Update: (Bluetooth Downgraded Too?) WiFi-Only Samsung Galaxy Tab Has Older CPU, Slower GPU

Posted on 02 May 2011 by



galaxy tab wifi

You’d think that creating a WiFi-only of one of the most popular 7” tablets would be as easy as not installing the components that make cellular communication possible, but it looks like Samsung may have made some more significant changes to their WiFi-only Galaxy Tab which appears to be using an older CPU and a slower GPU.

Perhaps as cost-saving measure, the WiFi-only Galaxy Tab is using a “1GHz A8 Cortex processor” according to the official product page”, while the 3G equipped version of the Galaxy Tab is using a “C110, 1GHz, Cortex A8 Hummingbird” processor.

Both devices are using 1GHz A8 CPUs, but the 3G equipped version of the Galaxy Tab uses the PowerVR SGX 540 GPU while the WiFi only version is using the previous generation.

Folks over at the XDAdevelopers Forum have confirmed that the WiFi-only tab is using the PowerVR SGX 530 GPU instead of the SGX540. The PowerVR SGX 530 GPU corresponds to an OMAP 3630 CPU as seen in the Archos 70 tablet.

We haven’t had out hands on the WiFi-only Galaxy Tab to find out how this change impacts performance, but here’s a tidbit from a user on the XDA forum:

  • “I need only wifi so I bought wifi version. However I found the performance is not good. I see noticeable lag when pulling down the notification bar. I go and check out 3G version. It’s lot better.”

Let’s also not forget that Samsung is planning on bumping the Galaxy Tab’s CPU to 1.2GHz (in addition to some other specs) when they release the 4G version on Verizon, so it seems that this single product is actually turning out to be three different products.

We’ve reached out to Samsung for an official comment and will update when we hear from the company.

Thanks to the tipster slim_thumb who sent this in!

Update: Looks like the GPU isn’t the only thing that Samsung has downgraded for the WiFi-only version. According to the official product page, the WiFi-only Galaxy Tab is using Bluetooth 2.1 instead of 3.0 as on the 3G equipped version. This could be a clerical error on the site, a software restriction, or truly downgraded Bluetooth module. We’re still waiting to hear back from Samsung.

8 Comments For This Post

  1. turn.self.off says:

    Reads like they do not want to undercut the carrier subsidy deals.

  2. Normi says:

    before people freak out I would wait for more confirmation from various reputable sources, relying on sysinfo tools is highly unreliable if even the slightest hardware identification has been changed. anybody who uses sysinfo tools on Windows knows how bad they can be.

    I also wouldnt trust a PR page from Samsung, I think it would take Samsung officially putting out a release specifically confirming the spec change to be believed.

    is the OMAP 3630 what was found in the original Droid X?

    Ben Reply:

    I didn’t know that sysinfo tools could be that unrealiable, thanks for the info. I’m seeing if I can get a comment direct from Samsung.

    Mike Cane Reply:

    I don’t know why *owner* reports aren’t reputable. I’d trust them over Samsung, which never even mentioned downgrading Bluetooth.

    Limiq Reply:

    because “owners” aren’t engineers & are likely to get emotional over their purchase, plus the only information they have is to rely on 3rd party tools which can be inaccurate.

    the only people who truly know are the people who designed the machine as unfortunately we live in a time where tablets are consumer devices & the listed specs can be very vague.

    it’s quite possible they’re right, it’s just best to hold out for reliable info.

  3. Mike Cane says:

    They’ve also downgraded Bluetooth from 3.0 to 2.1!

    Samsung Gets Stupid With WiFi-Only Galaxy Tab
    http://mikecanex.wordpress.com/2011/04/30/samsung-gets-stupid-with-wifi-only-galaxy-tab/

  4. Furok says:

    NewEgg knows specs & they seems to disagree, they say it has the PowerVR 540 not 530

    what adds more relevance to it is they have BT correct at 2.1

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16834131130

  5. Mike Cane says:

    @Limiq I understand your point, but if people can’t connect BT devices that they can with other devices and that have also been shown in videos to work with the prior 3G GTabs, then their accounts should be taken seriously. Additionally, if someone takes their WiFi GTab to a store to compare the speed of it against a 3G one and finds their WiFi one is slower, I think that’s legit too. What I haven’t yet seen — which I think would help greatly — is the Sunspider scores for the WiFi GTab. I think that would point to differences, no?

  6. Frelllin says:

    after doing some more reading I’m wondering if anyone else can confirm. apparently the GPU doesnt matter in Android devices since Android 2.x & below doesnt support any GPU acceleration, everything is CPU bound. is that a limitation of programming in Java? according to them Google didnt start releasing specific NDK for GPU acceleration until just recently.

    so theres a chance this might make no real difference to the end user at all, as I remember the DroidX & Galaxy phones were considered on par with eachother in general performance (CPU). this might be why Samsung felt it was okay to change chipsets (if true).

    I also wouldnt assume they did it as a cost saving measure either, it could be for numerous reasons. buying stock in a 3rd party chipset over your own doesnt sound like a cost cutting measure. I know some people say Samsung Mobile is independent & has to bid for chips like anyone else, but again that isnt confirm & only speculation.

    real facts would be nice instead of speculation by internet forum people who dont really understand the fundamentals.

    Ben Reply:

    There may or may not be hardware acceleration for the interface elements of Android, but the GPU is extremely important for gaming performance and other applications that rely on 3D.

  7. MyNameIsBillyBob says:

    “this might be why Samsung felt it was okay to change chipsets (if true).”

    Wow Samsung decide to use someone else chip instead of their own, so that they can squeeze a few more bucks from the ignorant public. THAT IS REALLY (C)(H)(E)(A)(P)!

    MyNameIsBillyBob Reply:

    Do I smell corn bread?? level 3 service technicians swarming here??

  8. Virtuous says:

    Glad I bought a Nook Color instead of the GTab. Samsung will do anything to please the wireless carriers.

    Relieum Reply:

    Nook has worse specs, no dedicated buttons, has to be hacked to run proper Android, & it’s heavier

    personally I think the extra $100 is worth it.

    Nook is nice, but it’s just no longer the great value it use too be when the Gtab was $600.