Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 review: the closest thing to an Apple iPad Featured

Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 review: the closest thing to an Apple iPad

A superb screen and lovely feel - this is a brilliant Google tablet.

Apple's dominance of the tablet market has gradually eroded over the years and with choices like the Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 it's no surprise.

With a 9.7-inch screen, a slim and light build and plenty of power all packed into a premium shell it's almost an iPad Air 2 running Android; at iPad Mini prices.

So far so good, but as an upgrade to the Samsung Galaxy Tab S it's less impressive and while the Galaxy Tab S2 ticks many of the same boxes as the iPad Air 2, it doesn't stand out.

galaxy Tab2a

Design

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 inevitably has some similarities with the iPad Air 2, but in some ways it's better, as at 5.6mm thick and 389g it's both slimmer and lighter. That's quite an achievement and means you can easily hold it in one hand comfortably.

The actual design is slightly less inspiring. The Tab S2 has a metal frame and a plastic back, which doesn't exactly ooze quality and feels a bit cheap. The plastic body can be a little sloppy at times.

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 doesn't give the superior look and feel of the iPad Air 2. But, that said, it's an improvement on the all-plastic Samsung Galaxy Tab S.


Samsung Galaxy Tab2 10.1 inch Tablet - White (16GB, WiFi, Android 4.0) at Amazon UK

Features

The bright and vivid Super AMOLED display is excellent, just like you'll find on its smart phones.

The Galaxy Tab 2 has resolution as the iPad Air 2- 1536 x 2048. It's which is plenty sharp enough. The aspect ratio has changed from 16:9 to 4:3, clearly in a bid to compete more directly with Apple's tablets. The change makes it worse for watching movies, but better for web browsing.

Then, there's a fingerprint scanner packed into the Galaxy Tab S2, making it speedy to unlock. It mostly works well and as you can register up to four fingers you're not stuck using the same digit every time, but it failed to recognise the print about one in four times and on those occasions just typing in a PIN would have been faster.

Also see: iPad mini 4 review: An almost hidden gem from Apple

 

Galaxy Tab S2 8

Performance

With an octa-core processor and 3GB of RAM the Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 is a clear flagship and it performs like one, though it's not quite as fast as the Samsung Galaxy S6 or the anywhere near the level of the iPad Pro.

It's hardly noticeable in the real world. Everything feels smooth under the finger and it even copes well with high-end games. There's an occasional pause when swiping across the home screen, but that's likely the TouchWiz effect rather than a lack of power.

Battery life is not great, if you are playing big games it will be beeping at you to recharge within a few hours. With moderate use you'll get a day or maybe more out of it.

It has an 8MP camera on board which is satisfactory. But it won't cope very well in difficult light situations such as picking up the details on overcast autumn days.

The useful front-facing camera is just a 2.1MP, but doesn't lag much behind the main camera, buts again struggles unless the lighting is bright and consistent.

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Usability

The Galaxy Tab S2 runs Android Lollipop which incorporates TouchWiz. Which is functional but certainly not up to Apple's standards, there are some decent features here. Flipboard is built in, so a swipe to the left of the screen will give you easy access to news and entertainment stories.

Samsung have also made good use of the large 9.7-inch display to offer a split screen mode for easier multi-tasking - the tablet is powerful enough to handle this smoothly, but the screen is just a little too small for it to be entirely comfortable.

Also see: Amazon Kindle Oasis review: For the serious reader

 

Verdict

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 is not about to knock the iPad off its perch, but in many ways it feels like an Android iPad.

It's a great to use thanks to a thin and light design, a big and bright screen and plenty of power, which is what you want in a tablet. The battery life could be a better though.

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 is cheaper than an iPad mini 4. It's doesn't quite have the quality of Apple's tablets, but if you're after an Android tablet with a great screen then this is as good as you'll get.


Samsung Galaxy Tab2 10.1 inch Tablet - White (16GB, WiFi, Android 4.0) at Amazon UK

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