Samsung intends to flood the market further with their launch of yet another Galaxy Tab. This latest one, available with WiFi only, is priced at a modest $250. But, can it satisfy consumers flocking towards the Amazon Kindle Fire? Find out in our full BriefMobile review below.
- Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich with TouchWiz
- 1 GHz dual-core processor
- 3-megapixel rear-facing camera
- 4,000 mAh battery
- 8 GB internal memory
- microSD slot
- 7-inch display
- 1024 x 600 pixel resolution
The Galaxy Tab 2 looks and feels a lot like the Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus— its predecessor on the higher-end. It’s a well-built device that utilizes a glass front plate, glossy plastic bezel, and brushed polycarbonate backside. Horizontally, the Tab 2 7.0 is just a bit shorter (height) and longer (width) than the Amazon Kindle Fire. It’s not too thick, and the tapered edges ensure it doesn’t feel like a brick. Weight-wise, the Tab 2 is significantly lighter than the Kindle Fire at just 344 grams.
Up front, the device has a significant bezel which helps for holding the device while watching movies and reading. The buttons reside on the right side of the device (in portrait mode). They’re outset from the chassis enough to feel them easily without looking, and they offer just the right amount of resistance when pushed.
The bottom of the device houses two speaker grills. They’re plenty loud, although we could always ask for louder. Unfortunately, Samsung opted to use a proprietary charging port. That means microUSB accessories will be unusable without some sort of conversion. Don’t expect to use your phone’s charger on this bad boy.
Samsung’s elected to use a 1024 x 600 pixel resolution on the Tab 2 7.0, offering a 170 pixels-per-inch density level. That’s nothing to write home about, and the consequences of such a low density are evident in the screen. Pixelation occurs virtually everywhere, although it’s not too bothersome for the average user.
The display offers a natural color set, although we could have asked for higher contrast ratios. Brightness-wise, the screen performs fine until you step outdoors. In direct sunlight, the screen appears washed out. It can be difficult to read or watch movies outdoors due to this problem. In the shade, you should be fine.
Samsung pre-loaded the Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich out of the box. That’s a good thing, because we won’t have to wait around for ages to see an upgrade from Honeycomb. The device, as expected, comes with Samsung’s custom user interface— TouchWiz. In general, TouchWiz didn’t feel like an overbearing nuissance. Personally, I don’t think Samsung’s custom theme is as attractive as the stock Ice Cream Sandwich interface. But, that’s neither here nor there. Functionality-wise, Samsung adds a lot to the Ice Cream Sandwich party. The notifications bar has those Samsung-invented power toggles neatly arranged in a slide-able grid.
The main addition to Android 4.0 is the “Mini Apps” bar at the bottom of the device. At any time, inside of any application, a tap of the finger will bring up a plethora of widget-like applications with quickly adjustable navigation. You can set an alarm, calculate a tip, check an email, switch songes, view the calendar, kill applications, and check world times— all with a simple swipe and click. It’s a creative way to make that functionality a whole lot faster.
Bloatware was almost non-existent. In fact, the only noticeable pre-installs we can see are: Netflix, Peel Smart Remote, Amazon Kindle, and ChatON.
I’m not entirely sure what’s causing the very disappointing performance on the Galaxy Tab 2 7.0, but I’m personally inclined to blame the TouchWiz software. The tablet is plagued by choppiness, lag, and freezes throughout the user interface. The main culprit is the homescreen/launcher application, which frequently lags while swiping from one screen to another. Launching applications takes far too long as well. Without the application fetchable in the device’s cache, you’ll have to experience a slight lagtime before launch.
Battery life on the Tab 2 7.0 was impressive. With moderate usage, the 4,000 mAh unit was able to pull us through one and a half days. Light usage could stretch that further, and heavy usage could drain the battery in less than a day. Still, if you need a tablet for an airplane ride or subway commute to work, the Tab 2 7.0 won’t let you down battery-wise.
The Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 isn’t what I expected out of the original Galaxy Tab’s successor. It’s very easy to label this tablet another mediocre offering that won’t stand up to an Apple iPad 2. Having said that, the Tab 2 7.0 offers an extremely attractive price point at $250. With a full installation of Android 4.0 and access to the Play Store as well as offerings from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other distributors, I think this tablet is a better buy than the Kindle Fire. Still, I was unimpressed by the lackluster specifications and performance this tablet offered.