This time we were able to take some time to test the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1, which was provided by Samsung Electronics Portugal, and which we appreciate a lot.
We’ve also tested its little brother, the Tab 2 7.0, you can check out its review here if you want to know details about the pre installed apps since they are the same in both these tablets we don’t feel the need to explain their functionalities again in this particular review.
Design and Ergonomics
The Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 is basically a bigger version of the tab 2 7. This means that it has the same white plastic body, with rounded corners and silver highlights that give it a premium look.
On the top you will find the lock/power button, alongside the volume rocker and the micro SD, and in this version, the SIM card slot.
The left and right sides have no protuberances whatsoever making the Tab 2 10.1 a device that feels good while you are holding it when playing a game like Need For Speed or one alike. On the bottom you find the cable slot that allows you to connect the Galaxy Tab 2 to your computer and to the travel adapter in order to charge it.
If you turn the device around, you will find a pearl white, or black, plastic sheet that is disturbed only by the 3.15MP camera on the top. The plastic back might not be as confortable as the one we found in the Nexus 7 but it definitely does its job, unless you have very slippery hands, if so I would advice you to buy a cover.
On the front of the device sits the 10.1-inch PLS TFT screen, covered by Gorilla Glass helping you to keep your screen scratch free. You will also find the stereo speakers on either side of the screen. These stereo speakers are a great improvement over the single speaker that inhabits the bottom of the Tab 2 7.0.
The display behaves pretty well whether inside or outside. It has bright colours and great contrast allowing the user to immerse himself when watching a movie, which is a great plus being that this is a media consumer device. We also liked the reaction time of the luminosity screen, which you can see in the vide review when we accidentally cover it when we started playing music, it takes only a few seconds to react and adjusts itself very well to the light characteristics of the surrounding environment.
Performance and Software
This device comes with the well-known Samsung interface TouchWiz over the 4.0.4 Android version. At the time of this writing there was no update (here in Portugal) to the 4.1.1 OS version available, although we know there already is an update out there.
The interface is the same as always, you start of with 4 homescreens, and can increase this value up to 7. You can also erase homescreens at your will and stay will only one. As you will be able to see in the video review, you are also able to create and name folders in your homescreens in order to join the applications you have from the same source, I use it to join all Google applications (Gtalk, Gmail, Chrome, and so forth), so that I don’t have a mess on the homescreen.
You can also go directly to the application manager by selecting and dragging an app icon to the info button on the top of the homescreen. This leads you automatically to a screen where you can see how much memory is being taken by that said application and if it is running or not, of course you can also uninstall the application in this screen.
On the bottom near the android buttons, you will see an arrow, if you touch on it you will be presented with a variety of applications that one usually tends to need more often. You have the Alarm, Calculator, Email, S Planner and so forth (take a look at the video review for more info). If you open these apps they will not take all of your screen, they will have a maximize button that enables you to make them take the full screen, otherwise you have a simple window enabling you to have more than one widget open at a time.
As we said in the beginning there are loads of proprietary apps, which match the ones we saw on the Tab 2 7.0, so we don’t want to go into details again, so you can check the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 review or take a look at the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 video review at the bottom to see all the proprietary apps in action.
We leave you with a list of the apps all the same: Game Hub, Readers Hub, Music Hub, Samsung Apps, Task Manager, Widgets Bar, ChatOn, Memo, My Files, S Planner, Video Maker, All Share, Polaris Office, S Suggest, Music Player and Photo Editor.
As has been usual we tested the Tab 2 10.1’s performance with some well-known benchmarks: AnTuTu, NenaMark2 and Quadrant Standard. You can see by the results that the Tab did as well as was expected by an 10.1 screen 1GHz Dual Core device with 1 GB RAM. On AnTuTu it scored less than the Amazon Kindle Fire, which has a score of around 6000. In NenaMark it managed to get a score of 20.7, which landed him way bellow the Asus Transformer Prime, with a score around 46. Last but not least, in Quadrant Standard it scored 2610, keeping him in toe with the Galaxy Tab 10.1.
