Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1, the tablet of all tablets, or just another tablet swimming in the sea? Read the review to find out!

Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1

While we aim to find the perfect Android handset to accompany our daily lives, the struggle continues far beyond that. With Android tablets ranging from low end to high end with various price points and feature sets, figuring out which tablet is right for you is no simple task. Last year we saw Samsung introduce the original Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, at the time it was a flagship device and people could not get enough. A year later we are introduced to the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1, the new dog in town.

Could Samsung out do what they brought to the table last year, and have a knock out device to put in our hands? Let's hit the break and check out how the Samsung Galaxy 2 10.1 tablet compares in the world of Android tablets, and see if this may just end up being your very next tablet.


The Good

While packing a 10.1 inch display, the overall device is very lightweight and extremely thin. The layout allows for easy access to buttons, and it can be charged while still in use without affecting your grip.

The Bad

Samsung has chosen to lay their TouchWiz over top of a mostly stock ICS, The cameras are far from ideal, and while the speakers are well placed, they could use some improvement as well.

Conclusion

For the price point and features you will receive, the Samsung Tab 2 10.1 brings the best of a middle range pricing to high end specs. The 10.1 inch display is a beauty, and Ice Cream Sandwich performs very well on the device.

Hands-on

 

Hardware

It is rather obvious at this point, if you have a 10.1 inch tablet you can expect a large slab of glass on the front with a minimal bezel around it, but the way in which this is presented is what makes the difference. Samsung has gone for a rather classy approach with their Galaxy Tab 2 line, and they have incorporated their media-centric style into the design as well.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 Speaker

On the front you have the large 10.1 inch display with a rather standard bezel around it, but built into the bezel on the left and right is a stereo set of speakers. These speakers sit at the top of the device, out of the way when holding, and they don't look out of place. Up at the top is the front facing camera, and down the bottom the nice Samsung logo.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 Buttons

Up at the top you have all of the buttons, which is a plus since they are out of your way, but can also be a negative in that they aren't the easiest to reach depending how it is being held. Starting at the left you have the power button, volume rocker, micro-SD card slot, IR sensor and finally towards the right is the 3.5mm headphone jack.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 Charging Port  Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1

Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 Charger

Down the bottom you have the charging port, and the design of the port is a bit bothersome. Not only has Samsung deviated from the some-what standard micro-USB port on this device, but they have chosen to utilize an Apple-like dock connector which is far from ideal. This means yet another cable that has to travel in your arsenal daily, and in all honesty it looks like a cheap shot at Apple.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 Back

Flipping the device over you have a nice silver back that is rather plain with the exception of the Samsung logo and a couple of other markings. Up at the top of the device you also have a camera, nothing earth shattering but it is there, and there is no flash to accompany it. More on that later.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 Side View

The sides of the device are just flush bezel, no buttons or ports to be found here which is great for holding the device in landscape, but not as ideal once flipped to portrait.

Specs

  • Processor: 1 GHz Dual-Core Processor
  • Display: 10.1" WXGA(1280x800) PLS TFT
  • OS: Android 4.0(Ice Cream Sandwich)
  • Camera: Main(Rear): 3 Megapixel Camera Sub(Front): VGA for Video Call
  • Music Player with SoundAlive
  • 3.5mm Ear Jack
  • A-GPS, Glonass
  • Bluetooth technology v 3.0
  • USB 2.0 Host
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Wi-Fi Direct
  • 7,000mAh battery

Software

Home Screen

Being a Samsung device it should be a given at this point to expect TouchWiz to be included, and it is -- in some ways. Luckily Samsung has opted to keep a lot of elements of stock ICS available to users, and just interfaced some of their changes along with it, instead of completely going on top of it. You will notice right off the bat that the icons are themed, the widgets are all the Samsung TouchWiz ones, and there are a few other changes as well.

Lock screen

Starting at the lock screen you will notice a pretty standard lock screen, simply place your finger somewhere on the screen and move it around to unlock the device. Nothing new, and no extra features, but sometimes simplicity is key.

