The Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 offers Ice Cream Sandwich at a much lower price than its predecessor – which makes it a bargain, right?
The first-generation Galaxy Tab 10.1 was the iPad's closest rival of the time. If
you didn’t want an iPad, you bought the Tab 10.1. But Samsung has a lot more
competition in the large-tablet market now, including from its own Note 10.1.
Sporting a 1GHz dual-core TI Omap 4430 processor, the Tab 2 10.1 has a
10.1in, 1200x800-pixel capacitative multitouch display. Onboard storage is limited
to 16GB this time around (the previous Tab 10.1 also had a 32GB storage option),
but there’s an SD card slot for expansion. A 3G version is also available.
There are some cosmetic changes from the original, but they are surprisingly
similar devices. Indeed, the only major upgrade the Tab 2 10.1 can claim over the
original 10in tablet is its operating system: whereas the Tab 10.1 was one of the
first major players to run Android 3.1 Honeycomb, the second-gen Android tablet
sports Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. We’d like to see 4.2 Jelly Bean, though.
The most notable change is in the dimensions. The Tab 2 is marginally thicker, and
has a metallic finish to its back. We measured it at 9.7mm; it’s also a few grammes
heavier than the original Tab. It’s both thinner and lighter than the iPad.
The black bezel is slightly thinner, but the screen remains the same size.
Whereas the speakers previously sat recessed in the side of the Tab, now they
are front-facing. The SD card slot sits at the top, next to the power and volume
switches. To the right on the top is the 3.5mm headphone jack.
Subjectively, the Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 feels like
a better-quality device than its predecessor.
The Tab 2 uses the same colourful and bright,
1280x800 capacitative multitouch display. Viewing
angles are pretty decent, too, although the
screen is prone to finger smudges. Don't expect
Apple-like detail levels, though. This Tab offers
just 149ppi, and you’ll notice the difference next
to the Retina-quality iPad.
The Tab’s dual-core processor and 1GB of RAM
pales next to tablets such as Samsung’s own
Galaxy Note 10.1, and the Nexus 7 and 10, all
of which are quad-core devices. It's a fast enough
device, and we had no problems in terms of general navigation, web browsing and
even HD video playback, but there is no doubt that the Nexus devices are much
zippier. Waking up from standby takes perceptively longer, as does opening apps.
In Geekbench the Tab 2 scored a disappointing 908 points. This is by no means
disastrous but, to put it in context, the £159 Nexus 7 scored an average of 1,561.
The 7,000mAh battery held up well in our tests, comfortably dealing with a full
working day of use, which chimes with Samsung's claimed nine hours of battery
life. In our video-looping test it held out for five hours 48 minutes.
the Tab 2 10.1 averaged 2,369ms. This is a pretty poor result.
The Tab 2 has a 3Mp rear-facing camera with no flash. We're not sure how many
people would feel comfortable holding up a 10in tablet to take a photo, but we're
assuming it's not many. And that's probably
just as well: the Tab's camera is perfectly
adequate for the occasional snap, but it's
never going to replace your dedicated camera.
Images are grainy and flat. However, the 1080p
full-HD video recording is worth having.
The biggest update from the original Tab 10.1
is the move from Honeycomb to Ice Cream
Sandwich, although this has since been rolled
out to the original Tab, too. Android 4.0 is
a much more mature tablet OS, offering a level of slickness previously absent
from Android. It's customisable, stable and consumer-friendly. The interface looks
neater, crisper and sleeker throughout.
Android 4.0 offers new features, including notifications that can be accessed
from the lock screen, better text input with a spell-checker and enhanced email
handling. There’s also a data-usage monitor.
Typically, Samsung has laid over the top of ICS its TouchWiz UI. Honestly,
we could live without Samsung's apps dominating our home screen, but that at
least is customisable. And although Google Play Movies & TV is a better app than
Samsung's Video Hub, the latter contains a lot more content, and the opportunity
to buy, rather than simply rent movies.
A year ago we liked the Tab 10.1. For the second generation the hardware
specs remain broadly the same, but it’s £100 cheaper. We love the bright screen,
and adding SD support and 1080p video capture are both improvements. The
problem is the competition: the Nexus 7, in particular, has changed the game for
Android tablets, and is a little more than half the price of the Tab (albeit with a
smaller screen, half the storage and no front-facing camera). Meanwhile, the iPad
remains a cut above for £100 more than the Tab 2 10.1. But if you absolutely
require a 10in Android tablet, spend £20 more on the Nexus 10.
Pros Relatively cheap;
SD expansion slot;
thinner and lighter
than the iPad;
1080p video capture
Cons Slow; dual-core
images; no flash
Verdict We loved the original
10.1, and the Tab
2 is even better, but
there are now better
capacitive multitouch PLS
screen; Android 4.0 Ice
Cream Sandwich; 1GHz
TI Omap 4430 processor;
1GB RAM; 16GB storage;
microSD; Wi-Fi; Bluetooth
3.0; 3Mp rear camera;
Source.Tablet World UK.Edition.3.2013