Samsung to take on iPad 2 with sub-$500 Galaxy Tabs

Apple’s iPad is finally set to get some real competition—and not just from the iPad 2. Engadget has the scoop on new 8.9" and 10.1" additions to Samsung’s Galaxy Tab family of Android-powered slates. Impressively, the 10.1" model is just a little bit thinner and lighter than the latest iPad. The 8.9" variant shares the same thickness as the larger model but is notably lighter at just over a pound.

Despite differences in screen size, both models offer a display resolution of 1280×800. That’s a nice upgrade over the iPad’s 1024×768 resolution, which doesn’t have enough pixels to play 720p HD video in all its glory. Neither the Engadget story nor Samsung’s web site details the kind of panel used in the new slates, though. The existing 7" Galaxy Tab uses an IPS panel, so it’s probably safe to assume that these new models haven’t downgraded to TN screens.

Under their touch-screen displays, both of the new Galaxy Tabs feature "1GHz dual-core" processors suspected to be Tegra 2 silicon. Versions will be available with 16, 32, and 64GB of built-in storage, and you’ll be able to add up to 32GB of your own via a microSD slot. The systems also include USB connectivity, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and a pair of cameras: two megapixels on the front and three out back. Even the battery life looks good. Samsung is claiming 10 hours of video playback on both devices.

Until now, we’ve yet to see a big-name tablet challenge the cheapest iPad model on price. Surprisingly, Wi-Fi versions of the 8.9" and 10.1" models will start at $469 and $499, respectively. They’ll only offer 16GB of internal storage, which matches the base iPad 2, but the Galaxy tabs sport a higher screen resolution, more camera megapixels, and a wider range of connectivity options. Samsung has also jazzed up the Android 3.0 user interface with some Touchwiz UX enhancements that look pretty slick in the demo video Engadget recorded.

This news comes as RIM reveals that Wi-Fi versions of its 16GB PlayBook will be available for $500 starting April 19. Samsung’s latest slates aren’t due until the beginning of June, which feels like ages from now considering how long some of us have been waiting for credible iPad alternatives. Soon, my precious. Soon.

Comments closed
    • swaaye
    • 9 years ago

    I picked up a $250 Nook Color last week and have been modding it like crazy. The modding reminds me of my old Zaurus 5500 because of all the alternative OS distributions. I first tried out a rooted stock ROM (eclair 2.1), then a rooted Froyo 2.2, and now am on CyanogenMod 7 (Gingerbread 2.3.3). They even have a preview of Honeycomb with a real release to be in the works as soon as the AOSP release happens.

    These things are super easy to modify too because they will boot a microSD card. So there are a bunch of easy to set up SD card images for download.

    I am a 3 year EeePC 900 user and have been looking for something slightly smaller, lighter and with good battery life and couldn’t pass up trying the slate world out with this cheap 7″ 1024×600 model. Cool stuff. Gotta say though that the old EeePC on crusty XP is much faster than these ARM chips at even 1.1 GHz. I think it’s the lack of GUI 2D acceleration that is a big cause of it (choppy browser scrolling).

    The thought of a 9″ with a 1280×800 screen is pretty awesome though I have to say! But what is the deal with the use of microSD on huge tablets? They cost more and they don’t get as big and the form factor isn’t an advantage here.

      • poulpy
      • 9 years ago

      [quote<]I think it's the lack of GUI 2D acceleration that is a big cause of it[/quote<] One of the new features of Gingerbread is the OGL GUI acceleration, either the GPU is lacking in features/performance or there's still a bug or two in CM7. To be fair this is a budget tablet with a TI OMAP3621 (A8 based, 800MHz) and PowerVR SGX530 (think Motorola Droid, e.g. circa 2009) so it's possible you won't get the best of the latest Android OSes with that.

        • swaaye
        • 9 years ago

        What’s strange is how some web pages are quite smooth while browsing a forum or some other site may be very choppy. I’m thinking it must be related to the CPU somehow, like perhaps it’s scaling the whole page with each movement on one site but not another.

        I did notice that 2.3 doesn’t have the crazy hitching that happens when scrolling sometimes on the older Android OSs. I found a site (Guru3D) where it would pause and stutter every time I went past a couple of thumbnails and that went away with CM7.

