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Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 8.0 review

The quick take

The Galaxy Tab S2 8.0 is thin, light, powerful, has a great screen, and is sprinkled with extra features like a fingerprint sensor, good battery life, a decent rear-facing camera and a solid side-by-side app implementation. Unfortunately it still comes up short with Samsung's overall weak software design, and poor button and speaker placement when using the tablet in landscape. Perhaps the biggest downside, however, is it's price — not everyone is willing to spend $399 on an 8-inch tablet.

The good

  • Amazingly light
  • Super fast
  • Great screen
  • Good battery life

The bad

  • TouchWiz still needs to improve
  • Expensive
  • Subpar cameras
  • Bad speaker placement

Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 8.0

Lot of tablet for a lot of money

Galaxy Tab S2 8.0 Full Review

High-end Android tablets hardly have the market or mind share that Apple's iPad line does, but you can still count on Samsung to release a couple solid tablet offerings every year. Though I'm not too convinced they sell very well in the grand scheme of the tablet market, as far as higher-end Android offerings go Samsung has a good chunk of the sales — and for good reason, they're often the best choices if you're looking to spend a bit extra on a tablet. The latest offering is the Galaxy Tab S2, coming in both 8-inch and 9.7-inch sizes, as a follow-up to the nicely-received Galaxy Tab S series.

Just like its previous iterations, Samsung is focusing on a few key points that really sell tablets — light weight, a great screen and solid performance for gaming and media consumption. At the same time Samsung can leverage its absolutely massive customer base of people who are familiar with its TouchWiz software customizations to sell tablets that won't require any extra learning after they get it home.

All of the boxes are checked here on the Galaxy Tab S2, with few compromises. But does that mean it's worth the premium price it commands while the Android tablet market goes cheaper and cheaper? That's what we're here to explain — read on for our full Galaxy Tab S2 8.0 review.

  • 8-inch SuperAMOLED
  • 2048x1536 resolution
  • 8MP rear camera
  • 2.1MP front camera
  • 4000 mAh battery
  • 5V/2A charger included
  • Exynos 5433 octa-core CPU
  • 3GB of RAM
  • 32GB of storage
  • SD card expandable
  • 802.11ac Wi-Fi
  • Fingerprint sensor
  • Android 5.1.1 Lollipop
  • TouchWiz customizations

About this review

I (Andrew Martonik) am writing this review after two weeks using a black 32GB Wi-Fi model of the Galaxy Tab S2 8.0. The software build on the tablet was LMY47X.T710XXU2BOJ1 (the latest software), and wasn't updated during the course of the review.

Samsung also offers a 9.7-inch version of the Galaxy Tab S2, with the same design and specs but a larger screen and battery. Unless otherwise noted, this review is mostly applicable to both tablets.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 8.0

So thin and light it's amazing

Galaxy Tab S2 8.0 Hardware and display

Though it was released in the summer of 2015 and only shown off finally at the Galaxy Note 5 launch, the Galaxy Tab S2 8.0 actually shares a resemblance to Samsung's devices of late last year — the Galaxy Note 4 and Galaxy Alpha. Just like those devices, there's a metal frame that runs through the tablet and is exposed around the edges, with a light powder coating on it matching the color of the rest of the device that's nicely chamfered on the top edges.

It harkens back to Samsung's 2014 phones, but keeps the design simple

The contrast between the shiny edges and matte color is most pronounced on the black model (which I have here), but is noticeable on the white and gold models as well. It feels a bit cheaper than the fully-exposed metal frame on the Galaxy S6 and Note 5, but is still cold to the touch and nice to grip nonetheless.

Aside from the bits of metal exposed around the edges, the rest of the device is either plastic (on the back) or glass (on the front). The entire back plate is a slightly-soft panel of plastic, which feels solid — thanks to the fact that it isn't removable — and provides just the right amount of grip without also collecting tons of fingerprints. There are two little spring-loaded holes that are used for attaching accessory covers and keyboards (never understood why Samsung doesn't use magnets instead), and a small but noticeable camera pod up at the top when held in portrait. It all adds up to a very generic "tablet" shape and design, which is just fine for me.

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Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 8.0

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Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 8.0

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Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 8.0

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Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 8.0

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Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 8.0

It's almost unbelievably thin and light, making it easy to hold in either orientation

Despite being rather angular on the sides, super thin and completely flat on the back, the extreme lightness of the Tab S2 8.0 — 265 g, or just over half a pound — makes the Tab S2 super easy to hold, even in one hand. The bezels aren't as super-thin as the ones on Samsung's modern phones, and on a tablet we're happy about that — you need somewhere to grip this thing. The top bezel is plenty large, but unfortunately Samsung is sticking with its standard physical home button and two capacitive keys on the bottom bezel, making it tough to hold the tablet in landscape without activating them.

The placements of the buttons, keys and logos on the Tab S2 8.0 clearly point to this being a portrait-first device, but a tablet is used in landscape far more often than a phone and when you rotate it the navigation buttons are a real hinderance to your usage. On-screen navigation buttons would've made far more sense here, even at the cost of losing a fingerprint sensor that's embedded in the home button. Interestingly, Samsung dropped these physical navigation buttons from its gargantuan Galaxy View tablet, even though that's a landscape-only device.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 8.0

Display

Samsung really knows displays, and the Tab S2 8.0 keeps the bar high just like its predecessors have. While I wouldn't put it on the same level as the Galaxy Note 5 (which makes sense considering the price), the 8-inch 2048x1536 SuperAMOLED panel is really good. It gets plenty bright, and importantly for a tablet you're likely to read on it also gets dim without dropping color accuracy or quality.

