A few days ago we had a closer look at Motorola’s Tablet offering, Xoom. Since then we also got our hands on Samsung’s flagship tablet Galaxy Tab 10.1, released to the South African market back in July 2011.
Upon unboxing the Galaxy Tab, one can’t help but admire its sleek look. Even more impressive is its weight. At 565g it’s easily the lightest tablet between the big three, Xoom and iPad2 included. From the off, it is half the thickness and 200g lighter than the Xoom. Like the Motorola Xoom, though, it has a 10.1 inch display, 16 million colour range, and an 800 x 1280 pixel resolution. Under the hood we also find more of the same hardware; a dual-core 1GHz ARM Cortex-A9 processor, nVidia Tegra 2 T20 GPU, 1Gb RAM, accelerometer, gyroscope and it comes in the same three flavours of 16, 32 and 64 GB internal capacity. Not much difference with both the rear and front facing cameras, the battery capacity and longevity. The big and most discernible difference, however, lies in the software and Samsung’s variant of the Android Honeycomb OS.
One would be mistaken for thinking that the having the same hardware produces the same results. This is not always the case though, likewise between the Galaxy Tab and Xoom. The variant of Honeycomb installed on the Galaxy Tab is laden with Samsung’s TouchWiz UX UI. In all honesty, that’s neither a good or bad feature though.
Again, at first glance, there isn’t much of a difference between the two user interfaces, but once you have unleashed the power of your fingers on the device, the differences start cropping up. The status bar includes an extra, hidden menu, which includes the built-in task manager, calendar, diary and a few other apps. The notifications area, in the bottom right hand side of the screen, the recent apps menu, and the apps menu are all different from that found in the Xoom. The TouchWiz interface distinctly more square and rigid looking, compared to the soft look and feel of the Xoom’s user interface. There are number of inclusions you won’t find standard on the Xoom, however. These include a messaging app, the task manager (as previously mentioned), an e-book reader, Latitude, pen memo, a photo editor, Polaris Office, Pulse, Samsung Apps, Social Hub, Swype keyboard, and a Video app. Important to note is the video player’s ability to play more than just mp4 files, a huge deal breaker for the Xoom. Also different are the widgets and wallpapers, which include two extra live wallpapers.
Will all those extra apps and features, you must feel confident about which device you should spend your money on. Alas my friends, if it were that simple, there would be no reason for a review, just a single sentence stating “Buy the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 (with 3G), it has more apps”. The whole Android system is build around its capability to be improved, either by means of adapting the firmware to your satisfaction, or the easier method of browsing the Android Market for suitable apps. The Galaxy Tab 10.1 is also on the short list to receive the Android Ice Cream Sandwich, so no real surprises there. The only question to be asked on that note is how much of the TouchWiz UI will be incorporated into the OS. Only time will tell.
So why should you not just go out and buy the Galaxy Tab 10.1 instead of the Motorola Xoom? In a blatant attempt to build a bit of suspense, I’ve decided to work on separate article, which includes a full comparison, item-for-item and feature-for-feature. Be sure to take my word on the matter, the Xoom has a bit more punch than meets the eye, it only depends on whose eye we’re talking about. So, be sure to come back for yet another follow-up. Who’s your money on?