Tablets Guide

Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 (7.0) 3G review

Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 (7.0) 3G - When One More is Too Many

Compare This
Add to Wishlist
Launch SRP S$598

Overall rating 7.5/10
Design:
8
Features:
8.5
User-Friendliness:
8.5
Performance:
6.5
Value:
7.5
THE GOOD
Runs on Android 4.0
Good build quality and handling
Expandable memory slot
THE BAD
Average performance
Competition offers better choices
Price could be lower


Performance and Conclusion

Performance

As a smaller version of the Galaxy Tab 2 (10.1), the Galaxy Tab 2 (7.0) runs on the same Texas Instrument (TI) OMAP 4430 dual-core processor clocked at 1GHz  and 1GB RAM. With the recent launch of the quad-core Google Nexus 7, it makes the mediocre specs of the Samsung slate even more apparent.

To get a gauge of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 (7.0)'s performance against the present 7-inch competition, we compared it with the other two Samsung slates, the Galaxy Tab 7.7 and Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus, and the Huawei MediaPad.

The following benchmarks are used for raw performance evaluation: -

  • Quadrant evaluates the CPU, memory, I/O and 3D graphics performance. This is an Android OS based test.
     
  • Smartbench 2011 is a multi-core friendly benchmark application that includes both the Productivity and Games indices for a more complete gauge of the overall performance of Android tablets.
     
  • SunSpider Javascript benchmark measures the browsing performance of the tablet.

 

How the Tablets Stack up
Device Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 (7.0) Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7 Huawei MediaPad
CPU TI OMAP 4430 dual-core 1GHz Exynos dual-core 1.2GHz Exynos dual-core 1.4GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon MSM8260 dual-core 1.2GHz
GPU PowerVR SGX540 Mali-400MP Mali-400MP Adreno 220
RAM 1GB 1GB 1GB 1GB RAM
OS Google Android 4.0.4 Google Android 3.2 Google Android 3.2 Google Android 3.2

 

 

The Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 (7.0) is naturally eclipsed by its Exynos-equipped siblings, which is hardly a surprise as the Exynos processors have proven to be top performers in these data crunching benchmarks. Fortunately, the TI OMAP 4430 processor has a slight edge over the Qualcomm Snapdragon counterpart used in the Hauwei MediaPad even though the latter has a slightly higher clock speed.

Synthetic benchmarks aside, we found the performance of the Galaxy Tab 2 (7.0) to be  generally smooth. In fact, it was a tad more fluid than what we experienced on the Galaxy Tab 2 (10.1). Web browsing, gaming and multitasking seemed effortless even though lags were still encountered from time to time. Hopefully, the Android 4.1 Jelly Bean update will alleviate some of the lagging issues we've encountered on Android tablets although Samsung has not specified which mobile devices will be upgraded.

 

Multimedia Performance

Unlike the AMOLED-loving Galaxy Tab 7.7, the Galaxy Tab 2 (7.0) utilizes Plane-to-Line Switching (PLS) technology for its TFT display. This is similar to the screen we saw on the Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus, which claimed to provide improved viewing angles and 10% better brightness compared to In-Plane-Switching (IPS) LCD technology used on the Apple iPads and ASUS tablets. Its resolution of 1,024 x 600 pixels and 170ppi density is nothing to shout out about by today's standards, as Apple leads the way with its Retina-equipped iPad (264ppi) and Google / ASUS setting another benchmark with the Nexus 7 (216ppi). Nonetheless, viewing multimedia content on the Galaxy Tab 2 (7.0) is still pleasing to the eyes with good color reproduction and decent viewing angles. 

The Galaxy Tab 2 (7.0) joins the rank of its 7-inch siblings by integrating voice call capability. The Samsung slate comes with an earpiece at the top of the display (in portrait mode), which means you can place the tablet up to your ear and use it like a phone but it will obviously attract a lot of unwanted attention if you plan to do so. A wired headset (provided in the package) or Bluetooth headset is recommended if you are planning to make some phone calls on the Galaxy Tab 2 (7.0).

