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Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 - Screen, Touchscreen and Gestures

Andrew Williams

By Andrew Williams



Our Score:


The Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 features a 10.1in screen (one naming mystery that's easy to solve) using a PLS panel. This stands for Plane to Line Switching, and is Samsung's take on IPS, the screen technology seen in the iPad 2.

Both types of panel are geared towards providing excellent viewing angles, and the Tab performs superbly here. Viewing angles are great, contrast is excellent and colour reproduction is very vivid. Perhaps too vivid even - it seems to be trying to recreate the saturation levels of its famed AMOLED screens of old here. Galaxy Tab 10.1 3

You don't have full control over the screen's saturation levels, but you can pick from Dynamic, Standard and Movie display modes. Movie helps to tame the colour a little. The built-in media player offers additional colour tone options - Normal, Warm and Cold - as well as an additional Outdoor Visibility mode that blasts up brightness and colour saturation for a more powerful image. Screenshots

You'd never want to use this indoors - it borders on horrible - but comes in handy outdoors as the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 uses a glossy screen, attracting fingerprints and reflections like a magnet attracting paperclips. Every mainstream tablet rival uses this screen type though.

Using the automatic brightness setting the Tab keeps its backlighting fairly muted. It judges the screen brightness using the light sensor on the front, just to the left of the more conspicuous camera lens. Go manual and turn up the backlight and the Galaxy Tab 10.1 has retina-scorching brightness potential. This will in turn kill the battery life, but is useful for giving the screen additional "pop" for use in bright sunlight. Galaxy Tab 10.1 1

At 149dpi, pixel density is higher than the iPad 2's

The tablet's screen is roughly on-par with the Apple iPad 2's screen in pure quality terms, and trumps it on resolution, with 1280x800 pixels on hand instead of 1024x768. On the downside, so many of the apps and games available to the Tab don't make use of this additional resolution, as we've already complained about.

The touchscreen is capacitive, which responds directly to your finger rather than a stylus. There's an occasional software hitch in scrolling, which is down to Android Honeycomb rather than the Galaxy Tab 10.1, but otherwise the screen is excellent. It can cope with at least 10 separate points of contact (we ran out of fingers after that) and responsiveness is top notch.

Galaxy Tab 10.1 4

Not satisfied with the navigational benefits of a great capacitive touchscreen, Samsung has also plugged-in some motion-based nav commands. Within the browser and gallery, you can zoom in and out by tilting the device forward and back when your two thumbs are pressed on the screen. You can also move icons between home screens by pressing them and tilting the Tab from side to side.

Both of these motion-based gesture command work well, but they don't consider one crucial thing - the touchscreen gestures they attempt to replace are already fantastically convenient and intuitive. The pinch-to-zoom gesture is one of the top UI innovations of the touchscreen revolution. You can turn the gestures off if you end up using them accidentally though, so the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 loses no points for what's merely an attempt to distinguish itself from the competition.

There's an accelerometer and gyroscope on-board, so like most tablets the Tab 10.1 will auto-rotate depending on how it's held. It was commendably quick and reliable here. And like the gestures you can turn this feature off if it gets on your nerves.

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?

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