Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 review

Price when reviewed

If you want to transfer existing media files from your PC to the Galaxy Tab 10.1, it’s a breeze. Samsung’s Kies software offers wireless syncing, but once the drivers are installed the tablet also works as a regular MTP device, so you can use whatever media manager you like to sync the player over a regular USB connection. The speakers are excellent, delivering remarkable volume and presence considering the size of the device.

Many popular video formats can be played out of the box, and there’s support for Windows 7’s built-in transcoding capabilities to help with movie files in the wrong format. We also found that 720p YouTube videos played without a hiccup, as did standard-definition content from the BBC iPlayer mobile app – though high-definition streams were unwatchable.

For shooting your own video, the rear-facing camera captures sharp 720p footage, but it’s a little grainy. Stills look better: the rear autofocus camera takes 3.2MP stills with crisp detail and good, realistic colour even in lowish light – and there’s an LED flash to help out if things get too dark. The front-facing camera is just as sharp, but uses a smaller 2MP sensor and a fixed focal length.

Inevitably, we’ve a few gripes about the hardware. The biggest disappointment is battery life: in our continuous video test, the Galaxy Tab 10.1 managed just 7hr 18min of playback off a full charge – less than half the life of the iPad 2, and 80 minutes less than the Asus Eee Pad Transformer.

It’s annoying too that the only regular connector is a 3.5mm headphone socket (plus a SIM slot on the 3G version). Otherwise, all power and data goes through a proprietary 30-pin socket. If you want to hook up an external display, you’ll need the external HDMI adaptor, available for around £20 online.

There’s no microSD slot either, so if you want extra storage, you’ll need the similarly priced SD or USB 2 adaptor. The USB adaptor can also be used to connect a mouse, but it may not provide enough power for an external keyboard: if you need to do a lot of typing, you can use Bluetooth or buy a dedicated keyboard dock for £80. That’s £20 less than the Transformer’s keyboard, but that model contains an extra battery which the Samsung dock lacks.

The OS also has a few admitted shortcomings. The Android Market is smaller than Apple’s App Store, with no way to filter out smartphone apps that aren’t optimised for tablets. The interface lacks the ruthless clarity of iOS, and Samsung’s tinkering with the front end only complicates things further. On the other hand, you do get the freedom to install alternative browsers and soft keyboards, not to mention Flash. And of course you can sync an Android device with as many PCs as you like, using whatever software you like.

Overall, the Galaxy Tab 10.1 is a hugely likeable device. With its slick performance, lightweight chassis and excellent screen and speakers, it captures the instinctive, tactile appeal of Apple’s tablet better than any rival we’ve seen. It has its weaknesses – notably the battery life – and it’s hardly innovative. But if you can find one in the shops, it’s the best Android tablet we’ve seen, and a compelling alternative to the iPad 2.


Warranty1yr collect and return


Dimensions257 x 8.6 x 176mm (WDH)


Primary keyboardOn-screen
Screen size10.1in
Resolution screen horizontal1,280
Resolution screen vertical800
Display typeIPS
Panel technologyIPS


Battery capacity7,000mAh

Core specifications

CPU frequency, MHz1MHz
Integrated memory16.0GB
RAM capacity1MB


Camera megapixel rating3.2mp
Focus typeAutofocus
Built-in flash?yes
Built-in flash typeLED
Front-facing camera?yes
Video capture?yes


WiFi standard802.11n
Bluetooth supportyes
Integrated GPSyes
Accessories suppliedNone
Upstream USB ports0
HDMI output?no
Video/TV output?no


Mobile operating systemAndroid 3.1

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