Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 (8GB)
Price Range: $139.00 - $348.00
CNET Editors' Rating: 3.5 / 5
The good: The Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 delivers a mostly pure Android 4.0 experience for only $250. The tablet also trumps the Kindle Fire in extras by including dual cameras, expandable memory, and TV remote-control functionality.
The bad: The screen doesn't look as pretty as other PLS displays, and its camera performance is lacking compared with other tablets in the line.
The bottom line: The Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 offers an excellent value and a full Android 4.0 experience that no other tablet can currently match for the price.
Design, Features & Performance (out of 10)
I guess we have Amazon to thank for proving that you don't need a premium tablet to be successful. While Samsung tried competing on the premium tablet front for the last year and will continue to do so, it's finding this strategy to be more difficult than anticipated.
With the Galaxy Tab 2 7.0, the company is, thankfully, learning from its mistakes and taking a price cue from Amazon by offering a full-featured tablet for $250. The market isn't stagnant, though, so will Samsung actually have time to capitalize before more powerful and still cheap alternatives enter the fray?
The Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 sports a slightly altered design from the Tab 7.0 Plus, but you'd be hard-pressed to notice those differences at first glance, unless of course you're as intimately familiar with the Plus as I am.
The shape and weight are about the same with some slight dimensional differences. The new tablet's outer plastic shell spills a bit into the bezel at the right and left sides and the power/sleep button and volume rocker are more pronounced and feel slightly more responsive. Also, the IR blaster is a bit larger than the one on the Plus.
Aside from that, they're pretty much physically identical. The Tab 2 7.0 is fairly thin, although not Tab 7.7-thin. It's also comfortable to hold, with smooth, rounded corners. Samsung identifies the color that covers the back of the tablet as "titanium silver," which seems apt enough.
|Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0||Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus||Amazon Kindle Fire||Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7|
|Weight in pounds||0.74||0.76||0.9||0.74|
|Width in inches (landscape)||7.6||7.6||7.4||7.75|
|Height in inches||4.8||4.8||4.75||2.25|
|Depth in inches||0.3||0.3||0.4||0.37|
|Side bezel width in inches (landscape)||0.76||0.74||0.78 (power button side), 0.6 opposite side||0.68|
The microSD card slot allows you to add an additional 32GB of storage on top of the built-in 8GB. Samsung provides 50GB of free Dropbox storage for a year on top of that. The door to the microSD slot is easier to open now and doesn't get stuck as often as the Tab Plus' did.
The 2-megapixel front camera from the Plus has been replaced with a VGA one here, but the rear is still rated at 3 megapixels, albeit sans an LED. Thankfully, each camera is located in the upper left corner when you hold the tablet in landscape, thus allowing them to avoid unwanted fingers creeping into the camera frame when taking a picture.
Equidistant from surrounding dual speakers on the right sits a dock connector, and the left edge houses a headphone jack and microphone pinhole. The ambient light sensor sits about an inch away from the front camera on the bezel. However, the ambient light sensor that automatically adjusts the tablet's brightness when auto brightness is turned on is calibrated too sensitively. When typing, my hand would occasionally cover the sensor making the screen darken. This was so consistent (and annoying) that I was forced to turn off auto brightness on the tablet while I used it.
Sadly, as with most Samsung tablets, there's no HDMI port, requiring you to purchase an adapter if you'd like to play video from your tablet on your TV.
Possibly the biggest selling point (other than its price) of the Tab 2 7.0 is that it ships with Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4.0.3 to be precise) installed, making it the first Samsung tablet to do so.
Samsung's TouchWiz UI skin is of course included and comes with custom Samsung apps like Music Hub, Media Hub, and Game Hub, a built-in screenshot app, and the Mini Apps tray located on the bottom of the screen. Tapping it brings up a tray of apps consisting of a calculator, notes, calendar, music player, and clock. However, the most useful of these is still the task manager, though which you can quickly kill any app running in the background; this comes in handy when apps become otherwise unresponsive.
The basic look and design of ICS are retained, just with a TouchWiz skin and a few extra shortcuts for quickly turning off Wi-Fi, GPS, screen rotation, and so on.
Peel's Smart Remote app
The IR blaster found on the Tabs 7.7 and 7.0 Plus makes its way to the Tab 2 7.0 and, in conjunction with Peel's included Smart Remote app, helps turn your tablet into a remote control for your TV. Peel can take the place of your cable or satellite channel guide and display a list of shows currently playing locally on your cable or satellite provider's channels. Go to the currently playing tab and click on a show, and your TV switches to the appropriate channel. Peel does a great job of holding your hand initially through a step-by-step setup wizard. The setup only requires that you know your TV's manufacturer's name, your cable/satellite provider, and your ZIP code. Thankfully, Peel spares us from having to know any more detailed information; however, be aware that Smart Remote does not work with regular monitors, only TVs or monitor/TV combos.
