Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 review
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AP Price: N/A
by Nigel Chew
Summary and Introduction
+ Reasonably priced
+ Good hardware
- Dull screen
One is spoilt for choice when it comes to 7-inch tablets this year, as Samsung hit the sweet spot last year with the original Galaxy Tab 7.0. Since then, there have been many contenders; most prominent of them being Amazon’s Kindle Fire and the Google Nexus 7. Can Samsung hope to win over hearts once again with this sequel?
Exterior and Design
In terms of looks, the Tab 2 isn’t much of a departure from its predecessors, although with regards to material, it has gone down the Galaxy S III path, meaning it is encased in a plastic body that feels a bit low-end at times.
Otherwise, the silver Tab 2 is pleasing to look at from all angles, and maintains the minimalist look with only the power and volumes button adorning the sides of the tablet.
Weighing in at 344 grams and measuring 193.7x122.4x10.5mm, the Tab 2 feels very lightweight and is perfect for one-hand usage, as it should be. To put it into perspective this device is slightly more than half the weight of the current iPad.
The 7-inch 1024 x 600 PLS TFT display is nothing to write home about, as the same tech was employed back in the original Galaxy Tab too, just to give you an idea. Viewing angles were decent enough, but under enough glare, all that goes out of the window.
The ARM-based 1GHz processor on the Tab 2 performed surprisingly well and we were hard-pressed in finding much fault with it. Only a few graphically-intensive games like Temple Run did we notice some slight performance issues, but apart from that there are were problems with it. It scored a very average 5322 in our Antutu benchmark, putting it among the lower powered tablets out there. It's half the score of the Asus Transformer Prime, but just above the Kindle Fire in terms of score numbers.
Underneath, there’s 8GB of internal storage for you to play around with, the microSD slot will allow you to expand that amount by up to 32GB.
If you were expecting a whole suite of software at your disposal here, you’re out of luck. Thankfully, the Tab 2 comes preinstalled with Android 4.0 so that’s one less headache for you to contend with. Love or hate it, Samsung has its TouchWiz UI slapped on top of it as usual. Personally, while we found it a little bland, it was mostly functional and pleasant to look at. Navigation through the screens, apps and operating system was smooth overall, minus the noticeable lag that used to plague Android tablets.
Also, expect to see the usual bloatware like Samsung’s ChatOn, MediaHub, Memo and S Planner thrown in for good measure. The really useful addition has probably go to be the complementary Dropbox account that Samsung is bundling with the Tab 2, which allows users access to an account with 50GB of storage.
Tablet cameras have yet to catch up with their smartphone relatives, so don’t be expecting amazing out of the Tab 2. The 3-megapixel shooter does a fairly alright job in taking shots, although they were slightly grainy and saturated in our tests.
The actual act of photography itself got awkward too, since you will have to use the volume buttons to zoom in and out.
Nothing amazing here, but the Tab 2 should be able to handle most 720p video formats. Anything beyond that will struggle, so be warned. Speakers weren’t the exactly the best either, so if possible, use a pair of good earphones to complement your experience – they barely managed to fill the room we were in.
The battery life of the Tab 2 was average at best, as we managed about 5-6 hours of usage, which included web-surfing, tweeting and emails. We also managed to play back a couple of videos before it croaked on us. That’s the extent of what the 4000 mAH battery is capable of, we suppose. Call-quality was decent enough, and we didn’t have any calls drop on us, although be sure to pair it up with a Bluetooth headpiece to get the most out of it.
A good effort by Samsung in releasing a device targeted at the budget crowd, as it comes with the full features that you would usually find in higher-end devices - definitely one to consider if you are considering tablets in the 7-inch range. However, it is difficult to recommend this over Google’s own Nexus 7 as it does pretty much the same thing for a lower asking price. The issue here of course is the availability, as the latter isn’t sold locally, so you are going to have to source it from a third party. Putting that aside, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 is a solid Ice Cream Sandwich tablet with a reasonable price tag.