Hands on with the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1

First look: We get our hands on the most hotly anticipated Android tablet of 2011, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1
Samsung's Galaxy Tab 10.1 Android tablet

Samsung's Galaxy Tab 10.1 Android tablet

Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1: Software

Our review unit of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 was running the 3.1 version of Google's Android operating system, but the real story here is Samsung's own TouchWiz UX user interface. This software is implemented on top of the Android 'Honeycomb' platform, making it among the first Android tablets to run a customised version of Google's Honeycomb operating system.

Samsung's TouchWiz UX overlay brings a number of new features to the Galaxy Tab 10.1. Firstly, the "quick panel" adds a handy set of toggles in the notifications pop-up. There are toggles for Wi-Fi, notifications, GPS, sound vibration, auto rotation, Bluetooth and flight mode, making it very easy and direct to access these settings. Samsung has also added a screen capture button next to the standard back, home and recent apps keys: tapping this button will immediately capture a screenshot of the device.

A nice feature of TouchWiz UX is what Samsung calls "Mini Apps". Tapping a small up arrow at the bottom of the screen brings up a tray of mini apps — a task manager, calendar, world clock, pen memo, calculator and music player. The mini apps tag applies because these apps appear as an overlay on top of the screen, allowing you to continue working on any other open applications. The mini apps can be dragged to any part of the screen, and will remain active until they are closed — they even remain on the screen when you open another app, negating the need to switch between apps like usual. Unfortunately, the mini app tray can't be edited, and as of now there are the only six mini apps available. We'd love to see more of these developed.

Finally, Samsung has added its own set of widgets, and called the home screens a customisable "live panel". The most notable widgets are AccuWeather, a Bookmark widget, a Buddies now widget, a digital clock that allows you to set an alarm with one touch, and Samsung's Social Hub, which aggregates e-mail, instant messaging, contacts, calendar and social network connections. We love how all the Samsung widgets are resizable, so you can fit them on the screen as you wish, though we did notice the screen jitters when scrolling through home screens. This is mainly evident if there are more than two or three widgets on a home screen.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1: Availability

The Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 was initially expected to launch sometime this month, but the lawsuit by Apple has meant Samsung has been forced to postpone the unveiling. "A Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 for the Australian market will be released in the near future," the company said in a statement last week. Pricing and carrier details have yet to be announced.

We'll publish a full review of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 in the coming days, so stay tuned. In the meantime, if you have any questions you'd like to ask us about the Galaxy Tab 10.1, fire away in the comments below!

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Ross Catanzariti

Ross Catanzariti

PC World
Topics: Honeycomb, TouchWiz, Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, samsung, galaxy tab 10.1, Android tablets
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