Samsung knows displays, and the 2048x1536 panel here is solid

As you may notice by those resolution numbers the Tab S2 8.0 has a 4:3 screen aspect ratio, which comes off as being a bit closer to square than many other tablets that are in a 16:10 or 16:9 aspect ratio. Tablets as a whole are moving toward this aspect ratio (see: iPads, Nexus 9, Pixel C, ZenPad S 8.0, etc.), which is far better for reading, browsing, gaming and navigating, but of course gives you black bars above and below widescreen media content.

Watching a movie or TV show and having bars on the top and bottom of the picture is a bit annoying, but that problem is somewhat mitigated by the super deep blacks the AMOLED screen offers. I think most people will be spending more time doing things that fill up the full 4:3 display to make it worth it. And while it isn't as important on a smaller device like this, the 4:3 aspect ratio also helps keep the tablet from feeling too tall when held in portrait mode — a big plus for general navigation and comfort holding the tablet.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 8.0

TouchWiz is still TouchWiz

Galaxy Tab S2 8.0 Software and performance

If you've used any Samsung phone or tablet released in the last two years, you'll feel right at home on the Tab S2 8.0. We're working with Android 5.1.1 and Samsung's TouchWiz customizations, which haven't changed much since the move to Lollipop and a general slimming down of the number of bells, whistles and features. What you get here precisely mirrors the Galaxy Note 5, save for a few tablet-related interface tweaks in the settings.

It's just like a big Samsung phone — and that may be a good or bad thing for you

Because of its small size and portrait-first design, the launcher home screens and app drawer aren't really changed from the phone interface either, which I'm generally okay with on a smaller tablet. The stock launcher is in a 6x5 configuration for your apps and widgets, and unlike the phones there's no way to change the grid size — you'll have to go to a third-party launcher for that. The display density is set so that you get a good amount of information on any given screen, with proper tablet-optimized apps looking nice in both portrait and landscape.

You of course get Samsung's main set of customizations, with a configurable set of quick settings toggles in the notification shade, the Flipboard-powered "Briefing" interface on the leftmost home screen, side-by-side Multi Window apps and Samsung's usual suite of in-house apps. Microsoft's Word, PowerPoint, OneNote and OneDrive are pre-loaded as well, which doesn't make as much sense on the 8-inch model as it does on the 9.7-inch that has an optional keyboard cover accessory.

Even with a slightly slower processor, the Tab S2 8.0 really flies

Performance-wise the software is extremely fast, right on par with the latest Samsung phones despite the Tab S2 8.0 having a lower-power processor — the Exynos 5430 versus the 7420 found in the Note 5. It's still a quick octa-core chip and it's backed up by 3GB of RAM, meaning you won't have any issues with basic or complex tasks. Outside of a single issue with Wi-Fi connectivity dropping I never had a drop in performance on the Tab S2, which is a great sign. Most people don't really put tablets — especially smaller models — through too many demanding tasks, but even if you need to crank it up and do some multitasking or heavy gaming the Tab S2 is up for it.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 8.0

Just a really big Samsung phone

Using the Galaxy Tab S2 8.0

Getting to know the Galaxy Tab S2 8.0 is pretty simple — just like every other mid-sized tablet, you use it just like a really big phone, in this case it's just a big Galaxy S6. The story of Android apps not being tablet-ready has been told numerous times, and it's the same situation all over again here on the Tab S2. Plenty of apps — like those from Samsung and some of Google's — that you open up on the tablet will fill the screen with a dense view of information that takes advantage of the size, but a majority won't ... they'll just look like a phone app. Now on a portrait-oriented 8-inch tablet that ends up not being too big of an issue, and in that respect the Tab S2 gets a bit of a pass, but on the larger 9.7-inch version it starts to be more noticeable and frustrating.

Now of course this isn't anything Samsung has control over — all it can do is what it's done, which is make its own apps fill the screen properly, and keep making good tablets to hopefully encourage app developers to make their apps scale better to the larger screen. In fact, having a larger screen to work with points out one of Samsung's biggest strengths — hundreds of great apps support its Multi Window function to run phone-sized side-by-side apps when holding the Tab S2 8.0 in landscape mode. Not every app supports this function, but more than you'd expect do and being able to work with two different apps at the same time is great even on this smaller tablet screen.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 battery life

Battery life

When it comes to battery life, the Tab S2 8.0 actually doesn't offer that big of a cell under its plastic back. You get just 4000 mAh, which is on the small side for a device of this size but helps achieve that amazingly light weight. Samsung quotes 10 hours of "Internet use" (whatever that means) out of the Tab S2 8.0, and broadening that out to just 10 hours of general screen-on use I found it to be generally true. As is the case with everyone else I don't stare at my tablet for hours and hours on end, I use it for 15 or 30 minutes at a time — save for when I'm watching a movie — and it sits on a table the rest of the time. Because it doesn't pack Marshmallow's great Doze feature to help standby usage it does drain notably when the screen's off, but importantly it doesn't drain heavily with the screen on either.

