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Samsung Galaxy Tab much cheaper to make than iPad, says report

The Samsung Galaxy Tab is overpriced, according to a new report, as the quality of its parts make it more like a Galaxy S than an equal of the iPad.

A detailed reading of the Samsung Galaxy Tab's guts and gizzards has put major question marks over whether it warrants the same price as the larger iPad. A new teardown report from market researcher iSuppli has found the Android-based slate's components are significantly cheaper -- particularly the screen.

The 16GB Samsung Galaxy Tab, which has 3G, was compared to the 16GB 3G-capable iPad, which are both priced around the £530 mark. The two were ripped open and their parts examined and priced like 19th century sperm whales. The Tab's bill of materials added up to $205 (£128), significantly lower than the $264 (£165) estimate for the 16GB 3G version of the iPad.

The components of the Galaxy Tab closely resemble that of the Samsung Galaxy S smart phone, with the same Hummingbird 1GHz processor and wireless communication processor. "Instead of matching up with the iPad on a feature-by-feature basis, the Galaxy Tab is a larger version of Samsung's Galaxy S smart phone," confirmed iSuppli's Andrew Rassweiler.

The Galaxy Tab has a 7-inch TFT-LCD display with a 1,024x600-pixel resolution, while the iPad has a larger 9.7-inch display with 1,024x768 pixels. The iPad also uses in-plane switching technology which enhances the viewing angle and picture. The Galaxy Tab had an estimated display/touch system cost of $57 (£36), little more than half of the iPad's $98 (£61).

"The Galaxy Tab's screen resolution, size and technology are not at the same level as the iPad. This is a critical difference, given the fact that the display is a key differentiating factor for the iPad."

Steve Jobs will be nodding merrily in agreement with these findings -- he's already said he feels 7-inch screens were too small for a touchscreen tablet. "While the design approach makes the Galaxy less expensive to produce than the iPad 3G, it also makes for a product that lacks the same usability," Rassweiler added.

If you forget the display though, the Galaxy Tab does have features not found in the iPad, such as two cameras and built-in support for Flash, something which will probably always be absent from the iPad.

"The Samsung Galaxy Tab isn't as slick or majestic as the iPad, but it's more nimble, more feature-packed and well suited to the requirements of the gentleman or lady about town," we said in our full review of the device. After a judicious price cut, its smaller size could yet be an asset.

Do you think Samsung's taking a few liberties by charging iPad prices? Your comments are most welcome.

Image credit: iSuppli