Screen Shot Key

Once the device is unlocked you are presented with Samsung's infamous widgets and a row of quick access icons. Down the bottom in the menu bar they have added an extra button which is utilized to take screen shots. The standard ICS method of holding volume down and power will still work, but the on screen button will allow you to take the screen shot one handed, and then edit if you wish.

Edit Screen Shots

Much like on the Samsung Galaxy Note, using this to take a screen shot will open an editor so you can quick and easily highlight something, crop it or any other minor change you may wish to make.

Mini Apps

In addition they have also added an arrow in the center of the bottom menu that brings up their Mini Apps drawer. These mini apps can actually be quite useful as once they are opened they open on top of the application you are using, not in front of it. This means if you want to check your calendar while browsing the web, or do some math while in a text message you can do so without ever leaving the application.

Samsung Hubs

Samsung has also included a few "hubs" which are aimed at making finding content easier. They have included a Game Hub, Media Hub and Music Hub pre-installed, all in addition to the Google Play suite of applications. Making use of the included IR port, Samsung has bundled the Smart Remote which is extremely powerful once set up. After walking through the set up of the application you are able to control your media components right from your tablet, no more juggling your remotes and tablet at the same time.

Beyond these applications Samsung has also bundled Dropbox (which is giving users 50GB free for one year), Netflix, Amazon Kindle, Samsung Chat-on, S Suggestion (their application suggestions guide), Next Issue (magazine app) along with their Media Hub on the device. If you hop into the market you can remove most of these, which is a definite plus for those who find no value in them.

Camera

Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 Camera

By now we should all know that tablets are probably not the best means for capturing your favorite memories on the go, but they still tend to come with cameras. Since you never really know when life may bring you that next best moment, the ability to capture them with the tablet can be a plus for many.

If you are looking to replace your point and shoot needs with a tablet, think again. Featuring a 3MP camera on the back that lacks flash, and a VGA front facing camera on the front, the quality is far less than professional. While the 3MP camera on the back does the job, it takes photos and allows you to remember things, it doesn't do so with any exceptional quality. Due to the lack of flash you can pretty much kiss the indoor shots and low light images out the window, but with proper lighting the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 can take some decent shots for you.

Rear Camera 1  Rear Camera 2

Rear Camera Test  Camera Sample

 

The front facing camera, like many other is really low in quality, and honestly we would have expected more. With Samsung showing they want the device to be a consumption of media device, the camera could have been improved. Knowing people use their tablets more so for video chat than for capturing images, you would think by now tablet manufacturers would be improving these front facing units a bit.

Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 Front CAmera

Conclusion

Is the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 worth the $399 price point that it was assigned? With a solid construction, 16GB of on board storage (and an additional 50GB for the first year through Dropbox), the offer is very tempting. While keeping a slim profile, Samsung was able to pack a 7,000mAh battery inside to hopefully help prevent battery woes from coming about. The speakers in the front bezel are a great addition, though we would have liked to see speakers with just a bit more size to add a wider range of sounds, but the ones inside are able to suffice.

Coming in at a rather competitive price point compared to the competition and launching with Ice Cream Sandwich is a big benefit to this model. Sure, other devices will support it, and some have began rolling it out as well, that is still not the same as having your product launch with it. All things considered the Samsung Tab 2 10.1 offers a great user experience in a well designed package, and does all of this at a rather reasonable cost. You would be silly to not at least head to a local store to check it out, and let it do the talking whether this is your next tablet or not.

 
There are 44 comments

-_- .... OG Tab 10.1 ICS edition. I guess Samsung gave up on the high end....

litlprince says:

nope thats soon to come

slackerjack says:

So wait...did they ditch the tegra 2 for a qualcomm processor?

Balthazar B says:

It's a TI OMAP processor.

supahmatt says:

I have one and while it is omap it is really damn fast(benchmarks and all)

Kaggy says:

I'll just get a RK3066 tablet, probably faster and at about half the price.

