Logo   Banner   TopRight
TopUnder
Transparent
Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10-inch and 7-inch Review
Transparent
Date: Jun 14, 2012
Section:Mobile
Author: Jennifer Johnson
Transparent
Introduction and Specifications

Samsung's Galaxy Tab line continues to expand, with the latest additions coming in the form of the Galaxy Tab 2 Series. The Galaxy Tab 2 Series is available in 10.1-inch and 7.0-inch screen sizes. While these second-generation models clearly borrow some design cues and other specifications from their predecessors, we were a bit surprised to find out that not a lot has changed from the first-generation models to the new Galaxy Tab 2 series, at least in terms of their internal components.

In fact, many of the key specifications of the first-generation 10.1-inch Galaxy Tab match that of the second-generation Galaxy Tab 2: there's a 10.1-inch WXGA (1280x800) display, 1GHz dual-core processor, and 1GB of RAM. The biggest difference between the two 10.1-inch Galaxy Tabs is price: The second-generation model costs $100 less than its older brother.

The story for the 7.0-inch Galaxy Tab is much the same: similar specifications, but the second-generation model has a price tag that's $100 lower. One key advantage both of the new-generation Galaxy Tab 2 tablets offer is the fact that they run on Android 4.0. Both tablets also feature an integrated IR blaster for universal remote capabilities. You'll find a Smart Remote App on the tablet that works with this blaster.

Although the Galaxy Tab 2 may not offer a lot of new features from its predecessors in the Galaxy Tab lineup, the lower price puts both of these tablets in the mid-range tablet category rather than in the premium category. Given the popularity of tablets and the fact that more people are generally interested in lower cost tablets, rather than a premium price tag, it makes sense that Samsung wants to compete in this space.

We have both the 10.1- and 7.0-inch models in-house for testing. The 10.1-inch Galaxy Tab 2 costs $399.99 while the 7.0-inch model runs $249.99. Join us on the pages ahead as we take a closer look at what these tablets have to offer. 

First, here's a quick hands-on with Samsung's new devices...

Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 and Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1
Specifications & Features

Galaxy Tab 2 (7.0)

Galaxy Tab 2 (10.1)

Operating System
Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich
Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich
Display
7.0-inch TFT display, WSVGA (1024x600) resolution
10.1-inch TFT display, WXGA (1280x800) resolution
Processor
1GHz dual-core TI OMAP 4430
1GHz dual-core TI OMAP 4430
Memory
1GB
1GB
Internal Storage
8GB built-in
microSD card slot

16GB built-in
microSD card slot

Connectivity
Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n
Bluetooth 3.0
USB 2.0 Host

3.5mm headphone jack
30 pin IF connector
integrated IR

Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n
Bluetooth 3.0
USB 2.0 Host

3.5mm headphone jack
30 pin IF connector
integrated IR

Camera
3.2MP rear-facing
VGA front-facing

3.2MP rear-facing
VGA front-facing

Size
0.41 x 4.8 x 7.6 inches
0.76 pounds with battery

0.38 x 10.1 x 6.9 inches
1.28 pounds with battery

Battery
4,000mAh
7,000 mAh
Battery Life
Approximately 11 hours
Approximately 14 hours
Video playback approximately 7 hours

Preloaded Software
AllShare, Amazon Kindle, ChatON, Dropbox, Game Hub, Media Hub, Memo, Netflix, Polaris Office, Readers Hub, S Planner, Samsung Apps, Smart Remote, Screensaver
AllShare, Amazon Kindle, ChatON, Dropbox, Game Hub, Media Hub, Memo, Netflix, Next Issue, Polaris Office, Readers Hub, S Planner, S Suggest, Samsung Apps, Smart Remote, Screensaver
Price
$249.99
$399.99
 

Transparent
Design

Both of the Galaxy Tab 2 tablets have rounded edges and corners that make the tablet very comfortable to hold. While the default view for the 7-inch model seems to be portrait mode, the 10.1-inch Galaxy Tab 2 seems more natural in landscape mode. Still, both tablets can be used in either orientation.

Both tablets have a black bezel that measure about 0.5 to 0.75 inches around the screen. The display found on the 7-inch model supports a resolution of 1024x600 while the 10.1-inch tablet's display supports a resolution of 1280x800. Both displays will collect fingerprints, but neither seemed worse than other tablets we've reviewed lately.

  

7.0-inch Tab 2 on the left, 10.1-inch Tab 2 on the right

Viewing angles on both tablet's displays are excellent. Working with either one of the tablets outside under direct sunlight, the display was on-par with other devices we've seen: not the greatest, but still readable.

