So you want to decide why the Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 over other tablets, First, if you don't want to read my entire review, here is a spoiler, this tablet is the best mainstream tablet on the market as of September 2015, hands down. Best overall specs (See below for details) and well worth the $499 price tag for the 9.7" model.
Second, before I get started with the details I want to let you know, I am a tablet junkie and own a number of these. I have had everything from Palm Pilots, to HP Touchpads, to iPads, iPad mini, Kindles, and Samsung tablets.
Ok, so you want to decide why the Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 over other tablets. First off, this is the newest flagship in the Samsung Tablet Arsenal. Follow-up to the Galaxy Tab S released in 2014. For simplicity sake I will compare the Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 to its predecessor the S1, and to the iPad Air 2, which is its closest competitor in speed and function.
Speed & Memory:
This is where this device will shine. It is rolling a Samsung 8-Core processors Exynos 5433 1.9GHz with 3GB Ram. This is not the flagship chip of Samsung, but it is fast, and much faster than the old S1 for things like multitasking, and a bit faster than the iPad air 2 with a 3core 1.5GHz and only 2 GB ram. Score a huge point for the Galaxy Tab S2.
With this powerful processor, the Samsung Galaxy S2 tab software can multitask better than you might expect. You can minimize the screen to about a quarter of the regular size or, run two apps in side-by-side mode, which I love. Very useful if you want to say watch a youtube video while reading another article. The Samsung Galaxy S2 allows you to minimize up to five apps at a time, although I have not found a need to do that yet, it's cool that you could do it. Currently the iPad does not have anything like this, yet. Rumor has it they might in a future iOS update offer a split screen but we don't know if that's true or what it will look like. The Samsung Galaxy S2 is designed with this in mind and works well.
Battery is one area that I am disappointed in at first. It sports a 5,870mAh battery vs 7340mAh on the iPad Air2, and 7900mAh on the older Tab S1. They seemed to sacrifice about 20% battery capacity for a weight and thickness. That said, I used the heck out of it all day and after 24 hours of not charging it still had 50% left on the battery meter! Battery does NOT seem to be an issue at all with this tablet and was impressive!
Weight: The Galaxy Tab S2 9.7 weighs in at 389 grams vs Tab S at 465g, and the iPad Air 2 at 437g. It is also the thinnest option at 5.6mm(.22 inches) vs the S1 at 6.6mm and the iPad Air 2 at 6.1mm.
Rear camera is 8MP, which is ok, and same as iPad Air 2, No flash is in this one, which is a downgrade from the Tab S. The Front camera is up to 2.1, higher than the iPad Air 2 which is 1.2. Score a small point for the Galaxy series, and the Tab S2.
You do not have to look too far to find a few reviewers not liking one tablet over another, and this is no exception. The biggest complaint seems to be that Samsung changed its screen size from 10.5 to 9.7 inch. Owning both the S1 and S2, I have found the screen size difference to be very minimal. As another amazon reviewer, Andrew, stated:
The screen: The Tab S2 is not significantly smaller than on the Tab S. To calculate the area of the screen: ( [x-aspect] * [y-aspect] ) * ( [diagonal measurement] / [diagonal-aspect] )^2. Simplifying that you get [diagonal measurement]^2 * (x*y)/(x^2 + y^2).
Tab S = [10.5]^2 * (16*10)/(256+100) = 49.55 square inches
Tab S2 = [9.7]^2 * (4*3)/(16+9) = 45.16 square inches
Therefore, The Tab S2 screen is 8.9% smaller then the S1, and looks great for the web or typing. If you hold these two next to each other they are similar in size but in 4:3 format which is ideal for web browsing and games. The S1 16:10 was ideal for movie watching.
The reason for the change is Samsung is trying to conform to standardizing efforts by google and apple to a 4:3 design. This allows software developers an easier time for customers to view their content in the same way. The old Samsung devices were 16:10, which is good for movies, but not so good for the web and some applications that developers want to keep consistent on all platforms.
To say that the Samsung Galaxy S2 screen is beautiful is an extreme understatement. The screen is amazing with the 2048 x 1536 Super AMOLED display showing a crisp, bright color making it the best screen on the market. This 9.7 S2 screen is better than the iPad mini by sheer pixel density. 359ppi vs the ipad 264ppi. This results in a sharper, better detailed picture then the ipad. Samsung's Super AMOLED display is bright and vibrant and you will be impressed. Nothing against the iPad, its Retina display is good, but the Samsung is better.
Since I spend way more time in games and on the web or word processing then watching movies, I do prefer the 4:3 size but thats my preference.
Score a nice but mixed point for the Samsung.
Software: Samsung chose to not include to much bloatware which is great. You can also login as different users, and install the Samsung Kids app (115MB) which has excellent parent controls giving you specific apps your child can use when using the Tab S2, and locks it unless you enter your passcode to exit this mode.
Other features I like: touch-based fingerprint sensor, microSD slot and Android 5.0 OS. I also like the metal feel and the attachment for aftermarket keyboards and cases on the back side.
Bottom line, great tablet and worth the $499 price tag. The S1 is still around and $399 but you get 16gb vs 32gb and a trade off on a few other specs. The iPad air 2 is the real loser here with ~499-$599 price tag. 64gb but no micro sd slot so your stuck with 64gb and a slower processor and worse display.
This tablet is ideal for anyone looking at a higher end alternative to the iPad flagship iPad air 2 or want high end Android tablet. You will love this tablet and I think it is worth the $499 price tag. There are a lot of other options out there today, but this one will run smooth, and not disappoint.
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