The Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 has finally landed at Mobile Choice HQ and we've got our fingers all over this Android Honeycomb tab that's taking direct aim at the iPad 2. Check out our unboxing video, or read on for first impressions and pictures.
The Galaxy Tab 10.1 runs on Android Honeycomb 3.1 with Samsung's TouchWiz 4.0 interface touching up the vanilla Honeycomb look. Its 10.1-inch touch-screen is covered in gorilla glass to withstand scuffs and scratches, and the high resolution 800x1280 pixel screen displays colours clearly and brightly. The definition may be similar to the iPad 2 but the app icons along the base are Samsung-style, as are the selection of preloaded widgets, including weather, news, social and more. Like the rest of Samsung's Galaxy range, the Social Hub app (bottom right of picture) is a major USP, allowing you to sync Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, and email contacts, calendars and messages.
At 256.7x175.3x8.6mm, the Galaxy Tab manages to out-skinny the iPad 2 by 0.2mm. Every fraction of a millimetre counts, right? Its 565g to the iPad 2's 600g isn't noticeable unless you're weighing them side by side, but compared to every other Honeycomb tablet out there, this is one heck of a size zero device. Samsung seems to have taken a leaf out of Apple's minimalism rulebook too – there are barely any ports marring its super-slim sides, and like the iPad 2, there's no microSD slot. The power button sits up top next to a volume rocker. Aside from the charging port at its base, the only other I/Os are a 3.5mm audio jack and speaker vents on either side.
The back of the device is coated in a soft matt plastic, housing a 3.15-megapixel lens with an LED flash. The power button sits at the top, with a microSD slot. On the front is a two-megapixel camera for video calls and self-portraits. Both lenses outstrip the iPad 2's, but though the build quality is good, the Tab's plastic body doesn't feel quite as futuristically sleek as Apple's aluminium iPad.
The Honeycomb OS is far more powerful though, with resizeable widgets and a handy toolbar across the base of every screen packing Back, Home and Recent Programs shortcuts. A unique addition for the Galaxy Tab is the screen-capture shortcut (fourth icon from the left). Tap it to save a screengrab to your image gallery. On the right of the toolbar is status information – time, Wi-Fi status, battery – plus new alerts and events.
Like all Honeycomb tablets, the Galaxy Tab 10.1 comes with the Dolphin browser, which supports tabbed browsing as well as a privacy option to turn off web history. It's fast and renders pictures well.
Hitting the Recent Programs icon at the base of the screen brings up a vertical toolbar on the left showing thumbnails of your last 13 programs, all of which are kept open. You can tap on any thumbnail to switch to that program.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab launches on 4 August. We have a Wi-Fi-only version of the Galaxy Tab 10.1, but it comes in a 3G version too, with a choice of 16GB, 32GB or 64GB internal storage. We'll have a full review up soon, so keep an eye out!
The Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 is a contender for Tablet of the Year at our upcoming Mobile Choice Consumer Awards. Check out the full list of contenders here - or cast your own vote and go into the running to win a Samsung Galaxy S II or other great prizes.