Today during Samsung’s software launch event in New York City the company not only showed off the new UI for the Galaxy Tab 10.1-inch, but also introduced the Tab’s accessory line. Samsung’s two docks are available right now via the website, but are they a worthy addition to your beloved Tab? Let’s take a look.
Keyboard Dock — $69.99
The keyboard dock is the same as the one available for the 7-inch Galaxy Tab except retooled to fit the 10-inch version. Pros include dedicated Android keys for Home, Back, Menu and Search, plus media controls.
The size is about the same as you’d find on a 10 or 11-inch netbook — not tiny and cramped, but not quite full. The keys themselves don’t have very strong tactile feedback, but neither are they mushy. You’ll experienbce a comfortable typing experience overall.
Batteries are not required as the keyboard draws power from the Tab when in use. Ports include the proprietary 30-pin connector for power/charging and a 3.5mm jack for outputting audio to external speakers or headphones.
The cons are few, but may be significant for some. First is the weight: 1.5 pounds. That’s heavier than the Galaxy Tab by quite a bit. Given that Samsung expects customers to buy the dock for home use, this makes some sense. The sturdy weight keeps the keyboard from sliding around as you type.
This isn’t the type of keyboard dock you’d tote around due in part to the weight and in part to how awkward it is with the top part jutting out and no cover.
Verdict: Worth buying if you use the Galaxy Tab for productivity tasks and don’t need the keyboard to be mobile.
Multi-Media Dock — $34.99
This dock is slightly misnamed, in my opinion. Though there is a 3.5mm jack on it for connecting external speakers, the dock itself doesn’t really do anything multimedia-esque. Samsung talked about this dock having HDMI pass-through ability, but when I asked them to clarify they admitted that users would need the separate HDMI adapter ($39.99) to get HDMI output.
I would rather have an HDMI jack on the dock itself as they did with the 7-inch version. Samsung claimed that users wanted a portable HDMI solution. The adapter dongle is not a bad idea, but I don’t see needing both.
Otherwise, the functionality is a little on the thin side. The dock holds the tablet upright and activates the Clock app once you’ve docked and… that’s about it.
Verdict: The dock is a nice addition to a desk or bedside table if you want to use the Galaxy Tab as a digital frame, alarm clock, or a media player.