The Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 is a sleek and comfortable tablet device that represents an excellent value for the functionality it delivers. At a cost substantially below that of comparable models, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 combines solid performance and stylish looks for an excellent value in a 10-inch Android tablet.
Students and staff alike will appreciate the sleek titanium cover and light 1.28-pound weight.
The 1280x800 thin-film transistor LCD delivers vivid colors and provides excellent viewing angles that make the tablet easy to use in any orientation. Allowing the tablet to adjust automatically for ambient light yields a display that is bright and clear under the wide variety of lighting conditions found within the campus setting.
The dual-core, 1-gigahertz processor and 1 gigabyte of RAM provide smooth performance when swiping between applications and can easily handle video playback and demanding graphics.
Battery life on the Galaxy Tab 2 is excellent, lasting a full day for all but the most graphically intensive applications. Processing speed is quite responsive in launching applications and in mediarecording and playback.
A 3-megapixel rear-facing camera provides for reasonable still photography and 1080p full HD recording, while a front-facing VGA camera facilitates video telephony.
Audio on the tablet's stereo speakers is clear and crisp at low and moderate levels, and the headphone jack provides clear audio at all levels. Finally, 16GB of Secure Digital storage and a MicroSD port provide adequate application and data storage.
Controls are minimized and well placed, with a power switch and volume rocker on the top or upper right, depending on orientation. A docking port on the bottom fits well with the included docking station to provide a tablet that's quite usable even while docked and charging.
The addition of a Bluetooth keyboard makes the Galaxy Tab 2 a very comfortable platform for note taking or other writing-intensive tasks, and should be considered an essential investment if much writing is to be done.
The Galaxy Tab 2 includes a variety of audio and video codecs, including M4V, AVI and DivX; and several "hub" applications (Media Hub and Music Hub) to help users aggregate content. The integrated photo editor app provides easy access to simple editing functions.
IT departments will appreciate both the low cost and the Android 4.0 OS, which will fit well alongside other Android devices in a mobile device management strategy.
Those using Microsoft Exchange will appreciate the ActiveSync integration features available through the standard email application, which allow configuration and security policy to be pushed to the tablet. CIOs and other admins will find a solid tablet option capable of performing a wide variety of tasks at a low per-unit cost.
The silver plastic back is stylish, but also slippery, and tends to slide off the lap. The ambient-light sensor struggles a bit to find correct brightness in low light. Finally, the Samsung Apps application offers little advantage over the Google Play store, with some content duplication and no integration in purchasing or billing between them.