Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1: First impressions

By JR Raphael (@jr_raphael)

If I had to describe Samsung's new Galaxy Tab 10.1 in a single word, I'd tell you it's "svelte." That's an unusual term for a tech review, I realize -- it's typically more suited for stories about actresses, or maybe ballerinas -- but when I pick up the latest Galaxy Tab, it's without question the first thing that comes to mind.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 First Impressions

Samsung's Galaxy Tab 10.1 is the latest Android Honeycomb tablet to hit the market and, by Samsung's estimations, the thinnest tablet available on any platform anywhere. The 10.1 Tab officially launches today, June 8, but you wouldn't know it in most places: The product is initially available only at New York City's Union Square store, in limited quantities, with nationwide availability set to follow next Friday.

I've been using the Galaxy Tab 10.1 for about a day now, and I'll be the first to admit: My patience for all the "thin" talk surrounding the new Tab was, well, wearing thin by the time the gadget arrived at my door. But there is something to be said for the Galaxy Tab's slender frame. You can talk for days about the millimeters and grams that make up the device's body -- it's 8.6 millimeters thick and 565 grams in weight -- but until you actually hold the device, it's hard to know how much that actually matters. 

In short, those small numbers make a big difference. Samsung's Galaxy Tab 10.1 feels light, especially when you go back and forth between it and a thicker tablet like the Motorola Xoom -- which actually only weighs a mere 143 grams more. That's less than a third of a pound we're talking about here, people. But it's also 20 percent of the Xoom's total weight that's getting shaved off. I wouldn't go as far as to say the Xoom feels bulky or obsolete in comparison, as some have predicted it might, but the Galaxy Tab's trim figure and sleek design are certainly attention-grabbing touches.

Galaxy Tab - Xoom

The Galaxy Tab 10.1, Motorola Xoom, and my hand (not included with tablet) 

Of course, there's much more to a mobile device than its shell -- and when it comes to the topic of the new Tab's functionality, there's no shortage of things to discuss. In fact, by some measures, the Xoom actually comes out ahead of the new Galaxy Tab. I'm honestly not sure there's one clear cut "winner" between the two; like many things in the Android world, I suspect it'll all come down to your own personal preference and what you want in a tablet.

Fear not, though: I'll be here to help break down the differences and show you where the Tab shines and where it falls short. I'll be spending some serious quality time with the Galaxy Tab 10.1 over the next 24 hours (that "Do Not Disturb" sign is up for a reason, pal). I want to get to know the Tab in and out so I can bring you the full Android Power perspective -- everything from what's missing in the hardware to what's present in the software and how it all adds up in terms of real-world performance.

Check back soon for my in-depth review. And if you have questions you want to see answered about the new Tab, let me know: Tweet me, email me, or drop me a line on Facebook. I'm here for you.

UPDATE: Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1: The verdict is in 

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Article copyright 2011 JR Raphael. All rights reserved.

Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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