Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 High-end Android tablets are becoming few and far between, indicating to us that the tablet segment in general has been seeing a slowdown. Most consumers seem to be more gravitated to either picking up a low-cost laptop hybrid, or the many inexpensive tablets that pack reasonable value for the money. On that note, it’s no surprise to us that many companies have stopped production and development for high-end tablets on the Android side. And then there’s Samsung! The Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 has bright and vividly colorful screen. Its rail-thin design is comfortable and ultracompact. It comes with 32GB of storage, a microSD card expansion slot and fingerprint scanner.
life is long. Design:
The Galaxy Tab S2 feels nicer to hold in two hands than the 10.5 and its sibling, the Galaxy Tab 8.4. In fact, it's now light enough to comfortably clutch in one hand. Design
The Galaxy Tab S2 feels nicer to hold in two hands than the 10.5 and its sibling, the Galaxy Tab 8.4. In fact, it's now light enough to comfortably clutch in one hand.
The Samsung Tab S2 is lighter in part because it's backed by a soft-touch plastic cover instead of an aluminium shell. Metal edges outline the tablet instead of a plastic frame this time.
The entire device may not be metal, but it does feel smooth. It's better than the dimpled plastic of the Samsung Galaxy Tab S, yet remains just as grippy.
Two small, springy buttons are embedded into the back of the Tab S2, but they're meant for clipping a cover onto the tablet and aren't releases to pop off the back. It's all sealed shut.
There is, however, a microSD card slot on the frame to optionally boost the 32GB and 64GB configurations with an additional 128GB of expandable storage.
Alongside this same rail are a solid-feeling power button and volume rocker. Stereo speakers, a headphone jack and an off-center micro USB port line the bottom of the tablet.
The Tab S2 has a physical, fingerprint-sensing home button in front with the usual oval shape, and two capacitive buttons on either side. These keys light up by default every time the display is touched.
The beams of light are a bit distracting when scrolling and reading text near the bottom of the screen, and turning them off in settings doesn't help orient your fingers in the dark. This wider tablet isn't like a narrower phone, where you know the exact location of these keys.
The latest Galaxy Tab comes in three colors: Black, White and Gold. Gone are the fancy names like Dazzling White and Titanium Bronze, reflecting Samsung's minimalist design with this year's ultra-thin tablet. Display:
A tablet is all about the display and we've seen some unusual flip-flopping in resolutions over the past few years. With the 2012 Nexus 10 (which is made by Samsung) plopping out a 2560 x 1600 pixel display and the original Samsung Galaxy Tab S following suit, the Tab S2 now steps down to 2048 x 1536 pixels (264ppi density). That's the same resolution as we saw on the 2014 Nexus 9 tablet and it's the same as the iPad Air 2, which is the exact same size at 9.7-inches too. The shift from higher resolutions might be partly due to the shift in aspect ratio from 16:9 (or 16:10) to 4:3, or it could simply be that the returns for that resolution weren't hugely apparent. However, the Tab S2 is equipped with an AMOLED display whereas most competitors offer LCD. Samsung is known for AMOLED and has enjoyed great results on its Galaxy smartphones and Note tablets with this technology. On the Tab S2, you're again rewarded with great contrast, lots of punch in visuals, and deep, rich colours that are typical of such a panel. You might notice that the richness makes some content look a little dark so you have to bump up the brightness to get best out of movies and videos. We found the colours a little overwrought in the opening scenes when watching Mockingjay, for example, but the deep blacks and brilliant blues set up Gravity nicely. On the flipside, some games are incredibly rich, making us wish we could dial it down a little for a more natural view. AMOLED can also struggle to produce clean and bright whites as a result, something that Samsung has worked hard to improve on recent devices - but there's a hint of cool blue white here. The thing you will notice, however, is that on this size of display some of Android's apps don't scale as well as they should. You'll find softness becomes apparent in some games, for example, or some of the graphic elements in apps don't look as sharp as they do on your smartphone, phablet or smaller tablet. Take Real Racing 3 as an example: it looks blocky, so visually it's not as pleasant as on smaller or even 16:9 tablets with less display height. If that's a factor for you, the smaller 8-inch Tab S2 model might be the better choice. The display aspect also means the Tab S2 works a little better in portrait orientation than 16:9 devices, making for a better reading experience, whether that's on the included Flipboard-based Briefing newsreader, or when using something like the Kindle app. On the flip side, you'll have a lot of empty space top and bottom when watching movies in landscape - especially if they are shot in the cinematic 21:9 aspect ratio.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 houses an octa-core Exynos 5433 chipset, comprised of a 1.9GHz and 1.3GHz quad-core CPU. It also has 32GB of internal storage and a microSD card expansion slot that's expandable up to 128GB. The Samsung website lists a 64GB version, but only the 32GB model is available for purchase; Samsung hasn't released details on when and if the 64GB one be available.
Other features include Bluetooth 4.1 with low-energy function (BLE) and Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac MIMO -- which is faster than regular Wi-Fi.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 runs the latest version of Android with the scaled-down version of TouchWiz. It's a similar software experience to what we see on the Note 5 and latest Galaxy S6 devices.