Even with a small battery, I found no shortcomings in battery longevity

For example, streaming an HD video from Google Play Movies drops the Tab S2 8.0's battery at a rate of five percent every half hour, meaning you could watch five hours straight of video and only use half of a full battery charge. The same went for my usual morning streaming sessions of English Premier League matches using the NBC Sports Live Extra app, where I could watch a full match (nearly two hours) and only watch the battery meter drop a handful of percentage points. It's important that a tablet can handle this sort of usage smoothly, and the Tab S2 8.0 definitely does. When I set the tablet back down, it dropped maybe a percentage point or two before I picked it up again later in the day.

Interestingly Samsung doesn't include its Adaptive Fast Charging (that'd be Quick Charge) on the tablet, which would have been a nice feature to have — even though the battery isn't very big for an 8-inch tablet, it's still large and takes plenty of time to charge up. The only thing really going for it here is that you aren't likely to be charging the tablet but every few of days when using it casually, and it has plenty of life to last you a full day of use including multiple hours of video playback.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 8.0

Speakers

I've talked multiple times here about the Tab S2 8.0's portrait orientation and how it comes back to bite you when you use it in landscape mode, but one of the biggest areas this is notable is with the speaker. There are two speaker grilles on the bottom of the Tab S2 8.0 (when holding in portrait orientation), meaning that you can get a weak form of stereo when holding the tablet that way (they're only a couple inches apart) but get a completely lopsided audio experience when holding the tablet in landscape.

The speakers are clearly for portrait use, and it ruins the audio experience for landscape viewing

Considering that you're most likely to want good speakers on your tablet when holding it in landscape instead of portrait, such as for video or playing a game, it's unfortunate to have the speakers on only one side. Clearly there are size constraints at play here with the thin 5.6 mm frame, but if there was any way to get true stereo speakers in here when holding it in landscape mode that would've been great. The 8-inch screen may not offer the most immersive experience compared to a larger tablet, but its portable size and light weight really make it great for traveling with the watch video, and it comes up short because of the speaker placement.

Beyond just the placement issues the speakers just aren't that loud, which again is unsurprising considering the thinness and weight of the tablet. With all of the high-end features and components on offer in the Tab S2, the speaker is the one really disappointing aspect of it. You're probably best off plugging a pair of good headphones into the tablet if you're going to sit down for anything longer than a 10-minute YouTube video.

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Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 8.0 camera sample

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Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 8.0 camera sample

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Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 8.0 camera sample

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Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 8.0 camera sample

Cameras

An 8-inch tablet is right on the borderline of what I'd personally deem acceptable to be taking pictures with out in the world, but if you must hold up this big slab to snap a photo of a nice scene on the street it will hopefully turn out well. The 8MP camera on the back of the Tab S2 8.0 is hardly up to par with even those found in Samsung's high-end phones last year, though it does have a fast f/1.9 aperture and the same camera interface when you power it up. It also offers electronic video stabilization when shooting in 1080p, but if you turn off the extra features it's capable of 1440p video capture.

A decent rear camera is nice to have, but this one's not good enough

Images are pretty good, at least for a tablet, but won't be rivaling shots from last year's flagship or even some mid-range phones. Dynamic range isn't too great, and while the camera is quick to capture shots I wasn't blown away by the results. It was useful for snapping pictures of things around the house, and getting the occasional shot when I was out-and-about, but it's worth remembering that the phone you certainly have on you anyway will probably offer a better experience.

The front-facing camera is just a 2.1MP unit, but by default is set to 1.6MP to fill the 4:3 screen. It's quite bad, actually, and will really only suffice for video Hangouts and really shouldn't be considered for selfies (for numerous reasons). I know there are serious thickness and depth considerations when putting a front-facing camera in a tablet, but I'd much rather have opted for having no rear camera at all on the Tab S2 8.0 to simply get a better shooter on the front for video calls.

Fingerprint sensor

One feature that's carried over nicely from the modern Samsung phones is the one-touch fingerprint sensor in the home button, which is backed up by the same software experience for recognizing and using those prints in apps. You can use the fingerprint sensor to unlock the tablet of course, as well as protect content in certain apps and unlock third-party apps that have integrated with Samsung's fingerprint APIs.

It works well, just like it does on the Galaxy Note 5, but I don't find a fingerprint sensor to be such a "must have" on a usually home-bound tablet as I do on a phone. In the end it adds more cost to a tablet that's quite spendy already, and as I noted earlier it's just another reason to keep the less-than-optimal hardware navigation keys on the bezel of the tablet.

A great tablet, with a high price

Galaxy Tab S2 8.0 Bottom line

Samsung has done an admirable job with the Tab S2 8.0, hitting tons of big selling points for mid-sized tablets. It has a great screen for all kinds of tasks, is amazingly thin and light, and has really solid performance and battery life. The Tab S2 8.0 even has one advantage over non-Samsung tablets in that it has a robust number of developers that integrate with its Multi Window software.

But for all of those upsides, Samsung still stumbles a bit in a few key areas. For a tablet that's likely to be used for media playback, it doesn't lend itself well to landscape viewing with its static hardware navigation buttons, and the speakers are both week and positioned poorly for landscape viewing as well. And though Samsung's software customizations are familiar for those with its phones, aside from Multi Window I don't find much of its design very pleasing to the eye. Including a capable 8MP camera is a nice-to-have feature, but it's not likely to be better than the phone in your pocket, and simply adds to the cost of the tablet — meanwhile the front-facing camera, which you're more likely to use, isn't very good at all.