Once it's set up, you can browse shows by category, mark shows as favorites, or prevent shows you'd rather not see on the list from showing up again. Thankfully, Smart Remote now syncs with over-the-air listings, but its accuracy as to which shows and channels were available to me left a bit to be desired.
Navigating the interface took some getting used to, but was easy enough to pick up; however, I took issue with the method by which cable TV screen menus are controlled by the interface. Peel went with a swipe interface that requires you to flick the screen in one of four directions to highlight different menus. While this method works and after some time could be gotten used to, I would have much preferred more-direct directional controls.
As I learned with the Tab 7.0 Plus and Tab 7.7, Smart Remote's accuracy is very closely dictated by the information cable and satellite providers choose to release. So, while the Smart Remote guide might indicate that "Law & Order" was on right now on Channel 12, selecting it didn't always take me to the appropriate channel. In addition, sometimes the channel wasn't available to me or there was a different show on the channel at that time.
While Peel's Smart Remote is still missing some features, it's well-implemented overall. However, I'm still waiting for Hulu and Netflix integration, and an actual search feature would be useful. Also, while I found that the remote reliably functions from 10 to 20 feet away, performance is definitely more reliable within 8 feet. Also, the tablet does not handle obstructions like coffee tables as well as my normal remote does, requiring you to be much more precise when aiming it.
The Tab 2 7.0 houses a 1GHz dual-core OMAP 4430 CPU, 1GB of RAM, and 8GB of storage. Tablet mainstays like 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi support, Bluetooth 3.0, and GPS are included as well as gyroscope, accelerometer, and digital compass support.
The two speakers on the bottom of the tablet deliver typically "OK, I guess" tablet-quality sound that gets a bit staticky and distorted if you increase the volume too much.
The Tab 2 7.0 uses the same PLS-based panel tech the Plus does, running at a resolution of 1,024x600 pixels. I consider that resolution middling for a 7-inch screen, as some run as high as 1,280x800 pixels and look considerably sharper doing so. The Tab 2 7.0's screen clarity isn't bad, but it doesn't reach the pixel-dense heights of other 7-inchers, like the Thrive 7-inch.
Also, either there are different tiers of quality when it comes to PLS panels, or Samsung really didn't devote much time or effort to calibrating the Tab 2 7.0's color. Compared with the 7.0 Plus, its screen looks noticeably greener and colors appear washed out.
|Tested spec||Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0||Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7||Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus||Amazon Kindle Fire|
|Maximum brightness||379 cd/m2||110 cd/m2||214 cd/m2||424 cd/m2|
|Default brightness||150 cd/m2||51 cd/m2||0.17 cd/m2||147 cd/m2|
|Maximum black level||0.31 cd/m2||0.0049 cd/m2||0.17 cd/m2||0.45 cd/m2|
|Default black level||0.12 cd/m2||0.0049 cd/m2||0.04 cd/m2||0.15 cd/m2|
|Default contrast ratio||1250||10,408||1,250||980|
|Maximum contrast ratio||1,222||22,449||1,258||963|
When swiping through screens and navigating menus, the screen matches the sensitivity of some the most responsive Android screens out there, like the Transformer Prime. Also, apps launch without delay and settings menu options appear readily after tapping them.
Web and app download speeds matched most other Android tablets when within 5 feet of our test router and even when up to 20 feet away the connection retained much of its strength. While scrolling through Web sites was smooth, there was a noticeable degree of clipping as the processor attempted to keep up with its rendering duties. Nothing that broke the experience, but it was definitely noticeable.
Thanks to its hardware scalability, I used Riptide GP as a games performance benchmark. Depending on the speed of the tablet's CPU, Riptide GP will deliver a noticeable increase or decrease in frame rate. Thanks to its faster 1.2GHz dual-core Exynos 4210 CPU, the Tab 7.0 Plus renders the game with a high frame rate that looks to approach 60 frames per second. The Tab 2 7.0's TI OMAP 4430 CPU, in comparison, fails to come close to that performance. It's not choppy and it's pretty consistent, but it's just not as buttery-smooth.
In 2D games like Angry Birds Space, we didn't notice any performance difference aside from slightly slower load times on the Tab 2 7.0.