We tried a few games on it, of course, which you are able to see in the second part of the video review. This time, as promised in the Tab 2 7.0’s review we tried NFS Most Wanted, as well as Dead Trigger, Fruit Ninja, Trial Xtreme and a new entertaining game CoM Brawlers.
It behaved well in Fruit Ninja, which is expected by any device nowadays. Then we tried Dead Trigger, which lagged a bit, but nothing that would make it impossible to play. This was a nice performance since Dead Trigger takes a lot out of a device, the Tab 2 behaved well.
We then moved on to NFS, which ran smoothly in between menus, and loaded in a fair amount of time, but things changed during gameplay. I felt the game lag in some parts of the race, and that makes this game very frustrating to play, as does lag in every racing game. I thought that it would improve as the race went on, but sadly I was mistaken, I would have loved to see NFS thrive in this device. It behaved well enough in Trial Xtreme 3 and in Call of Mini: Brawlers with no lag whatsoever.
Connectivity and Battery Life
As well as its little brother, the Tab 2 7.0, this device had a network issue with some network providers, mine included, but everything works well with the other network providers. Speeds are fast and everything loads at a decent speed. We also made a few SpeedTest runs in order to present you the results:
When it comes down to battery life, I think the 7000mAh battery does its job well, it lasted long enough with the Wi-Fi always on and constantly receiving and reading emails, as well as playing games and surfing the web. With normal use I believe it lasted me up to two days, of course with intensive game playing and media watching, especially HD movies the battery goes pretty quickly, as in every device around. With occasional use just to check emails, leaving it in standby, with the WiFi always active, for most of the day the battery lasts a couple of days longer, maybe up to a full week without needing to charge.
Again the lowest point for me is the charging time, it takes way longer to charge, and with the cable being so short, either you are pretty close to the plug or you won’t be able to use the device for all the time it is being charged. Really think Samsung could start giving their users longer cables, just for the sake of it.
The 3.15MP rear camera takes decent looking pictures in well lighted environments, with a resolution up to 2048x1536px. It would definitely improve if it had a LED flash as company, but such doesn’t happen in the Tab 2 10.1. As you can see by the snapshots, when the environment starts to lack light the pictures get pretty grainy really fast. The well-lighted environment snapshots are better, but you can still notice the grains in the pictures, but hey, this is still a 3.15MP camera.
The front VGA camera is decent enough to participate in video calls and conferences.
Regarding video recording, as you can see from the video sample, the recording is pretty grainy and you can’t see any decent details, although the colours are portrayed nicely.
Front Camera Indoor Video Sample:
Rear Camera Indoor Video Sample:
Rear Camera Outdoor Video Sample:
Overall, I didn’t dislike the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1, although I liked its little brother (Tab 2 7.0) better. The fact that the Tab 2 10.1 lags while switching homescreens is a tell sign that it is struggling to keep up with the user’s wishes, and that leaves me a little concerned. Even though it didn’t failed once while listening to music or watching HD videos, I am a little worried for those who are intending to buy this device in order to play games.
Truth be said that this test version still had the 4.0.4 OS version so I can’t say if the update made it better and smoother, but I sincerely hope so. With a price tag around 359€ for the 16GB Wi-Fi version, there are definitely loads of competitors. You have the Acer Iconia Tab A700, which has a Quad Core and already comes with Jelly Bean as well as 32GB of memory. There’s also the Asus Transformer TF300T, that also has a Tegra 3 processor, 1GB of RAM, an 8MP rear camera and 32GB of memory.
It all depends on what you’re looking for, if you’re looking for a media consumption device that has a great battery life and behaves well while playing movies and surfing the web, you can definitely go for the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1. On the other hand, if you are looking for a device that allows you to play without lagging and is updated to the latest version of its OS I would encourage you to get the TF300T, I have one and it hasn’t disappointed me yet, besides, it already has 4.2.1 Jelly Bean on it (Asus launched the update last week).
Thanks Samsung, for letting us have the time to test this device.
Review by: Cátia Sofia @ AndroidEmotions