Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9 and 10.1

Samsung announced its Galaxy Tab 8.9 and the slightly larger 10.1. Both are very thin at just 8.6 mm, which is amazingly thinner than the iPad 2 (8.8 mm). If you’ve been reading reviews of the iPad 2 one of the features most talked about is how thin it is. Well Samsung beat Apple at its own game when it comes to making tablets thin.

Not only that these two are lighter, too. The Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9 is 470 grams. The larger 10.1 weighs 595 grams. The iPad 2? 601 grams.

The iPad 2 is stuck at 3G. Both the Galaxy Tab 8.9 and 10.1 are moving on and connects to 4G networks, great for data-hungry users that want things to download and upload faster. Recent speed test results show Verizon’s LTE to be fast, faster than most people’s home DSL connection.

The cameras are better, too. There is a three megapixel on the back and a two megapixel on the front. Much better than what the iPad 2 has: single megapixel on the back and a 640×480 up front.

But there are some bumps. First, these second-generation tablets from Samsung continue with wide aspect ratio displays: 16:10. Not exactly 16:9, which would be perfect for HD content, but better for watching HD content than an iPad or iPad 2. So how would watching HD on these Galaxy Tabs be? If you’re an Adobe Flash Player fan, then you’d be disappointed. The most recent version is 10.2 and “fairly jerky” and “series of images” is how Sean Hollister describes his experience using the Motorola Xoom. On the other hand if you’re the type to rip your DVDs and encode them into lean video files the movie watching experience on these Samsung PLS LCDs should be pretty cool. PLS stands for Plane to Line Switching and Samsung claims PLS is brighter, cheaper, and sports better viewing angles than IPS. If this turns out to be true, these Galaxy Tabs even have better displays than the iPad 2.

Then there’s the price. The 16GB WiFi-only Galaxy Tab 8.9 is US$469 and $499 for the 10.1. The Galaxy Tab 10.1 will be available June 8th while the smaller 8.9 is expected in early summer. The iPad 2 has got some competition.