As mentioned, the Tab 2 7.0 has a front-facing VGA camera and a 3-megapixel back camera. Compared with the Plus, the difference between images and video recorded on the front camera was quickly apparent. A picture of my face taken with the VGA camera, for example, lacked many embarrassing and detailed blemishes, while a similar pic from the Plus' 2-megapixel retained many of my facial "features" I'd rather people not see.
The 3-megapixel back camera fared better, capturing more details, but the Tab 2 7.0's pictures still looked washed-out and lacked contrast. While the 7.0 Plus' camera took a longer time to focus, it resulted in higher-quality pictures.
720p video playback from outside sources was smooth and crisp; however, try as I might, 1080p video files would not play on the tablet, though Samsung claims it's compatible with the format.
Our Tab 2 7.0's battery drained fairly quickly with normal use over the course of several hours. Here are our official CNET Labs-tested battery life results. More tablet testing results can be found here.
|Video battery life (in hours)|
|Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0||7.1|
Though it gives up a few things to get there, the Galaxy Tab 2 7.0's very competitive $250 price does a great job of making you ignore those sacrifices. However, there may be tablets on the horizon that could shine a light on corners Samsung cut.
The Asus Memo 370T is, as of this moment, still slated to be released in the second quarter with a higher-resolution screen, an 8-megapixel camera, and a quad-core Tegra 3 CPU. All for the same $250 price. There's also the rumored $150-$200 Tegra 3-powered Google Nexus tablet possibly coming in July to consider as well.
That said, the Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 is out this month, on April 22, while the aforementioned tablets have yet to receive concrete release dates.
The $200 Kindle Fire is available now, however. The Tab 2 7.0 is $50 more than the Fire, and doesn't give you full access to Amazon's impressive content ecosystem. On the Tab 2 7.0, books, magazines, and newspapers are accessible via the Kindle app, and you can stream or download Amazon's Cloud Player music, but "free" Amazon Prime books aren't available, nor is any Amazon video content. With the Tab 2 7.0 you can stream movies through Netflix or rent them on Google Play, but there's currently no way to purchase TV shows on Android, unless through a Kindle Fire. Still, that might be worth the trade-off for Amazon fans who want the Tab 2 7.0's extra features. Expandable storage, Bluetooth, IR blaster, dual cameras, microphone, and GPS isn't a bad deal for just $50 extra.
There's something to be said for convenience, though. Once your Amazon account is installed on the Fire, you can begin consuming all of your books, video, and music immediately, rather than deal with different apps and log-ins during your initial setup. It may not sound like a big deal on paper, but it's one of those intangible conveniences you only truly appreciate once you've reset your system a few times.
Also, Amazon has been very consistent with Kindle Fire updates, making many useful and tangible performance and interface improvements. Meanwhile Samsung tablets launched last year are still waiting for ICS. Something to consider when making your decision.
The Fire is a simply a gentler introduction into the world of tablets that's relatively safe, controlled, simple, and convenient. If that sounds appealing and you don't care about cameras, and 8GB of storage sounds like all you'll ever need, then the Kindle Fire is your best bet.
However, if you don't mind paying the extra money, don't need hand-holding, and are open to a more complex experience that ultimately you can do more with, the Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 is an excellent choice.
|Built-in devices||Display, Touchscreen, Digital camera, Digital player|
|Dimensions (W x D x H)||4.8 in x 0.4 in x 7.6 in|
|OS provided||Android 4.0|
|Installed RAM||1 GB|
|Input device type||Touch-screen|
|Display type||7 in Plane to Line Switching (PLS)|
|Wireless connectivity||IEEE 802.11n, IEEE 802.11b, Bluetooth 3.0, IEEE 802.11g|
|Battery installed (max)||Lithium ion|
Average User Rating: 3.5 / 5
User Rating Breakdown
5 Star: 8
4 Star: 6
3 Star: 2
2 Star: 0
1 Star: 0
Not perfect, but good value for a capable tablet
Rating: 4 / 5
on July 9, 2013
11 out of 11 users found this review helpful
Pros: Built-in speakers, bright display, subjectively realistic color, excellent form factor for travel, came with android 4 ics, smooth video playback
Cons: Un-removable bloatware, unable to move apps or data to external SD card, should come with 16gb internal storage, touchscreen sometimes slow to respond, battery life with WifI on could be better, shortage of compatible accessories
Summary: I wanted to replace my first-gen iPad with a 7" tablet. My choice came down to this device and the Nexus 7. Samsung won for one simple reason: the micro SD slot. If you have any desire to carry video around to watch where you can't stream, you need storage space.
