be designed with tablets in mind. In our early hands-on tests we judged Honeycomb to be a big step up from using a phone-oriented version of Android on older tablets like the original Samsung Galaxy Tab.

The user interface has had a blue-and-black refresh with lots of 3D effects, and more space for improved widgets. The physical home, back and search buttons you'll find on most Android phones have been made into virtual buttons on the screen, so they follow you as you switch from portrait to landscape mode. 

The Tab 10.1 has a 10.1-inch 1,280x800-pixel display. Combined with two big speakers, Samsung has created a mini movie cinema that's perfect for the kids during a car trip -- or the back row of the picturehouse during a boring art film.

If you prefer to make your own movie magic, a 8-megapixel camera on the back of the Tab 10.1 shoots stills and video, while a 2-megapixel camera on the front is suited for self-portraits and video calling.

We don't know yet how much the Tab 10.1 will cost, but we won't have long to wait: it's coming exclusively to Vodafone this March.

Check out our preview of the new Samsung Galaxy Tab, and let us know in the comments whether you'd rather zoom with the Xoom or grab the Tab 10.1.