Those downsides wouldn't normally be deal-killers considering how many great specs and features there are to be had on the Tab S2 8.0, but Samsung has put a price tag on the tablet that makes you a bit less willing to deal with compromises. There's no doubt that this tablet offers a great overall experience, and ticks many boxes of what people are looking for in an 8-inch device, but at this price the market is severely diminished.

Should you buy it? If money is no object

The real question about the Galaxy Tab S2 8.0 is not whether it's a good tablet, but rather how good it is to justify its relatively high price. For an 8-inch tablet that most people won't be using as much as a phone, a $399 MSRP (or $499 with LTE) is a pretty high ask. That's double the price of something like an NVIDIA Shield Tablet K1, and the exact same price as Apple's iPad Mini 4 ... do I think it's twice as good as the Shield Tablet K1? Not really. Does the average consumer value Samsung's experience over Apple's at the same price? That's quite debatable.

Of course there are some out there for whom $399 isn't too much to ask for a mid-size tablet, and the only question is "what's the best?" — well, the Tab S2 8.0 definitely offers a good experience, there's no getting around that. At the same time, if you plan to use this highly-portable and powerful tablet constantly, carry it with you every day, and really get the most for your money, you may be able to convince yourself that $399 for an Android tablet nowadays is an acceptable price.

When money is no object, it's one to look at. For the rest of us who are on a budget, it's a tough sell.

Where to buy the Galaxy Tab S2 8.0

If you've decided that the Galaxy Tab S2 8.0 is the one for you, you can buy one from any of these links below. At the time of publishing several retailers are offering the Tab S2 8.0 on sale for about $349 — perhaps that can sway your decision.

Andrew was an Executive Editor, U.S. at Android Central between 2012 and 2020.

