Home / Mobile / Tablet / Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 / OS, Apps and Games

Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 - OS, Apps and Games

Andrew Williams

By Andrew Williams



Our Score:


The Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 runs Android 3.1 Honeycomb, the latest edition of Google's OS for tablets. Like the smartphone edition of the system you may already be familiar with, it's split into two main areas - home screens and the apps menu.

Each of the home screens is a playpen, waiting to be customised with widgets and shortcuts as you see fit. Android Honeycomb is compatible with most smartphone widgets, but they tend not to display perfectly because of the 1280x800-pixel screen of the Samsung Tab. Many older widgets may only have factored-in 854x480-pixel screens and below, so end up looking a bit skewed.Screenshots 3

What makes Android Honeycomb's home screens so brilliantly effective in use though is the notifications system. There's a bar at the bottom that displays any notifications from running apps, including emails, social networking updates and so on. These make the home screens useful as hubs for the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, arguably more so that the ability to drop clocks, Twitter boxes and links to your favourite apps onto them.

Screenshots 2

The other half of the notifications bar - it's pretty long as it runs across the whole bottom of the tab - is home to software navigation buttons. These take you back a step, jump straight to the home screen, access recent apps and grab a shot of what's currently on-screen. This nav bar sticks around at all times. It'll hide its attention-grabbing icons when the media player's running full-screen, but the bar is still there running under the surface. Just a tap away.Galaxy Tab 10.1

The main apps menu is the simpler catalogue of all of your apps, and is accessed using a link at the top right of these home screens. Unless you're happy to litter your home screens with shortcuts, this is where you'll launch most of your apps and games from. That said, one custom element of the Tab's interface is a pull-up row of app shortcuts at the bottom of the home screen. This is the stand-out feature of Samsung's Touchwiz UI tweaks. It lets you launch mini-apps like the calculator and world clock on top of other apps.

Delving into third-party software potential, we stumble upon what is perhaps the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1's biggest problem - there are so few apps and games that make use of its hardware. With a dual-core Tegra 2 processor and 1GB of RAM, it has plenty of power to go around, yet it rarely implemented by developers - as yet. And although the Android Market is now populated by more than 250,000 apps, very few have been optimised for tablet screens. Thousands and thousands of smartphone Android apps will function on the tablet, but when it's often patently clear than they weren't remotely designed for the device you're using the result is disheartening. Galaxy Tab 10.1 1

When you spend up to £500 on a tablet, you expect a top-end experience. The app experience here is decidedly middling. The Android Market does you no favours here either, making it tricky to find tablet-oriented apps. Some developers tag them with an "HD" title, but this is also used to denote games for high-end smartphones. Compared to the clarity of the iOS app space, where apps are clearly iPhone(/iPod Touch) apps, iPad apps or Universal apps, finding goodies worth gorging on in the Android Market can be a nightmare.

This situation is improving though. We should consider that the iPad series launched in April 2010, where the first Honeycomb tablet, the Motorola Xoom, launched in late February 2011. A year's a long time in this biz. Those without patience would be better served by an iPad 2.

Screenshots 5

Jet Car Stunts, one of the better-looking tablet-compatible Android games

The youth of Android Honeycomb - along with its open approach - also ensures that it's not bug-free. We saw a crash screen within the first few minutes of using the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, and scrolling within the browser can be bafflingly slow on occasion. Android Honeycomb 3.1 is polished and a joy to use in most respects, but it is temperamental. Just like the apps situation, some patience may be required.

We should stress - these are predominantly problems on Google's end, not Samsung's. Hardware-wise, this is a stonkingly good tablet…

simon jackson

August 3, 2011, 3:43 pm

Part of me is really tempted by this tab, but another, stingier part of me wants to wait for kal el. I already have a tegra 2 phone, so spending money on another tegra 2 device (albeit a slightly faster one) feels a bit like buying the same thing twice...


August 3, 2011, 4:52 pm

Thanks for the review!

It seems really good for the most part, but the connectivity issues (no HDMI output???) and non-expandable memory put me off... 13gb free space sounds a lot, but I would fill that in no time.

I think I will wait another year before jumping into the tablet market, by which time it might start maturing; as I am waiting for a suitable one that I can use for business and personal use e.g. having a stylus like the HTC Flyer (but built into the chasis) with more programs using it - for business meetings. As well as tons more memory to hold my [business & personal] dropbox contents which are around 70gb plus putting on some movies, tv shows, music, etc.

As my camera will need replacing before long I would also like to see one with a better quality camera.


August 3, 2011, 5:07 pm

There would be a lot more memory left in the 32GB edition of course, but that's a healthy wedge extra.


