It’s a knockdown, drag-out, thrilla in cyber-Manilla between two of the top Heavyweight Honeycomb Contenders of the Summer of 2011. Fighting out of the black corner it’s the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, and out of the, um, “espresso brown” corner it’s the Asus Eee Pad Transformer! These remarkably similarly-specced Android tablets offer almost identical specs, identical software platforms, and identical features, with a few glaring and noteworthy exceptions.
My round-by-round scoring card goes like this:
Design: Galaxy Tab. It’s smaller, thinner, lighter, and looks are subjective but I prefer the looks of both the I/O and retail editions to the Asus.
Performance: It’s a draw. They share the same Nvidia Tegra 2 innards and Android 3.1 platform. Transformer ships with a few nifty custom widgets and a media server built in. We’re still waiting for Samsung to make the new version of TouchWiz available for Tab.
Display: Tab wins in a battle of “excellent” over “very good.” Both have 10.1-inch, 1280 x 800 touchscreens. The Samsung’s PLS display is crisper and pops more than the Asus’ IPS panel. But both are more than passable.
Expandability: Transformer gets the nod here thanks to built-in mini-HDMI and microSD ports in addition to a proprietary dock connector used for charging and USB data transfer. Tab offers only a (similar) proprietary dock port.
The optional Asus keyboard dock adds a hard QWERTY board, trackpad, a bunch of nicely conceived function keys, one SD and two USB ports, and about 65% of additional battery life. Samsung also offers a keyboard dock, but it only offers a pass-through proprietary connector; USB and SD connectivity is achieved through optional adapters, available separately. Samsung’s keyboard is roughly half the price of the Asus dock, though ($79 vs $149).
Now that you’re primed and ready, watch the full two-part fight and get the verdict by clicking Play above! Part 2? Look below!