Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 8.0 Review: Multitasking On Android

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Introducing The Galaxy Tab S2

If you want to sell a tablet to the masses -- an increasingly difficult thing to do with tablet shipments now on the decline, according to International Data Corporation -- the go-to strategy is to pitch a vibrant display and boast about its thin and light design. Everything else is secondary for most consumers, including hardware specs and benchmark performance, which are of interest mostly to geeks and savvy tech enthusiasts like ourselves.

Admittedly, we're a niche bunch, so instead of chasing record breaking benchmark numbers, Samsung focused on flattening its Tab S tablet even further. The result is the Tab S2, a remarkably thin slate measuring just 5.6mm thick. That's true of both the 9.7-inch version and the 8.0-inch model we're reviewing here.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 Angled

It's also a tablet that's lighter than Air, as in Apple's iPad Air 2. More specifically, the 8.0-inch model barely registers a blip on the scale at only 272 grams, while the 9.7-inch version weighs 392 grams. For the sake of comparison, the iPad Air 2 is 6.1mm thick and weighs 437 grams The iPad mini 4 is also 6.1mm thick, but weighs 294 grams.

These comparisons amount to splitting hairs -- let's face it, these are all thin and light tablets -- but for what it's worth, bragging rights belong to Samsung. The question is, at what cost does a supremely thin and light profile entail? To find out, let's start with an examination of the Tab S2's specs (note that from here on out we're referring to the 8.0-inch model when referencing the Tab S2, unless otherwise stated).

Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 8.0 Android Tablet
Specifications & Features

Processor
Samsung Exynos 5433 Octacore (1.9GHz quad + 1.3GHz quad)
OS
Android v5.1 Lollipop
Audio
Stereo speakers
Memory
3GB LPDDR3
Storage
32GB internal
Micro SD card reader (up to 128GB SDXC)
Battery
4,000Wh Li-Ion (non-removable)
Display
8-inch QXGA (2048x1536) Super AMOLED
Weight
265 grams (0.58 pounds)
Dimensions
134.8 x 198.6 x 5.6 mm (WxHxD) / 5.3 x 7.81 x 0.22 inches
Color
Black
Cameras
Rear: 8MP w/ Auto-focus
Front: 2.1MP
Sensors
Acelerometer, Compass, Finger Scanner, GPS + GLONASS, Gyroscope, Hall, RGB
Connectivity
802.11ac Wi-Fi
Bluetooth 4.1 Smart
Ports
1 x micro USB
1 x 3.5mm audio jack
1 x Micro SD card
Price
$399.99 - Find It At Amazon

Samsung once again dipped into its own bag of hardware to outfit the Galaxy Tab S2 with an octa-core Exynos 5433 processor consisting of four Cortex-A57 cores clocked at 1.9GHz and four Cortex-A53 cores running at 1.3GHz. It also has 3GB of RAM, 32GB of expandable storage, a pair of cameras (8-megapixel around back and a 2-mexapixel shooter up front), and an 8-inch Super AMOLED display with a 2048x1536 (WXGA) resolution.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 Side

That's a decent spec sheet. Compared to last year's Galaxy Tab S 8.4, the S2 looks to be a little bit faster and has twice as much storage, though the 4,000mAh battery is a downgrade in capacity from the 4,900mAh battery found in the original. The impact of that decision is something we'll discuss a bit later on, but first, let's have a closer look at the physical design.

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