Ian Knott has been commentating on various forms of technology for the last 16 years. He’s had columns on gadgets, gaming, computing and digital entertainment in many newspapers, magazines and websites in New Zealand and overseas.
Laptops have been around longer than most computer users have been alive. It was 1975 when IBM introduced the world’s first ‘portable computer’ and like most electronic devices, the race to make them smaller and cheaper has been a competitive one until it hit a brick wall with the recent relative failure of ‘Netbooks’.
Their failure wasn’t due to any fault on their behalf but more due to the emergence of iOS and Android touchscreen tablets and in fact any internet capable mobile phone.
There would be few in the know who would debate Apple’s domination of the tablet market with its iPad range, but quality tablets running Google’s Android operating system are rapidly taking chunks out of Apple’s market share.
Easily the best of the Android tablets, and also the one with the most publicity and controversy surrounding it is Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1. Apple certainly saw the threat very early on and pulled out all the stops with lawsuit after lawsuit. All in vain of course as the Galaxy Tab 10.1 is now available in all its glory.
A hair’s breadth thinner than the iPad2, the SGT 10.1 weighs a considerable 36g lighter at 565g despite the almost half inch larger screen.
The weight difference is surprisingly noticable with the SGT 10.1 feeling perfectly natural to hold and handle for extended periods of time. The screen has a small but sufficient non-touch sensitive area surrounding it for when you need to pass the tablet around between people.
Running the Android Honeycomb 3.1 operating system, the SGT 10.1 is open to features that are currently unavailable on most other Android tablets.
The Samsung one-ups the iPad 2 in almost every way. The cameras are better (to be fair, you can’t get much worse than the iPad’s camera quality), it has a 4-way accelerometer and gyro (compared to the iPad’s 3 way), has better speakers and browser Flash support.
However I only experienced six hours battery life as opposed to ten hours on the iPad2 (Samsung boasts nine hours, but this review unit could have been well abused). The proprietary charging cable is also an annoyance with a standard mini USB being far more desirable. The simple Bluetooth file transfer made adding photos, music and apps a breeze though.
The Galaxy Tab 10.1 slotted into my lifestyle so seamlessly that Samsung had to almost pry it out of my hands to take it back. I’m a definite Android tablet convert and there’s no better available than this.