Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 (7.0) Review

Introduction and Design

Just a month ago, we managed to preview Samsung’s answer to the Kindle Fire – the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 (7.0). Needless to say, if you’re expecting something cutting-edge, you won’t find it here, but rather, it’s affordably priced at $250 and somehow manages to employ some modest hardware specs to keep up with the times. Across the landscape, this is the first time we’re seeing a premier manufacturer making the leap of faith in producing a competitively price tablet, so we’re hoping to find the results somewhat rewarding in the end.


Unlike the prototype we previewed, there is one major difference we find with this final retail Wi-Fi only version of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 – and that’s the titanium silver plastic casing it’s using, as opposed to the matte backing from before. Still, it employs some of the design schemes found with the previous Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus, but it’s a hairline thicker at 0.41” – though, its weight is about the same at 344 grams. Frankly, it’s not an impressive looking design, but we take comfort in knowing that it’s easy to hold and solidly built to ensure it won’t be falling apart over time.

Being an ICS tablet from the get-go, it ditches those separate capacitive Android buttons, but above the display, we find a front-facing 0.3-megeapixel camera that’s ready for our video chatting sessions and random self-portrait shots.

On its left side we find its microSD protected by a plastic cover, and on the right we have the lock key and the 2-button volume rocker, both of which you can feel with your thumb relatively easy. Becoming a standard with Samsung’s tablets, we find an IR blaster perched on the right edge as well, which turns it into a universal remote. Its top side is occupied by a 3.5-millimeter headphone jack and microphone. Along the bottom edge, we find Samsung's proprietary 30-pin connector and a pair of speakers, which are sufficiently loud.

Tucked towards the upper left corner on the back of the tablet, its 3.2-megapixel fixed focus camera is left all by its lonesome self – though, it’s highlighted by a chrome trim border.


Just like the very first Galaxy Tab, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 (7.0) sports a 7-inch (d'oh) display with a resolution of 1024 by 600 pixels. That translates into a pixel density of 170 ppi, which is nothing spectacular, so don't expect everything on it to look silky smooth like on those high-resolution tablet displays. Relying on Samsung's very own Super PLS LCD technology, it would seem to be spectacular, but we’re not totally sold by its appeal. Indeed, it all culminates to one pleasant looking display, as it sports natural looking colors and decent viewing angles, but we still find ourselves having difficulty viewing it in direct sunlight.

Interface and Functionality:

Fortunately, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 (7.0) runs Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich out of the box, so you don't need to wait for an update from Honeycomb. Being a Samsung-made tablet and all, the manufacturer’s TouchWiz custom interface is present on the device, and it doesn’t deviate much from what we’ve seen previously – such as having access to the Mini Apps tray. In addition to the stock Android applications, the manufacturer has included the Gaming, Readers, and Music Hubs, which complement pretty much all of Samsung's current Android devices.

When it comes to typing stuff up, we’re given just the Samsung keyboard, which is easier to handle in portrait than landscape. Why’s that? Well, our thumbs are able to encompass the entire layout in portrait – whereas in landscape, it’s impractical to use because it’s too crapped to accommodate both hands. Luckily, the keyboard is responsive enough to keep up with our peppy rate.

Not surprisingly, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 coughs up that all too great email experience that we’re so used to seeing on other devices. Both the standard Email and Gmail apps function the same, as they rely on a two-panel interface to provide us with easy organization. With setup, it’s effortless and simply requires our email address and password.

Out of the box, there are relatively few third party apps preloaded with the tablet. In fact, the only ones we find are AllShare, Amazon Kindle, Netflix, and the Peel Smart Remote app. With the latter, we totally love the fact that the tablet essentially doubles as a universal remote – splashed with some social networking aspects.

