Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 is one of those products that would have been better if they had no predecessor. The product by itself is OK, but if you compare it to the Galaxy Tab 10.1, it doesn’t add that much to the experience. Going for $400 on Amazon, this device was launched in May and we tested the WiFi + 3G 16GB version of it.
As you can see, the device now sports the Samsung logo at the bottom-front and on the front sides there are two speakers, plus other minor design tweaks, trying to dodge any Apple patent beef. The bulk of ports and slots is at the top of the tablet, including the SIM slot, microSD card slot, volume buttons and On/OFF button. At the bottom we have the proprietary port and at the back there’s that 3MP camera without flash. The tablet gives you a feeling of elegance and resilience, with its silvery matte back and metallic case.
As far as hardware goes, we get the exact same display as the one on the Galaxy Tab, a 10.1 inch 1280 x 800 PLS screen, with wide viewing angles and Gorilla Glass protection. There’s also a microSD card slot on board and the tablet is available in 16 and 32 GB storage versions. Add to that 1 GB of RAM, HSDPA 21 Mbps, WiFi, Bluetooth 3.0, a 3.15MP back camera and a front VGA camera and you’re all set. Under the hood there’s a TI OMAP 4430 processor, a dual core 1 GHz unit (Cortex A9), that involves a Power VR SGX540. While it may not sound impressive, it helped run Mass Effect Infiltrator pretty well.
And finally, Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 offers an accelerometer, gyroscope, compass, GPS and a 7000 mAh battery, that should provide about 8-9 hours of fun. If you want benchmarks, know that this tablet scores 2647 points in Quadrant, while the ASUS Transformer Pad 300 scores 3600. Also, in the Vellamo test, the Pad 300 reaches 1300 points, while the Tab 2 10.1 onl gets 914. The new Galaxy Tab also gets 5000 points in AnTuTu, about half of what the new HTC One X and S phones are getting, if you want a comparison.
As far as audio playback goes, the two speakers are excellent, both in volume and clarity and the bass is great. Video looks nice, but on a sunny day, well not so much… The camera is actually a 3.15MP sensor and you’d say it’s rubbish at first sight, especially without a flash. However, it handles itself pretty well, considering the situation and it even does 720p capture. Too bad for the lack of flash… The model we tested runs Android 4.0.3 with TouchWiz and has that dock area at the bottom of the screen, with the apps that are always present on the screen.
The virtual keyboard is comfortable and you also get the usual Game Hub and Music Hub on this device, poor attempts at being iTunes, with the first being merely a collection of links to Google Play Store and the second a very pricey music providing service. Other preinstalled apps include the Samsung Apps Store, with a pretty decent number of applications, but too little ratings and big prices. There’s an S Suggest feature, that will suggest apps to suit your tastes and a Memo app for taking notes, including scribbling with the finger on the screen, virtual keyboard input and pictures integrated.
And now it’s time for the verdict! On the pro side we’ve got the OS and UI, that are a good combo in this case and finally TouchWiz is not so bothersome as it was on the 2011 Galaxy Tabs. Also, the battery is pretty good, the camera is decent, the speakers are very good and the design is pleasant. On the cons side, the price is still a bit high for what this model offers, plus the CPU and display are old by today’s standards, especially the resolution. We give this model an 8 out of 10 for design, 6 for hardware and 8 for OS + UI, for a total of 7.33 out of 10.