Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1: No Match for the iPad

The Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, the latest tablet computer from the consumer electronics giant.

The Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, the latest tablet computer from the consumer electronics giant.  (Samsung)

Another day, another tablet.

Another Android tablet has hit the market, a new model from Samsung called the Galaxy Tab 10.1.

The hardware is nice: It's thin, it's light, and it feels good in the hands. Surprisingly, the camera is decent, and that's saying something for tablets; typically they haven't been all that good. 

The Galaxy Tab 10.1 has a 3-megapixel camera -- that's nothing to sneeze at, but it's nothing particularly stunning either. At least the pictures aren't grainy, and it does well in low-light situations. 

The display on the Galaxy Tab is nice, but it has a 19 x 10 widescreen -- that's great for movie hounds, but I actually find it a little weird. It makes ordinary applications just a little too stretched. 

It's light, of course, slightly lighter even than the Apple iPad -- but at the end of the day who cares: You probably wouldn't even notice that small the difference. 

So yes, the Samsung Galaxy Tab feels nice in the hands, it's got a nice display, and the hardware works well. But who's buying a device like this? Do you walk into a store with a blindfold on, feel around for devices, and say, "You know what? That one feels nice. I'll take that one."

Of course not. What counts is the experience using the device.

And from a software perspective, the Samsung Galaxy Tab is ... average. And it don't stack up anywhere near close to the iPad experience. 

Let's talk about applications, for one thing. Samsung has included about six apps of their own on top of the standard Android package. Subtract them and you're left with a bunch of shoddy applications that aren't really made for Honeycomb, the operating system running on this device. 

There are a bunch of other Android apps, of course -- 65,000 of them or so -- but very few quality ones, and there are very few application developers who are really sinking their teeth into this platform at this to date. 

For instance, there are very few good Twitter clients, and very few news readers. Want to browse headlines? You'll be hard pressed here. 

So should you buy this device? I can't in good conscience tell you to go out and spend $499 on this half-baked experience when the fully baked iPad experience can be had for just a few dollars more. 

Unless of course you want to go shopping blindfolded.