Samsung's Latest Tablet Packs Last Year's Specs - InformationWeek
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Eric Zeman
Eric Zeman

Samsung's Latest Tablet Packs Last Year's Specs

Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 comes with Android 4.0, the newest operating system from Google, but ho-hum specs make it a dubious purchase.

Samsung on Monday announced a new version of its original tablet, the seven-inch Galaxy Tab. This second take on its smaller tablet makes an obvious play for the lower end of the tablet market, but it adds few important new features.

First and foremost, it is one of the first tablets from Samsung that will ship with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. Right now, Samsung is the only smartphone maker shipping an Android 4.0 smartphone, so a tablet was bound to follow quickly. Samsung says Android 4.0 on the Galaxy Tab 2 is much faster than Android 2.3 Gingerbread on the smaller tablet, with better app and user interface response. Faster is (nearly) always better, as laggy software is frustrating.

The Tab 2 will support the trick Face Unlock feature, and it comes with a spate of Samsung apps, including Samsung TouchWiz / Samsung L!ve Panel user experience, Kies/Kies air, Readers Hub, Music Hub, Game Hub, Video Hub, Samsung S Suggest, ChatON, and AllShare Play.

[ The NBA's Phoenix Suns chose Samsung's Galaxy Tab for its players and staff. Read more at Phoenix Suns Pick Samsung Galaxy Tab Over iPad. ]

Aside from the software, what's under the hood? Not all that much to write home about.

The Tab 2 is powered by a dual-core 1GHz processor accompanied by 1GB of RAM. That's kind of crummy--most new smartphones are shipping with 1.2 - 1.5GHz dual-core chips. It supports worldwide 3G data, with HSPA+ at 21Mbps in the 850/900/1900/2100MHz bands, in addition to 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, GPS, Bluetooth 3.0, USB 2.0, and a bevy of sensors.

The Tab 2 has a seven-inch display with 1024 x 600 pixels. That's acceptable, but not great. Samsung is shipping smartphones that have 1280 x 800 pixel displays--this is a carry-over component if I ever saw one. It's a shame Samsung didn't bump the display up to at least 720p. It comes with two cameras: a 3-megapixel fixed-focus main camera, and a VGA user-facing camera for video calling. It can record HD video at 1080p resolution at 30 frames per second.

It will ship in three different storage variations: 8GB, 16GB, and 32GB. All three will include a microSD card slot supporting an addition 32GB of storage. The Tab 2 shaves a little thickness and weight compared to the original, but not much. It measures 0.41 inches thick and weighs 12.1 ounces, or about .75 pounds.

The Tab 2 is certainly not a bad effort, but it's not very sexy. It lacks 4G support of any kind, the cameras are low in quality, the processor and memory setup are already outdated, and Samsung already makes tablets that measure 7.7, 8.9, and 10.1 inches.

Unless Samsung plans to offer this tablet for an incredibly low price--and I'm talking less than $200--there's not much appeal to the Galaxy Tab 2, other than the operating system. Can software sell a tablet?

Mobile World Congress kicks off in two weeks. There will surely be a handful of devices launched at that event that will lap the Galaxy Tab 2.

The Enterprise Connect conference program covers the full range of platforms, services, and applications that comprise modern communications and collaboration systems. It happens March 26-29 in Orlando, Fla. Find out more.

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