Best tablet pc on the market if you don't use many apps! August 22, 2011
Reviewer: Jimmy (Plano, TX USA) -
I've used a quite few tablets here there & eventually settled on this one (I've got the Verizon 4G version though). I've been looking forward to this tablet pc ever since the original 10.1v (Euro-only & thicker/heavier than a 10.1) was announced at the 2011 CES & this newly redesigned 10.1 was announced back in March. It's my favorite out of all of them. Without boring anyone about the specs, here are my pro's & con's list especially compared to an iPad 2 (my fiancee has one so I've used hers extensively):
- First off, for those curious about the TRUE 4G speeds of it (1st 4G tablet pc on the market despite the Motorola Xoom's 4G free upgrade program which still hasn't started yet although I hear it'll be next month supposedly): THIS THING IS BLAZING FAST!!! Well, at least here in Plano & surrounding cities (Dallas area). On speedtest.net I'm getting an average of 20 - 25 Mbps consistently. Then again, it may or may not be due to the fact there aren't that many 4G owners in my area yet so only time will tell. For reference, I'm getting an average of 12 - 15 Mbps on my desktop pc thru Time Warner Cable & 3 - 4 Mbps thru my iPhone 4 (3G; yes, I know the irony of having an iPhone & an Android tablet pc). Shoot, this is faster then even the free WiFi connection at my local Starbucks, LOL! This is easily the best feature of a 4G Galaxy Tab 10.1 besides the battery life & slim/lightweight aspect.
- Lightest & thinnest 10" tablet pc on the market (barely beating an iPad 2). It's even more noticeable if you hold other tablet pc's (besides an iPad 2) back-to-back with this such as the Toshiba Thrive, Motorola Xoom, Acer Iconia, etc.
- Android Honeycomb's web browser feels more like a true desktop web browser than on an iPad 2 (this feels like a mobile, tone & scaled-down browser).
- Battery life is VERY good although not as good as an iPad 2 (just barely shorter battery life).
- That 16:10 screen ratio is much better especially watching HD movies (full screen!) compared to the iPad 2's 4:3 screen (has black bars on the top & bottom when viewing a movie). It's very bright!
- Colors & screen resolution is nice (1280 x 800) compared to an iPad 2's (1024 x 768). And yes, there's a noticeable difference if you have the two side-by-side (for the same video/image). Also, viewing angle's nice just like on an iPad 2.
- Adobe Flash & web browsing are the main reasons why I wanted an Android tablet pc since Apple doesn't support Adobe Flash which many websites have embedded.
- For the 4G version like I have, Samsung provides a $25 promo code to redeem on their Media Hub app (tv shows only). Give it a few hours after you redeem the code to go into effect.
- Build quality & quality control is excellent just like an iPad 2.
- User interface (Honeycomb 3.1) isn't nowhere as slick & easy to use as Apple's iOS! Let me clarify, the responsiveness of the touch input (of your fingers) is rock solid just like an iPad 2. For those that are not too familiar with computers & tech gadgets then Apple's iOS is much simpler & easy to use. However, if you're like me (knows his/her way around an operating system & pc hardware) then you'll be fine either way.
- Not that many apps specifially designed for Honeycomb tablet pc's yet compared to an iPad (over 90k as of this review)!
- Rare loss of internet connection (regardless of using WiFi or 4G) which in turn caused me to restart the whole thing (takes only 20-secs or so just like an iPad 2). UPDATE: Verizon & Samsung released an update to address this & I don't have this issue anymore!
- Not that many accessories specifically made for this tablet pc yet although the Samsung made case is very useful even though it cost $50 - $60. I've noticed this is the 2nd tablet pc that accessory manufacturers (Logitech, Zagg, Belkin, etc.) make their products for right behind an iPad 2.
- Cosmetics: The iPad 2's brushed aluminum rear looks much nicer than a Galaxy Tab's plastic rear despite it looking like a pseudo aluminum backing due to the lines. Then again most people won't see & notice this since most owners will probably get a case.
- Lack of slots for a flash card (MicroSD), USB (even a mini-USB would've been nice!) & HDMI. Then again, an iPad 2 has these same exact issues. You have to buy different $20 - $40 accessories to get some of these options!
- Since this is a direct competitor to an iPad 2, I wish it was a tad less expensive (instead of having the same MSRP as an iPad 2) since it's a newcomer competing against an established product everyone knows about. Heck, even a $50 price advantage would've been nice!
Overall, if I could give it a more accurate rating, it would've been 4.5-stars & the iPad 2 would get 4-stars mainly due to the web browsing experience & Adobe Flash. As for the 7" vs 10" screen debate, for me I had a Nook Color (7" IPS screen) & I hacked it (had Android 2.3 installed; very stable BTW!) & I just couldn't get into the smaller size of the screen. I needed more real estate hence I eliminated the Blackberry Playbook as a viable option. The only thing a 7" screen would've been good for (at least for me) is to read ebooks since less weight & size to hold in your hand. I eliminated the HP TouchPad as a viable option mainly due to the lack of support for apps, even more hiccups for the OS such as taking forever when opening/launching apps & INSANELY long restart/reboot times compared to the competition (yes, I'm aware of the recent update in early August) than Honeycomb.
Update (9/8/11): Even with the $100 - $150 fire sale taking place right now, I'm not a big fan of the HP Touchpad for a couple reasons: You may or may not have ANY future OS support of any kind & it's going to be hard to find parts to fix/replace after the 1-year warranty since HP just announced they're no longer supporting any webOS device & it's size is a bit thicker/heavier (not really a big deal) than an iPad/Galaxy Tab 10.1 although the new price drop helps HP very much. The only reasons I'd recommend the HP Touchpad are 1) all you want to do's browse the internet, use Facebook, Twitter & YouTube; 2) use it as an e-book reader & 3) only want WiFi (no 3G/4G wireless data). I actually bought my father an HP Touchpad since he only needed something to browse the internet & watch YouTube. I messed around with it for a few hours after setting it up for him & despite the user-interface being very easy to use, those issues I stated earlier still makes me reluctant to buy one for myself. Also, it doesn't suppose the font, Unicode (aka UTF-8) so my father can't browse websites that have Vietnamese characters. Had I known about this Unicode issue then I probably wouldn't have purchased it for him. Then again, it's my own fault since I should've done research on this prior to purchase. Hopefully HP releases an update in the future to address this issue but I highly doubt it.
Despite the fact the Galaxy Tab 10.1 is a $500+ item, this is one of those times where you get what you pay for!
UPDATE (9/29/11): I've had it for 2-months now & I am loving every second of it! At first I was rather reluctant since I've always been use to Apple's operating system (iOS) however, after extended use of Android (particularly Honeycomb), I much prefer Android over iOS now since there are more options you can tweak/adjust (allowing 3rd party app install that's not on the Android market, etc.) & as well as the taskbar in the lower-right corner having shortcuts (airplane mode, wifi, etc.) I use often.