The Gtab is lighter than the iPad -- though hardly lightweight, especially when compared to a Nook Touch -- which makes a difference for extended reading of e-books, or reading while lying down. Being a smaller device, it's also easier to travel with; it doesn't take up as much room in a carry-on and it fits in a coat pocket (or even a cargo pocket in my shorts!). The micro SD card slot means I can carry more videos to watch on a plane, though the battery life for video isn't as long as I'd like. Battery life while streaming Netflix via WiFi is even less; it's good for 2 - 2.5 hours and then it's time to recharge.
I don't understand complaints I've read about the screen and its resolution. The screen is bright (turn off the auto brightness adjustment and do it manually), colors look reasonably good, and playback is smooth. Any artifacts I've seen in videos come from the videos themselves, not the screen. It's a 7-inch tablet; how many more pixels do you need?
Small speakers don't sound particularly great, but these are at least good enough to let someone else listen with me on occasion. Sound through good headphones is quite good.
The Gtab is good for reading, too; the size makes it easier to handle than the iPad. I've had some issues with certain e-books, but they're from the e-book or the reader app, not from the tablet.
I'm not happy about the lack of an adapter for video out so I could watch purchased movies/TV shows on my HDTV (although reading elsewhere indicates that you can't port DRMed material on any of the Tab devices to a TV through Samsung's HDMI adapter (which is not compatible with this device)). For that matter, not happy with the custom connector in the first place. A mini- or micro-USB connector would have made life easier all the way 'round. There also appears to be no docking station of any kind that's compatible with this particular device. (Seriously, Samsung? You have other tablets with the same type of connector, but you changed the pin-outs or something on THIS device so that it can't be used with any of the accessories that work with them?)
I'm glad that the Gtab came with Android 4 installed, so I didn't need to wait for an upgrade (the Gtab recently upgraded itself to version 4.0.4). However, I'm not happy that there is so much bloatware preinstalled, and no way to remove it without rooting the tablet. I also dislike the fact that there is no way to move apps -- or data that they download/install -- to the external SD card without rooting the tablet. Some apps can't even see the external card (which, I realize, could be the fault of the app rather than the tablet).
Given that Samsung has locked down so many things to internal storage, it would have been nice to have a 16gb device available. I'd have paid an extra $50 for that. Instead, I'll get around to rooting the tablet one of these days so I can ditch stuff I don't use and move data (downloaded videos and books) to external storage. For now, though, the combination of price, usability, and form factor means that I'm fairly happy with the Gtab.
Note: If you're switching to the Gtab from an iPad, and want to continue using iTunes for organize your music, get the iSyncr WiFi app. You may have to create special playlists -- iSyncr doesn't support picking & choosing songs/videos, it just grabs the whole playlist -- but this is the best iTunes tool available on Android right now, lastly before you will purchase this Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7-inch version, I suggest you have to check for best price at: wifi-tablets.blogspot.com/p/samsung-galaxy-tab-2-7-inch.html
Thank for reading, and I hope this review is helpfuls.
It fits in my pocket!
Rating: 5 / 5
on May 4, 2012
10 out of 15 users found this review helpful
Pros: + Screen is good! Everything looks clear and sharp
+ Touchscreen very responsive, minimal delay in opening apps
+ Speaker sound is pretty good
+ Fast browser
+ Easy setup
Cons: - Needs a dedicated cable for charging
- Camera no digital zoom, video is so so
Summary: Good evening, This is my first dive into the tablet market, I have over the years played around the the various kindles, nooks, android, BlackBerry and the Ipads, they for the most part were very impressive except for the price. and I wasn't about to contract a 4g account on one of these.
So being a owner of a iPhone 3g, HTC EVO 4g, and my current Samsung Exhibit 2, I felt I needed a bigger screen for my aging eyes, This device does the trick and its easily portable one of the main reason I chose this over a Transformer.
My views of this device through the eyes of a previous user of a Iphone and a Android phone, out of the box it appeared as a large hand size smart phone, the button inputs seem to be it the right place, the back is a little slippery, this must a Samsung thing, my exhibit 2 sometimes is like trying to hold a wet bar of soap, . I didn't have any problems syncing my Google account.
I did manage to get the peel remote to work with my U verse, Samsung TV and RCA 5.1 stereo, I think the interface is a little quirky, the controls are strange and a little cumbersome, it also has a bunch of program suggestions, none that I like. I'm sure in time there will be better apps out there for the IR blaster.
speaker sound is pretty good, you will probably want to use headphones or ext speakers anyway. The camera is sub par, it does have rapid shoot, and panorama that works really well, sorry, no digital zoom. at least I could not find that setting, the video is so so, grainy and dark nuff said
I had pretty good luck with the battery, watched 5 episode of Lost on Netflix, downloads apps surfed the web etc, my data usage for that day was about 5+gigs and I had about 27% battery left.
