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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  • dagamer34 - Wednesday, March 23, 2011 - link

    Revealing this newly designed prototype 3 weeks after the iPad 2 event means one of two things:

    1) Samsung had the design of these prototypes ready and the previous 10.1 was really a decoy.
    2) Samsung's tricked out a new working design in 3 weeks, something I would find rather remarkable.

    Regardless, Samsung has showed up to the tablet fight with guns blazin' Now I just wish Honeycomb would get it's act together with a better more cohesive UI (what is with the love of the color black? White is more appealing!)
  • rice2999 - Wednesday, March 23, 2011 - link

    Or 3) the boss in samsung yelled to their design engineers, "I don't care how you will do it, just f**king give me one thinner (by 0.25 mm) and lighter (by 2g) than the f**king ipad from APPL",

    and here you go, we get thin and lighter galaxy tabs, which won't be available in 3 months. I don't know if they have performed the mechanical stress testing yet for their design by this time.
  • bah12 - Wednesday, March 23, 2011 - link

    wow loosen your tin foil hat fanboi. REALLY you think that only the great apple could come to the conclusion that a thinner device with the same battery life would be more attractive?? Get over it, it is a logical design decision almost any engineering team would strive to meet.
  • PeteH - Wednesday, March 23, 2011 - link

    I think it's almost definitely option 2. After the iPad 2's unveiling Samsung's CEO said the following:

    "We will have to improve the parts that are inadequate... Apple made [the iPad 2] very thin."

    Putting together a new design that quickly is very impressive, assuming it is functional and not just an ID mockup (Anand's comment about the mechanically accurate samples being behind glass makes me wonder).
  • zak the great - Tuesday, March 29, 2011 - link

    After three weeks they have teh mechenical desing ready, now they need 2-4 months to figure out how to put the electronics inside the thin case with the specs tehy have commited to.....
  • Electrofreak - Friday, April 1, 2011 - link

    You do realize that Samsung develops and manufactures many of Apple's components, particularly SoCs, right?
  • Yuniverse - Tuesday, March 22, 2011 - link

    It's interesting that Samsung is able to make a prototype in a month(more like 3 weeks) to "compete" with the iPad 2. I wonder what kept them from making the Tab 2 like this in the first place?
  • PeteH - Tuesday, March 22, 2011 - link

    I would guess it's some combination of more expensive components and more expensive manufacturing. It's also possible that they needed to see how Apple was able to make the iPad 2 that thin in order to do it themselves.
  • jalexoid - Tuesday, March 22, 2011 - link

    Downgrade of the camera. Batteries. Newer LCD panels.
  • darckhart - Tuesday, March 22, 2011 - link

    so let me get this... the 8.9 is a mere $30 cheaper than the 10.1? way to NOT DIFFERENTIATE samsung. i see what you did there.

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