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Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1-inch review: Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1-inch

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The Good well designed; powerful speakers; responsive screen; comes with Ice Cream Sandwich.

The Bad overpriced; other tablets offer better features for same price; 1080p movies stutter; colour accuracy could be better.

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

Visit manufacturer site for details.

6.5 Overall

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This review of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 is based on the irreproachably authoritative opinions of Eric Franklin, from our estimable sister site CNET.com, who awarded it 3 stars. We'll be streaking the pristine glass of the Tab 2 with our Krispy Kreme-tainted digits soon enough. When we do, the score will be updated to reflect our own views.

CNET UK's Luke Westaway got hands-on with the Tab 2 at Mobile World Congress in February, so his and Eric's views have been woven together here to give you an idea of what to expect when it lands in Blighty.

The Tab 2 10.1 joins a lengthening line-up of Samsung tablets, following in the footsteps of the 7-inch Galaxy Tab, Tab 10.1, Tab 8.9 and Tab 7.7. While the original 10.1-inch Tab was a premier Android device, joining the firmament of top Google-powered tablets, does its slender successor do enough to challenge the dominance of the new iPad?

You can preorder the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 from the likes of Expansys for around £420.

Design and build

The awkwardly named Tab 2 10.1 keeps the basic design of Samsung's previous tablets. The plastic backside is the same, but it now comes in a titanium silver finish rather than white. Luke thought those strips down the side looked rather classy, but added the plain silvery colour was hardly inspiring.

The Tab 2 10.1 is neither as lean nor slight as its predecessor, being both heavier and thicker. Still, it measures just 9.7mm thick and weighs in at just 588g. While it's very portable -- you could easily slip this slate into a satchel and cart it around all day -- Eric found it to be a little wide, making it tricky to type and hold simultaneously (even with freakishly long fingers). Even so, it feels comfortable enough in hand.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1-inch speaker
The speakers are louder than previously, but they're hardly high fidelity.

Hold it in landscape and along the top you'll find a power/sleep button, a volume rocker, a 32GB capacity microSD slot, an infrared blaster and a headphone jack. A pair of 2-inch speakers is situated up the left and right side of the bezel. While these larger speakers offer louder sound, they're no better quality than you'd expect from a tablet.

Rounding things off is a dock connector and a microphone pinhole along the bottom edge. There's no HDMI socket, which means you'll have to buy an accessory to hook up the tablet to a TV.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1-inch ports
You can bung in up to 32GB of extra storage with this handy microSD slot.

Screen

Leaving nothing to the imagination, the Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 has -- you guessed it -- a 10.1-inch screen. This is a 1,280x800-pixel display, which happily leaves text and icons looking lovely and crisp. Clarity is equal to the original Tab, but Eric noted that the screen appears noticeably greener than the first Tab 10.1, while colours appeared washed out in comparison.

Slightly unfortunate is the reflective nature of the Tab 2 10.1's screen. Under bright trade show lights at Mobile World Congress, Luke found it difficult to make out what was on the display.

Eric's benchmark tests confirmed that the screen was very responsive when swiping through screens and navigating menus -- it's up there with the likes of the Asus Transformer Pad TF300 on that score.

It's worth noting that the bezel around the screen isn't completely flush with the outer casing of the tablet, leaving a somewhat irksome edge.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1-inch versus
Some Tabs are bigger than others...

Software

The best thing about the Tab 2 10.1 is that it will arrive running Ice Cream Sandwich, the latest version of Android. ICS was created to unify the Android phone and tablet operating systems. It does that with a host of graphical refinements, turning everything a glowing blue hue, and adding useful features like improved multi-tasking. You'll naturally also have access to the Google Play store and the thousands of Android apps it offers.

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