        Yeah this thing might not have all of the latest hardware but it gives me a relatively cheap taste of tablet land and that’s what I was after.

          • WaltC
          • 9 years ago

          [quote<]Gotta say though that the old EeePC on crusty XP is much faster than these ARM chips at even 1.1 GHz. I think it's the lack of GUI 2D acceleration that is a big cause of it (choppy browser scrolling).[/quote<] I think I recall that XP only accelerates the GDI and doesn't do Direct2d acceleration at all. Here's a link I found interesting: [url<]http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ff729480%28v=vs.85%29.aspx[/url<] Yes, the ARM embedded cpus have always been quite slow compared to x86 cpus, because they are designed for entirely different markets, power envelops, and physical conditions. Again we see "MHz" confusing people with notions of speed--when it's really all about IPC X MHz, cache densities, etc.

            • swaaye
            • 9 years ago

            I’m not confused by clock speed, Walt. 😉 I just find it interesting that a gimped Celeron edition of a 90nm CPU from 2004 (Dothan) is clearly faster than this 2010-built 45nm Arm chip. I have to wonder what a 45nm Dothan chip would be like…

            There is simply something to the way Android’s available browsers have a serious problem with scrolling performance on some sites. I don’t know if it’s entirely CPU doing heavy page reorganization with every scroll, or if it’s 2D graphics performance, etc…

            On the other hand apparently these things can run Quake 3 pretty well so they aren’t that far off from that old Celeron M 900 if you are using the GPU and CPU together.

    • aces170
    • 9 years ago

    AT reports the screens are PLS:
    [url<]http://www.anandtech.com/show/4233/samsungs-galaxy-tab-101-89-smaller-than-ipad-2-competitively-priced[/url<]

    • Helmore
    • 9 years ago

    These tablets use PLS display technology, which should be a little better than IPS according to Samsung: [url<]http://www.engadget.com/2010/12/01/samsung-touts-super-pls-display-as-the-evolution-of-ips-on-smart/[/url<]

    • Corrado
    • 9 years ago

    I bought a 7″er last week. I love it. I’m an iPad owner and iPhone 4 owner as well. The size is perfect for portability. I’m going to actually be trading my iPhone4 for a Nexus S in about 45 minutes now.

      • sweatshopking
      • 9 years ago

      MY GOD MAN? WHAT IS IT YOUR DO? HOW CAN YOU AFFORD ALL OF THAT?!?!??!

        • Corrado
        • 9 years ago

        I’m just an IT engineer. I make ~ $80K a year, and I have no kids. My wife makes ~ $40K a year. Rent is only ~$1400 and I only have 1 loan payment which is my car @ $280 a month.

      • WaltC
      • 9 years ago

      The day that Steve Jobs burst in on Apple’s conference call to tell the world, loudly, that 7″ tablets were DOA because their screens weren’t big enough, was the very day I posted my opinion on several sites that 7″ tablets would go places 10″ tablets never could, enhancing the definition of portable–and if “screen size” was the only barometer for gauging these devices the iPhone should also have been DOA–since it has a screen much smaller than even 7″. As usual, Jobs’ rants made little sense apart from Apple’s own very narrow perspective. He should have said, “I *pray* that 7″ tablets are DOA for the unpardonable sin of not having been thought of by Apple first!”…:)

      There is no reason, of course, that 7″ tablets and 10” tablets, or anything larger, smaller, or in between, cannot peacefully coexist in the market. Jobs/Apple has truly never understood that one size does not and never will fit all–be it shoes or tablets or computers, ad infinitum.

    • astraelraen
    • 9 years ago

    These tablets look good except for the “Samsung update experience”

    My wife owns a Fascinate, I have 3 coworkers who own Captivates. These first hand experiences plus a wealth of internet stories tell me the that if you want updates for your phone and/or tablet – don’t choose Samsung.

    Judging from how Google treats the Nexus phones, the Xoom will be updated long after the Samsung tabs drop off into the abyss. That counts for something in my opinion.

      • JMccovery
      • 9 years ago

      Yeah, I don’t see this being upgraded to the ‘Honeycomb’ successor any time in the few weeks after one is released. Samsung will claim that the carriers are holding up the updates, and that is why the WiFi only versions won’t have on-time updates either.

