Verizon will launch its first 4G tablet tomorrow--an LTE-equipped model of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1. If you have been sitting on the tablet sidelines waiting for the "right" tablet to come along, this might be your chance.
Here are five things to consider before you rush out to get the 4G Galaxy Tab 10.1:
1. 4G / LTE. This is a big win for the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1. Many thought the Motorola Xoom would take the lead for 4G tablets, but the 4G update for the Motorola tablet is still pending. With download speeds of 5 to 12 mbps, data on the Galaxy Tab 10.1 will be blazing fast.
2. Price. Tablet pricing seems to be measured as a function of the iPad--how do the features and capabilities of tablet "X" compare to the iPad at an equivalent price? A 16GB iPad equipped with 3G wireless networking costs $629, and the 32GB model is $729.
The Verizon Galaxy Tab 10.1 will be $100 less than its iPad equivalents--and it will have 4G instead of 3G. Not too shabby.
Keep in mind, though, that the difference in cost comes with a two-year contractual commitment, and a required data plan that costs $5 per month more than the equivalent data plan at AT&T.
3. Adobe Flash. Yes, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 has Flash. Yay! I am not really a proponent of Flash, and I have yet to see what the big deal is about not having it on the iPhone or iPad, but I realize this is a big deal to the rest of the world for some reason. So, if the lack of Flash has held you back from getting an iPad, maybe the Galaxy Tab 10.1 is the tablet for you.
4. Honeycomb. The Galaxy Tab 10.1 also comes with the tablet-optimized Android "Honeycomb". Actually, it has Android 3.1. That is better than most tablets, but still behind the latest release--Android 3.2--which adds some features and fixes some bugs from Android 3.1. With Android, there is no way to predict when, or if, the Galaxy Tab 10.1 will get an update to a newer release of the OS.
5. Tradeoffs. The Galaxy Tab 10.1 is eerily similar to the iPad 2--so much so that Apple is engaged in a legal battle with Samsung alleging that the design is a complete rip-off. Regardless of how it got there, the Galaxy Tab 10.1 is very thin and very light.
Fitting so much power and processing capacity in such a small frame requires cutting some corners. Like the iPad 2, the Galaxy Tab 10.1 has only one port--its docking/charging port. That means that USB, HDMI, SD, and other ports are missing, and require dongles and adapters just like the iPad 2. If you were hoping for an Android tablet with the ports built in, you should take a closer look at the Xoom.
Personally, I think the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 looks awesome--certainly a very compelling rival for the iPad 2. It would be nice to have 4G connectivity, but I don't think this is a great deal due to the contractual commitment and required data plan.
Still, I wouldn't mind trying one out. It might make for a good 30 Days With series. Just not next month--that would be awfully redundant on the heels of 30 Days With the iPad.