Apple won’t go down to 7 inches for its iPad (read Steve Jobs: 7-inch Tablets DOA) but for some reason Samsung, the purveyor of the most successful 7-inch tablet, has moved toward a larger 10.1-inch version: the Galaxy Tab 10.1. Initial feedback coming out of Barcelona seems to point to a high-end TFT LCD, maybe even an IPS, with generally very good display qualities. The pixel format, like the Motorola Xoom, is 1280×800. Here are some interesting quotes about the Galaxy Tab 10.1:
The screen is gorgeous, and the extra resolution over the iPad (1280 x 800 Vs. 1025 x 768) makes movies pop. The screen can do 1080p, but thatâ€™s just a marketing check-box. At this size, it makes little difference.
FYI: The iPad’s pixel format is 1024×768. But the more important metric is pixel density, or resolution, and the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 (149PPI) beats the iPad (132PPI) with fonts and graphics that will look sharper and smoother all at the same time. The additional pixels don’t make movies pop, but 1280×800 can display 720p HD video without scaling and that would make a big difference. And the screen cannot do 1080p.
1280×800 means that the aspect ratio is 16:10, not 16:9. I would think Samsung would position the Galaxy Tab 10.1 as a multimedia consumption device and perfectly align the display dimensions to playback HD content. I guess not. 16:9 does look quite narrow and maybe that’s why Samsung went for a less-narrow look. I wrote more about this in The Tablet to Create a Better World where Motorola decided the same thing with its Xoom.
Obviously, the heart and soul of the tablet is its 1280 x 800-resolution 10.1-inch TFT display, and while it’s not Super AMOLED or Super AMOLED Plus quality, it looked quite bright at a variety of angles. We’d venture to say that Samsung’s using a similar panel as in the original Tab here, which is certainly a good thing.
Samsung’s Super AMOLED / Plus displays are marvelous, but I wouldn’t put them atop the very best IPS displays. There have been numerous tests conducted by DisplayMate and the most diplomatic conclusion seems to be they are both excellent with different pros and cons. Although the new Galaxy Tab 10.1 doesn’t sport the latest OLED from Samsung, if that 10.1-inch LCD is IPS then it has one of the finest displays money can buy.
The 1280Ã—800 display (the new standard resolution for tablets) looked sharp, though it will of course be sharper on smaller devices. The extra inch or so of vertical room makes it feel spacious compared to the iPad.
A few brands come out with tablets sporting a 1280×800 and now it is claimed the “new standard resolution for tablets.” I think the reigning standard is still 1024×768 and it will continue to be until the iPad 3 comes out, at which point the standard will become 2048×1536.
In terms of spaciousness, the iPad’s 4:3 display area is a little over 45 square inches (7.76×5.82 inches). The Galaxy Tab 10.1 is almost 45.8 square inches (8.56×5.35 inches). The Galaxy Tab 10.1 is more spacious and that was expected since it has a bigger display. But not by much.
Samsung along with others are shifting toward a display size of around 10 inches for their tablets. Why? Apple did its homework and got it right, the first time.