Samsung Galaxy 10.1 ticks techies' boxes

The Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, the only Android tablet that  deserves to be mentioned in the same...
The Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, the only Android tablet that deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as the iPad 2. Photo by MCT.
The iPad 2 is the best tablet on the market. It's sleek, slim, comfortable, easy to use, has a ton of tablet-customised apps, the battery runs for days and getting music and videos on to the device is effortless.

That said, there actually are reasons to buy an Android tablet instead of an iPad.

And when I say "an Android tablet", I'm really only referring to the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1.

No other Android tablet I've seen deserves to even be in this discussion, and the BlackBerry Playbook is a punchline without the setup.

So, why should you buy the Tab 10.1? Well:

1) The Tab 10.1 is slimmer and lighter than the iPad 2.

The Tab 10.1 also feels great in your hands, the first tablet other than the original iPad and iPad 2 to accomplish that feat.

2) The Tab 10.1 has a better display than the iPad 2.

While the iPad 2 (like the original model) has a 9.7-inch screen with 1024x768 resolution and 4:3 aspect ratio like that found on standard definition TVs, the Tab 10.1 has, as you might have guessed, a 10.1-inch screen with 1280x800 resolution. Even with a bigger screen size, the increased resolution gives the Tab 10.1 a higher pixel density than the iPad 2 (149 pixels per inch v 132 ppi).

Why does that matter? The more pixels you cram into a given space, the smaller the pixels must be, which means the graphics are sharper, with less jagged lines and fuzzy visuals. That's not to say the iPad 2 has a bad display. It's great.

The display on the Tab 10.1 is simply better.

3) The latest Android 3.1 tablet operating system officially supports USB peripherals such as mice and keyboards, although the tablet has to have a standard USB port.

While the Tab 10.1 does not have a standard USB slot, Samsung is selling a USB adapter for the Tab for just $US20.

Using a mouse on the Galaxy Tab could be very useful if you browse a lot of Flash-based websites where you need to mouse over menus and buttons before clicking. There's currently no way to mouse over Flash menus with your finger on a touch screen.

It will be a snowy day in Hades before Apple builds mouse support into the iPad, much less Flash.

4) While there are fewer tablet-specific apps on Google's Android Market than on Apple's App Store, Google does make it much easier to sideload apps that aren't on the market, such as Amazon's Android app store.

So while Apple gives you more uniformity and certainty that apps are safe and functional, Google gives you more freedom to try out innovative stuff.

For most people, I'd still recommend the iPad 2 over the Tab 10.1, just because the iPad 2 is supremely easy to use and has a ton of apps.

Getting music and video on to most Android tablets is also a pain, something that I think Amazon could really address when it gets around to releasing its own Android tablet.

For those with a bit more technical savvy and patience, though, the Tab 10.1 is a more technically proficient and versatile chunk of hardware than the iPad 2.

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