The Galaxy Tab 2Samsung's Ice Cream Sandwich based Galaxy Tab 2 is the first Android based system that can rival Apple's iPhones and iPads running iOS 5.
I've been playing around with Samsung’s new 1GHz dual core, 8GM 7-inch Galaxy Tab 2 tablet with the latest Android Ice Cream Sandwich 4.0.3 operating system. The combination of hardware and software inside the Galaxy Tab 2 provide performance and a user experience that come near rivaling that of my iPad 3.
Android phones and tablets have always seemed sort of brain dead to me. With their clunky interfaces and often chunkily slow operating speeds, they just never commanded my love or undying commitment to use them.
The Galaxy Tab 2 breaks the Android mold.
It’s pleasingly fast and has not let me down in terms of speed either in running apps or accessing the Internet. The display isn’t iPad Retina level, but, at 1024 x 600, it has 720p HD capability and displays text and graphics crisply and in a highly readable format, even on the 7-inch display. All of the important finger gestures are there and they work with a smoothness I haven’t seen in any Android tablet.
And, I really appreciate how the little things have been taken care of. For example, when you tap a web link in an email on an iPad, you’re taken to the site. When you leave the site, you’re taken back to the iPad’s home screen and you have to reenter the email app to continue reading the email. With Android, you tap the link and go to the site. When you tap the return icon, you’re taken right back to the email. A little time saver, but typical of a lot of what I’ve seen on the Galaxy Tab 2.
As a further indication of the absolute coolness of the apps on the Galaxy Tab 2, consider Peel Smart Remote and TV Listing App. I just bought a Denon WiFi connected receiver. It’s great, but I have been struggling for two weeks to get it to manage my Time Warner cable box, Panasonic Plasma HD TV, Samsung Blu-ray player and other components. I’m sure it can do it, but following the vague instructions in the manual and online, I can’t get it to do anything. It took all of 3 minutes for the Peel app to give me full infrared control of all my devices. Try that on your iPhone or iPad.
And, the Galaxy Tab 2 makes fantastic use of its external Micro SD card. Instead of dumbly requiring that you put your own stuff on the card, the tablet, Android 4 and wise apps intelligently and transparently save to the Micro SD card things like email attachments, printer specs, Kindle and other eReader app books, as well as multimedia files. I even found my Peel Smart Remote app settings neatly stored on the 32GB Micro SD card in the Galaxy Tab 2.
I can’t find a lot to dislike about the Galaxy Tab 2. Maybe after more use, I’ll find more negative stuff. Probably my biggest gripe is the way the tablet comes out of the box with a bunch of multimedia access apps and widgets front and center on the home screen. I quickly dumped those for a more useful set of apps and widgets.Galaxy Tab 2 Home Screen Modified
The out of the box home screen is one of the things that give the Galaxy Tab 2 the look of a consumer device. But, in spite of that little flaw, I can easily see the Galaxy Tab 2 taking its place in businesses. Devices like this are so user friendly and reasonably priced that they’re going to readily attract end users and then get dragged to the office, accompanied by demands that IT find a way to fit them comfortably into the work environment. We’re already focusing on mobile device security and other issues here at Tom’s IT Pro.
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Operating System: Android™ 4.0, Ice Cream Sandwich
Camera: (Rear) 3.0 Megapixel
Dimensions: (W x H x D) 4.8" x 7.6" x .41"
Weight: 0.76 lbs
Internal Memory: 8GB
External Memory: Micro SD card; slot supports up to 32GB
Main Display Resolution: 1024 x 600 Pixels
Main Display Size: 7”
Barry Gerber is Editorial Director for Bestofmedia USA, publisher of Tom’s IT Pro. He managed the Tom's Hardware site for several years, and oversaw creation of the site that is now Tom's Guide. Barry is the spiritual father of TIP, having devoted three years to its development. Barry spent many a happy year as in IT pro in finance, insurance, health and education. Also, he has written for a number of IT publications and published a number of IT related books.
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