Review: Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 4G LTE (Verizon)

Posted by Dan H. on Sep 02, 2011

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We reviewed the Motorola Xoom back in March, and it was the first device to run a tablet-optimized version of Android, known as Android 3.0 “Honeycomb”. At the time of the writing, it was a 3G-only tablet, with the 4G LTE hardware upgrade “coming soon”.

Fast forward four months, and the Xoom still doesn’t have the LTE upgrade (it’s coming in a few weeks!), but there’s a new kid on the block: the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, and yes, it’s running on Verizon’s 4G LTE network. We have been using one for the last few weeks, so keep reading for the full review!

Hardware

While the LTE version of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 is new, the Wi-Fi verison of the same tablet has been available for a while. Yes, it’s still rocking the insanely thin profile at 8.6mm, with the same 10.1-inch, 1280 x 800 resolution display.

The hardware buttons have changed a bit in the LTE verison, and it’s definitely an improvement. The left side now houses the power and volume buttons, along a pair of speakers – one on the left side, and one on the right.

On the top, you’ll find a 3.5mm headphone jack, along with a slot for the LTE SIM card. On the bottom, Samsung decided to use their proprietary port for charging/sync.

In terms of cameras, the Galaxy Tab 10.1 is fitted out with two – a 2MP front-facing camera for video chat, and a 3MP shooter on the back, for the times you decide it’s a good idea to take a picture with your tablet.

On the front, there’s a 10.1-inch, 1280 x 800 resolution display. While it’s not a Super AMOLED Plus display, colors looked fantastic, viewing angles worked out nicely. Above the display, there’s the previously mentioned front-facing camera.

The Galaxy Tab 10.1’s hardware is nothing short of amazing. The display is great, the dual-core Tegra 2 processor paired with 1GB of RAM makes for fast and speedy performance, and seriously – we’d say this is the finest piece of hardware to ever come out of Samsung’s labs. At 8.6mm thin and 1.24 pounds, it’s incredibly thin and light, and we didn’t encounter any fatigue when using the tablet for extended periods of time. Again, Samsung – great job with the hardware.

Software

The Galaxy Tab 10.1 ships with Android 3.1 “Honeycomb”. As of right now, Samsung hasn’t added many customizations to the device – they added a custom keyboard, and a tweaked Camera app. However, Samsung just pushed out an update to the Wi-Fi Galaxy Tab 10.1s, and the update is packing some TouchWiz UX elements. We haven’t been able to test it out ourselves yet, but we’ve heard it’s actually pretty nice. That said, our 4G LTE Galaxy Tab 10.1 hasn’t alerted us of any updates, so we’re still waiting on that end.

One of improvements made in 3.1 is the ability to resize widgets on your homescreen. We saw this in Motorola’s custom UI, and we’re glad to see it on Honeycomb. It definitely makes using some of the widgets a much better experience.

4G LTE

We reviewed Verizon’s blazing fast 4G LTE network earlier this year, and we came away impressed with the incredible speeds. Fast forward six months, and the speeds haven’t slowed down. We were able to get 11Mbps down, and around 6Mbps up in our testing.

Unfortunately, the Galaxy Tab 10.1 suffers from random signal drops of LTE and 3G. We’d be using the device on LTE for a while, and while sitting in the exact same spot, it’d drop to 3G, and then we’d lose signal all together. It happened quite often, and a reboot always fixed the issue.

Battery Life

Battery life on the Galaxy Tab 10.1 has been pretty fantastic. Even while connected to LTE, we were able to get through a day with medium usage (some browsing, emails, Twitter, a few videos) without too many issues.

Conclusion

The Galaxy Tab 10.1 4G LTE is quite remarkable. The hardware sets the new standard for Android tablets, and if you’re a fan of Honeycomb, the Galaxy Tab 10.1 delivers on that as well. Bottom line, if you’re looking for solid Android tablet running on one of the fastest’s mobile networks around, the Galaxy Tab 10.1 4G LTE won’t disappoint.

Dan H. (119 Posts) - Website | Twitter | Facebook


Dan H. is a gadget lover. The computer is his mother tongue; he started using them since before he could remember. He specializes in mobile devices, and is nuts about any kind of new technology. Follow me on twitter: twitter.com/techshoe. Contact: dan (at) mobilitysite (dot) com

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