I'm actually a fan of the power connector only because I broke off the power socket on my EVO 4g with the mini usb plug, so i will side with the world of physics and go with more surface area contact the less chance of being snapped off.
Apps: youtube works just fine, easy to navigate the tube, I use Waze for GPS, works perfectly, no probs with slacker radio or netflix, but beware HULU is not supported on this device, like about half of the other android devices out there, works on my evo but not on my exhibit? .... the S calendar is awesome, I use Jorte on my phone but I think this is a little bit better.
*Note, for best price of the "Samsung Galaxy Tab 2" if you're will buy it, I suggest you have to compare prices before you decide at: **************.info/Samsung-Galaxy-Tab2
No major gripes with this device. it suits all my needs.
Fantastic tablet for the price!
Rating: 5 / 5
on April 23, 2012
5 out of 5 users found this review helpful
Pros: Excellent number of features, better screen than an original iPad, text was good with setting "large" for font, and very crisp in Kindle app, video played well, dictation is great, IR blaster easy to set up with my Sony TV, but channels not accurate.
Cons: I prefer the size of the 8.9 Galaxy and like its vibrant colors, which are muted in this tab. However, this one is superior in features and price to that tab.
Summary: You really can't go wrong with this tablet. Samsung only seems to be getting better and better, and I wish Apple would get off its high horse about flash, and also give us expandable memory (which will never happen as they make hundreds more by adding fixed memory). The number of features on this tablet are simply amazing for the price point. I also have the new iPad, and other than the better screen and larger size which makes viewing easier, this little gem beats it in features for me just by having expandable memory and flash. My 16 GB iPad only has about 13 GB of available memory because of preloaded software. Since I have the Galaxy S2 phone, the learning curve was not too steep. I don't care about cameras on a tablet, especially a large one. Too awkward. I'd rather use the phone.
Updated on Apr 23, 2012
Just one deal breaker
Rating: 2.5 / 5
on April 16, 2012
4 out of 5 users found this review helpful
Pros: This is a very good dimension/weight balance for a 7 inch reader style tablet.
Cons: The screen resolution is unacceptable.
Summary: The screen resolution is unacceptable. 1024*600 looks good only on the phones. At 7inches this device should be able to act as a reader, where you do not have to zoom in to read text. This resolution is good for watching movies, photos. But for browsing and reading (which this device size primary functionality), you end up zooming in (not because the text is too small but because the resolution is so bad that the text looks smudged).
The screen resolution for 7inch should be a minimum of 1280*800, so that you do not constantly have to use the landscape mode to read any thing. I some one releases a 7-7.5 inch 1280*800 screen thin and light tablet, I am sold as that would be the most practical second device that you can carry in addition to a phone. In my personal opinion any thing bigger and u may as well carry a thin and light laptop.
The best tablet for $250....until the Nexus 7 came out.
Rating: 4 / 5
on August 6, 2012
2 out of 2 users found this review helpful
Pros: o The 7" size is perfect for traveling with a tablet
o The screen is great
o The speaker is loud for its size
Cons: o The rear camera sucks, but why are you taking pictures with a tablet
o The front camera is terrible but skype works good enough
o Needs a dedicated charging cable and has to be plugged into the Samsung wall charger
Summary: Hands down this is the best $250 I've spend on tech in the last 5 years. I love the size, and it works flawlessly. This was the best tablet anyone could buy for $250 for about 4 months. Better than the kindle fire, Nook, Lenovo ideapad, or any other cheap tablet you could find for less than $350. But now the Nexus 7 came out and I simply can't recommend the GT2 7.0 anymore. For $50 less than the GT2 7.0 you will have a better screen, better processor, better OS support, Jelly Bean 4.1, and a better front camera. Everything else is basically the same and you'll save $50. The only advantage the GT2 7.0 has is the fact that it has a rear camera. But if you're using your tablet to take pics, you need a better camera on your phone. Needless to say, if your budget is $250, get a 16gb Nexus 7 and you won't be sorry you did.
I won't upgrade to a Nexus 7 simply because I'd take a loss on the GT2 7.0 only to buy basically the same product all over again that is only about 25% better than the product I already own. It would be like trading in your 2011 model car on a 2012 just do you can get bluetooth and push button start. Yeah, they are nice to upgrades but not really worth taking a loss on. If someone offered me $250 for my GT2 7.0, I'd take it but it's not going to happen with the Nexus 7 out there.
Anyway, if you already own a GT2 7.0, you have a great little tablet. Use it for a year and then give it to your kid.
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