87 Comments
  • Nice review. Visually, it appears to be the mix of a S6 and S6 Active. I'm not complaining though, I like the matte finish and metal trim.
  • I am saying no to Samsung tablets. I have had Tab 2, Tab 3, Tab pro 8.4, Tab S 8.4 and every time while there are improvements there is something that is still annoying. But I keep buying them in hope that maybe this time they would definitely make it the best. But that hasn't happened yet. I checked out Tab S2 at the store and wow this tablet is thin. But my main problem now is 1. hardware buttons and 2. Touchwiz and also lack of OS upgrades. Recently Samsung dropped Tab Pro 8.4 from lollipop update program altogether. Hardware buttons, while they work on the phone better they are bad for tablet because every time you hold the tablet in landscape to play a game you are accidentally hitting back key or recent keys. It gets boring after some time. Plus there isn't much support in custom rom world for these tablets anymore. Samsung is pushing out tablets at a crazy pace and seems like developers are not interested in these anymore. You can still find a port or two of CM for some of these tablets but that's about it. I would rather go and get a Shield K1 for $200 and call it a day. Edit:
    BTW, I forgot to mention, great review. But still not getting it. :)
  • Bought one at John Lewis on Black Friday for £220. At that price it made sense, bit it remains a compromise. The speakers aren't in the best position, but sound clear and neutral. Also the sound stage seems better than my Note 3 (which is an older device). Its not the only Android tablet I like, but none I can buy here really are. So far, I like it. Awesome AC.
  • I agree it would feel special at that price again. I don't mind the speaker position, if I'm in a hotel or bed I use headphones and I would / could watch You Tubes in portrait.
    Likewise I've never had a tablet, just a Note 3 also, but I think I would prefer the buttons in portrait layout, and zap myself with an electric cattle prod every time I accidentally touch them in landscape mode.
    Important points to bring up though, of course.
    Dang I miss a Samsung, but my first priority is a better phone.
  • Was very close to buying this on black Friday for £219. Went in store with the intention to buy it. Had a play around with a display model and it looked great, was super thin and light, screen was great, was fast etc but when I saw that it was running 5.0.1(maybe 2 can't remember) and not even the stable 5.1.1 version of lollipop I came to my senses. I just thought to myself no way I'm going to buy a device with a year old software with no idea when it will be updated to marshmallow and chances are when it does get the update the next version of Android well probabaly be out so it will always be behind. Now I just need google to release a nexus 8 with multi window support. If ones not bothered about being upto date then it's a great tablet. Posted via the Android Central App Posted via the Android Central App
  • I saw that the larger version had 5.1 and thought the 8.0 would follow soon. It should be OK. Awesome AC.
  • I thought hey if I would have to wait for 5.1.1 then how long before it gets M. Luckily I decided against it as it still hasn't got 5.1.1 and leaks suggest android M won't be coming toll sometimes in q2 which is like several months away which by then 6.1 will probably be out so I think I did a good job staying away. Samsung good in so many areas but one areas that's become very important recently ie updates they are still very poor. Might get get the shield tablet k1 for £150 which will get android M this month too. Posted via the Android Central App
  • After owning the S6 I've realized I can't trust any reviews talking about fast performance from a Samsung device. I think my Note 4 performed better than this thing (I know the multitasking was better). Yeah, at first it was pretty fast, but after a few months it crawls and some days is barely usable. Multitasking is still broken (not surprised) and it makes it hard to do very basic smartphone things (I have a message, let me navigate away from this video and then navigate back oh the video has to load again). I won't be buying another Samsung phone until they fix their problems. Camera is good though, yeah I mean sometimes it takes 15 seconds to take a shot but hey at least it takes good pictures of that thing I was trying to take a picture of 15 seconds ago. Posted via the Android Central App
  • What are you considering for your next phone if not Samsung? Nexus 6
  • Man, I don't know, I considered going into that in the original post but decided against it for reasons that will become obvious. LG's skin is offensive to my eyes and the performance on their phones seem to be lacking. Motorola has been a pretty big disappointment to me this year, their phones just haven't grabbed me like they have in the past. I've been with Android since March of 2010, the Droid was my first smartphone and I have never even thought about switching platforms...until recently. The iPhone is looking better and better with its quick updates, solid build quality, and good camera. If I stick with Android it'll definitely be a 6P or whatever the equivalent is when it finally comes time to get rid of this ****. I wish I hadn't shattered my Note 4 :( Posted via the Android Central App
  • You could always buy a Oneplus /s Nexus 6
  • On a serious note, we are in an era of diminishing returns. If you use your phone for basic functions like Internet browsing, the odd game or video, music, etc., then it's really all down to personal preference for ergonomics, the software UI and criteria for performance.
    I purposely exclude camera quality because everyone wants that nowadays. Nexus 6
  • Yeah, what doesn't help the issue is that whether Android users what to admit it or not, there is a non negligible amount of games and apps that hit iOS long before Android (if they ever hit Android). Yes, there are certain types of apps that will never be allowed on the app store, I find that I do not use those apps. I dunno man, hey though! Lucky for me I have over a year left with this piece of junk, lots of time to think about it! Posted via the Android Central App
  • Agreed. I had stutters on my S6 frequently. Posted via Nexus 6P
  • Same here. I and my family have been persuaded by product reviews to purchase several Samsung products in the past; netbook, tablet, and several feature phones (Samsung Tocca etc.). All of these products have performed well for a month out two, but have all let us down for one reason or another after a few months, the Tocca being the exception. I have now sworn never to buy another Samsung product again no matter how good reviews their products get. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I have not had good experiences with Samsung tablets.
    I'll likely be picking up a Shield Tablet K1 in a couple weeks. I prefer a 16:10 aspect ratio and front facing speakers. Seems like a no brainer to spend half the price for features I actually want. Nexus 6
  • i got the k1 and i couldn't be more happy
