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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.

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.

Summary specs: Galaxy Tab 2 vs Kindle Fire vs new iPad

Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 (7.0) Amazon Kindle Fire Apple
"new iPad"
Processor 1-GHz dual-core
1-GHz dual-core
1.2-GHz dual-core
Internal flash 8GB 8GB 16/32/64GB
microSD flash exp. yes no no
OS Android 4.0 Android 2.3 (forked) iOS 5.1
Apps source Google
Android Apps Market
Apple App Store
Display 7-inch diag,
1024x600 px
7-inch diag,
1024x600 px
9.7-inch diag,
2048x1536 px
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
Bluetooth yes no yes
Cellular optional no optional
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
$249 $199 $499 (16GB)

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