In my tutorial on turning a Kindle Fire into a "real" tablet by rooting it and adding applications, I concluded that the resulting Kindle Fire was a pretty good general-purpose tablet. However, some aspects of the transformation were less than optimal. I suggested a 7-inch tablet that was coming soon from Samsung as a better bet.
We looked at that new tablet, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 a couple of weeks ago and found it to be an all-around terrific 7-inch Android tablet. In this second look, we go into more detail. Should you consider this $249 slate for business? Definitely. The Tab 2 7.0 offers virtually everything you'd want in a tablet: it's compact, thin, and light; it's capable of both pleasure and work; and doesn't cost much as tablets go. The Tab 7.0 is essentially a minor redesign of an older, more expensive model, the Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus. Samsung toned down the features, lowered the price, and voila! It's produced a tablet that competes with Amazon's loss leader Kindle Fire in price, yet has nearly all the capabilities of Apple's "new iPad" at half the Wi-Fi-only iPad's price.
Following are the principle changes Samsung made in its new cost-reduced version of the Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus:
- CPU clock rate reduced to 1.0GHz from 1.2GHz.
- Internal flash reduced to 8GB from 16GB.
- LED flash eliminated.
- Haptic feedback (vibration) eliminated.
- OS upgraded to Android 4.0 from Android 3.2.
- Polaris Office upgraded to 4.0 from 3.0.
- Price reduced by $100.
Below are the front and rear views of the tablet. On the back you can see the camera lens.
Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 front and back
(click images to enlarge)
How the Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 stacks up
Any realistic tablet comparison can't be just about hardware. The Apple and Android tablets run entirely different operating systems, of course. But tabulating software tradeoffs would be like trying to summarize the pros and cons of the world's great religions. Based on hardware specs and price alone, following are more in-depth details on how the new Galaxy Tab 2 compares favorably with the Kindle Fire and new iPad.
|Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 (7.0)||Amazon Kindle Fire||
|microSD flash exp.||yes||no||no|
|OS||Android 4.0||Android 2.3 (forked)||iOS 5.1|
Android Apps Market
|Apple App Store|
|Cameras||VGA (0.3MP) front; 3MP rear||none||0.3MP front; 5MP rear|
|Audio input||mic, line-in||none||mic, line-in|
|Wi-Fi||802.11 b/g/n; Wi-Fi-direct||802.11 b/g/n/x||802.11 a/b/g/n|
|USB I/O||via combo I/O||via Micro USB||via combo I/O|
|HDMI output||via combo I/O||no||via combo I/O|
|GPS||yes||no||3G/4G version only|
|Battery||4000 mAh||4400 mAh||11200 mAh|
|Size (in.)||7.6 x 4.8 x 0.4||7.5 x 4.7 x 0.5||9.5 x 7.3 x 0.4|
|Weight||12.2 oz||14.6 oz||23.0 oz|