  • I have shield tablet, the speakers are nice, along with the widescreen for games and videos. YMMV, the only downside I've found on it has been battery life..it's poor for me.
  • Hopefully the Marshmallow update can help mitigate some of those battery issues. Nexus 6
  • I've had the Tab S2 8 for a few months now and agree in general with your points. I think it's quite good, except for the button and speaker placements being less than ideal. I think IT IS worth twice as much as the Shield Tablet K1 because the Shield Tablet is garbage. The Shield Tablet constantly stutters, lags and hang from Day 1 on two difference tablets. Maybe I just had two lemons in a row (probably not). The Samsung has not had any of those problems. I'd be very interested in whether you guys picking up the K1 have the same problem.
  • It's gotta be better than my '12 Nexus 7 Nexus 6
  • My WiFi only Hisense Sero 7 Pro (Nexus 7 clone) was perfect until the Tegra chipset became outdated. Now I use a LTE Galaxy Tab 4. Similar experience with a SnapDragon 400 that's a little more powerful than the 2013 Nexus 7 with the S4 Pro. Sprint Galaxy Tab 4 on 5.1.1 update.
    Gives me hope for 6.0 Marshmallow.
  • Where do you all get these crazy prices from? 399 for the s2 8.0? Really? You can get the tab s2 9.7 32gb model for 399... and last week you could of gotten the 9.7 s2 for 399 and got back 200 dollars worth of sears sywr points.. smh.... then to top it off I don't think the article mentioned the year of free netflix promo Samsung is running for these tabs.... that's another $100 value. Double smh..... Posted via the Android Central App
  • These reviews usually list the MSRP, unless otherwise specified. The price on the Samsung store's US site is $399 (although currently at a promotional price of $349). Posted via the Android Central App
  • Which I've listed both here. You're right, we ALWAYS list MSRP — there's no way for us to keep tracking sale prices, we have to go with the price the manufacturer sets.
  • I think they are using MSRP. I got a Tab S2 9.7 for $350.00. If the year of free Netflix comes through we're talking $230 since I currently pay for that service. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Exactly you paid 350 plus the year of netflix for the 9.7 tab s2. This article is saying 399 for the 8 inch model tab s2 with no mention of netflix.... good article though even if it was harping on the price of the tablet as one of the main negatives about it...even though it can be had at many other places for a lower price with a minimal search. Posted via the Android Central App
  • We can't review a device based on a promotional sale price that's only offered at some retailers and for a limited amount of time. If someone reads this review after that sale ends (which I think is at the end of December) the price goes right back to $399, which is the price that Samsung set when it was introduced. Of course you can always find the current price of the tablet and evaluate whether its worth it at that price, but there's no way we're going to be able to keep adjusting reviews based on some promo price that's out there at the time. It's just not reasonable. We always have to evaluate it based on the MSRP set by the manufacturer that made it.
  • Another issue is warranty and support. The support and warranty help from JL has always been good. Awesome AC.
  • I'm a platinum Samsung member I get better support on Samsung products than alot of people. What's jl support? I don't even have to mail a defective device back before they send me a new one with samsung platinum support. Posted via the Android Central App
  • JL = John Lewis. I find them about the best in terms of Warranty support; and the £220 price clinched the deal. In the UK, your first point of contact is the seller, not the manufacturer. I haven't heard about Samsung Platinum membership. Did you buy direct from them? Posted via the Android Central App
  • check slickdeals often and you'll see it for 375 to 399. sometimes it's a great tablet and it's 350 it's a feat tablet Imo but not for 500 bucks. Posted via the Android Central App
  • "it does drain notably when the screen's off," It must be some app sucking up the juice on yours. My wife unplugged her S2 this morning around 7 am, used it for 15 minutes checking emails and Facebook, and it's been sitting on the table since. It's now almost 9 hrs later and it reads 97% battery . That's with none of the Samsung Power Saver features on. I like hers so much I traded in my Note 8.0 and got an S2 8.0 myself.
  • I agree, there must be something running in the background. I will come back home after work, and it'll still be around 95%.
  • Perhaps it's just the sheer number of notifications I get (think about multiple email accounts, social networks, messaging apps, etc.), but I do find it drains at a faster rate than a Marshmallow device does with Doze. It's not alarming, but it does lose a handful of percent when sitting for the day.
  • Did this tablet get the Samsung battery optimization update? My s6e plus and tab s8.4 did and it made a huge difference much more so then doze would. Posted via the Android Central App
  • DS Battery Saver Pro... On demand Doze for those not on Marshmallow. Sprint Galaxy Tab 4 on 5.1.1 update.
    Gives me hope for 6.0 Marshmallow.
  • In the UK the 8.0 is still sold with 5.0.2 (and so far no update) but the 9.7 is sold with 5.1 Any idea why? Awesome AC.
  • Samsung has never understood the need for good speakers and their placement. Just about every Sammy device has this complaint. I get it on phones a bit, folks connecting to the car or headphones, but tabs are for media consumption.
  • I'd recommend the Nexus 9 on Amazon over this, got one and had the other... The one I kept was the N9, just better value for money Posted via the Android Central App
  • When this is on sale its the best android tablet out if your main use is media consumption. The screen and weight make it ahead of basically anything out, The exynos is also fast in this unit and has good battery life.
  • I agree that it's a good choice when on sale, but not sure how you can recommend it if your MAIN use is media consumption. The thing is not made for landscape media consumption considering its buttons and speakers. There are better tablets for you if all you want is full-screen landscape media viewing.
  • Recommend the tab s 8.4 for best media consumption Posted via the Android Central App
  • Good point. If you use a tab for a while your muscle memory changes with the button layout. What I meant was media consumption + browsing. The most important thing for me is the weight of a tablet which makes me use it more than even if it was a half pound heavier. I have 3 tab s 8.4's so i still have the better aspect ratio for media. One runs cm13 so it has a choice of turning off the capacitive buttons.
  • I am so torn between the S2 8" or S2 9.7" I know the 4:3 vs 16:9 ratio. I want to be able to take notes and use Word and Excel. I will watch movies, surf web, emails (I use about 5 Gmail accounts) and more. If I get the 9.7 there is also an option of 64GB plus up to 128GB SD Card. The secondary issue is cost of course but at this time unless I want to go Apple (not going to) the Samsung Tb S2s are the only choices. I loved the Nexus 7 (2012) i originally had but Lollipop has rendered it completely useless even for just media consumption.
