Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 review: Samsung Galaxy Tab 2

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Typical Price: $299.00

Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0

(Part #: CNETSamsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0)
3 stars

CNET Editors' Rating

The Good Android Ice Cream Sandwich. Low price. 3G option.

The Bad Average performance and battery life. Dull-looking design. Battery heats up during use. Strong competition.

The Bottom Line Though the core elements of this tablet are fine, there is no compelling reason to choose this tablet over the many others in this fast-growing category.

6.8 Overall


Do you remember the Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7 from earlier this year? Or perhaps you're familiar with the original Galaxy Tab 10.1 ? If so, then you've seen the Tab 2 7.0 before. Covered in a gun-metal grey plastic chassis, and with a wide black bezel surrounding its 7-inch touchscreen, the Tab 2 looks just like many of its predecessors. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, though it isn't an eye-catching design by any stretch of the imagination. The back of the tablet lacks any sort of grip, too, unlike Google's Nexus 7 .

Although Samsung has an excellent reputation for its display technology, it chooses not to use its best panels in the Tab 2. Rather than the same excellent screen we saw on the Tab 7.7, Samsung goes for a PLS LCD panel instead, obviously in an attempt to keep the price low. The screen is serviceable, but not outstanding. It's 1024x600-pixel resolution is a touch low, equating to roughly 170 pixels per inch. In comparison, the Nexus 7 has a 216 pixels-per-inch resolution on a screen of the same size.

As it is with most tablets, the unit is sealed and the battery is not user accessible. It is pretty easy to spot where the battery lives beneath the chassis, though, as it tends to heat up considerably during use. We wouldn't say that it became uncomfortably hot to hold, but it does make your hands sweaty.

User experience and performance

With a range of tablets in its arsenal, Samsung seems to weigh up price and performance, delivering only what you pay for. The Tab 2.0 is the company's cheapest tablet, and, as such, it is among its weakest performers. Powered by a dual-core 1GHz processor, the Tab 2.0 held its own in web-based performance benchmarks, but fell way short of the competition in 3D rendering tests.

Synthetic tests aside, the overall performance of the Tab 2.0 wasn't too bad in everyday use. Most of the heavy-duty games we downloaded and tested ran smoothly enough to be played without frustration. Our biggest performance complaint probably pertains to Samsung's TouchWiz UI, and to some of the resource-hogging widgets that are preloaded on the tablet. Out of the box, there are widgets on display featuring various Samsung software services, and the frame rate when switching between home pages is disappointing. If you remove these widgets, though, the user experience is much smoother. There are other bothersome pauses in the UI; bringing up the keyboard is often slow, and loading databases like Contacts can take a moment.

Battery life could also be much better than it is; it's another victim of Samsung's cost cutting, no doubt. The Tab 2.0 endured just over five hours of continuous 720p video playback, and about four and a half hours of web browsing. For most people, this will sound like enough, but in comparison to the competition these numbers are low. The Nexus 7 managed 10 hours of playing the same video file in a loop, and we'd expect another hour of web browsing at least from a device of this size.

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