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First Take: Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 (7.0)

Can Samsung win customers with its second take on the 7-inch tablet, or is the Galaxy Tab 2 (7.0) just a rehash of the original?

Samsung's new Galaxy Tab 2.
Samsung's new Galaxy Tab 2.

Remember the original Samsung Galaxy Tab? The 7-inch Android tablet was Samsung's first strike against the iPad, and versions of it existed for every carrier under the sun.

Unfortunately, the Tab's high price, two-year carrier commitment, and relatively small screen size prevented it from catching up to the iPad.

For reasons I don't entirely understand, Samsung is trying this recipe again. Announced in February 2011, the Galaxy Tab 2 (7.0) puts Android 4.0 on a 7-inch screen and includes a 3G cellular data connection (and presumably, a carrier contract).

Pricing has not been formally announced, but there's reason to believe that initial pricing (like its predecessor) will be pegged somewhere around $500. We're also lacking a firm U.S. release date, though Samsung has stated that the U.K. will receive the Galaxy Tab 2 (7.0) in March.

And what will they be getting, exactly? Well, the tablet offers a relatively fast 1GHz dual-core processor helped by 1GB of RAM. The screen is a 1,024x600-pixel PLS LCD. Integrated storage can be configured for 8GB, 16GB, and 32GB, with every model including microSD memory expansion. A rear-facing camera offers a 3-megapixel rating, while the front camera is stuck at a measly VGA resolution. GPS and Bluetooth come included, but if you want video output, you'll probably need to spring for an adapter cable.

But what surprises me most about the Galaxy Tab 2 (7.0) is that it seems like a step backward from the Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus, released in November 2011. Sure, the Tab 2 (7.0) offers 3G data and Android 4.0, but it's at the cost of the Tab 7.0 Plus' faster processor, thinner design, and integrated remote control capability. The name similarity alone has me scratching my head.

To make things even more confusing, let's not forget that Samsung is releasing the Galaxy Tab 7.7 in the near future, which boasts a 1.4GHz processor, 4G networking, an integrated remote, and a beautiful 1,280x800-pixel Super AMOLED Plus screen.

Of course, we'll reserve final judgement until Samsung officially announces the Galaxy Tab 2 (7.0) for the U.S. and hands one over to play with. As it stands now, there isn't much here to be excited about.