  • Both tablets have the same resolution and aspect ratio, 2048x1536 in a 4:3 ratio. It really comes down to cost and personal preference. If you need more room for notes and things (and are you thinking keyboard? Then 9.7 is your only choice) and don't mind the price, go 9.7. If you want to save some money and get extra portability, stick with 8.0. There's also the aforementioned thing of apps just working better on the 8.0 because of how most Android apps scale — the 9.7 can better reveal the poor design of some apps.
  • Try factory resetting your old tab, it can do wonders to an old device, especially one that went through a rough software update.
  • Whoops, wrong place to comment. It belongs up ^^^
  • I far prefer the placement of buttons on my Tab S2 than the OG Tab S 10.5, it doesn't require me to stretch my finger across the tablet to the center where the buttons are. Yes, they are a bit annoying when you accidentally tap them, but it only took me a week to learn where not to press and be on my way. Love my S2 by the way, got it for the equivalent of about 270 USD for the 4G model, after trading in my old GS3 in a Samsung promo.
  • The tab s2 is by far the best android tablet imo it's super fast lite and thin and the screen wow ...only the 4:3 aspect ratio .is keeping me with my 8 4 tab s which by the way is the next best android Tablet. If you find ether on sale grab it . It's the closest thing to a iPad that's not a boring apple product. Think of it as a super sized gs6 with a better battery what's not to like Posted via the Android Central App
  • You notice last year they blew the tab pro 8.4 out at discount prices? The tab s 8.4 still is holding its high price. I like my tab S 8.4 better than the tab s2. Posted via the Android Central App
  • They both are beast the 16:9 ratio is the difference for me price wise there about the same averaging $350 on sell and beside that my tab s 8.4 fits my back pocket like a big cell phone love that Posted via the Android Central App
  • I still can't used to a 4:3 tablet. I have a Nexus 7 (2013) and G S 8.4. After playing with the G S2 8.0, it just feels 'weird' to use and slightly awkward. I've never had an issue using the two tablets I own in portrait mode even when being productive. I think Android tablets are better in the original 16:10 format. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I gotta agree with you whole heartedly 16:9 just works for me . That being said the tab s2 is a beast in every way. And the price is far for what you get . Not sure why everyone thinks all android tablet are over priced at $400, but gladly pay $600 for a iPad which my wife has and it's no faster lighter are thinner then the tab s2 go figure Posted via the Android Central App
  • I've got a nexus 7 too and I'm glad to see the move to 4:3. My issue with my nexus 7 is in landscape mode once you add the on screen buttons you don't see much content on the screen. Web browsing is poor imo in landscape mode etc. For watching stuff it's great though. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Looks nice, but i still say the K1 tablet or even my Z3 Tablet Compact is a better get at this price point. Posted via Xperia Z3
  • Well unfortunately it's only this price point if you're not good at using Google to search and see 10 stores in a row selling it for less lol Posted via the Android Central App
  • Is there even a reason to buy this over the Tab S 8.4? Doesn’t look like it. Posted by a typing monkey.
  • Well it depends if you read a lot of books are watch a lot of video and the tab s still has the ir blaster they both are 2k but I'll admit that the s2 does have more natural colors that look just like my GS6 edge plus to be honest you can't go wrong with ether Posted via the Android Central App
  • Yes, many reasons. 4:3 aspect ratio is better for everything except watching video. Thinner, lighter, about 33% improved CPU performance. 32gb base storage vs 16gb. Less Touchwiz lag hopefully? I'm returning the Tab S 8.4 I just bought to get the Tab S2 8.0 so I'll find out.
  • I really wanted a Tab S2 8.0, but the sale price at $350 isn't justifiable. Even the iPad Mini 4 is on sale for $300 at Best Buy. Ended up getting a Tab S 8.4 for $150 instead.
  • I know the written reviews are very in depth but there aren't any video reviews?
  • Nice review. If you're interested in the 9.7" tablet, which usually sells for $499 but have been balking at the price, would getting it for almost $150 less change your mind. It may have changed mine. You can get an open box 32gb S2 9.7" for $351.99. For that price, I'm considering upgrading from my 16gb Tab S because I have to keep deleting apps (to much bloatware, Samsung, so not enough memory!). There is a 64gb model as well, also on sale. I watch a lot of videos, so the S2 8" or iPad mini don't work for me. I've got a big phone; don't need a small tablet.
  • That speaker placement is just plain dumb. There's no other word for it. I like to watch video on my tablet in bed, and the speakers on my Nexus 9 are perfect for that. The speakers on the S2 would be really weird for that. Posted via the Android Central App
  • To be fair the speakers on must tablets suck and it's not just there placement. My 8.4s which I love the speakers just aren't loud enough. Now the ones on my tab 10.1 pro are much better . I've always wondered how a 5.7 in phone has way better speakers( louder )then a much bigger tablet . Nothing a good pair of headphones can't fix though Posted via the Android Central App
  • The speaker placement is the same as the iPad. You can blame Apple for this, because Samsung copied Apple. The funny thing is, Samsung had it right 3 years ago with the Nexus 10 by putting stereo speakers on the front. Just another reason why the Nexus 10 was ahead of its time.
  • I really wanna like Sammy's tablets, the kids love em, but my Note 12 pro 32GB 3 GB of ram at 18 month's old is still on 4.4.2, that's sort of OK but what's not is it's performance, ditched as much crap as I could, now it's got 1.2 GB ram available.... Nexus 7 lte 32GB 2GB ram 18 months old now on M6 has 1.1 GB ram available..and its overall performance has improved as it's got older....awesome.
    They run the same apps, but Sammy's extra bloat and touchwiz just ruin the experience compared to Nexus 7. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Hum two things first my 10.1 pro is on 5.0 here in the states granted my buddies 8.4 pro is on 4.4 go figure. But my pro stills run very good . Next thing the tab s and s2 are a whole nother animal all together the the Exynos processor trust me it's not even close my 8.4 s has been a beast since day one . That same buddy of mine has the first gen nexus 7 which kept getting all the latest updates got slower and slower to where he finally gave in and got the 8.4 pro he's now looking for a opened box 9.7 tab s2 hah he's cheap Posted via the Android Central App
