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Samsung's 11.8" tablet with a 2560x1600 resolution

July 31, 2012
Galaxy Tab 11.6 mock-up

We knew since last year that Samsung was working on a 2560×1600 panel for tablets. Some thought that this panel would be used for the new iPad, but it was pretty obvious Samsung would want to use it themselves as well. This is not to mention that the ratio is 16:10, which is exactly what this Android tablet has.

We’ve also heard rumors this year about a tablet that is “bigger than 10” that would have the long-awaited Exynos 5250 chip, which would contain a next-gen dual core 2 Ghz Cortex A15 CPU and a next-gen Mali T604 GPU. The Mali T604 should be at least twice as powerful as the “overclocked” Mali400 in Galaxy S3 (it’s usually how these ARM GPU’s evolve), and it’s the only chip that could handle such a high resolution (2560×1600) properly.

It should be the most powerful GPU coming out this year, and it will easily beat the upcoming Adreno 320 and whatever upgrade Nvidia does for Tegra 3’s GPU. I also see no reason why it couldn’t beat Apple’s A5X’s GPU from the new iPad as well, if it’s indeed twice as powerful than the overclocked Mali400 in Galaxy S3. The Mali400 GPU is already getting pretty close to the new iPad’s GPU. Since the TI OMAP 5 will be only 5% faster than Apple’s A5X’s GPU, it should beat it as well, but TI is using an older GPU, and it won’t be competitive in graphics features.

While all of this has been mostly rumors (except the Exynos 5250 part), the tablet itself has been confirmed by a Samsung document that was revealed in Court, which shows the existence of a 2560×1600 tablet with a 11.8″ display. The resolution is “double” (4x the pixels) that of normal 10.1″ tablets today, which have 1280×800 resolutions. The size is a little bigger, so the PPI is around 255, still very close to what Apple would want a “retina display” to be, considering the new iPad has only 9 PPI more (264).

I doubt the display is Super AMOLED, because that would make an expensive panel, even more expensive. But as long as it has a super high quality IPS/PLS display, then it should be fine. Some people may even prefer it over the alternative – a Pentile Super AMOLED. It doesn’t rule out the possibility of a Pentile Super AMOLED display, though, as Samsung’s demo 2560×1600 10″ panel was Pentile Super AMOLED.

But the real question is, would the public use an 11.8″ tablet? I remember when I first held an iPad (compare Galaxy Tab 10.1 to iPad2 above). I thought it was a lot smaller than I thought it would be, so I think there’s a market for slightly larger tablets. However, it would make a lot of sense to turn this tablet into an “ultrabook” as well when you want to, just like with the Asus Transformer devices. For such a big size, it would be great to have S-Pen support as well. But while these things would be nice to have, I doubt Samsung will add them, even as accessories.

When can we expect this tablet? I would’ve expected it a lot sooner, but seeing how the Exynos 5250 was rumored to go in production in Q2, then we probably won’t see it on the market until early Q4 this year. But maybe we’ll get at least a glimpse of it at Samsung’s event on August 15th.