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IRL: Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1

Welcome to IRL, an ongoing feature where we talk about the gadgets, apps and toys we're using in real life and take a second look at products that already got the formal review treatment.

Would you believe that as much as we obsess about speeds and feeds, many of we Engadget editors are still making do with ancient products? What if those products were three years old? And what if we told you that by "ancient," we were referring to the original Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1? Yep -- let's just say some of us are a little stubborn when it comes to upgrading.

                               It wasn't easy finding a decent tablet other than the iPad 2 back in 2011, but I was set on using Android with a bigger screen, so I persisted. I spent copious amounts of time wading through cheap devices with displays that could barely register presses. Then, the first Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 came along, and I knew I found the one.

Of course, the first GTab was nowhere near perfect (which gadget is?), but it used to work smoothly -- buttery enough even for Paula Deen. However, like any other gadget, it started to lag over time, and Ice Cream Sandwich only aggravated its stuttering performance. Its battery life turned into a joke, too -- even worse than what iOS 7 did to my iPhone's runtime. To make matters worse, it also freezes and crashes regularly. Even so, my tablet continues to live a productive life. I've yet to replace it, because it works well enough for casual web browsing and comic/e-book reading, which is what I mostly need a tablet for anyway. The GTab's game selection was never as large as the iPad's, but it's run every game I've downloaded thus far.

More importantly, I can't let go of it, because I'm a penny-pinching sentimental fool. A year ago I dropped it while going down a flight of stairs and the screen popped out. When it continued to work after I stuck the display back in, I promised the God of the Tablets I'd take care of my GTab for years to come.

Despite my loyalty, I have to admit it's almost time to put the ol' 10.1 to rest. The iPad Air's lightness and outstanding battery life are calling to me like a mermaid to a sailor, and I can't wait to get a glimpse of the second Nexus 10 (assuming there is one). One thing's for sure, though: even if I snag a new tablet, my GTab will stay. I'll either keep it as a backup or give it to my mom, but only after I give its plastic body a good scrubbing and resuscitate it with a custom ROM.

-- Mariella Moon

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