We’ve got a short week with the upcoming Galaxy Tab 10.1 and so far it’s been an interesting one. This is also our first time to do a full review of an Android Honeycomb tablet. See the full review of the Samsung Galaxy Tab P7500 after the jump.
The Galaxy Tab P7500 is the second-generation tablet that the Korean company has introduced to the market. They started out with a 7-inch tablet last year and the upcoming one is a 10.1-incher.
Here’s a short familiarization video of the Galaxy Tab 10.1:
The Galaxy Tab 10.1 is as thin and as light as you can get for its size. At 8.6mm thick, it’s actually thinner than the iPad 2 (it’s actually the thinnest tablet we’ve seen, even surpassing many other Android smartphones around).
Since the body is made up of a thin sheet of glass and plastic, it’s also very light at 595grams. As such, even for the huge 10.1″ screen, you will find the Galaxy Tab P7500 easy to bring and carry around.
Still, I often have that nagging feeling that it might break inside my laptop bag whenever I take it around with me. That, on top of the fear that the display might crack. I guess it’s due to the fact that the plastic and glass construction is more prone to damage.
I’d recommend getting a protective case or sleeve once you get yours. I’m sure there will be lots of those once the tablet is officially released in the Philippines in a couple of weeks.
The back-panel of the tablet is made up of glossy, white piece of plastic with a silver accent on the lining around the device, including the top area where the camera and flash is located. The back panel looks neat but is also prone to scratches (I’m sure those who owned the 7″ Galaxy Tab P1000 are familiar with this).
The power button is positioned on top, along with the 3.5mm audio port, the volume controls and the sot for the 3G SIM card. At the back, there’s the 3MP camera and flash while the bottom end is the proprietary USB port for power and data connection. Aside from the small speaker grilles on both sides, that’s all the physical buttons and ports you get from this tablet — sorry, no microSD slot for storage expansion.
The screen is bright and crisp with very nice and vivid colors thanks to the PLS TFT display. We would only hope for a Super AMOLED Plus screen like the one on the Galaxy S2 but that one’s more expensive and in very short supply.
The display on the Galaxy Tab 10.1 is actually as great as the iPad 2 although not as bright on the brightest settings. And yes, the glossy finish makes the screen almost un-usable in the outdoors and against bright light.
Samsung created a tablet-friendly TouchWiz UI into the Galaxy Tab, including the Social Hub which consolidates all your social networking account into one huge widget.
Honeycomb gives Android tablets a nice interface and usability that fits a large form factor. The Home Screens, Widgets, UI and shortcuts are more intuitive although one would take some time to familiarize themselves with how some of it works even if you’re already a long-time Android user.
The main Android functions (Back, Home, Running Apps) are all found in a menu bar that’s consistently on top of the screen (even when you’re playing movies in full screen). There’s even the screen capture function that’s integrated into the UI.
Tablets that are not yet on HoneyComb will really miss a lot of the functionalities and UI improvements that maximizes the huge screen real estate.
Performance on the Galaxy Tab is very good. We got a score of 1406 on Quadrant, almost within vicinity of the other Honeycomb tablets around. CF-Benchmark gives it an over-all score of 4565 while it got 2526 with SmartBench (these are numbers we’d like to take note so we can compare and revisit in future reviews).
It’s interesting to note that the Quadrant score is way lower compared to the Samsung Galaxy S2 (the display resolution might have heavily affected the score). Also interesting to note that the Optimus 2X, which sports a similar dual-core chip, scored 2647 in Quadrant.
It plays HD videos smoothly, THD games is enjoyable, the built-in browser renders web pages quickly (including Flash objects) and over-all performance is impressive.
The apps in the Android Market for Honeycomb are still very limited and nowhere near the numbers when compared to the HD versions in the iTunes App Store. However, the essential ones are already there and apps for smaller screens easily adjust to the large screen of tablets so it’s not a big issue.
Since the Galaxy Tab 10.1 is powered by an NVidia Tegra 2 chip, the Tegra Zone game store should be available to offer HD or console quality games on the tablet.
I think this is one of the best case use of the Galaxy Tab — THD games. I just hope more game developers create or port games to Honeycomb.
Despite the lack of dedicated connectivity ports on the Galaxy Tab P7500, there are options for HDMI TV-out and USB Host functions via an adapter. It’s a little odd but probably necessary so Samsung can make the tablet as thin as it can get.
The rear camera of the tablet is only rated at 3.15MP and takes good to decent pictures. They’re a bit grainy but usable when you have ample lighting (doesn’t work quite well in low light environments). The 2MP front-facing camera is actually as good as the rear camera.
The camera functions are pretty comprehensive actually (allows for Macro or Autofocus, White Balance, Metering, GPS tags, Exposure, Shooting Mode, Timer and Flash).
Quality of video recording at 720p isn’t bad at all. It gets into trouble with exposure when you shift between well-lit to dark subjects but that’s pretty much understandable.
It’s not the best in terms of clarity and crispness among all the other tablets we’ve tried before yet we can say it does a good job as it is.
The SIM slot at the top end pops out pretty easily and though it doesn’t have the ability to make phone calls, there’s actually a messaging (SMS) app pre-installed in the tablet. Setting up the APN is very easy (it recognizes local carriers so the settings are basically plugged-in automatically).
There’s also the ability to tether the device via USB, WiFi and even Bluetooth so you can share the tablet’s 3G internet connection with other WiFi devices. Unfortunately, the Galaxy Tab P7500 is not an HSPA+ device, unlike the Galaxy S2, so it can’t benefit from the faster 3.5G network Globe and Smart are rolling out.
As for battery life, our test got us between 8 to 9 hours of movie playback (with WiFi off) and just a little under 7 hours when WiFi is on (this is at 50% brightness settings). The 6850mAh internal Li-Ion battery does a good job though I find charging it to full bar a bit slow.
Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 GT-P7500 specs:
10.1â€³ display @ 1280Ã—800 WXGA screen
Dual-core 1GHz ARM Cortex-A9 processor
ULP GeForce GPU, NVidia Tegra 2 chipset
1GB RAM (724MB actual)
16GB/32GB/64GB internal storage
3.2 megapixel camera with LED flash
720p video recording
2MP front-facing camera
WiFi 802.11 b/g/n
Bluetooth 3.0 HS
3G, HSDPA 21Mbps, HSUPA 5.76Mbps
6850 mAh battery
GPS w/ aGPS support
Android 3.1 Honeycomb
We’re fairly impressed with the Galaxy Tab 10.1. It’s by far the most noteworthy Android Honeycomb tablet we’ve encountered. The thin and light form factor is its biggest advantage against all other tablets in the 10-inch category.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 is set to be released in the Philippines in the middle of August 2011 with an expected retail price of Php33,999 (not final) for the 16GB. Not bad considering the 16GB iPad 2 3G is in the Php31k range and the 1st-gen Galaxy Tab P1000 went for Php35k when it came out last year.
Update: The Galaxy Tab 10.1 being shown on display in Rockwell has a microSD card slot on top. The Galaxy Tab 8.9 does not have one. It looks like our device is an engineering unit and not the final product.