Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 Review – $249 Android Tablet

Samsung’s new Galaxy Tab represents a welcome shift in the company’s attitude toward the tablet market. Most of the Galaxy Tab line aims for premium designs and components, but they come at a premium price. The Nook Tablet and Kindle Fire prove that consumers are willing to settle when the price hits their kink.

Samsung is splitting the difference with the Galaxy Tab 2 7.0. This device offers the full tablet experience with the newest Android operating system, Bluetooth, cameras, and a few other extras Amazon and Barnes & Noble’s tablets don’t offer. All for $249.

No, you won’t get a premium tablet for this price. Anyone looking for a Super AMOLED display, quad-core processor, or HD mirroring should ease on down the road. (Check out the Galaxy Tab 7.7, instead.)

At this price point, the Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 is one of the best tablets available right now. Read on to find out why.

Pros

  • Affordable price
  • Attractive, comfortable design
  • Access to multimedia content
  • Good performance
Cons

  • Screen gets dirty easily
  • Wi-Fi isn’t very strong
  • Disappointing camera

Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0

Advertisement

Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 | $249

Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 Review Guide
Related Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 Articles
Availability
  • Goes on sale April 22, 2012, pre-order now.

Design

Design-wise, the Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 isn’t much of a departure from the Tab 7.0 Plus, which came out last year. At 7.6 x 4.8 x 0.41 inches it’s almost exactly the same size and maintains the 12.2 ounce weight. This, combined with the comfortably curved edges, makes the tablet very holdable.

It doesn’t feel cheap, but also doesn’t feel like a premium product the same way the Galaxy Tab 7.7 does. Considering the price, the Tab 2 strikes a good balance.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 microSD card slot

The microSD card slot sits flush with the left edge, keeping the profile smooth.

This model includes a microSD card slot that takes cards up to 32GB. Media lovers will need this expansion option since the Tab 2 only comes with 8GB of internal memory.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 right side

Power, Volume, and the IR blaster sit on the right edge

Compared to the Kindle Fire, the Galaxy Tab 2 is more comfortable to hold and is 2 ounces lighter, which makes a difference during long gaming or reading sessions. The color scheme and curved edges are similar to the Nook Tablet, though that device is taller (8.1 x 5.0 x 0.48 inches) and 2 ounces heavier still.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 bottom edge

Samsung's proprietary 30-pin connector port sits on the bottom flanked by small stereo speakers

Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 Display

The 7.0-inch, 1024 x 600 screen features nice color depth and wide viewing angles despite not being a top-of-the-line AMOLED display. With the brightness turned all the way up it’s sunlight-readable, but not something I’d take to the beach.

The resolution is the same as the Fire and the Nook and will serve most basic consumers’ needs. Users can play video up to 1080p, though they won’t see that many pixels. For surfing the web, playing casual games and reading books, this pixel density is satisfactory.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0

Unfortunately, the surface of the screen gets much dirtier faster than other Galaxy Tabs I’ve used. I ended up cleaning it at least two or three times a day since I used it so heavily. This exacerbated a problem I noticed with tap precision.

I made far more mistakes when typing on the Tab 2 than I normally do. Even when I switched to my preferred keyboard, Swiftkey Tablet X, I still experienced many mis-tapped keys. And every now and then I noted that taps didn’t register right away. Keeping the screen clean helped.

Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 Performance and Hardware

Aside from the screen’s issues, the Galaxy Tab 2 performs well thanks to the 1GHz dual-core processor inside. Apps open swiftly, I didn’t notice any system-wide lag, games played smoothly with the framerates I expect, and video playback is good.

Audio output via the speakers on the bottom is surprisingly loud and has some depth to it. Quality through the headphone jack is pretty good — a little rounder than the iPad 3rd gen both on the bottom and top of the aural range. The tablet’s Bluetooth 3.0 connectivity means that it can transmit good stereo sound without a huge drain on the battery.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 Top Edge

The 3.5mm headphone sits on the top

The only sluggishness I noted came from the Wi-Fi connection. On each wireless router I connected it to I noticed that it didn’t record as strong a signal as I expected. When connected to my router at home the Tab 2 didn’t always show full bars even when sitting less than 10 feet from it.

When opening web pages or downloading apps the Tab 2 took a bit longer than my Android phone and Tab 7.7 on Wi-Fi.

The 4,000mAh battery lasted over 12 hours with on and off use with Wi-Fi connected for half of that time.

Software, Apps and Multimedia Content

Galaxy Tab 2 Home Screen

The Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 runs Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich with Samsung’s TouchWiz user interface on top. This isn’t a “pure” Android slate, though I like TouchWiz because it smooths some of operating system’s rough edges. It also tweaks the theme somewhat so it doesn’t look so Tron-esque.

Galaxy Tab 2 Settings

Ice Cream Sandwich runs just fine with this hardware. The only minor issue is that the screen resolution makes some elements look cramped.

The Tab 2 has access to the full Google Play Store (formerly known as the Android Market) and will allow users to sideload apps, so you can add a third-party app store, like Amazon’s, as well.

