Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 (10.1) 3G - Second Generation

Launch SRP: S$798

Overview, Design and Features

Second Gen Galaxy Tab 

The original Samsung  Galaxy Tab 10.1 set the bar pretty high with its stellar performance, ultra thin (8.6mm) and lightweight (565g) chassis. It was a viable alternative to the Apple iPad 2 until recently when the preliminary injunction filed by the Cupertion company against it in the U.S got approved by a district judge. 

For now, the second generation Galaxy Tab, known officially as the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 (10.1), is safe from the legal battles happening between the two rival companies. We had our first hands-on with the tablet at Mobile World Congress 2012 where it debuted  alongside the Galaxy Note 10.1, and a second look at it during Samsung's South East Sia & Oceania Forum 2012 in March.

More often than not, the next generation model or the successor is generally equipped with new and more powerful features or specifications but if you look at the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 (10.1), it is quite an exception. Before we get into details, here's a quick comparison between the two Galaxy Tab 10.1 models: - 

The Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 (10.1) (left) and its predecessor, the Galaxy Tab 10.1 (right).

 

Comparing the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 (10.1) 3G against the original Galaxy Tab 10.1 (3G)

Specifications Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 (10.1) 3G Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 (3G)
Operating System / User Interface
  • Google Android 4.0.3 Ice Cream Sandwich
  • Google Android 3.2 Honeycomb
    (Upgradeable to Android 4.0)
Processor
  • TI OMAP 4430 dual-core 1GHz
  • NVIDIA Tegra 2 dual-core 1GHz
Built-in Memory
  • 1GB RAM
  • 1GB RAM
Display
  • 10.1-inch display, 1280 x 800 pixels
  • 10.1-inch display, 1280 x 800 pixels 
Camera
  • VGA front and 3-megapixel rear fixed focus camera
  • 2-megapixel front and 3-megapixel rear camera with auto focus and LED flash
Storage
  • 16GB internal memory 
  • microSD support up to 32GB
  • 16/32/64GB 
Battery
  • 7000mAh
  • 7000mAh
Dimensions
  • 256.6 x 175.3 x 9.7mm
  • 256.7 x 175.3 x 8.6mm
Weight
  • 587g
  • 565g

 

Design

The Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 (10.1) looks very similar to its predecessor. In fact, the only few differences you will see (and feel) is the increase in thickness (1.1mm more), a heavier weight of 587g, two speakers flanking each side of the display and the absence of a LED flash. 

As the speakers are located on each side of the display, you have to be careful not to cover them when holding the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 (10.1) in landscape usage (though it's generally fine and you don't need to be extra careful in normal use).

The top side of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 (10.1) is packed with the SIM card slot, 3.5amm audio output jack, microSD card slot, volume controls and Power button. We have no issues with the buttons as they are raised sufficiently for easy access. 

Both the SIM card (left) and microSD (right) card slots are covered with plastic lids to protect the internals from external elements.

Although the Galaxy Tab 2 (10.1) is predominantly made up of plastic like its predecessor, it actually feels more solidly built and offers a better handling. We attributed it to its thicker side profile and heavier form factor. 

We liked the back of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 (10.1) for its matte surface, which  gives a very nice feel and does not attract fingerprints.

 

Features 

The Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 (10.1) is one of Samsung's first Android 4.0 tablets that comes with new and enhanced features. Speaking of Android 4.0, the existing lineup of Galaxy Tab devices (the Galaxy Tab 10.1, 8.9. 7.7 and 7.0 Plus) will be receiving the update sometime in Q3 2012. As per all Samsung mobile devices, the Galaxy Tab 2 (10.1) is skinned with its proprietary TouchWiz user interface. 

Taking cue from the Samsung Galaxy S III and HTC phones, the Galaxy Tab 2 (10.1) has a similar feature which allows you to add up to seven home screen panels. You can remove one by holding and dragging it to the trash bin icon at the centre.

A feature seen before on the Galaxy Tab 10.1, you can now customize the app tray according to your preferences. To add or remove shortcuts on the app tray. simply press on the shortcut and drag it up or down. You can add up to 9 app shortcuts on the tray, compared to six previously.

A handy feature added to the TouchWiz interface is the Power Saving mode. It functions somewhat similar to what we saw in the ASUS Transformer Pad Prime where you can toggle between three power modes. This should be useful for squeezing more battery mileage out of the Galaxy Tab 2 (10.1) when the need arises.

The power saving mode will limit the CPU performance, reduces screen frame rate, lowers the brightness of the display and changes the background color brightness of the Email app to extend the battery life of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 (10.1).

Multitasking on the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 (10.1) is the same as any device running stock Android 4.0; press the Recent Apps button to see the list of active apps. To end them and free up the memory, just swipe left or right.

Another one of our favorites in Samsung TouchWiz is the notification panel where you have access to more connectivity toggles than the stock Android 4.0 quick settings.

8.0
Design
8.5
Features
8.5
User-Friendliness
8.5
Performance
8
Value
7.5
The Good
Good build quality
Improved battery performance
Expandable memory slot
The Bad
Occasional sluggish performance
Performance could be better
A little pricey