There are not too many apps loaded out of the box, but since this is an AT&T LTE model you get plenty of bloatware from this
carrier. AT&T apps include myAT&T, AT&T AllAccess, AT&T Locker,
Device Help, AT&T FamilyMap, AT&T Ready2Go, YP, WildTangent Games, and
AT&T Messages. Given the recent DIRECTV deal, you will also find a DIRECTV
app installed on the Tab S2. US
Samsung apps include Galaxy Apps, Hancom Office Viewer, Memo, Samsung Milk Music, SideSync, and Smart Manager. You will also find several Google apps, but these have been reduced by Google so loading up your preferred Google apps is up to your own preferences in many cases.
One of the reasons to pick up a Samsung tablet is to be able to use a couple apps at the same time in a side-by-side format. As you can see in a couple of screenshots in my gallery, many apps look absolutely terrible in this format and neither app ends up being useful.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S2's brilliant screen, plentiful storage capacity and slender build make it a great tablet for everyday use at home or on the go. Price ;$347.99
vs iPad Air 2
It's even thinner and lighter than last time around and to a noticeable extent. The screen is better, with more vibrant colours, it's more powerful thanks to its A8X processor and the battery life holds up just as well. It even benefits from Touch ID and Apple Pay and while these features aren't as exciting here as they are on phones they're still nice to have. Performance
The 64-bit A7 processor introduced on the iPhone 5S was altered to provide a power boost to last year’s iPad Air. Called the A7X this chip was similar in performance to the A7 – up 5-10% in our benchmark tests.
This year Apple has gone further and designed a processor specifically for the iPad Air 2. The A8X has a tri-core CPU running at 1.5GHz and a quad-core graphics processing unit coupled, for the first time, to 2GB of RAM.
If we play Specs Top Trumps the iPad Air 2 looks a shadow of top-end Android tablets such as the Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5 and its 2.3GHz quad-core processor. Don’t let that fool you, though. The iPad Air 2 is the most powerful tablet we’ve ever tested – and that’s including Nvidia’s Shield Tablet that packs the great new Tegra K1.
And while the processor is key to that performance, Apple has also ensured that iOS 8 can make the most of it. Metal lets developers take full advantage of the quad-core GPU, while the new iOS programming language, Swift, means apps can hook into certain features such as Touch ID.
Some observers have even compared the iPad Air 2's performance to a desktop PC. In some respects they’re right. The A8X processor performs a few tasks faster than PCs just a few years old, but the question is: do you need all that power? If you intend to use your iPad as a productivity device then you’ll appreciate it. Even if you don’t, you may find yourself using it more as a laptop replacement than you anticipated.
During the launch of the Air 2, Apple showed off a video-editing app called Replay that lets you create slick-looking videos with ease. The iPad Air 2 powered through the edits.
There are clear benefits to be had from the extra performance, but let’s see how it stacks up against the competition.
The iPad Air 2 scores an excellent 4,509 on Geekbench 3. To put that in some context, the next fastest tablet we’ve reviewed, the Nvidia Shield, scored 3220 – that’s 40% faster. That also makes the iPad Air 2 almost 70% faster than the iPad Air. That’s some impressive work in just a year.
And the wins keep coming with a 3D Mark Ice Storm Unlimited score of 21,797. That’s 33% higher than the Shield and almost 50% better than the first-generation iPad Air.
The iPad Air 2 is astonishingly fast – so fast, in fact, that you might not know what to do with all that power. Not that we’re complaining, of course. The extra grunt means that this is a tablet you can use for more than just checking out the latest memes and Facebook. It future-proofs the Air 2 to some degree.
There’s also been an upgrade to the co-processor, now called the M8. This handles all the sensor data from the iPad Air 2, such as the accelerometer and the new barometer. The reason that Apple favours a co-processor is that it uses much less power than the main processor, helping the battery to last longer.
In short the iPad Air 2 really is the complete package and while you can always find things to niggle about there are no significant flaws. In the time since the original iPad Air launched everything else is still struggling to match it and yet Apple has managed to raise the benchmark higher still. Everyone else really has their work cut out if the iPad Air 2 is going to be unseated from the number one spot. The new iPad Air gets an improved A8X processor, better rear and front-facing cameras, an even thinner and lighter design, an anti-reflective screen, a Touch ID fingerprint sensor, and more built-in storage at higher configurations than last year. But The Air 2 isn't a big change from last year's iPad in terms of overall function; battery life remains the same, although its battery life is already pretty good. Audio playback via speakers makes the thin metal body resonate more than before. The Bottom Line The iPad Air 2 is a nice refinement and finesse of last year's model, with a bevy of tweaks, enhancements, a much faster processor, and the welcome addition of Touch ID. Simply put: it's still the gold standard for tablets.
Weight: 437g | Dimensions: 240 x 169.5 x 6.1mm | OS: iOS 8.1 | Screen size: 9.7-inch | Resolution: 1536 x 2048 | CPU: Triple-core 1.5 GHz | RAM: 2GB | Storage: 16/64/128GB | Battery: 7340mAh | Rear camera: 8MP | Front camera: 1.2MP $349.95