Of all the 10” tablets that I owned or tested, this one landed today in my hands as new blood, a tablet that I have hoped that it will fulfill my tablet computing needs, a tablet with an affordable price with hopefully good gaming and entertaining performance.
Is this the one I am looking for? Let’s find out.
Samsung is known for making a lot of tablets, heck, some may say that it floods the market with tens of models, just to catch some share from the “big pie” that is bitten hard by Apple. I say that Samsung is making tablets for everyone’s taste and budget. There are tablets with every format you can imagine, from 5” to 10”, with phone capabilities, or just simple tablets.
Ok, this model (P5100) is a big 10” phone. What Samsung? You did what? Well, you have made me very happy, because my version is gifted with phone calls option. I had a P6800 Samsung, that was also a phone, but I have never imagined that I will have a 10” phone. I am using it only as backup phone.
This may sound ridiculous for some, but I have always said that a tablet must have something like this, because it fills all communication needs. I can send SMS messages and place calls with a Bluetooth headset. I have a big, 7000mAh battery, so I can talk until I run out of money.
This Tab is interesting, it’s not designed to bring down the “big boys” with Tegra3 or fight with Snapdragons, this tablet is a very affordable companion, come on, it’s a cheap big 10” phone.
Just look at it. Screen is same PLS 10.1 1280×800 pixels, it weights 588grams, it’s made of plastic, but a very tough one, just like my old P7500 that had to go. If you see from photos, the PU case from P7500 fits perfectly, I have recycled it with success, thank you Samsung for not changing the design too much. I also have a PDMI to USB and micro SD adapter from the old Tab that works.
What I like at the new Tab is that I have a micro SD slot, so that PDMI adapter is used only sometimes.
Getting to hardware, I kind of have to say that I am not that impressed. I was hoping for Samsung’s own Exynos chip, with Mali400 quad-core GPU. Maybe to cut down the costs, they opted for a year old 4430 TI OMAP System-on-a-Chip. Don’t get me wrong, this chip powers the latest Nexus, but for a 10” screen, they could have integrated something else. And I don’t think that their own Exynos is that expensive to implement, come on, it’s an in house product, should be cheaper than buying from TI or Qualcomm.
Ok, so the chip could be better. But that doesn’t mean that PowerVR 540 is not a game GPU, I have tested Defense Zone HD and Sentinel 3, Shadowgun and they all perform very well.
Comparing to P7500 that was before (and I have owned), TI is better at some games and can decode fullHD video, Tegra 2 is better at other games (especially Tegra Zone ones) and cannot decode fullHD and some 720p with different baseline profiles.
The rest are the same, 1GB RAM, 3.2 Mpix camera (can record 1080p, P7500 couldn’t) and lacks a LED flash, but the sensor is the same. P5100 comes with a 3G modem, HSPA+ capable and also GSM voice calls (at least my version).
Battery? Same 7000mAh as P7500, but lasts a bit shorter, though. Watching a 1h movie online, (TV series), took about 10 percent, at automatic brightness and with Wi-Fi on. Engadget tested it and got 9 hours at 50% brightness looping a movie. So this depends on the conditions. I’d say that up to 9 hours is good only for watching videos. Gaming drops with 2 hours more, so no more that 6-7hours of pure 3D gaming and that depends of the complexity of game and how much is the 4430 put on work.
What is the most important is the operating system. It comes preloaded with ICS 4.03. This is a leap forward from that pesky Honeycomb that was an OS wannabe. Sorry, but I have owned a lot of tablets and the performance was ruined by the OS. I have ditched my P7500 because of that; at least a compromise must be made.
Think of this: A Samsung Galaxy P7500 that has no ICS, but some games perform a bit better, with 30-40 minutes more battery life? Or, a Galaxy Tab 2 P5100, with a better price, a phone (come on, a big 10 smartphone), a new processor that can perform almost the same as Tegra 2, if not better at some games, but can also decode 1080 movies? And a camera that shoots 1080p video?
You decide, I have already decided. I think I’m going to keep it, at least until that Note 10.1” Fairytale gets out. At 450euros, this is a bargain. If I’m wrong, I will be stuck with a big phone.