APPLE TABLET by ansafvakkom

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									Look and feel




Samsung doesn’t make a habit on delivering horribly uncomfortable and ugly
products (though it definitely does from time to time), and the Galaxy Tab 2 10.1
is another solid improvement in the design and feel of the Korean manufacturer’s
larger tablets. Compared to the original Galaxy Tab 10.1, it’s about 1 mm thicker
and weighs an extra ounce, but it definitely looks and feels like a better, more
unique tablet. It’s still encased in plastic, but now has a darker slate coloring to its
shell.
More importantly, this is one of the first tablets that has placed its speakers on
the front so they, you know, face at you when you’re watching something. The
difference in sound volume is quite profound, giving the Tab 2 at least one small
leg up on Apple’s iPad. The speakers complement the new style and add a small
border on the left and right sides of the screen (when held in landscape
orientation). We’d normally complain about added bezel, but Samsung has also
reduced the size of the black glass surrounding the screen.

Though it’s not unique to Samsung, our one problem with the Galaxy Tab 2 10.1
is that 10 inches is just not a great size for widescreen Android tablets. Apple
found a great size in 9.7 inches, but the secret to its comfort is its 3:4 aspect
ratio, similar to that of an old, non-HD TV. Android tablets have a widescreen,
which makes it a bit too tall when you’re using it in portrait mode and a bit too
wide when you’re holding it in landscape. We’ve preferred Samsung’s Galaxy
Tab 7.7 and Galaxy Tab 8.9 better than its 10-inch models, including this one.

Screen

If you haven’t seen the third iPad’s “Resolutionary” display, you’d be best not to
try it unless you’re going to buy. Attempting to go back to a 1280 x 800 pixel
resolution after spending so much time with Apple’s 2048 x 1536 pixel Retina
display is a definite challenge. There’s nothing technically wrong with it – it’s
serviceable – but it is a definitive step down from the newer full HD tablets
entering the market. Like most components of the new Tab 2 10.1, the screen is
last year’s model, putting it in more direct competition with the iPad 2.
We’ve noticed that the Tab 2 doesn’t appear to have quite as good a screen
(colorwise) as its predecessor. This was likely done to save money. The
difference isn’t huge, but it appears to be there. Sadly, we don’t have the original
device to compare side-by-side to this one.
Operating system
Samsung has made the leap to Android 4.0. The Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 runs
Google’s most up-to-date operating system, and, as usual, it’s been modified
with TouchWiz, to make it look and operate more consistently with other
Samsung devices.



Everything looks mostly the same, but Samsung has upped the size of app icons
on the homepage and the notification tray and simplified the overall design to
look much closer to Google’s standard Android 4.0. Because it’s the new version
of Android, however, buyers will be a bit future-proof since most new apps are
being written to take advantage of the new features in the OS. For the first time,
Android 4.0 is an OS that runs on both tablets and smartphones, like the Galaxy
Nexus.

Preinstalled apps

As usual, Samsung has loaded its tablet with a bunch of useful and useless
apps. One cool feature: This tablet comes with one year of free 50GB Dropbox
support. Not bad. This should help you sync files between PC and tablet. The
Peel Universal TV Remote is also quite cool, and we learned how to control our
TV instantly. Unfortunately, it won’t control an Xbox or other devices, so if you
don’t have cable, you’re a bit out of luck.
Other apps that come pre-installed include Amazon Kindle, AllShare, ChatON
(we couldn’t get this working), Netflix, Next Issue (digital magazines), Zinio,
Polaris Office, and a bunch of Samsung Gaming and Media “Hubs,” which try to
sell you content.

Keyboard

We don’t usually make a big deal about keyboards, but Samsung’s new default
keyboard has a number row on it for the first time, ending the annoying way
you’d have to flip to an alternate keyboard screen just to type some numbers.
This is great. Not so great, however, is the added handwriting recognition. No
matter how hard we tried to accurately write out letters, Samsung’s software
never picked them up correctly. To this day, we have not been able to get it to
recognize the letter “g”. Not once. But the regular keyboard: thumbs up.

Specs


This tablet is running almost identical specs to the first Tab 10.1. The Galaxy Tab
2 10.1 runs on a 1GHz dual-core processor, 1GB of RAM, 16GB internal storage
(11.5GB accessible), a 3-megapixel rear camera with LED flash, and a 0.3-
megapixel (VGA) front camera. There is also a microSD slot, a proprietary
Samsung charging port (no USB or HDMI), an audio jack, two nice front-facing
speakers, and an infrared sensor. Common features like Bluetooth 3.0,
accelerometer, gyroscope, and GPS are also included. This also a Wi-Fi tablet,
so Wi-Fi b/g/n are the main ways it connects to the Web.
In the Quadrant benchmark test, we achieved a 2,300 to 2,400 average score,
which is a bit lower than the Galaxy Tab 8.9 (2,450), Galaxy Tab 7.7 LTE (2,500
to 3,400), or the nearly 5,000 we’ve seen on the HTC One X and S. Still, the Tab
2 10.1 is ahead of its official predecessor. The original Galaxy Tab 10.1 only got
about a 1,900 in our tests.

Camera

Only Apple seems willing to invest in tablet cameras. The third-generation iPad
has a fantastic rear camera, but even it has a terrible front-facing camera. With
the Galaxy Tab 2 10.1, Samsung seems to have decided that cameras need only
exist on its tablets; they don’t need to take good pictures. The rear camera is as
bad as ever, lacking an adjustable autofocus and taking drab pictures in any
circumstance. The front camera has been severely downgraded from last year as
well. Instead of a 2-megapixel front camera, the Tab 2 now has a VGA (0.3
megapixel) camera. Not cool for any of you who enjoy video chatting.



Still, as much as we hate to admit it, taking pictures isn’t something we do much
of on our tablets – the iPad included. If you’re looking for a decent camera
experience, aim for the new iPad, but it’s slim pickings for camera fans across
the board.
(Warning: The Tab 2 is incapable of playing 1080p videos. If your collection of full
HD content is vast, consider another tablet.)

Battery life

We don’t do traditional battery rundown tests, but we did perform one this time.
We charged the Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 and its 7,000mAh battery to full (all night) and
let it sit on with the screen set to not timeout. Under these conditions (along with
some fairly minor use), the battery lasted between 8 and 9 hours before it died.
This isn’t record setting, nor is it particularly bad. It’s about on par with what you
might expect.

Overall

The Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 is not a bad tablet, but it’s also almost identical,
and in some ways inferior, to last year’s Galaxy Tab 10.1. At $400 it’s not overly
expensive, but it’s also not a deal. You can likely find the original Galaxy Tab
10.1 for less money by now. Also, for $400, you can still afford an iPad 2 and a
number of other good, if not superior tablets. We were really hoping for a price
between $250 and $300, but Samsung seems determined to keep its prices high.
And, as always, we don’t prefer the 10-inch form factor for Android tablets. Apple
has made it work, but for Android, smaller sized tablets like the Galaxy Tab 8.9,
Motorola Xyboard 8.2, or Galaxy Tab 7.7 are preferable because they’re easier
to hold, more portable, but retain the basic functionality of a tablet.
Highs
Runs Android 4.0
Front-facing speakers
Solid construction
microSD card slot
Lows
$400 price is a bit high
Poor front and back cameras
Larger than last year’s Galaxy Tab 10.1

								
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