When held in portrait mode, the 7-inch Galaxy Tab 2's front-facing VGA camera can be found at the top near the right corner above the display. The left edge of the tablet houses a microSD card slot that's behind a door. The base of the tablet has two speaker ports as well as a proprietary Samsung connector.

On the right edge of the 7-inch Galaxy Tab 2, you'll find the IR port, volume rocker, and power buttons. The top edge of the tablet has a 3.5mm headphone jack as well as a microphone hole. The 3.2 megapixel rear facing camera is located in the upper left corner of the back of the tablet.

 

 

Galaxy Tab 2 7.0

If you hold the 10.1-inch Galaxy Tab 2 in landscape mode, you'll see the front-facing VGA webcam above the display near the center. You may also notice two speakers on either side of the display on the top edges of the device.

The bottom edge of the 10.1-inch Galaxy Tab 2 houses a proprietary Samsung connector. Both the 7-inch and 10.1-inch Galaxy Tab 2 use this same connector for charging and for connecting to a computer. The left and right edges of the Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 are void of any buttons or controls. The power button, volume rocker, microSD card slot, IR port, and 3.5mm headset jack are all located on the top edge of the Galaxy Tab 2 10.1.

 

 

Galaxy Tab 2 10.1
Click to enlarge

Like the 7.0-inch model, the back of the 10.1-inch Galaxy Tab 2 has a smooth silver back that won't attract fingerprints. The 3.2megapixel rear-facing camera on the Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 is located in the center of the tablet near the top edge. 

 

Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 (left), Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 (right)

If you look closely at the connectors found on both Galaxy Tab 2 tablets, you'll notice neither of these tablets offer a micro HDMI or microUSB port. While the lack of these connections may not be a deal breaker to some, having them is especially nice if you travel frequently and want to minimize cords in your bag (if you're like us, you often have a microUSB cable and charger in your bag for other devices). During testing, we found ourselves reaching for our microUSB cable to connect the tablet to our PC out of habit, only to remind ourselves that we had to find the proprietary Samsung cable instead.

Transparent
User Interface and Camera Performance

The user interface, preinstalled programs, home screen design, widgets, and more are nearly identical between the 10.1-inch and 7-inch Galaxy Tab 2 tablets. Both tablets run on Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich and feature five home screens. On the primary home screen of both tablets, you'll see some of Samsung's preinstalled programs and widgets by default such as Media Hub, Game Hub, Music Hub, Readers Hub, and more.

   

Galaxy Tab 2 7.0, Click to enlarge

   

Galaxy Tab 2 10.1, Click to enlarge

Among the list of preinstalled programs on these tablets, you'll find AllShare, Amazon Kindle, ChatON, Dropbox, Game Hub, Media Hub, Memo, Netflix, Polaris Office, Readers Hub, S Planner, Samsung Apps, Smart Remote, and Screensaver. Although you can't uninstall many of these apps using the Application manager, you can disable them.

Both of the tablets have a My Files application that makes it easy to view contents on both the internal tablet storage as well as files that are stored on a microSD card. This app uses a traditional file explorer type view with the navigation tree on the left and detailed content view on the right. Various program control options such as search, view type, settings, and more are located in the upper right corner of the app.

     

    

Click to enlarge

Both tablets have a 3.2 megapixel rear-facing camera and neither tablet has a LED flash next to the camera. Although we're generally unimpressed by the quality of images taken with a tablet or smartphone flash, it's still a nice option to have and one that's notably missing from these two Galaxy Tab 2s.

   

  

Galaxy Tab 2 7.0, Click to enlarge

   

   

Galaxy Tab 2 10.1, Click to enlarge

The images we captured with both tablets were largely unimpressive. Although both tablets can capture images in a pinch, neither did an exceptional job even in comparison to other tablet/smartphone cameras. Overall, colors were bland and the focus wasn't always as sharp as we would have liked. 

Transparent
Performance Benchmarks

Next, we'll take a look at how the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 and 10.1 compare to other tablets by running and examining a few benchmarks that are currently available in the Android Marketplace.

Although neither of the second-generation Galaxy Tab 2 tablets earned top scores in Linpack, both tablets did surpass previous generation Galaxy Tabs (namely, the Galaxy Tab 7 Plus and original Galaxy Tab 10.1) in the Linpack test.

The SunSpider browser-based benchmark is designed to test a device's JavaScript processing capabilities. In this test, both of the Galaxy Tab 2 tablets earned low scores in comparison to other tablets in our reference database. Note how the Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus outscores all here except for Apple's iPad 2.  That's due to the Samsung Exynos processor on board that device versus the TI OMAP 4430 which just doesn't have quite the same horsepower.  We would have liked to see a Tegra 3 SoC on board for Samsung's new slates.

