Announced at MWC in Febuary, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 (10.1) is the successor to the first Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, not the original 7-inch Galaxy Tab which has itself spawned many variants. Announced alongside the now quad-core Galaxy Note 10.1, the Tab 2 will be the new Samsung Flagship tablet until its release later this year. Anyone who’s eyed over the spec-sheets of the new Tab and compared them to the original Tab 10.1 would be forgiven for thinking they’re practically identical, but are they really?
Both tablets run with dual-core 1GHz processors, pack 10-inch displays with 1280×800 resolution, sport plastic bodies and deliver Samsung’s trademark styling. Design wise, the discrepancy lies namely in the position of the stereo speakers. On the original Galaxy Tab 10.1, they are located on either side, while on the Galaxy Tab 2, the speakers are front facing. The Tab 2’s speakers do indeed deliver improved, noticeably directed sound making it one design decision that paid off. On the top of the the Galaxy Tab 2 is also a micro SD card slot, something missing from the original Tab 10.1. This allows users to supplement the on board memory by up to an additional 32GB.
Inside the UI is where the majority of the difference lies. The Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 is Samsung’s only device to have launched with Ice Cream Sandwich out of the box other than the Samsung Galaxy S3. It therefore also packs the Samsung Galaxy S3’s UI, or at least an updated tablet UI that resembles it. The aesthetic is fresh and coupled with Ice Cream Sandwiches functionality makes for a welcome replacement to the dated Honeycomb and Galaxy S2 look and feel that we see on the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, not to mention the slew of other Samsung Galaxy devices released with Gingerbread.
The cameras are also different, though surprisingly, the Tab 10.1 packs a higher resolution sensor than its successor and an LED flash. At 3.2-megapixels in the face of 5-megapixels, the the newer tab falls behind, however does supplement the rear facing camera with a VGA front facer. Neither tablet delivers stunning snaps, though if we had to pick a winner it would be the original in this department.
Overall though, the successor’s most compelling quality is its price. At £299 on launch, it retails for significantly less than its the Galaxy Tab 10.1 which retailers are either giving away with Samsung Galaxy S3 bundles these days, or selling for £400+, with very little in the middle. So all in all, if you’re tossing up between these two, it really is a no brainer. Despite both tablets offering such similar hardware – the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 really is much more enjoyable to use and the price is the final decider.
Other 10.1 inch tabs worth considering are the quad-core Asus Transformer Pad TF300 for £330, however if you’re contemplating upping your budget, the slimmer, metal Transformer Prime will set you back £499. Naturally, you could also consider an iPad for its apps selection and pin sharp screen, or drop your size down to 7-inches and opt for a bargain priced Google Nexus 7 out towards the end of July.