Processor and Memory:

More than likely caused by the customized UI running on top of Ice Cream Sandwich, the tablet’s performance is still marred by choppy movements and delays – even despite sporting a 1GHz dual-core processor with 1GB of RAM. Honestly, it’s a big letdown, as we find it having issues executing even some basic tasks. For example, it exhibits some slowdown while navigating across the homescreen with a static wallpaper. Trust us, you’re not going to use a live wallpaper with this one. Solidifying our experience, the benchmark tests reaffirm the truth about its inept performance.

Quadrant StandardAnTuTuNenaMark 2
Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 (7.0)2750514430,2
Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.12341516720,6

In a move to cut cost, the tablet’s internal storage is limited to only 8GB, which is half the amount found with the Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus, but in reality, it’s actually 4.59GB. Luckily, it can be supplemented by throwing in a microSD card.

Internet and Connectivity:

After downloading Adobe Flash onto the tablet, we’re able to enjoy the web at its fullest. Other features that make surfing the web more convenient include tabbed browsing, tap-to-zoom, and pinch-to-zoom. All in all, the experience is an acceptable one, since it’s able to maintain a good performance even when heavy Flash content is present. Of course, the display’s resolution doesn’t help in discerning things, but zooming in remedies that.

With this particular model, it’s only a Wi-Fi only one – though, the European version should offer cellular connectivity. As for the other goods, it features aGPS, Bluetooth 3.0, and 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi. Connected to a hotspot in another room, it manages to maintain a solid connection during our testing.


What we have on the tablet's back is a pretty basic 3.2-megapixel camera. It lacks auto-focus and an LED flash, so one should not expect much from it. Overall, its quality is flawed by over-exposure and a distinctive bluish color reproduction throughout all shooting scenarios. Moreover, low lighting shots exhibit a lot of noise and bland colors.

Surprisingly, its 720p video recording fares a bit better, as it’s able to maintain a steady shooting speed of 29 frames per second and produces average looking details – albeit, its audio recording picks up a lot of background noise. In the end, we’d swallow our pride and use the tablet to capture something in the event that nothing else more suitable is present.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 (7.0) Sample Video:


Like a tape player set on repeat, the music player interface is nothing more than a rehash of what we’ve seen with TouchWiz for Honeycomb. No doubt functional at its core, its presentation is lacking the visual allure. As for its stereo speakers, they’re point enough to deliver some acceptable tones without any hint of crackling.

Considered a natural thing nowadays, especially for any dual-core packing device, the tablet handles playing our test video that’s encoded in DivX 1920 x 1080 resolution. Of course, we’re pleased by its smooth playback and good-looking visuals, but we’re not particularly wowed by it.

Far from being the most ideal thing for watching videos, it’s at least decent enough to enjoy a long movie on the road. Using our test video that’s encoded in DivX 1920 x 1080, it manages to play it entirely with zero issues.

Armed with the AllShare app, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 can stream stored multimedia content wirelessly to other DLNA compatible devices.


Sipping down on a 4,000 mAh sized battery, we’re impressed with its longevity out of a full charge. Specifically, we’re able to get by at least 3 days with light usage, which mainly consists of web surfing. Meanwhile, with normal usage, it’s able to inch out 1 ½ days before being tapped out entirely.


Above all, there’s no escaping the love surrounding the $249.99 pricing of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 – it’s just super affordable on any budget! Indeed, it’s $50 more expensive than the Amazon Kindle Fire, but the advantages are seen with its arsenal of cameras and full access to Android’s ecosystem. However, we’re still puzzled to find its performance a little bit on the sluggish side – but at least it’s never the point stagnant. Frankly, it might not obtain the same mass appeal that we find with other big name tablets on the market that are more comprehensive, but heck, for the price, it’s really hard not to like this pint-sized bundle of joy.

Software version of the reviewed unit:
Android Version: 4.0.3
Kernel Version: 3.0.8-292098
Build Number: IML74K.P3113UEALCB

Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 (7.0) Review:


  • $250 price point
  • Android 4.0 ICS out of the box
  • Incorporates an IR blaster
  • Great battery life


  • Choppy performance
  • Same old TouchWiz UX experience
  • Not so great with its still shots

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User Rating:

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