Hands-on with the new TouchWiz UX for the Galaxy Tab 10.1

Thanks to Google Maps, I got an hour late to the Samsung event in NYC. So I missed the presentation but I got the chance to get my Galaxy Tab 10.1 flashed with the new TouchWiz. I also had to leave my tablet with the Samsung staff who then brought it back to me about 10-15 minutes later pre-loaded with the new UI. As you already know, this OTA update is supposed to be rolled out on august 5th.

Here are the key features that have been added with TouchWiz:

Samsung’s TouchWiz Live panels

This feature is one of the highlights of the press event. You can add live panel widgets to you homescreen, where they are constantly refreshing, bringing up the latest comments or news from your favorite social application. A widget resizing feature has also been added to the tablet. Resizing the widget is really easy, all you have to do is hold your finger down on the widget, an orange “drag-able- border will appear with dots at the midpoint of each border, drag the edge of it to expand or reduce its size.

Here’s a list of what’s included with the live panel widgets:

  • AccuWeather.com
  • Agenda
  • Associate Press Mobile news widget
  • Buddies now Contact widget
  • Dual clock for world time
  • Image gallery widget
  • Task killer widget
  • Social Hub widget
  • Yahoo! Finance widget

Mini Apps Tray

This is one of my favorite features because it allows you to quickly access some apps without having to go to click on the app drawer and then look for it. To access the mini-drawer, you have to find an arrow pointing upwards in the bottom of the screen and click on it.

The mini Apps drawer includes 6 apps:

  • Task Manager
  • Calendar
  • World clock
  • Pen memo
  • Calculator
  • Music Player

Clipboard

This feature gives the Galaxy Tab 10.1 the ability to copy and past multiple items at once. To copy a text or an image, simply hold your finger on it and then click on the “copy” command. To paste, tap on the spot where you want to place your text or image, click on the clipboard button, select your text or image and that’s it.

Samsung Hubs

  • Media Hub: With Samsung’s Media Hub, you can choose from over 4,000 movies and TV shows, both available for purchase or rental. An application called Andorid Movies has also been added to the tablet and can connect, along with Samsung Media Hub, to your TV via the new HDMI adapter.
  • Social Hub: If you have used TouchWiz in the past, you will probably be pretty familiar of what the Social Hub does. It basically syncs with your Facebook, Twitter, email, exchange and Linkedin accounts and then display the latest updates in the Feeds tab.
  • Music Hub: This is Samsung’s own music store. It currently offers over 12 million songs, all available for purchase and direct download to the Galaxy Tab 10.1. Songs usually cost between $0.99 to $1.49.
  • Samsung Dive: This is a very handy feature in case you lose your tablet. It lets you track it by using its GPS chip but I am pretty sure that it has to be connected to  Wi-Fi network to find it.

Other Updates

  • Mobile printing has been enabled but only works with Samsung printer via wireless connection.
  • Smartview will let you stream content from some of the newer Samsung HDTVs to the Galaxy Tab 10.1
  • A screenshot button has been added, allows to take a picture of whatever you have displayed on your scree, and pictures a re saved to the gallery.
  • Enterprise support includes updates for device encryption, Cisci VPN and Webex, Sybase Mobile Device Management and Exchange ActiveSync ver. 14 support.
  • Preloaded software: Amazon MP3 with Amazon Cloud Player, Amazon Kindle app, Words with Friends, Pen Memo and Photo Editor.
  • Swype optimized for tablets
  • Tilting feauture lets you drag widgets by just pressing on them and then tilting the tablets to the direction you want to move it to.

Final Thoughts

I was kind of skeptical about how Samsung integration of TouchWiz UX will work with stock Honeycomb, but after playing around with it for a while, I think that the overall tablet experience has been improved. The screen seems to be more responsive than before. I haven’t had any lag while moving from a screen to another or closing or switching between apps. The browser seems to be a little bit faster which is cool. I definitely recommend installing this update come August 5th and cannot wait for your feedback.

Zack has always been a fan of anything with the tag "Gadget" on it, he has had used almost every phone brand except for the Palm and owns a Pixel XL as his daily driver. His favorite camera is the Olympus EM-1 Mark II. He is a full-time father of two great boys and happily married to his wife. Did we mention the Zack loves Video games? Add him to you circles: Google+

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