Last month at Mobile World Congress Samsung announced the Galaxy Tab 10.1, a NVIDIA Tegra 2 based Honeycomb tablet. Since then, Apple's iPad 2 raised the bar for ergonomics and performance. Not wanting to be outdone, Samsung just announced a redesigned Galaxy Tab 10.1 that's both thinner and lighter than Apple's iPad 2.

The new Galaxy Tab 10.1 measures only 8.6mm thick and weighs 595 grams. The iPad 2 by comparison is 8.8mm thick and weighs 601 grams. The display is a Xoom-like 1280x800 using Samsung's PLS display technology.

The old 10.1 on the left and the new 10.1 on the right

Samsung Galaxy Tab vs Apple iPad 2
  Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9 Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 (New) Apple iPad 2
Depth 8.6 mm 8.6 mm 8.8 mm
Weight 470 grams 595 grams 601 grams
Screen Size & Technology 8.9-inches PLS 10.1-inches PLS 9.7-inches IPS
Screen Resolution 1280x800 1280x800 1024x768
Battery Capacity 6000 mAh 6800 mAh 6930 mAh

Network connectivity is pretty decent. Like the Galaxy S II you get HSPA+ 21.1 support, as well as 2.4GHz and 5GHz WiFi with two spatial streams. The assumption here is that the 10.1 uses an NVIDIA Tegra 2 SoC however we'll find out soon enough. Samsung is promising LTE and WiMAX versions of the new Galaxy Tab 10.1 as well.

Ergonomics aren't the only area in which Samsung is competitive with the iPad 2; there's also pricing. The Galaxy Tab 10.1 WiFi will be available in 16GB and 32GB versions, priced at an iPad 2 competitive $499 and $599 respectively. The 10.1 will be available starting June 8th. Cellular enabled versions will ship at a later date, pricing TBD.

As expected, Samsung also announced the Galaxy Tab 8.9. The specs between the 10.1 and 8.9 remain the same; all that really changes is screen size from what I can tell. You still get the same 1280x800 PLS display but in a much more dense package.

Samsung Galaxy Tab Lineup Pricing
WiFi 16GB 32GB
Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 $499 $599
Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9 $469 $569

Pricing on the 8.9 is a bit lower than the 10.1. Again there are only two versions: 16GB and 32GB, priced at $469 and $569 respectively. The prototype I played with had a SIM slot; however, Samsung didn't announce pricing on the 3G/LTE/WiMAX versions.

Samsung is playing the ambiguous SoC game again and only referring to these two tablets as having a dual-core applications processor. I'm guessing we'll see a mix of Tegra 2 and Samsung Exynos based versions depending on region. Samsung's 8.9 prototypes at the show floor had NVIDIA's Tegra 2 under the hood.

Both tablets will ship with Samsung's new TouchWiz UI for Honeycomb. Having a custom UI on top of Honeycomb does go against the spirit of Google's latest Android OS, but it looks like manufacturer differentiation wins out.

The biggest UI change is the addition of an app dock at the bottom of the screen similar to the dock in OS X. Drag up to reveal the auto-hiding dock and tap to launch an app. The default Honeycomb app switcher is still present.

The new tablet TouchWiz also has new size adjustable widgets that look very good on the big screen.

Samsung only had prototypes of the 8.9 and 10.1 tablets for hands on use at the show. The mechanically accurate samples were both behind glass.

It's far too early to draw any conclusions but I will say that the Galaxy Tab 8.9 is a dream to hold.

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  • kenour - Tuesday, March 22, 2011 - link

    "Both tablets will ship with Samsung's new TouchWiz UI for Honeycomb."

    What a shame, they're wrecking both of them... I wish they would only destroy one so I could purchase the other. This was my tablet of choice until I read this...
  • SilthDraeth - Tuesday, March 22, 2011 - link

    Just root, and install a custom rom, I am sure XDA will have it hacked the day it comes out, or first week.
  • font9a - Wednesday, March 23, 2011 - link

    >> Just root, and install a custom rom, I am sure XDA will have it hacked the day it comes out, or first week.

    Totally, dude! This is *exactly* why I won't buy an iPad 2. Who wants a tablet that runs a closed OS where I can't do what I please with it? Plus, the Android is bound to have many more apps than iOS ever will because developers love the Android platform. It doesn't cost developer 30% to sell Android apps like iOS so why would I ever develop an iOS app just to line Steve Jobs' pockets? Developing iOS apps is working for the Man.
  • seapeople - Thursday, March 24, 2011 - link

    Yeah right. Admit it. You haven't actually paid for a movie or CD since you were 12 and most of your computers are cobbled together from five year old components just so you can throw Linux on it and brag to your friends that you paid less than 100 dollars for a computer that can browse google faster than theirs.

    When you finally do buy an Android device, you're just gonna rip some old lady off from ebay and end up paying less than 200 dollars. There's no money to be made from people like you, which is why Apple doesn't give a d*mn that you don't like their closed iOS.
  • kenour - Wednesday, March 23, 2011 - link

    I don't want to and shouldn't have to :P I think the hardware should differentiate the pads, not the crap they slather over the top of android. Ahh well :(
  • PeteH - Wednesday, March 23, 2011 - link

    But if the only differentiator is hardware how can Samsung (or anyone else) lock you in to their platform?
  • Omid.M - Wednesday, March 23, 2011 - link

    Should've tested the GPS, Anand! :)

    I wonder if Motorola will consider dropping the price on the Xoom to compete? I believe the WiFi version of Xoom is $599.

    As it stands, the hardware is nice and Honeycomb is slick BUT the Apple ecosystem is vast--apps, integration with common services like Xfinity, etc--and I'm not sure if Android will ever make up lost ground.

    Look at the integration of iOS devices with places like Starbucks. iOS is becoming PERVASIVE. Android hasn't even touched that landscape to the same degree.

    I've also read that the iOS SDK is one big reason why iOS apps in general are more aesthetically pleasing than Android, but not that Android cannot have nice looking apps.

    I want to see the Galaxy Tab 8.9 vs. HP's tablet vs. RIM Playbook vs. iPad 2...

    We need an epic showdown like that, guys!

  • dagamer34 - Wednesday, March 23, 2011 - link

    WiFI 32GB is $599. They don't need to drop the price. They need to come out with a 16GB WiFi version. Every other tablet manufacturer besides HP has officially done so as of today (PlayBook will have a $499 version)
  • sean.crees - Wednesday, March 23, 2011 - link

    I really don't see the problem with copying apple. They are obviously doing something right since they are leading the market.

    I do like how they are testing out different form factors though. Everyone's usage model is going to be different, some want it to be bigger, some want it to be smaller for various reasons. No reason why there should only be 1 size in the tablet market.
  • lunarx3dfx - Wednesday, March 23, 2011 - link

    Awesome! So yet again we get a Sumsung device with a custom UI that means Samsung will never release a software update for it. I hate Samsung so much. They are the worst at pushing out updates for their devices. Actually, that's why I hate Android as a whole. Gingerbread has been out how long, and how many phones have it officially? Google needs to take control of their operating system. WebOS FTW!!!

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