The Rightware BrowserMark test is designed to look at browser performance. In this test, the Galaxy Tab 2 tablets earned scores that were in the lower half compared to other systems in our reference database.

GLBenchmark is an OpenGL ES 2.0 benchmark with a number of performance metrics incorporated in it.  We specifically used the Fill Texture Fetch suite to measure raw texture fill rate of a graphics core and the Egypt Off Screen test to measure 3D performance in frames per second.  The Off Screen test renders workloads at 1280x720 for all devices, but off-screen, so Vsynch and screen refresh are not limiting performance.

In both of the GLBenchmark tests (Egypt Off Screen and Fill Texture Fetch), the Galaxy Tab 2s came in near the bottom of the scores, but never in last place. In both tests, the 7.0-inch model outscored the 10.1-inch model due to its slightly lower resolution display.

An3DBench XL is a benchmarking tool based on an Android port of the jPCT 3D engine. The app runs 7 tests in total that look at graphics processor fill rate and complex rendering workloads and scenes.

As with the other benchmarks, we see more of the same story in the An3DBench XL: The Galaxy Tab 2 models didn't earn last place, but they were near the bottom in comparison to other tablets. Keep in mind, however, that the variation between the top performer in this test and the worst performer in this test is still relatively small.

Transparent
Battery Life

In an attempt to quantitatively measure the battery life of the Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 and 10.1 tablets in a controlled benchmark environment, we ran a test in which we set up a webpage with a mix of graphics, Flash media and text. The page automatically refreshes every three minutes, we loop the page and also setup a screen lock utility that keeps the display from sleeping during the test.  Battery life is measured down to the minute the tablet finally shuts down.  The Wi-Fi radio is enabled in this test to simulate battery life in real-world web browsing over a wireless connection.

For this test, we set the displays on the Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 and Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 to 50% brightness, which is still plenty bright and easy on the eyes. In our test, the Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 lasted for seven hours and 45 minutes before shutting down. The Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 lasted for nine hours and 24 minutes before shutting down. It's worth noting that the Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 came in second in our battery life test, with only the Asus Transformer Pad 300 in its docked state beating out the tablet. That's actually pretty impressive.

Transparent
Performance Summary and Final Thoughts

Competition in the tablet market is getting fierce, and it's getting increasingly hard for manufacturers to stand out among the competition. Although Samsung's Galaxy Tab 2 tablets don't have a lot of features that make them different than other tablets on the market today, they have the benefit of Samsung's well-known brand. These tablets also offer many of the baseline specs users are looking for in a mid-range tablet including a dual-core processor and 1GB of RAM, though we have to flag Samsung for going with an older generation SoC (System on a Chip) architecture for the main processing engine.

Galaxy Tab 2 7.0, Click to enlarge

Price is always a big consideration when it comes to tablets. The 10.1-inch Galaxy Tab 2 costs $399.99 while the 7.0-inch model runs $249.99. There are other 10.1-inch tablets on the market that feature quad-core processors for a similar price such as the ASUS Transformer Pad 300. As a result, the Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 seems a tad overpriced. For the 7.0-inch Galaxy Tab 2, there's plenty of competition as well, with the Barnes & Nobel Nook Tablet as well as the Amazon Kindle Fire offering slightly lower price tags and similar specifications. The fact that both Galaxy Tab 2 tablets are missing a micro HDMI connector and microUSB port is a bit of a disappointment, but not necessarily a deal-breaker.

Galaxy Tab 2 10.1, Click to enlarge

Overall, we enjoyed our time with both of the Galaxy Tab 2 tablets. Although neither tablet topped the charts in our performance benchmark tests, both still offered good performance and a smooth user experience. In addition, the Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 offers excellent battery life, which is a major bonus for any tablet. Both tablets also look good and are comfortable to hold and use. Finally, both of these tablets ship with the latest version of Android (Ice Cream Sandwich) rather than requiring users to upgrade the tablet at a later time. There's nothing earth-shattering going on with either the 10-inch or 7-inch versions of Galaxy Tab 2 but with their on-board IR blasters for TV remote capability and powered by Android 4.0, these are relatively well-equipped lower cost tablets.


     
  • Battery life, particularly with the Galaxy Tab 2 10.1
  • Android 4.0
  • Price
  • No micro HDMI port
  • No microUSB port
  • Camera performance
  • TI SoC not quite up to par performance-wise



Content Property of HotHardware.com