The "1-Minute" Review
- Poor battery life
- Mediocre camera
- Adaptive Display technology adjust color and brightness unnecessarily
According to the International Data Corporation, tablet sales are on the decline for most manufacturers. Despite this, Samsung released the Galaxy Tab S2 8.0 – their answer to the iPad Mini 4. In order to lure consumers away from the ever growing phablet market, Samsung has added some key improvements over the Galaxy Tab S 8.4. One of the most noticeable changes is its size. It is incredibly thin at 0.22 inches and weighs a scant 264 grams making it lighter than the iPad Mini 4. The light weight is due in part to Samsung's use of a plastic back instead of aluminum. While some experts felt it led to a less than premium feel they all agree it was much better than the faux-leather texture of the Tab S 8.4. It isn't all plastic though as the sides are metal and a coating of Gorilla Glass protects the front. Critics were impressed with the sturdy build quality with Trusted Reviews stating, "During an accidental drop-test onto a carpeted floor, the Galaxy Tab S2 proved it's well built. It survived the experience scratch-, chip- and crack-free."
The Gorilla Glass protects the 8-inch, Super AMOLED display. With a resolution of 2,048 x 1,536 the Tab S2 8.0 provides a pixel density of 320ppi. While a slight drop from its predecessor, critics still call it "stunning" and could barely see any differences. They were mainly awed by the vivid and accurate colors, deep blacks and excellent contrast. In addition, they also found it to be very bright, making it easy for them to read outside on sunny days. The biggest change to the display is the new aspect ratio of 4:3. Most experts welcomed this change as it was easier for them to read books, play games and surf the web. The only issue some had with the screen was its Adaptive Display technology. This technology is supposed to automatically optimize the display for better performance in different lighting situations, but many reviewers found it often adjusted the color level and brightness unnecessarily. There is an option to turn this feature off but ultimately the presets they were left with – AMOLED Cinema, AMOLDED Photo, Basic and Reading – all looked far worse than the out-of-box settings.
The Tab S2 comes with an octa-core processor comprised of a 1.3GHz and 1.9GHz quad-core processor and 3GB of RAM. While it doesn't sport the fastest processor on the market, critics still describe its performance as "buttery smooth" with no stutters even when performing more demanding tasks. It also comes with up to 64GB of onboard storage which can be increased to 128GB via microSD. Battery life sadly did not last reviewers as long as they hoped, clocking in at under 10.
Although camera quality is not the biggest consideration when purchasing a tablet, Samsung still upgraded the Tab S2 to an 8MP main camera. Experts were surprised with the camera as it was able to take fairly detailed and color accurate photos in good lighting situations. Low light settings were noisy, which did not surprise experts as it there is no flash.
While not perfect, most reviewers recommend the Galaxy Tab S2 8.0 for people looking for a small and lightweight tablet. Laptop Mag states, "…the Tab S2 is an enjoyable Android tablet that's worth the investment." PC Mag adds, "If you're in the market for a smaller tablet, it should be at the top of your list."