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5/21/2012
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Samsung Galaxy Tab 2: Second Look At Great 7-Inch Tablet

This new low-cost 7-inch Android tablet has virtually everything you'd want in a compact, thin, lightweight, low-cost device. It's a great mobile companion for both work and pleasure, includes many worthwhile Android apps, and is priced low enough that it's hard to justify NOT getting one.

Initial setup and configuration

When you first turn on the Galaxy Tab 2 7.0, you're presented with a quick series of easy-to-understand setup screens, as shown in the screenshots below.


Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 setup wizard
(click thumbnails to enlarge)


Once setup is completed you can add apps, widgets, or folders to the tablet's home screens. It's easy to change the home screen and lock screen backgrounds by pressing a blank area of the home screen and selecting one of the options presented (Gallery, Live wallpapers, Wallpapers). I have a favorite NASA nebula image that I always use.

Although you can't substitute custom images for folders, the folder function lets you drag as many app launchers into a folder as you want. The folders display up to 12 icons at a time in portrait mode, or 16 in landscape mode, and you can scroll them to see any others beyond that quantity.


Adding folders to the home screens is a snap

Transferring files

It's easy to transfer files to and from the Galaxy Tab 2. The easiest way is to plug the USB end of the tablet's charging/interface cable into a PC or Mac and simply drag and drop files to and fro by means of the Windows or Mac file manager. Other ways to transfer files include:
  • Using a microSD card, plugged into the tablet's convenient expansion slot.
  • Using DropBox, Google Drive, or some other cloud storage service.
  • Using Bluetooth, provided your desktop or laptop system supports Bluetooth.
  • Using a UPnP or Windows share on your local network.
Samsung's Galaxy Tab 2 devices also support the emerging Wi-Fi Direct standard, although it's not widely available yet.

Yet another method involves the use of Samsung's USB socket adapter (pictured below), which plugs into the multipurpose connector on the bottom of the tablet and provides a USB device socket that can be used with USB peripherals such as thumb drives. You can even use the USB socket adapter for connecting external peripherals such keyboards and mice, but unfortunately printers are not supported.



Using a thumb drive via Samsung's USB socket adapter.
(click images to enlarge)

Creating customized home screen launchers and folders

Although the tablet's Android 4.0 OS includes a basic home screen folder capability, as discussed above, I greatly prefer the highly flexible and full-featured Folder Organizer app, which is available free from Google's Android apps market.

A few advantages of Folder Organizer over the tablet's default folder function are that you can put both app launchers and bookmarks in folders; you can assign custom icons to folders, app launchers, and bookmarks; and there are multiple options for how the items within folders are sorted (most-used, alpha-sorted, etc.). All in all, Folder Organizer can create a much more personalized result.



Folder Organizer helps you organize and customize your home screen folders and launchers.
(click image to enlarge)


The screenshot below shows my review tablet's finished home screen, which contains 16 folders, 13 app launchers, and one widget. This arrangement provides one- or two-click access to all 150+ apps I installed on the device. Note that I use custom icons for folders, for easy identification; additionally, I all-cap the names to distinguish them from app launchers and bookmarks.


I can launch with one or two clicks any of over 150 apps I set up on this home screen.
(click image to enlarge)


I easily personalized my Galaxy Tab 7.0 with more than a dozen home screens, each focused on different activities, such as videos, music, and utilities.


My 14 home screens provide instant access to over 100 apps.
(click thumbnails to enlarge)

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