Early 2012 has been an aggressive launch season for Samsung. Here in April, as we wrote this, the company had just launched two new Galaxy Tab—family tablets. These latest models both come equipped with the “Ice Cream Sandwich” (ICS) version of the Android operating system (more prosaically known as Android 4.0), and are debuting at new low prices. The smaller of the two, the 7-inch Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 (7.0), is the subject of our review. It’s making its debut at $249—a drastic reduction from the original 2010 Galaxy Tab and the much more recent Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus, both with the same-size screen, but starting at $399. (A larger version of this tablet with a 10.1-inch screen, the Galaxy Tab 2 (10.1), is coming in May at a very palatable $399.)
Aside from a few small hardware changes and the updated Android operating system, the Galaxy Tab 2 is a lot like the Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus. Surprisingly, several of the changes, such as a lower-resolution front camera and a slightly slower CPU, are downgrades. This new slate is also slightly thicker and weighs a little more. (We’ll look more closely at these differences and how they affect the Galaxy Tab 2’s overall user experience and performance a little later in this review.)
Unlike its predecessor, which comes in versions with 16GB and 32GB storage capacities, the Galaxy Tab 2 comes in only one capacity: 8GB. (The 10-inch Galaxy Tab 2 coming in May should have 16GB of storage space.) In response to our queries about whether we would be seeing models with larger complements of storage, Samsung could not say, nor could they tell us whether 3G or 4G cellular-connect versions were on their way. We can say, though, that our review unit did not have a SIM-card slot.
The very modest price for this new tablet, especially considering how well it’s built, the exceptional screen quality, and its overall performance, makes it a great value. The small changes Samsung made to hit the $250 price seem quite reasonable. At this price, it can compete with the $199 Amazon Kindle Fire, but bear in mind that the two are actually very different devices. (The Kindle Fire is primarily a media-consumption device, whereas the Galaxy Tab 2 is full-fledged tablet.)
Like all of Samsung’s slates, this one is attractive, feels great in your hands, and comes with some highly useful apps. For the price, the Galaxy Tab 2 (7.0) is one of the best entry-level 7-inch tablets we’ve seen.
See the full review at Computer Shopper.