Recently I have been putting Samsung’s tablets through their paces and the latest device I have to test is the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0. The 7 inch tablet ships with the Ice Cream Sandwich version of Android but when I unboxed it I was prompted to install Jelly Bean on the device.
Jelly Bean on the Tab 2 looks very similar to Jelly Bean on the 10.1 which isn’t surprising as it’s only really the screen size that is different from the larger tablet.
So first let’s look at the specifications. The Tab 2 has a 1 GHz dual core processor, 3MP rear camera, VGA front camera, MicroSD card slot, a 1024×600 display with Samsung’s TouchWiz UI. So the specs are a little on the basic side but does that impact the performance?
I have had Nexus 7 since it was launched last year which is also a 7 inch Android tablets so I have got very used to how well Android works on that form factor and is a good benchmark to compare the Tab 2 against. The Nexus 7 has a higher resolution running at 1280×800 and does have a clearer display than the Tab 2 when you compare them side by side but it’s only a slight difference. When using the tablet it feels pretty snappy and doesn’t seem to suffer the occasional slow down like the Nexus 7 does.
Samsung add lots of software on top of Android, they have Hubs for purchasing content. Samsung have their own stores, there is a Music Hub, Game Hub and Reader Hub as well as Samsung’s own app store. Personally I would rather use Google’s Play Store. As well as the standard Android apps Samsung add extra software, included with the Tab 2 is Samsung’s AllShare app which is a DNLA app. With the app you can browser DNLA servers and play the content on the device. You can also use it to push content to DLNA clients like a Smart TV.
Samsung also add ChatOn a chat client, Dropbox and their S applications like S Planner (a calendar app),S Suggest an app recommendations system, video and music players plus Polaris Office for viewing Microsoft Office files.
Battery performance seems very good, I was using the tablet over a few days and the batter held up well. For example using it over three days it had the battery around 44% and that was with on and off use. Samsung still use their own multi-pin connector which is a bit of a pain, yes you do get a charger and cable with it but it means you can’t use a standard micro-usb cable to charge or copy data to it.
The rear camera which is 3MP is ok for a tablet camera, it has a few picture effects like Sepia and Black and While modes, plus there are timer modes and a video mode. The cameras are handy for using with Skype and ok if you need to take a quick picture.
Nexus 7 or Tab 2 7.0
So if you’re going to purchase a 7 inch tablet which one would you choose? There are a few factors to consider, the Nexus 7 has no rear camera so if you want to take pictures the Tab 2 7 is the one to go for. The Nexus 7 has a better display running at 1280×800 whereas the Tab is 1024×600 and that gives a sharper screen but it doesn’t make that much difference. Both have a similar plastic feel to them and I prefer the soft plastic on the back of the Nexus 7. The Tab 2 has a micro-sd card slot which the Nexus 7 doesn’t so if you want to take more media with you this is advantage for the Tab 2.0. The other thing to consider is the TouchWiz UI, I still prefer stock Android but TouchWiz is getting better and If you already have a Samsung device then you probably used to it.
The Tab 2 7.0 is a nice tablet, if you want a 7 inch tablet it is worth considering it but I have to say I prefer the stock Android experience on the Nexus 7 and the Nexus 7 has marginally better hardware but if you a fan of the Samsung Galaxy range then this could be worth looking at. The Tab 2 7.0 16GB version costs around £199 (on Amazon) where as the Nexus 7 16GB costs £159 on Google Play. Head to head video coming soon.