tablets

Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 Review

$499.00

The Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 is a far cry from its little brother, the Galaxy Tab 2 7.0.

Introduction

Meet the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 inch. We previously reviewed its little brother, the Galaxy Tab 2 7.0, but this is a very different tablet. For starters, the casing looks a bit different with the speakers on the front of the unit, but also the screen is much larger. While a bit on the older side now, this model is still on the market in many places, and is a bit underpowered compared to other available options.

Design & Usability

It may be showing its age, but it's still a serviceable tablet.

The Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 is on the larger side for a tablet, so weight distribution and grip matter a lot. The metal back is not very smooth, so it's rather unlikely that the tablet will slip out of your hands. However, there are some issues that will make you wonder about the final design—why are the speakers on the front placed directly where one's thumbs would rest when holding the tablet in a landscape position?

Like all tablets with only a volume rocker, power button, and capacitive screen, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 's controls are mostly accessed without physical buttons. For those of you familiar with computers, tapping will "click," swiping will change homescreens or turn pages, and pinching your fingers will zoom wherever applicable. On the bottom of the screen is the Android control bar, with back, home, recent apps, and screenshot icons. No matter what app you have open, you will always be able to use these controls, just in case you need to get out of something quick, switch to another app, or even take a picture of what you're doing.

You can control a limited amount of hardware with the IR blaster.
Armed with a wide array of connectivity options, the Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 has some interesting bells and whistles that help you control what's around you. For example, not only can you pair items with the included Bluetooth capability, but you can also control a limited amount of hardware with the IR blaster as well (TVs, Blu-ray players, etc.). The standard 802.11n wireless card is also among the connectivity options.

If local storage is important to you, there's also a microSD card slot that allows you to expand the memory of your tablet by buying and inserting microSD cards, containing whatever you'd like to load on them. While not a groundbreaking addition, it's a feature that's fast disappearing on high profile tablets.

Performance

A boatload of features with fair performance

It's a little weird to say that the --> is old even though in calendar years it isn't even 1 yet, but in terms of tablets, it's ancient. Consequently, the large screen size of 10.1 inches, and the comparatively low resolution of 1280 x 800 pixels means the pixel density of the is far lower than the leading Android tablets, and lower still than the newest iPad. This is not the screen you're looking for if you want the latest and greatest.

This is not the screen you're looking for if you want the latest and greatest.
Due to the high reflectivity of the screen, and the somewhat lower brightness of the tablet, using the outdoors can be problematic if you're in bright light. While using it on the subway, on a bus or in a coffee shop should be fine, be aware that direct or even indirect sunlight will make the image on the screen difficult to see.

There is no dearth of apps available to owners of the -->, but a few of them are mysteriously missing. It shouldn't cause you much concern, however, as most apps are available to you anyways. There's already so much available, but where Android-running tablets really shine is in their access to apps that enhance the functionality of your tablet.

Conclusion

An older, but solid choice, the Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 still has something to offer prospective users.

Despite the fact that you can still buy this tablet right now, it's definitely aging when you compare it to other tablets of comparable price on the market. While it does offer some pretty awesome features, the core performance of the screen and outdated version of Android will lead many to seek greener pastures in newer technology.

That's not to say that this is something that you should skip outright: It's going to be on sale and clearance for a while longer, and this would work well for someone whose eyes aren't perfect, and primarily wants to use their tablet for media. Using it for its IR blaster and accompanying app allow you to control your TV, too.

However, if you're looking to remain on the cutting edge of gadgetry, or you're looking for something more, this is probably a tablet that's best left in the clearance rack. It doesn't have the fancy screen of the latest generation of tablets, and it definitely isn't getting upgraded software any time soon to give you all the latest features of Android.