Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 hands-on

My impressions of Samsung's follow-up to the Galaxy Tab 10.1, the Galaxy Tab 2 10.1.

Samsung's Galaxy Tab 10.1 gets a slight performance downgrade and a decent price. Josh Miller/CNET

SAN FRANCISCO--The announcement that Samsung's follow-up to its Galaxy Tab 10.1 would be receiving some downgrades from the previous entry, filled me with a mixture confusion and disappointment.

I just couldn't wrap my head around why the sequel to one of the premiere Android tablets would launch with a less impressive spec list than its predecessor.

Today, Samsung revealed that the Tab 2 10.1 would be released on May 13 for $400. That's $100 lower than the original Tab 10.1's list price and it fills the logic hole I believe Samsung was falling into, though I'm still not 100 percent on board.

I'll get to that later though. First let's address the details of my initial disappointment.

So why the disappointment?
OK, let's get the disappointment out of the way. The Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 trades in its 2-megapixel front camera for a VGA one and while it retains its 3-megapixel rear camera, the LED support light has been exorcised.

Also, the tablet isn't quite as thin as the first gen's svelte body and it's slightly heavier. Also, there's no 32GB config and only a 16GB storage version. Honestly, that's pretty much it as disappointment goes. All the other changes are kind of plusses.

OK, what are the other differences?
The new device still houses a 1GHz dual-core CPU, although it's likely not a Tegra 2 (Samsung didn't confirm) and Samsung smartly adds microSD-supported memory expansion up to 32GB.

The speakers are larger and have been moved to the edge of the left and right side bezel (in landscape mode). The dock connector, volume rocker, power/sleep button, and headphone jack all seem to be located in about the same places.

The IR blaster found on the Tabs 7.7 and 7.0 Plus makes its way to the Tab 2 10.1 and in conjunction with Peel's Smart Remote app, helps to turn your tablet into a remote control for your TV.

Oh and one more difference...
The Tab 2 10.1 will be Samsung's first 10-inch tablet to ship with Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4.0.3 to be precise) installed.

Samsung's Touchwiz UX skin of course is included with custom Samsung apps and that handy Task Manager shortcut.

Performance, comfort, and extras
Accessing and scrolling through Web pages as well as navigating the OS all felt responsive enough but, kind of lagged on the hotel's Wi-Fi we were connected to. No egregious performance issues, however.

The Samsung proprietary PLS-based screen sports a 1,280 by 800-pixel resolution and during our brief time using the device, not surprisingly, delivered wide viewing angles and richer color than what we're used to on IPS panels most tablets use.

The device is capable of full 1080p playback at 30 frames per second, and of course includes support for GPS, 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth 3.0.

The tablet feels light, comfortable with rounded corners and sports a titanium silver finish on it its backside.

Final thoughts
So, what's the rub here? Well there's no "official rub." $400 at 16GB isn't a bad price for the Tab 2 10.1, but when you consider the fact that it's pretty much the same as the Tab 10.1 give or take a few features, not to mention that the Tab 10.1 now be found for as low as $428, it's difficult to not be a bit disappointed.

I would have loved to see a $330 price. Heck, I'd even be satisfied with $350. Especially after Samsung announced a $250 price for its Galaxy Tab 2 7.0. Like I said, $400 is decent price, but with its own admitted tablet market difficulty , Samsung should have pushed lower.

 

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