Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 review: Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1

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Typical Price: $499.00
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3 stars

CNET Editors' Rating

The Good Well-designed tablet with powerful speakers. Responsive screen. Ice Cream Sandwich installed.

The Bad Tablet's dual-core CPU has trouble running large, 1080p movies. Screen color accuracy isn't as high as on the previous Tab 10.1.

The Bottom Line The Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 comes up short in performance, features and value compared with competing tablets.

6.3 Overall

Editor's note: this review was originally published on CNET and may refer to features, accessories and network capabilities that are not available in Australia.

The Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 was one of the premier Android tablets when it launched in 2011, with specs that, at the very least, matched other top tier Android tablets at the time.

Unfortunately, the Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 feels almost like a disappointing prequel, rather than a full-fledged "we've improved everything" sequel.

Design

The Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 is both slightly heavier and a bit less svelte than its predecessor, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1. It still sports the same plastic backside, but now comes in titanium silver, as opposed to white.

Not quite as thin as the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, but you'd be hard-pressed to tell the difference.
(Credit: Josh Miller/CNET)

Though the tablet feels comfortable in my hands, it's a bit wide and feels awkward when trying to type and hold it at the same time, even if you sport alien-like Arsenio Hall-long fingers like me. Also, the bezel isn't completely flush with the outer casing of the tablet, creating a slightly annoying edge.

When held in landscape, the top edge of the tablet seats five features: from left, there's a power/sleep button, a volume rocker, a 32GB capacity microSD slot, an IR blaster and a headphone jack. In addition, two 2-inch-long speakers stretch vertically along the left and right bezel. A dock connector and microphone pinhole sit along the bottom edge.

An up-close look at the microSD card slot.
(Credit: Josh Miller/CNET)

The Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 trades its predecessor's 2-megapixel front camera for a VGA one, and while it retains a 3-megapixel rear camera, the LED support light has been exorcised. Unfortunately, there's no HDMI option, requiring you to purchase an additional accessory if you have plans to connect the tablet to a TV.

Software features

The Tab 2 10.1 is the second Samsung tablet (after the Tab 2 7.0) to ship with Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4.0.3, to be precise).

Samsung's TouchWiz UX skin is, of course, included and comes with custom Samsung apps like Music Hub, Media Hub, Game Hub, a built-in screenshot app and the Mini Apps tray located on the bottom of the screen. Tapping it brings up a tray of apps consisting of a calculator, notes, calendar, music player and clock. However, the most useful of these is still the task manager, which allows you to quickly kill any app running in the background; this comes in handy when apps become unresponsive.

The basic look and design of ICS are retained, just with a TouchWiz skin and a few extra shortcuts for quickly turning off Wi-Fi, GPS, screen rotation and so on. As an added bonus, Samsung offers 50GB of free Dropbox storage for the first year.

Hardware features

The Tab 2 10.1 houses a 1GHz dual-core OMAP 4430 CPU, 1GB of RAM and 16GB of storage. Tablet mainstays like 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi support, Bluetooth 3.0 and GPS are included, as well as gyroscope, accelerometer and digital compass support.

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