Reviewers say the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 is packed with extras you won't find in other cheap tablets, including free and abundant cloud storage space, front- and rear-facing cameras, and the ability to control your entertainment center. The extras come at a price, however: Both the display and the performance lag behind the competition.
Slightly behind the curve. The Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 delivers average performance, experts say, although its dual-core processor isn't nearly as responsive as the quad-core-equipped Google Nexus 7 (Est. $230 and up). The battery life is good, but the 1,024-by-600-pixel display is outshined by other budget slates, most of which have moved to at least 1,280-by-800-pixel resolutions.
The Galaxy Tab 2 7.0's calling card. On the other hand, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 offers an abundance of features not found in low-cost rivals like the Nexus 7 and Amazon Kindle Fire HD (*Est. $200 and up). Perhaps the most impressive is the inclusion of an IR blaster and remote control app for managing your home theater system. Samsung tosses in two years of free 50 GB of Dropbox cloud storage along with a handful of media-sharing and -purchasing apps, although experts say the AllShare DLNA streaming program is a bit of a pain to use. Polaris Office handles productivity, while dual cameras do snapshot duty from both the front and the back, a rare feature in a budget tablet.
The slim 8 GB of onboard storage can be expanded by both the Dropbox offer and a micro-SD card. A 4G LTE-equipped version (*Est. $350) is available through Verizon Wireless.
Hit and miss. Although the small, lightweight slate is comfortable to hold, reviewers say they frequently cover the Galaxy Tab 2 7.0's speakers with their fingers by accident. The dual-core processor can be sluggish at times, and the inclusion of multiple media-purchasing apps makes finding content more difficult than on the Kindle Fire. However, the core usage experience is adequate.
How badly do you want the features? Any solid-performing $200-ish Android tablet is a good value, and the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 is no exception. If the tablet's specific features don't appeal to you, the Kindle Fire HD offers a more seamless and high-definition media consumption experience, while the Google Nexus 7 provides much better all-around performance.
Even before the Google Nexus 7 and its powerful hardware hit the streets, complaints about aging hardware stopped PCMag.com from giving the otherwise "Excellent" Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 an Editors' Choice award. Its features are nice, Kim says, but he dislikes the lack of tablet-optimized Android apps.
Review: Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 (7.0), Eugene Kim, April 11, 2012
2. Computer Shopper
The Samsung slate wins both Editors' Choice and Good for School awards from ComputerShopper.com. The performance is just good enough, Harrel says, but the gorgeous screen, low price and abundant extras make it a great cheap tablet option.
Review: Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 (7.0) Review and Ratings, William Harrel, April 16, 2012
3. Laptop Magazine
It's the extras that coax Laptop Magazine's Smith into giving this tablet an Excellent rating. "The Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 delivers good performance, a sleek design, and plenty of cool extras for an affordable $249," she says. Now it's even cheaper.
Review: Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 Review, Sherri L. Smith, April 11, 2012
CNET reviews a 4G LTE-equipped version of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0, but finds the $350 price tag too high for the flexibility the tablet offers, and that doesn't include monthly mobile data fees. "$350 is still a lot to pay for a 7-inch tablet, especially since the release of the $200 Nexus 7, which has a better screen, faster performance, Android 4.1 and NFC capabilities," Franklin says.
Review: Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 4G LTE Review (Verizon), Eric Franklin, Aug. 27, 2012
The Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 may be the only major cheap Android tablet with dual cameras, but TheVerge.com's review suggests that's not exactly a plus, calling Samsung's shooters "terrible." Otherwise, the tablet's decent performance and excellent battery life win over Pierce, but he wishes there were more Android tablet apps available.
Review: Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 Review, David Pierce, April 11, 2012
Although Volpe says the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 delivers a solid experience for the price, it doesn't do enough to differentiate itself from the competition. And that was before the launch of the beefier Nexus 7.
Review: Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 Review, Joseph Volpe, April 11, 2012
7. Expert Reviews (U.K.)
Credibility: Very Good
Ludlow's review is published long after most others, but that delay allows him to fully compare the Samsung slate to the Google Nexus 7. The result isn't great news for Samsung. "The Tab 2 is well made and has an impressive screen -- but unless you want 3G, the Nexus is a better buy," he says.
Review: Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 Review, David Ludlow, Aug. 17, 2012