In terms of imaging capability, the Galaxy Tab 2 (7.0) comes with a VGA front camera for video calls, and a 3-megapixel fixed focus rear camera. As tablets are generally not used as imaging devices, Samsung doesn't feel the need to bump up the imaging performance of its tablets even though its competitors, Apple and ASUS are ramping up efforts in that aspect for the larger tablets. Obviously, Samsung would rather you invest in a suitable compact or mirrorless camera from their stable of devices to obtain much better image quality. And with their Smart cameras, the process of photo taking and sharing is only made easier.

Back to the imaging quality of the tablet, while the color saturation is decent, overall quality is rather middling. We'll let the photos and the captions further detail this aspect:-

 

Battery Performance

Next, we ran the Galaxy Tab 2 (7.0) with an intensive battery test, which involves a video resolution of 1,280 x 720 pixels being looped on the unit. The test is performed under specific parameters, such as:

  • Screen brightness and volume at 100%
     
  • Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity turned on
     
  • Constant data streaming through email and Twitter

Test Tablets Compared
Specifications/Device Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 (7.0) Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7 Huawei MediaPad
Processor
  • Dual-core 1GHz
  • Dual-core 1.2GHz
  • Dual-core 1.4GHz
  • Dual-core 1.2GHz
Display Size
  • 7.0-inch
  • 7.0-inch
  • 7.7-inch
  • 7.0-inch
Display Type
  • PLS LCD
  • PLS LCD
  • Super AMOLED Plus
  • IPS LCD
Display Resolution
  • 1,024 x 600 pixels
  • 1,024 x 600 pixels 
  • 1,280 x 800 pixels
  • 1,280 x 800 pixels 
Dimensions
  • 193.7 x 122.4 x 10.5mm
  • 193.65 x 122.37 x 9.96mm
  • 196.7 x 133 x 7.9mm
  • 190 x 124 x 10.5mm
Weight
  • 344g
  • 345g
  • 340g
  • 390g

 

Despite having the same battery capacity (4000mAh), the Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus lasted an hour longer than the Galaxy Tab 2 (7.0) with the latter clocking four hours and 47 minutes of up-time. The Galaxy Tab 7.7 is ahead of the pack by a huge margin thanks to the more power efficient Super AMOLED Plus display and larger battery capacity of 5100mAh. It also seems that the Exynos processors gave the the Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus and 7.7 an edge over the Galaxy Tab 2 (7.0). With these setbacks, you would expect the Tab 2 (7.0) to fare badly in the Portability Index but due to its overall weight, volume and battery mileage, it narrowly avoided being ranked last.

Putting our standard battery test aside, the Galaxy Tab 2 (7.0) was able to last a day of normal usage which included occasional web surfing, checking social feeds, engaging in a few games and replying emails. The only gripe we had with the tablet is the need for a proprietary cable to charge it as connecting the Galaxy Tab 2 (7.0) via a microUSB port will not charge it. As our battery benchmark test simulates fairly stressful usage conditions, it is possible that the tablet can last much longer under standard usage scenarios. Do take note that actual battery mileage will vary under different usage conditions.

 

Conclusion

At S$598 (inclusive of GST) without line contract, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 (7.0) is a tough sell among the range of 7-inch tablets in the market.

Within its family, the Galaxy Tab 2 (7.0) is outclassed in almost every front. For example, the Galaxy Tab 7.7 trumps it with its superior battery mileage, beautiful Super AMOLED Plus display and ultra slim form factor. The price tag of S$898 may turn off some consumers but we feel its justified. If the premium price is too much, the Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus is a good alternative at S$768 as it offers better battery life and overall performance. One may argue that both tablets run on the dated Honeycomb platform but it is noteworthy to mention that the Android 4.0 update will be coming to the two tablets and this will place the odds against the Galaxy Tab 2 (7.0), even if it's cheaper.

The recently announced Google Nexus 7 is the one that consumers ought to look out for if they are shopping for a 7-inch tablet and do not mind waiting. The Nexus 7 represents the best combination of hardware and software in the Android camp - Android 4.1 Jelly Bean OS and NVIDIA Tegra 3 quad-core processor. As a Nexus-branded device, consumers do not need to worry about slow updates as it will be the first among Android devices to receive any software upgrades from Google. Its stellar price point of US$199 (8GB) and US$249 (16GB) is one aspect that other competing tablets will find it hard to match.