Samsung's Galaxy Tab 10.1 is the best alternative to Apple's iPad we've seen. However Android is less user-friendly and generally more prone to crashing. The hardware is impressive though, and existing Android and Google Apps users will find a lot to like.
Light and slim, good cameras, Android Honeycomb OS
Poor battery recharge time, microphone
Android 3.0 Honeycomb, 10.1in 1,280x800 screen, dual-core 1GHz Tegra 2 processor, 1GB RAM, 246 x 170 x 11m, 589g, 32GB storage, 2MP front camera, 8MP rear camera (with flash), GPS, 802.11 a/b/g/n
This Galaxy Tab 10.1 was shipped running the Honeycomb Android 3.0.1 release, but an upgrade to version 3.1 is expected on final models.
The Tab has Samsung and Android application stores, and Amazon's new effort in this area increases the pool of available buying options (although the Amazon app store has yet to launch in the UK). Android can't compete with the range of Apple applications, but Apple's gatekeeper policy means that there are some applications, notably in communications, where Android gives many more choices.
This version of Android is certainly not as smooth as Apple's iOS, but version 3.1 offers some important improvements and Google is promising a new upgrade by the end of the year, dubbed Ice Cream Sandwich, which should run on this hardware.
Navigation buttons are found at the bottom left of the screen and include a back button, home page key and task manager. The latter allows the user to quickly identify that applications that are running and scroll through them on the left of the screen. This is not only useful for switching between functions, but allows you to limit multi-tasking to save on battery life.
The basic homepage is augmented by four alternative pages, accessed by swiping the finger from side to side across the screen. These come with a minimum of installed software, and home pages are fully customisable by pressing and holding icons. The operating system also supports widgets, which allows a more customisable user interface.
The software keyboard is responsive and easy to use, in part thanks to the 10.1in screen, although the prominent Caps Lock button is annoyingly easy to hit. Alternative keyboards are available for download. Speech to text functions are less easy to use, probably owing to the poor microphone positioning.