  • I certainly agree about the Tab S 8.4,
    daughters got one, just it's screen quality alone... far superior to N7.
    Got the Note 12 for work, as a powerful and productive tool it's very impressive.. but it's a little ott for home use.
    I'm really looking for a tablet to replace N7 for simple domestic duties, Samsung's tablets like the S2 8.0 are very appealing but so is uptodate software and subjectively smooth ux,
    I guess what I really want is a Nexus7 with QHD amoled 16.9 and Sammy's swipe for screenshot.. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Sounds like you want the tab s 10.1 Posted via the Android Central App
  • I agree with you there 1 shotovanilla. If they just made a New Nexus 7 with better update screen and processor with maybe the same design, that would the greatest! When I bought my N7 2013, i couldn't leave it alone it was better for watching movies and easy to carry around der tot the design.
  • Looks wonderful. Even if it's worth the money, it's more than I'd pay for a tablet.
  • I have this tablet and it's going back to the store, unfortunately. Most of the negatives are what are pointed out here, but the screen and speed are definitely much better than most Android tabs out there. The fingerprint reader is TERRIBLE, and it almost never works for me the first time (or the second or third). That renders it unusable. I get why the buttons are not for portrait use... Android tablets are generally awful in landscape, as there are apps that throw you into portrait, and then you need to pick up the tablet and tilt it again to get it back to landscape. It bugs the crap out of me, and it's clear that the iPad has the only usable tablet OS out there right now... especially now with the excellent picture-in-picture and split screen implementation. So I'll keep an Android tablet around, but it's a cheap Nexus 7 that I got for $100, not something this expensive.
  • I like Android but I would say no to an Android tablet, sorry but i d much rather have an iPad. Posted via My Nexus 6 with Marshmallow goodness
  • Same here. The quality and quality of tablet-specific apps is, in my opinion, better on iOS.
  • a real tablet yAll ...
  • I got a pair of the 9.7 inches (WIFI and LTE) for my wife and I and we love them. We had a pair of Nexus 7 2013's for 2 years which were getting a little sluggish and cramped for what we were wanting to do with tablets more recently. I think this is easily the best 10"-ish android tablet with the awesome screen, super light, powerful enough to handle anything, multi-window is priceless and expandable storage.
  • Android tablets don't get updates. I hate ios. Surfaces are pricey for the good ones. No tablets for me. Posted using SwiftKey on my LG G4 via the Android Central App
  • Set the iPad Mini not perfect why would you expect this to be.
  • Apple didn't know what they were doing going with a 4:3 screen. A total screwup. And Samsung being so hard up trying to be like Apple, copies them. Now an 8" tablet is actually a 5" tablet when you're watching 16:9 movies. Pathetic.
  • If you buy a Samsung tablet, get a two year warranty on it. They don't last. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Though I love Sammys products, im not digging the S2 due to it looks to similar the Ipad then to the place the speakers in the oddest of places. I'd rather buy the last year models which i hear is similar except for a couple things. Has anyone did a good comparison of the two to show whether its better to purchase the previous model before this one?
  • Well I just bought this Samsung s2 8.0 about a month ago and it worked perfectly well,then Samsung sent me some patch update to the incumbent 5.0.2 and now the device is practically crippled as it's always tripping off and back on at least,ten times a day.I have already done a hard a reset more than five times and the issue persist.The only option left is to take it to the service,but the problem with that is everytime I took my previous Samsung devices to the service,they all came back with some little scatches that I can't make a claim for.Does anybody have any idea what I can do?
  • I just got this 8" tablet as a gift but an updated model ...a T713.?? Any chance of an updated review. It seems like a beast. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I find that most of your cons don't apply for me - to the contrary. Hard buttons on body of phone versus soft on screen: I've found that the soft android buttons were a disadvantage for various reasons- when in full screen, they are inaccessible and I must often stop what's running or else can't get to the buttons due to lag or something being locked up. At other times, they seem less likely to work than the hard home button in my galaxy phones that I'm used to. I like having one hard button that doesn't depend on the current App/launcher setup's well being to work.
    Also, in landscape mode on the 16:9 screens, too much real estate is lost. With hard buttons on the bottom, the screen is 100% usable and that's good in any orientation, any size, nothing wasted on basic controls.
    The fingerprint reader is a major feature for me. I think that your assumption that most people want a highly portable tablet primarily for use at home is wrong. Maybe on a 17" laptop, but many of us like to have a tablet for use on the go, where security is critical.
    I found the shield to be respected on paper, but many report problems in real life, battery especially And while you can compare retail prices, once you start using price as a major deciding factor, you should at least consider which devices have a price spread, like samsung phones and which will be tightly controlled and sold at the mfrs retail, like the shield. The Shield is a hard $200, this Tab 2 8" is now available for $300. Tab2 is much more the full quality flagship level device.
  • I know this article is old, but I wanted to write my review. I've used both Apple and android devices over the last few years. I'm currently using an iPhone 7 Plus, but I wanted a small tablet for more comfortable reading and other light usage. I have had older variations of the iPad Mini and didn't want a boring iPad so I started looking at the android tablets. I found this Galaxy Tab S2 8.0 model at Barnes and Noble, offered as a Nook tablet and I have to say I love it! It updated to Marshmallow 6.0.1 as soon as I took it out of the box and started setting it up. It's fast and light, comfortable to hold and even with the Barnes and Noble software on there, it works great. In my opinion it's just as good as the iPad Mini's. I think the camera makes better selfies than the iPhone 7 Plus. They are clearer and just better quality. So anyway, for what it's worth I'm very happy with my Tab S2 8.0!
  • I agree with someone above, soft keys can be a pain. My biggest complaint with the Tab S2 is the aspect ratio. I prefer my Tab S (7") for that reason. It's large enough to get some things done, but still very portable. The screen is super bright and sharp. It's probably the same processor, memory, and storage too. We're getting a Shield K1 for one of the kids this year, so we can compare that as well.