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Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 Review

Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1Sales of Samsung’s latest Android tablet were famously halted across Europe due to legal action from Apple. At first glance it’s not hard to see why. The Galaxy Tab 10.1 is very similar to an iPad 2 in terms of technology, features, configuration and pricing. The EU-wide ban has now been lifted but the legal action from Apple continues so the Galaxy Tab 10.1 may once again be withdrawn from sale. It's a pity because the Galaxy Tab has a lot going for it, lighter than the iPad 2 and a fraction thinner with similar high standard of build quality.

The screen on the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 is a delight, the multi-touch 1,200 x 800 LCD panel giving more screen real estate than the iPad 2 and higher resolution. The display is really bright and colourful and offers wide viewing angles and a maximum brightness higher than Apple’s great display. The Galaxy Tab 10.1 is powered by the same 1GHz Nvidia Tegra 2 dual-core processor as the Asus Transformer which makes the Honeycomb experience a snappy one. The animations cannot match the iPad 2, never mind the new iPad, and there are tiny time delays, but these are minor Android niggles which are easy to live with.

The Android Honeycomb user interface has been overlaid by the useful Samsung TouchWiz 4.0 customisations which add to the experience and there is also a preinstalled copy of Polaris Office along with some bespoke Samsung applications. Transferring existing media files from your PC to the Galaxy Tab 10.1 is easy with Samsung’s Kies software offering wireless syncing, you can use any media manager to sync over a regular USB connection.

The rear-facing camera shoots video with 720 pixel definition and the rear camera is a 3.2 megapixel unit with autofocus and produces snaps with crisp detail and good colour even in poor light conditions thanks to the LED flash. The main disappointment with the Samsung Galaxy Tab is the battery life, managing around 7 hours off a full charge, which is less than half the life of the iPad 2 - the device the Tab is competing against. Another minor annoyance is the fact that all power and data goes through a proprietary 30-pin socket, which means you need an adaptor costing from around £20 to use HDMI out or transfer files from a USB device. If you do a lot of typing, you can use a Bluetooth keyboard or buy a dedicated keyboard dock for around £80.

The other slight drawback, albeit probably a temporary one, is the fact that right now the Android Market is a lot smaller than Apple’s App Store, with many of the existing apps optimised for smartphones rather than Tablets. The Galaxy Tab 10.1 is a hugely likeable device, offering slick performance, with a sleek lightweight chassis and excellent screen and steroe speakers, it probably comes closer to the appeal of Apple’s iPad than any other rival yet.

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