We've got perhaps the most popular and hot 10" Android Honeycomb tablet, the Asus Eee Pad Transformer, facing off against the sexy new kid on the block, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1. The Galaxy Tab 10.1 brings an iPad 2 sexy look to Android tablets along with a screen that's to die for, while the Asus transformers into a notebook with a relatively reasonable keyboard dock and it boasts a lovely IPS display. Is it a battle of form vs. function? Watch and read on to find out.
Both tablets are currently a bit hard to find in stores. The Asus Eee Pad Transformer has been in demand because it offers top specs for less money that competing tablets, and because the optional keyboard dock is a minor bit of brilliance. While Other Android tablets are playing the me too game with near identical specs and relatively high pricing, Asus dared to envision a new way to use the tablet, and to sell it for less.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 is brand spanking new and it sports the sexiest design of any Android Honeycomb tablet, and so it's not that easy to find in stores yet. It's as thin and light as the iPad 2, and front the front and sides bears a striking resemblance to Cupertino's finest. If portability and shaving ounces or even quarter pounds off your gear bag's weight are important, the Tab 10.1 is for you.
Here's our Asus Eee Pad Transformer vs. Samsung Galaxy Tab comparison video. After the video we've got the main points written out as well.
Here are our comparison points, check them out and see which are most important to you and who wins those precious points.
1. Display: The Eee Pad Transformer reigned as the undisputed king when it came to display quality for a few months among Android Honeycomb tablets. It's IPS display is ultr-sharp, colorful and quite bright. It also has near 180 degree viewing angles which is important for a device that one is prone to hold at odd angles in the lap or on an arm when carrying. To our eyes, it currently the sharpest and highest contrast Honeycomb tablet display on the market but is neck and neck in that race with the Samsung.
Samsung has managed to wow us with their display which has super-saturated colors and quite good sharpness. They don't state the display technology used, but it looks like IPS with color saturation cranked to mimic their hyper-colorful Super AMOLED Android smartphone screens. Samsung's display also has extremely wide viewing angles that compete well with the Transformer and it achieves a higher brightness at maximum setting with even higher color saturation. Though some might find the high level of saturation unnatural (graphic artists and photographers who prefer naturalness), most folks will like it, and we certainly love it. The Tab's colors are even more saturated than the iPad 2's, while the Eee Transformers are similar to the iPad 2. The Transformer is better than all other current Android tablets except the Samsung. Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 wins.
2. Build quality and looks: The 0.34" thick Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 easily wins the beauty contest. It's super-slim, lovely to look at and the lightest at 1.25 pounds. In comparison the 0.51" thick Transformer weighs 1.5 pounds. It's back is less compelling because it's ardently plastic (gloss in the case of the white version, faux metal in the gray version). Samsung loves plastic and it does keep weight down while maintaining a clean look.
Asus keeps it interesting with a coppery-bronze color tone and a front panel that looks high quality with glass and metal accents. The back is stippled plastic that's interesting looking and easier to keep a hold of that the slick back Samsung, but it's not as pretty nor any more high end looking. The Transformer feels more solid, because it's thicker and weightier. Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 wins.
3. Both tablets run on the usual 10" Android Honeycomb tablet formula consisting of a the dual core 1GHz Nvidia Tegra 2 CPU with a gig of RAM and a heap of internal flash storage. Both tablets are available in 16 and 32 gig flavors, with a $100 price difference between the 2 capacities. experientially, performance feels equal on the Asus and Samsung tablets. Each is fairly responsive, cann play locally stored 1080p video and handle Adobe Flash 10.3 with hardware graphics acceleration for the Tegra 2's GPU.
The Galaxy Tab 10.1 scores lower on the Quadrant benchmark than both the Motorola Xoom and Eee Pad Transformer (all running OS 3.1). The Galaxy Tab 10.1 scores 1504, the Asus scores 1865 and the Motorola Xoom 1949. The Eee Pad Transformer scores 29.7 MFLOPS in the single thread test in Linpack and 66.7 in the multi-thread benchmark. The Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 scores 30.4 in the single thread Linpack test and 60.1 in the multi-thread test. ASUS Eee Pad Transformer wins (both feel equally fast and it wouldn't be hard to call it a tie, but the Asus benchmarks faster).
4. Expansion and Storage: Here Asus wins handily, as you'd expect given the world of expansion the keyboard dock opens up. Sure, it might not be fair to take an accessory into account when comparing tablets, but in the Transformer's case, it was intended to be used with the keyboard dock, and the price for the Transformer plus keyboard dock equals or is close to the price of the Samsung, Motorola Xoom or LG G-Slate alone. That said, even without the dock, the Transformer has more slots and ports than the Tab 10.1.
The Samsung comes with 16 or 32 gigs of internal storage and has no microSD card slot. Nor does it have an HDMI port or USB host port. The Eee Pad Transformer has a mini HDMI port, microSD card slot (that actually has a working driver pre-installed, unlike the Xoom) and USB host available with the keyboard dock that has 2 USB 2.0 ports that work with USB mice, keyboards, flash drives and external hard drives. The dock also has a full sized SD card slot.
You can gain some of these features with separately sold accessories for the Tab 10.1. Samsung sells a keyboard dock (a keyboard with charger port) for $80. They also sell or will sell adapters that fit into the Tab's proprietary 30 pin port for HDMI out and a USB port. The $20 USB port adapter allows the Tab 10.1 to connect to keyboards, mice and flash drives (we're not sure about hard drives and it doesn't support USB power). The HDMI (called HDTV adapter) isn't available just yet, but we expect it to be priced around $40. So you'll spend about as much on the Samsung keyboard and adapters as the cost of the cleanly designed Asus Transformer keyboard dock, and you'll only be able to use one adapter or accessory at a time from what we can tell (we're not sure if they keyboard accepts the adapters or merely the Tab charger). Asus Eee Pad Transformer wins.
5. Speakers: We don't normally use this as a comparison point, but in this case, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1's stereo speakers are so much louder and fuller than the Transformer's, that we had to note it. Both have good audio quality through headphones, but if you want to listen to the tablet itself, the Tab 10.1 is more pleasing and louder. Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 wins.
6. Battery life: Both run for about 8 hours on a charge. The Transformer runs for about 14 hours when used with the keyboard dock that has its own battery that charges and powers the Transformer. For just the tablets minus keyboard dock it's a tie.
7. Camera: Samsung makes excellent cameras for their higher end smartphones, and we expected great things from the Tab 10.1. Perhaps to keep size or price down, they went with a lower resolution 3MP module, which was a disappointment, though it does take better photos and video than 3MP camera phones. The Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 has a front 2 MP camera for video chat as does the Transformer. The Tab 10.1 has a rear 3MP autofocus camera with LED flash while the Transformer has a 5MP rear autofocus camera with no flash. Both shoot 720p video. Running the latest firmware, the Asus focuses more quickly, has better exposure and less noise than the Samsung. The Tab tends to white-out lighter colored subjects in photo and video, and is a little slow to focus. Asus Eee Pad Transformer wins.
We're at a 3-3 tie between these two Android Honeycomb tablets. My personal preference? The Transformer for it's versatility and expandability. But if you just want the lightest, slimmest 10" Android tablet on the market and have no need for expansion possibilities, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 is your machine.