Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1
Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 IBTimes/Samsung

Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, which launched in the United States on Friday, is the best ever Android tablet launched yet but is it an iPad-beater?

The much-awaited Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 launched nationwide on Friday and people are already raving about it.

The Galaxy Tab 10.1 has 3-megapixel rear-facing camera which, though nothing to boast about, can take crisp, decent photos even as its 2-megapixel front-facing camera allows you to video chat.

The tablet has also got a nice feel to it - it's lightweight, slim and feels nice in the hands.

Look and feel aside, Galaxy Tab also boasts of some other beefy specs - Honeycomb version 3.1 (the Galaxy Tab 10.1 is Samsung's first Honeycomb-powered tablet), super-fast Tegra 2 dual core 1 Ghz processor, 10.1-inch screen, a higher resolution display than iPad 2, 16:10 aspect ratio, a top notch touch response, 1080p video playback, 720p video recording, WiFi, Bluetooth and long-lasting batteries.

The WiFi only version of Galaxy Tab retails for $499 (16GB) and $599 (32GB). The 4G version will be launched later this summer.

So is it an iPad-beater? The answer is no.

Samsung Galaxy Tab could be the best Android tablet launched till date but it cannot lay claim to be an iPad-beater.

There are six reasons why:

App: Despite six new Samsung applications on top the Android package, you're still left feeling a bit empty because not too many apps have been made for Honeycomb, the OS that runs the Samsung tablet. Not surprising too, as the base version of Honeycomb 3.1, with no customizations to its interface, is running Galaxy Tab 10.1. Of course, several thousands apps have been developed for Android tablet but compared to the iPad apps, they look like a cheap alternative.

Form factor: Galaxy Tab 10.1 is super thin and light. It is lighter than iPad 2 (about 0.09 lb less) and thinner (0.2 mm less) but the difference is hardly noticeable.

Honeycomb OS: The new Honeycomb OS, though better than previous versions, still lacks the finesse of iOS and is rough on the edges. The occasional lag in operation, which is typical for Android devices, is also noticeable in Galaxy Tab. The overall UI cannot be compared to iPad's iOS despite the fact that some bugs have been fixed and Google has inclued QuickOffice, the all-in-one app for word documents, spreadsheets, and presentations. But yes, when it comes to true multitasking, Honeycomb leaves iOS eating its dust.

Flash: Yes Honeycomb supports Adobe Flash but what's the point if the flash-based videos stutter and choke and Hulu is still blocked? Moreover, with HTML 5 gaining popularity these days, who cares about Flash?

Display: The display of Galaxy Tab is good but it is no Super AMOLED.

Speakers: Speakers are tiny and though loud when you crank up the volume, aren't pleasing to the ears.

But it doesn't mean Galaxy Tab is no good.

Tab 10.1 has great features and in case you're undecided between the two, perhaps the following aspects will help you make up your mind about which tablet you should buy:

Better Resolution: Galaxy Tab 10.1 has better display than iPad: iPad 2 has 9.7-inch screen with 1024x768 resolution. On the other hand, Tab 10.1 has a 10.1-inch screen with 1280x800 resolution. While iPad 2 has pixel density of 132 pixels per inch (ppi), Tab 10.1 boasts of 149 ppi. Which means no distortion when you're watching videos, especially HD quality ones. Colors are more saturated and vibrant.

USB Support: Galaxy Tab 10.1 supports USB-based devices such as mouse and keyboard and though it doesn't have a standard USB port, Samsung is selling a USB adapter for the Tab for only $20. Which means you can now mouse over menus and buttons on Flash-based websites without worrying about clicking on them accidentally.

On the other hand, iPad 2, which is touchscreen-based, doesn't support Flash and there's no USB support for mouse either.

Wider app choice: Yes, the Google Android Market have have fewer tablet-specific apps than Apple's App Store does but thankfully we have Amazon's Android app store, which gives you access to more innovative stuff.

Samsung PLS technology: Galaxy Tab 10.1 boasts of Samsung's new panel technology, the Plane to Line Switching (PLS). According to the South Korean technology giant PLS offers improved viewing angles over the more traditional In-Plane Switching (IPS) panels used iPad 2 and other tablets.

Software Upgrades: If you're buying the Galaxy Tab, you can look forward to the following future software upgrades – TouchWiz UX; Samsung's Media Hub; Reader's Hub and Social Hub; optional enterprise solutions such as on-device data encryption, enhanced Exchange ActiveSync Support, Cisco AnyConnect SSL VPN, and F5 SSL VPN; and versatile content sharing between the tablet and DLNA-enabled devices such as HDTVs, monitors, and digital cameras.

Conclusion: What would I recommend? Well, it's hard to say. But if you're tech savvy and want a tablet with robust hardware, go for Galaxy Tab 10.1 as it is the best Android tablet out now in the market. However, if you're into games, music, apps and movies, go get iPad 2. Don't give it a second thought.