August 3, 2011, 5:52 pm

Perfect timing for the review, as I'm currently 1/2 way through my move to a tablet at home.
I'm currently using a 2009 macbook but am switching certain duties (email storage, music & photo & video storage, iPod syncing) to a eBay sourced Dell Zino HD run headless in the spare room.
Based on this review, I'll still be picking up a Transformer with keyboard this weekend for day to day use and putting the macbook up on eBay. Say what you like about Apple, but the resale value is excellent :-)


August 5, 2011, 9:02 pm

i definately prefer the aspect ratio on this,something i hope ipad 3 gets.

shame you couldn't put ios on this or i'de get one.


August 7, 2011, 2:45 pm

I'd have to say I was disappointed, having played with a Galaxy Tab 10.1 yesterday.

The principal disappointment was the responsiveness of the screen. Try tilting the screen from horizontal to vertical and you'll see what I mean.

The uncertainty of response (which you mention when describing the halting scrolling action) rather tends to keep it out of the iPad league, I fear.


August 9, 2011, 5:23 am

Got this the other day after falling for all the hype and reviews.

The touchscreen has a major bug which hasn't been mentioned here at all. After a couple of hours playing and getting to grips with the tab, I started to notice a very irritating problem – at times the touch screen will become completely unresponsive, usually for 5-10 seconds.

Google Maps foe example will freeze completely for 5-10 seconds and then force close.

Infuriating to use and a complete waste of money IMO. Shoddy hardware/software disguised as a high end device. Save your money.


August 9, 2011, 8:10 pm

I cant believe this product is getting so many positive reviews! I have had mine fro about a week now and I have had many problems with it. Screenfreeze, touchbug, problems with charging, etc etc, the list is endless and I dont think it's an isolated problem as I have seen quite a lot of people saying the same sort of thing....
anyone else??


August 19, 2011, 1:47 pm

I didn't read the reviews as my Galaxy was a unexpected gift. However now that I have it I am disappointed and wish my friends had read the reviews. I thought maybe the screen sticking/freezing was just my unit, however seems to be a factory/design problem. Is there a chance of a Samsung recall?


August 19, 2011, 10:42 pm

touchbug issue is still continuing for me. uploaded video here:


absoultely sick of this now. samsung should get off their backsides and fix the bugs. people like me have paid £400-500 for this piece of kit which doesnt work. complete nigthmare atm.


August 24, 2011, 5:02 pm

I've also got the infamous 'oil slick' issue on my GT 10.1


Have seen many many people complaining of this on youtube and forums.

Anyone from TR care to respond?


August 24, 2011, 5:36 pm

Have you brought it up with Samsung/the retailer? We didn't see this effect on our review model, but it's not something we'd expect in a £400 product.

danny pontin

August 30, 2011, 9:09 pm

ive been getting an 'oil slick' underneath my screen and am getting very dissapointed with my purchase. this seems to be a common problem with this particular tab and i dont understand how its been allowed to go on sale with the issues mentioned above!

Kitty Price

September 2, 2011, 10:30 pm

Did anyone return their Galaxy Tab 10.1 due to a design fault…the "oil slick" / "Newton Rings"?
As mine was a gift and have since travelled leaving the friends with the receipt.
Can I take it to any dealer and they will recognize the universal problem?
The email I received last week as not been followed up by Samsung:

Thank you for contacting Samsung Electronics.
We understand that there is a oil slick underneath the tab and the tab is not exposed to any extreme weather.
We are sorry, to hear that the tab is having the issue
Please check if the issue is persisting on all applications. If you are able to view the oil slick even if the tab is
turned off the tab requires a service.
If you are not able to view the oil slick when the tab is turned off, please perform a hard ware reset.

Posted on forums:
Samsung Philippines have admitted that there is an issue due to media pressure

What do we do now?


September 4, 2011, 4:00 am


Samsung have finally admitted there is a fault with the 10.1 with the oil slick aka 'newton rings'


but dont get too excited, they just tell you to'call customer service'.


Kitty Price

September 13, 2011, 10:46 pm

I guess Samsung must be inadated with this problem hence my email answered, but never followed up. So I rang and finally moved a step closer to solving this "Oilslick" problem
All I have to do is simply take the unit into a retailer near me and they will send it off for inspection. Customer servce did reconize the problem as "Newton Rings" (after a few line transfers)
Great...I thought however, I wish I could feel a sense of relief but it seems all I have to look forward to is waiting for weeks of repairs and replacements and no closer to using a gift that I was so happy about receiving.
I just wish Samsung could have prevented this.


January 6, 2012, 5:18 am

If these faults are as bad as people say then trusted review should remove or at least revise their praise for this device. It is websites like this that many use to get an idea of a products quality and reliablility. If the tablet is so flawed, why are they not doing something about it?

comments powered by Disqus