Or Asus Padfone

bpear96 says:

Yea the rk3066 looks pretty good ! 1.5ghz dualcore Cortex A9 + Quad core Mali400 GPU

and heres a nice looking tablet for $270

http://www.aliexpress.com/product-fm/557339969-Cube-U30GT-Dual-core-10-1...

and benchmarks
http://tabletrepublic.com/forum/latest-tablet-news/window-n90-dual-core-...

unglued94ta says:

I thought I read somewhere that Samsung got a bunch of complaints about this not getting a quad core and stopped production so they could add the quad core to it.

Medic97 says:

I wish!

briankurtz79 says:

Pretty sure that's the note 10.1. which I think will be my next tablet.

unglued94ta says:

Thank you sir for pointing that out

dbattenfl says:

Why would someone choose the Tab2 over the Asus 300pad. Its prioe point is $50 cheaper with much greator hardware.
Overall, it looks like a great tablet. But not for the amount of money, when you can do so much better.

demzzy says:

^ I'm with you... Asus 300 pad much more appealing

When I get a tablet I'll get an Asus.

Balthazar B says:

Just picked up the Tab 2 7.0 tablet during MacMall's flash sale last week, but haven't received it yet. Couldn't beat the price (that is, until the supposed Nexus Tablet comes out in a couple of months), and Samsung's unlocked bootloader means there should be nice custom ROMs out soon (several under development, including a CM9 version). I may end up with an Asus as well, but holding out for the Prime Infinity, unless it's passed up by other releases in the meantime or the pricing is too whacky.

CeluGeek says:

The 7-inch Galaxy Tab 2 is well price for what it is. I bought one last week and it's a very good tablet for $250. The problem is the 10.1-inch Galaxy Tab 2 which is inferior to the 10.1-inch Galaxy Tab 1 and for $400, you can get better tablets.

Clak says:

The Galaxy Tab 2 7 inch is actually inferior to the the Galaxy Tab 7.0 plus specs wise. It's cheaper because they cut back on the specs.

CeluGeek says:

You are missing the point. Yes, Samsung cut back on the specs but: price you pay --> tablet you get = you still get a good tablet with the Galaxy Tab 2 7.0. The same can't be said about the Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 which is simply overpriced for what it offers.

AzD says:

Agreed. This 10" Tab 2 should be more like $300.

supahmatt says:

Yes it should definitely be 700 dollars

supahmatt says:

It is just as good as the galaxy tab 10.1' maybe even better

AzD says:

"It's cheaper because they cut back on the specs."

That's pretty obtuse. Same reason a base Toyota Camry costs less than a loaded one.

Balthazar B says:

@unglued94ta: You're thinking of the Galaxy Tab Note, which is a very different model. Word is that it will use the Exynos quadcore processor. ETA sometime over the summer, I believe.

unglued94ta says:

Thank you sir

uneekdesigns says:

Wow. Really I WAS expecting more. Considering that the transformer prime has more specs for only 100 more. I don't get where some of these companies place their products when you see whats available even the lesser prime has more for the same price and 3MP camera? Is this 2004? On the other hand I am very happy that my transformer prime does not feel out dated yet, not even against the new iPad.

Droidbert says:

i take it at the end of the article is your new FB cover photo?.. lol you'll fit in just fine. ;)-

mwz123 says:

Stop Tonting me!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :'( i know i made a bad investment in buying the 10.1 (1) for christmas and knowing it would come out wit in 5 months i just couldent wait gosh.................

Jon no h says:

And in a few, months, this tablet, too, will be unsupported just like the Tab 10.1 I mistakenly bought.

oxeneers says:

I was genuinely interested by the video and as soon as I started it, I lost all my interest due to this guy's heavy breathing, lack of cohesive thoughts, and overall poor video quality.