      • WillBach
      • 9 years ago

      I own a Sprint Epic 4G, made by Samsung. I recommend Sprint to people who ask, but I now doubt that anyone will buy a Samsung phone with my blessings, ever.

    • JMccovery
    • 9 years ago

    Two things that almost kill it for me: 1. microSD- give me a SDXC slot. 2. TouchWiz ‘elements’ – no, just plain Honeycomb.

    • blastdoor
    • 9 years ago

    This is definitely a Xoom killer and it might very well be the first worthy iPad competitor. I’m guessing the iPad will still have a considerable GPU advantage, though. But since Android sucks for gaming anyway, maybe that doesn’t really matter.

      • Ricardo Dawkins
      • 9 years ago

      Android sucks for gaming? hahaha
      Are you kidding, right?
      Almost every iOS game is getting ported or has similar version on the Android Market.

      and Xperia Play will have something to say about that remark quite soon.

        • blastdoor
        • 9 years ago

        Android sucks for gaming.

        It’s a fragmented mess of a platform, with fragmentation occurring at both the hardware and software distribution levels. If you want to buy a game for Android good luck (1) finding it and (2) getting it to work on your device.

        If you want to be able to play a wide selection of games on your phone, you buy an iPhone, unless you have some ideological axe to grind.

        Android is basically a botnet for distributing google ads. That’s the only reason it exists. Google should be paying people to use Android phones, not the other way around.

          • swaaye
          • 9 years ago

          That’s a bit too negative I think. 🙂

          Android is open source which is cool. Lots of tweaking and porting going on. The only game that I’ve been looking for and been having a hard time finding is NFS and that apparently is mostly business nonsense.

          • Ricardo Dawkins
          • 9 years ago

          [quote<] Android is basically a botnet for distributing google ads. That's the only reason it exists. Google should be paying people to use Android phones, not the other way around.[/quote<] Keep grinding the axe, buddy.

    • HisDivineShadow
    • 9 years ago

    Anandtech is saying Samsung is using their own tech, PLS, for the display. Makes sense. Think the price is getting better, but they got to really beat Apple in performance AND price to overcome the homefield advantage of apps, “experience” and content that Apple’s got now.

    • liquidsquid
    • 9 years ago

    Wow, if only they were AOLED displays. My wife’s Samsung smartphone display is simply incredible. Even so these are very interesting, though I personally would want a ton of storage for keeping my picture library and music. Something in the line of at least 256Gb, so in other words an additional expansion slot or two would be nice.

    • cygnus1
    • 9 years ago

    These tablets are shaping up nicely. I’ll be back to the states in about a year from Afghanistan so I’m really looking forward to what’s going to be available then.

      • poulpy
      • 9 years ago

      They sure are, although hopefully by then we’d have the first iOS/Android Brain Implants!
      Can’t stand to use my arms to do stuff these days, what is this? 1999?!

    • kamikaziechameleon
    • 9 years ago

    does either this or the asus slate feature 4G? If I could get one with that option I’d go crazy.

      • blorbic5
      • 9 years ago

      What some people are doing with their Ipads is using the Wi-Fi and tethering off a Smartphone. That way you are not paying for 2 data plans and you still have access almost anywhere because anywhere your phone doesn’t have 3g/4g the ipad/slate probably won’t ether.

      Also the link above doesn’t say anything about 3g/4g.

    • kamikaziechameleon
    • 9 years ago

    between this and the asus tablet I’m at a loss for what I want.

    • Noigel
    • 9 years ago

    Hmmm… and Amazon is helping grow and promote the Android app store… wonder how mature it will be by the time this comes out? I’d love Chrome-like website syncing on a tablet…

    • sweatshopking
    • 9 years ago

    these look neat. i’d buy one. first

      • ibnarabi
      • 9 years ago

      $500 is a much better deal, Motorola really screwed up.

        • ChangWang
        • 9 years ago

        I agree. If the Xoom had launched at $499 or lower, I would have bought one

          • ImSpartacus
          • 9 years ago

          But you see, that barometer costs [i<]so[/i<] much!

      • blorbic5
      • 9 years ago

      nvm

        • thesmileman
        • 9 years ago

        on another side note STFU.

          • sweatshopking
          • 9 years ago

          ????????????????????

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