Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 (10.1) Review
It seems hard to believe that it was just a little over year ago that we looked at Samsung’s first full-size Galaxy Tab, the Galaxy Tab 10.1. Like the original Galaxy Tab 7.0 before it, many reviewers touted it as the first real competition to Apple’s stalwart iPad. While the Galaxy Tab 10.1—with its great-looking screen and expandable storage—was reasonably well-received, it didn’t turn out to be an iPad buster. And that’s Samsung’s (and other Android-based tablet makers’) dilemma: Nothing they do seems to budge the iPad off its perch as the dominant tablet on the market.
Some manufacturers, such as Asus, with its $399.99 Transformer Pad TF300$374.99 at Amazon, and Acer, with the $449 Iconia Tab A510, have responded by providing products that attempt to fill another niche: the lower-cost, entry-level slate. Samsung, too, has recently debuted products for the budget-minded tablet buyer: first, the $249.99 Galaxy Tab 2 (7.0)$169.99 at OfficeMax, released in April 2012, and now the $399.99 Galaxy Tab 2 (10.1).
Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 (10.1)
The Galaxy Tab 2 (7.0) was a great tablet for the price, but the Galaxy Tab 2 (10.1) is a different equation. Considering some of the slates we’ve seen from other Android tablet makers of late, the 10.1 has, in terms of what you get for the price, some significant challenges. For starters, this new Galaxy Tab runs on a 1GHz dual-core TI OMAP 4430 dual-core processor (more on that in the Performance section of this review). Several other recent slates, such as the aforementioned Transformer Pad TF300 and Iconia Tab A510, come with the fast, power-efficient Nvidia Tegra 3 CPU. In addition, these two Tegra 3-based slates have 32GB of storage, versus the mediocre 16GB on the Galaxy Tab 2 (10.1).
All of this is not to say that the Galaxy Tab 2 (10.1) is not an impressive slate. Like most Samsung handhelds, it has a great-looking screen, and it’s thin, light, and comfortable to use. In addition, Samsung has upgraded the speakers and repositioned them, thereby enhancing sound-playback quality. On the other hand, versus the original 10.1-inch Galaxy Tab, the company has downgraded the cameras (more on that in the Design section, next).
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Were we writing this review just a few months ago, we’d be raving about what a great slate this is for the price, but the game has changed significantly since then. Still, Samsung has positioned this new Galaxy Tab as an entry-level tablet with strong media features, and, from that perspective, it holds up relatively well. When we compare it to other recent slates, though, it comes up a little short. As you’ll see in the Performance section of this review, the dual-core processor set it well behind several of this year’s latest models, and its lack of ports—no dedicated HDMI or USB 2.0—also decreases its overall value.