Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 8.0 Review: Multitasking On Android

Performance Summary & Conclusion

Performance Summary: The interesting thing about the Galaxy Tab S2 from a performance perspective is that it's running a previous-generation processor (Exynos 5433), yet it scored really well in most of our benchmarks. Samsung's octa-core chip still packs a punch, and of course it doesn't hurt that there's 3GB of DDR3 RAM to play with along with a more finely-tuned installation of Android, which helped the tablet post strong scores in benchmarks like Browsermark and Geekbench. It also flexed some graphics muscle, posting 34 frames per second in GFXBench's offscreen T-Rex test.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S2
Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 - Find It At Amazon

There's an obsession among tablet makers with building the thinnest and lightest devices that each generation of technology allows. Samsung leads the way with its Galaxy Tab S2, a beautifully crafted slate with a gorgeous display, subtle accents, and a soft-touch backside.

Measuring 5.6mm thick and weight only 265 grams, the 8" Galaxy Tab 2's dimensions are about more than bragging rights. It's also about comfort -- you can read comfortably for long periods of time without tiring out your hand, wrist, or arm. This is especially notable since Samsung opted for a magazine-friendly 4:3 aspect ratio.

There are costs associated with this level of slimness, however. The biggest one is battery life. We saw less than six hours of web browsing use with the brightness dialed back halfway. That doesn't leave a lot of headroom for more intense tasks, like streaming movies and playing games. For commutes on public transit to and from work, there's probably enough battery inside to get a day's use, but for longer use case scenarios, you'll want to be sure and pack the power cable.

The other potential cost is performance. It's possible Samsung decided to use an older generation processor in the Galaxy Tab S2 because a faster clocked SoC might not have the thermal characteristics for such a thin design. That means the Galaxy Tab S2 isn't as fast as it could be, though we're less critical of this since the Exynos 5433 still has the legs to run near the front of the pack.

Samsung's $400 asking price for the 32GB model reviewed here is perhaps a bit bold. Whether Samsung and other manufacturers like it or not, the expectation from Android users is that they'll pay less for devices than their iOS toting brethren. Even so, the Galaxy Tab S2 costs the same as Apple's iPad mini 4 (16GB), which has only half the storage. It's also $100 more than the ZenTab S 8.0 from ASUS, a more apples to apples (or Android to Android) comparison.

That doesn't mean you should skip over the Galaxy Tab S2. It's faster than the ZenPad, and arguably better crafted (it's at least thinner and lighter). It's just a matter of whether you're willing to pay a premium for a high-end Android tablet and if you can live with the battery life.

  • Bright and vibrant 2048x1536 display
  • Very good performance despite using a previous-gen SoC
  • Beautifully crafted and extremely thin and light
  • Decent audio
  • Battery life
  • Price is a little high

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