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The Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 is a half-assed successor to the original Galaxy Tab 10.1 I reviewed last October. Engadget calls the Tab 2 10.1 “worse in almost every way” than the original Tab 10.1 — and I couldn’t put it better myself. With the exception of its good-for-a-tablet forward-pointing speakers and better-looking exterior, the Tab 2 10.1 is a pretty lackluster tablet.
What I like about the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1
The case is a big improvement. Forward-pointing speakers direct sound towards your ears instead of away from them — or at your lap. The back is sturdier, too, although it is still plastic. The whole tablet feels more solid than the first Tab 10.1.
Unfortunately, it is hard to see how the Tab 2 10.1 is supposed to be an upgrade. The screen is the same. The camera is a downgrade. The processor is slow. And the battery life has decreased.
What I don’t like about the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1
The hardware is worse in almost every way. Where the original Tab 10.1 was built to be Samsung’s flagship Androiud tablet, the Tab 2 10.1 hasn’t kept up with the competition. In some ways, it is even behind its predecessor.
For example, the new Tab 10.1 is heavier and thicker. Not a lot, but unlike other tablets, which added size in order to add batteries, the Tab 2 10.1 gets about an hour less on a charge. The display hasn’t changed, although I found the precision disappointing — and worse than I remember the original Tab 10.1. I was constantly hitting the wrong button or link — a problem I don’t even have on my 2+ year old Android phone.
The cameras are the same, too (and they are awful), but you no longer get a flash. The processor did get an upgrade, but most of the competition is on to speedier quad-core processors that leave the Tab 2 10.1 in the dust.
All this adds up to a sluggish experience, made worse by Samsung’s truly awful TouchWiz UI. TouchWiz is spectacularly bad. Every tweak Samsung made to Andriod, from the cartoony icons to removing Google Calendar to the awful Samsung keyboard, make the user experience worse. Plus, they slow everything down.
I wouldn’t mind TouchWiz if, like ASUS’s app layer, I could turn them off or ignore them. But I can’t. I can ignore the icons and install SwiftKey so I don’t have o use the cramped Samsung keyboard (you can’y use the Android keyboard; Samsung has locked it out), but I’m still stuck with S Planner instead of Google Calendar, and other dubious “improvements.” Plus, there’s the knowledge that OS upgrades will come late, if at all.
If you want a tablet, the iPad 2 is a better tablet for about the same price ($400). If you want an Android tablet, you can find better options for similar prices — like the ASUS Transformer TF300T.
Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1
Reviewed by Sam Glover on .
Summary: Engadget calls the Tab 2 10.1 “worse in almost every way” than the original Tab 10.1 — and I couldn’t put it better myself.
Score: 2 (out of 5)