Say hello to the thinnest and lightest tablet.
Other than being the thinnest and lightest Honeycomb based tablet, what separates the Galaxy Tab 10.1 from all the other Android 3.x based tablets is a custom UI. Samsung has been using the Touchviz UI on their Smartphones for a while now and with the Tab 10.1, it makes an appearance on the tablets. This gives the Tab 10.1 a different look than all of the other Honeycomb based tablets.
The first thing you notice is how everything looks so big on Galaxy Tab 10.1 compared to the rest of the Honeycomb tablets. Samsung has chosen a bigger font which makes it easier on the eyes but at times, ends up using more space than necessary. You have custom Samsung widgets populating the home screens and a screenshot button is also present right next to the three navigation buttons on the bottom left. My favourite feature is swiping from the bottom that makes a bar appear over the UI with shortcut to applications like the calender and calculator. I couldn’t find a way to customize these applications.
On the Applications side, Samsung includes th Social Hub app that is basically an aggregator for your email and social networks. What I like is that you can have a universal inbox for all your emails and social networking messages. Samsung also add their own App Store with free applications that is a sub-set of the Android Market- good for regions that don’t support Android Market. The following video goes through the TouchViz UI.
I really like the stock Honeycomb UI and although there are some good features on the Touchviz, I wish Samsung would have allowed the option to switch back to the stock UI. While advanced users might be able to do that through custom ROMs, it will be harder for the average Joe. Also, Honeycomb, even with 3.1 is still a bit slow and laggy- definitely not as fast the iPad 2 or the BlackBerry PlayBook and adding another layer of top such as the TouchViz slows it down even more as you saw from our video above.
Wrapping it up, the battery life on the Galaxy Tab 10.1 is pretty much in line with the rest of the Honeycomb based tablets. Expect anywhere between six to eight hours depending on your usage. Videos and multimedia files will drain the battery life faster than checking emails and writing documents. Enabling 3G will also effect battery life.
The pricing and availability for the 3G version of the Galaxy Tab is yet to be decided but the Wi-Fi version is selling for the same price as the iPad in the US so expect to pay another $100+ for the 3G version. Question is, would I recommend or buy the Galaxy Tab 10.1 at that price? Honeycomb is still a bit behind and Touchviz doesn’t really smoothen things by much but if I was considering a Honeycomb tablet, it would be very much between the ASUS Transformer because of it’s hybrid nature and cheaper pricing and the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 because of its amazing form factor.