Samsung Galaxy S2 8" and 9.7"

Tablet Review

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Posted: September 6, 2015

In the eyes of many technology lovers, the tablet market has become somewhat tame and predictable in recent years. New models are rarely greeted with the same excitement generated by the debuts of the original iPad or the Nexus 7. Samsung tablets in particular seem to be stuck in something of a rut. Fortunately, the mobile giant is looking to shake things up with the highly anticipated Galaxy Tab S2.

Dimensions & Build Quality

In terms of overall look and feel, the Galaxy Tab S2 is reminiscent of the latest iPad. It boasts a sturdy metal frame and moderately beveled edges. The 8-inch variant weighs in at 9.4 ounces while the 9.7-inch model is 13.8 ounces. In a tablet comparison between the iPad and the Galaxy Tab S2, Samsung's newest tabs stack up favorably since they're both lighter and thinner than competing Apple tablets.

Exterior Features

As far as I/O ports go, the Galaxy Tab S2 features a microSD slot with a 128GB capacity, a microUSB socket and the standard stereo jack. Cameras include an 8MP rear unit as well as a 2.1MP front-facing lens for crisp video chats. Both models boast 2048x1536 Super AMOLED displays ensconced in the standard bulletproof Gorilla Glass. The 8.0-inch model has 320 pixels per inch while the 9.7-inch unit is good for 264ppi.

Internals & Software

The Galaxy Tab S2 line is powered by two separate quad-core processors clocked at 1.9GHz and 1.3GHz, respectively. Available RAM is a beefy 3GB, which allows for solid multitasking and graphics performance. Consumers have the choice between 32GB or 64GB of on-board storage. Total storage space can be up to 192GB with the right SD card. The 8.0-inch model has a 4,000mAh battery while its big brother boasts 5,870mAh per charge.

The current operating system is the full-featured and well-received Android 5.0.2 aka Lollipop. While the default interface is the polarizing but familiar TouchWiz UI, Samsung has wisely kept nuisance apps to a minimum. Custom apps like SideSync and Quick Connect allow users to control other Samsung products remotely and throw video to smart TVs. Compatibility with the Book Cover Keyboard and a free copy of MS Office make either Galaxy Tab S2 a serious productivity machine.

Networking Options

Both Galaxy Tab S2 tablets feature the expected 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac dual-band MIMO Wi-Fi as well as Bluetooth 4.1 BLE. There's also GPS, GLONASS and a compass baked into the cake if you like to wander off the beaten path. As far as mobile data is concerned, either model will run on pretty much every LTE, 3G and 2G network available from the major carriers.

The Verdict

Though tablet comparisons are inherently subjective, the Galaxy Tab S2 distinguishes itself from its rivals in several ways. First off, it's the thinnest tablet available bar none. Secondly, it arguably boasts the best display around at the moment. The only noticeable downside of the Galaxy Tab S2 is its somewhat lackluster battery life. All in all, it's one of the most appealing tablets that can be had at present for the money.

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Second Opinion

Here's an objective review from the good people at MobileTechReview (scroll down to see the side-by-side specs):

 

 

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Side by side comparison

Samsung Galaxy S2 8" Samsung Galaxy S2 9.7"
   
samsung galaxy s2 8   samsung galaxy s2 9.7
   
 Tablet  Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 8.0
 Rating  Ratings
 OS  Android 5.0
 CPU  Exynos 7 - 1.90 GHz
 Storage  32,64 GB
 RAM  3 GB
 Display  AM-OLED - 8.0 inch
 Resolution  1536 x 2048 px - 320 ppi
 Camera  Front 2.1 / Back 8.0 MP
 Weight  0.26 kg / 0.58 lbs
 Battery life  7.5 hours
 Released  2015-09
 Tablet  Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 9.7
 Rating  Ratings
 OS  Android 5.0
 CPU  Exynos 7 - 1.90 GHz
 Storage  32,64 GB
 RAM  3 GB
 Display  AM-OLED - 9.7 inch
 Resolution  1536 x 2048 px - 264 ppi
 Camera  Front 2.1 / Back 8.0 MP
 Weight  0.39 kg / 0.86 lbs
 Battery life  7.5 hours
 Released  2015-09

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Battery life comparison

Battery life of selected tablet

 Tablet   (h)   Battery life 
Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 8.07.5Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 8.0 tablet autonomy comparison
Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 9.77.5Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 9.7 tablet autonomy comparison

Compared to 5 tablets with largest battery life

Lenovo Yoga Tab 3 Pro 1018.0Lenovo Yoga Tab 3 Pro 10 tablet autonomy comparison
Samsung Galaxy Tab A 10.115.0Samsung Galaxy Tab A 10.1 tablet autonomy comparison
Sony Xperia Z415.0Sony Xperia Z4 tablet autonomy comparison
Microsoft Surface 214.0Microsoft Surface 2 tablet autonomy comparison
Nokia Lumia 252013.5Nokia Lumia 2520 tablet autonomy comparison

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Weight comparison

Weight of selected tablet

 Tablet   kg   lbs   Weight 
Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 8.00.260.58Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 8.0 weight comparison
Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 9.70.390.86Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 9.7 weight comparison

Compared to 5 lightest tablets - 8 and 9 inch

Sony Xperia Z3 Compact0.270.59Sony Xperia Z3 Compact weight comparison
Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.40.290.65Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4 weight comparison
Dell Venue 80.290.64Dell Venue 8 weight comparison
Samsung Galaxy Tab3 8.00.300.66Samsung Galaxy Tab3 8.0 weight comparison
Asus ZenPad S 8.00.300.65Asus ZenPad S 8.0 weight comparison