Phil and the rest of AC, look at how The Verge does videos. That's a pro way to do it, this just seems really low quality.

joebob2000 says:

His downright horrible writing skills didn't clue you in? I skipped the article, the video, and went straight to the camera stills only to find that the nicest shot he took was indoors, of some knives, and then he had the gall to comment that the camera does poorly indoors. Why not take some outdoor shots then, genius? You obviously had the thing outside when you took pics of IT with some other camera. Then, when it felt like it couldn't get worse, there's a shot with the FFC of his ugly mug and a ceiling light in the background. Take any shot with a micro camera, with a bright light in the frame and see how crappy it looks. I apparently missed my calling, clearly it's possible to make a living as a writer with 10th grade writing skills.

RE687 says:

I was really disappointed when this was announced earlier this year. It has almost the same specs as the original Galaxy Tab 10.1 with the added MicroSD card slot and IR blaster. For the same price ($400), you can get the Asus Transformer Pad 300 with a 1.2 GHz quad core Tegra 3 processor, an 8 MP camera, and 32 GBs of storage. That's what I ended up doing when deciding between the two tablets.

trivor says:

Agree - it's hard to see how this competes at all with the Asus Transformer 300 - base memory (32 GB) better, nice accessory keyboard dock (little pricey $149, $99 would be better), much better CPU (Tegra 3 - great for games on your table), ICS w/o Touchwiz (while some people like it I don't hear anyone complaining when it's not there), hard to see how anyone would get the Samsung over the Asus - if I'm missing something please let me know because I'm in the market for something.

litlprince says:

So alot of hate is what im reading. but its well deserved. Samsung shot for a functioning device with minimal bells and whistles with this one. And.. it shows. Yes it has a wimpy processor in it.. i mean its gets the job done nicely but thats about it.

My opinion is that these tab 2's are ok.. they are mid range tablets that simply give you what you need and nothing more. Thats fine and all but it hardly make you wanna throw you transformer prime out the window and order one of these instead.

I think what happen during this time is that samsung was intending to roll out some rather mediocure products to string along the market. Unfortunatly Asus dropped their TP and then apple put out the ipad3. For some reason though they kept going and continued to push these devices which were destined to fail.

Like the skyrocket Hd i fully thought they would scrap these tablets and focus on a better galaxy note 10.1 but i guess not. My only guess it that they will rapidly work towards putting out a higher class of tablet ethier the 10.1 note or the rumored 11.6 to strengthen their product line up.

richardpandy says:

Samsung - I hope you read this. NO ONE WANTS THAT CABLE CONNECTOR STYLE. We want MicroUSB like EVERY OTHER device we own uses. God damnit Samsung. Get off Apples nuts and make it NORMAL. Thanks.

wolphi says:

Well said ! Can't agree more

MasterElwood says:

WTH is this? "Processor: 1 GHz Dual-Core Processor"

Really? This says NOTHING! This is everything from a Tegra2 to a S4!

I expect more from the best Android Website / Podcast in the World....

bigrey81 says:

ANDROID CENTRAL Is just reviewing the product that Samsung produced....

meyerweb says:

The point, I think, was the AC should provide more specifics on the processor. That has nothing to do with Samsung, and everything to do with AC.

bigrey81 says:

ANDROID CENTRAL Didn't do anything you need to call up Samsung and tell them update the og galaxy tab 10.1 to ics then push out the galaxy note pad....scratch this thing here cause atleast apple went from a5 to a5x processor w/the new ipad..Samsung went backwards on us...

TheDonJ77 says:

I still think its ridiculous that the OG 10.1 still has no ICS

LNWJ says:

Does anyone have one of these and care to share the Phase Beam live wallpaper? Using ICS on my Tab 10.1 (non-2) and would love to have a functioning one. One in the video looks sized for Tablets. :-)

pjames6 says:

It doesn't seem like that big of an upgrade. Have we heard anything about the Transformer Tf700? Would much rather wait for that one..