Galaxy Tab 2 apps

Apps that come pre-loaded (except the last four on the right)

Samsung pre-loaded their branded apps, most notably the Samsung Hubs: Music, Media, Games and Reading. Between the offerings in the Media Hub and Google Movies users can find most new movies from major studios. Media Hub also includes TV episodes from shows like Glee, Ringer, Real Housewives and more.

Other media apps include Netflix, Amazon Kindle, the Smart Remote (which works with the IR blaster), Photo Editor and a Video Maker.

Read: Using The Galaxy Tab 2 With Your TV

The Tab 2 also has productivity chops and comes pre-loaded with Polaris Office plus Samsung’s S Planner calendar app and a Memo app. The company partnered with DropBox to offer Galaxy Tab 2 owners 50GB of online storage for free for one year.

Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 Cameras

Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 Camera

The 3MP rear-facing camera lacks a flash

The 3MP camera on the rear is best for outside shots. There’s no flash to back you up when light is low, and even when the light is good indoor pictures and video are plagued by noticeable noise.

The camera app is the same found on the Tab 7.7 and Galaxy Note, so you can fiddle around with settings to get a better picture. It offers scene mode, white balance, exposure, metering and more.

Galaxy Tab 2 Camera App

The front-facing camera is good enough for profile pictures and video chats, though the image is grainy and sometimes dark.

Is the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 Worth It?

Like I sad in the intro, the Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 has most of the things tablet buyers are looking for at a very attractive price. The Kindle Fire and Nook tablet 8GB cost $50 less, but both of those tablets have far fewer features and a far more limitations.

The advantage the Nook and Kindle have is that the user interfaces are simpler and they are overall easier to understand for people uncomfortable with technology.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0

Samsung’s offering is also a better choice than the $199 Lenovo IdeaPad A1 thanks to the dual-core processor, latest Android operating system and pre-loaded media repositories.

The bottom line is if you’re looking for a 7-inch tablet under $300 and don’t want to sacrifice the full Android experience, the Galaxy tab 2 7.0 is your best choice right now. We’re sure to see more low-cost, full experience tablets on the market soon, but they’ll have to work pretty hard to match what Samsung pulled off.

The Tab 2 7.0 goes on sale April 22nd at online and brick & mortar electronics retailers. Pre-orders begin tomorrow, April 12.

Gallery

Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 Specs

OS Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich
Display (size/res) 7.0 inches, 1024 x 600 pixels
CPU 1GHz dual-core
Internal Storage 8GB
Expansion microSD slot (up to 32GB)
Ports 30-pin proprietary (USB 2.0 Host), headphone
Cameras 3MP (rear), VGA (front)
Wireless Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n; Bluetooth 3.0; WiFi Direct;
DLNA (AllShare)
Battery 4,000mAh Li-Polymer
Size 7.6 x 4.8 x 0.41 inches
Weight 12.2 ounces

Comments

  1. Gatorproof says

    I don’t understand why your Wifi is listed as a con? Where we live we have no Broadband available. We put up with 2 years of Wild Blue, a fate I would wish on no human. But, after buying a Galaxy Note, we found 4G LTE and we get about 2mb-4mb down with a ping around 100 and upload speed as high as 1.8mb. Compared to pining 2000 on Wild Blue we were elated. I had to send my Asus TF-101 in for display issues and I bought a Sam tab 2 7 as a fill in tab. The wifi on it is twice as fast as my Asus. In fact I have, using speedtest.net downloads as fast as 4mb on the Galaxy 2 7 tab. That is tethering from the Note. The most incredible thing is, when leaving Costco with and setting up the Sam 2 7 on the way home, wife driving. I clocked 38mb in Brandon, Fl on my Note and and then a 49mb on the Tab 2 7. So how can wifi be an issue at those speeds? Perhaps you had a bad unit?

  2. ROGER BEUTEL says

    Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7. I have one very annoying issues, and one critical:

    First, there are times when I press the on button it will not turn on. This has nothing to do with batter level. I have to hold not the one button for 7 – 10 seconds then it does a cold bootup; what give?

    Secondly, and this is very critical, my Outlook Exchange email account simply gets deleted or the number or emails get zero. I have to recreate the account. Or, once I get the Exchange account recreated, and there is email in it after a synch, say 250 – 1000 emails, the emails simply vanish to zero! Ninety percent of the reason I got the tab in the first places was to read Exchange emails, thus it is entirely useless to me if I can’t fix this problem. It happened to be again last night. One minute I’m reading email, responding, forwarding, etc., then in a flash the all email is gone and the count is zero – then it attempts to restarts to sync up, then the Exchange account simply is erased. I’ve spoken to IT about a security certificate which is loaded and that is not the culprit. If I cannot find a permanent fix, I’ll go with iPad which is the last thing I want to do.

  3. mike martino says

    I love it . I have bought and sampled 8 to 10 of these things and kept for two weeks and returned them all . I cant say enough god things about it . I love it . I highly recommend it . Yes the screen gets dirty but I take a bath everyday and clean my eye glasses everyday. Buy a shield .

  4. Nelson Lobo says

    How to on Bluetooth in Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 310
    I tried but when i slide it to make it on then its shows turning on bluetooth & again goes on off position
    Please help & reply soon

Leave a Reply