On general release from
tomorrow today, the 4th of August onwards, but available to some eager early adopters yesterday afternoon, we dutifully queued up with the Android faithful to be among the first in the UK to get hold of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 – the first Honeycomb tablet from Samsung and the successor to last year’s 7-inch Froyo-powered Samsung Galaxy Tab.
It’s altogether a much slimmer and smoother proposition, opting for curved, rounded edges (a la the iPad 2) and a gleaming plastic case, as opposed to the textured cover of the original. The main, rear-facing camera has also taken a spec tumble, 3-megapixels down from the original 8. But we’re fine with that – it’s always going to be easier taking pictures on a smaller, more portable phone than it is on a larger, more unwieldy tablet. So we’ll forgive Samsung for not including Carl Zeiss optics and a mechanical zoom here.
Available in two hues (black and white) and coming in 16GB, 32GB and 64GB flavours, it’ll be the Wi-Fi only versions that go on sale tomorrow. Samsung told us that the with the 3G versions are on course to arrive “later this month” – stay tuned for further info on this.
So before we crack on with our Tab 10.1 review, enjoy these hands-on shots of the white wonder.
One of the first things you’ll notice after turning the Tab 10.1 on fore the first time is that Samsung has eschewed the default Honeycomb look seen on the Xoom and the Iconia Tab and opted for its own TouchWiz UX stylings.
That said, general operations however remain the same; tap the context-sensitive touch control bars at the top and bottom to go back, home etc.
A long-press on any homescreen will bring up the same launcher menu from where you can drag and drop widgets, app shortcuts, change the wallpaper as normal.
One welcome addition to the Honeycomb experience is Samsung’s addition of a screen capture feature. Activated by the fourth icon along up there on the bottom left, this allows you take screengrabs of whatever’s on the screen at the time.
This does away with the long-winded installation processes otherwise needed and allows us to show you how the TouchWiz UI looks on the Tab 10.1, without having to take shots of the device with our camera – more of those in a sec.
When you turn the Galaxy Tab 10.1 on its side to indulge in a bit of portrait action, the screen, as you’d expect, does its ninety degree shift thing.
The Wi-Fi controls, GPS and all that jazz are accessed in the same way, by tapping on the bottom right corner of the screen. However here Samsung has done everything over in the same TouchWiz stylings as employed on the Galaxy S2, instead of Honeycomb’s regulation neon blue.
See that little chevron-shaped icon in the centre of the screen there? A quick tap of that loads up…
…a secondary row of app icons. Obviously, these can be accessed from any homescreen and when launched, float above the other apps and widgets on whatever homescreen you’re on.
Even when you swipe left or right on to another screen, the calculator, task manager or whatever you’ve got open at that time will stay floating above the rotating drum below.
Let’s have a quick look at those other apps and the TouchWiz features.
The main homescreen, Number 3, is the one that the Tab 10.1 jumps to when you tap the Home key. Here as you can see, there’s a clock, weather widget and a picture frame.
Of course, all of this can be changed, rearranged and thrown out the window – we just thought you’d like a look at how things differ from vanilla Honeycomb.
All of these screengrabbed pics were shrunk down from their original size of 1280 x 800.
Swipe right and you get the Social Hub widget – where Facebook, Twitter and LInkedIn posts and messages get aggregated, along with a Calendar widget, Yahoo! Finance and six customisable shortcuts to your favourites.
Swipe left from the main homescreen and you’re greeted with an Associated Press news widget, four bookmark shortcuts and a big Samsung Email widget.
The Task Manager app, accessed from the central launcher, gives you an at a glance view of what’s running in the background and how much of the Tab 10.11’s RAM is being used up by processes.
The Pen Memo app is a quick jotter/note book style app that allows you to jot down or scrawl quick notes on the go. It’s not quite as fun or developed as the note taking app of HTC’s Flyer, but it’s nice enough.
Now, back to the exterior of the Tab 10.1. 3-megapixel camera with LED flash there on the back, along with the 3.5mm jack. Despite its width, the Tab 10.1 is incredibly light and easy to hold.
A close-up look at that camera, flash and 3.5mm connection.
The Tab 10.1’s 30-point connection and connector cable. This plugs into the multi-part USB charger/adapter.
One of the Tab 10.1’s two side-mounted stereo speakers.
That fabled ‘volume rocker’ next to the mystical ‘on/off’ button. We’re still puzzled as to their exact purpose and function.
Another shot of the Galaxy Tab 10.1’s shiny white back. We’re more than a little in love with this baby already. Full review coming real soon; stick around for this and other hands-on/first impression-y goodness won’t you?