Hands On: Samsung Galaxy Tab S2
Samsung this week showed off two new additions to its tablet lineup, an 8-inch and 9.7-inch Samsung Galaxy Tab S2.
At 5.6mm thin and under a pound, both are thinner and lighter than their predecessors, our Editors’ ChoiceSamsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4 and theSamsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5. With the new and old models in your hands, it’s impossible not to notice how much lighter and thinner the newer models compare with the (already quite thin) models of yesteryear.
Samsung changed the Tab 2’s aspect ratio to 4:3, which looks better on tablets in any case. You still have a sharp Super AMOLED display, and with the new 4:3 aspect ratio, Web content and video looks better than ever. Samsung also changed the 9.7-inch S2 from a landscape orientation to a portrait one, because most people use their tablets in portrait anyway, it said. The tablets look sleeker than ever, with a smoother plastic back instead of the dimpled one.
Internals have been upgraded to the Note 4’s Exynos 5433 processor, and performance is quick and snappy, even when dragging and dropping multiple windows in the upgraded multitasking mode, where you can expand and collapse apps across the screen based on your preference—up to five windows at once. Each Tab S2 runs Android 5.1 Lollipop, skinned with TouchWiz. Upon initial inspection, there’s not a lot an overwhelming amount of bloatware, though it’s certainly there.
Each model of the Tab S2 comes with 32GB of internal storage, with a microSD slot that can handle cards of up to 128GB. Of the initial available space, about 6.5GB were taken up by apps like Galaxy Apps, Milk, and Samsung+. The bottom of the tablet is taken up by a headphone jack and USB mini port. No USB-C port yet, sadly.
Samsung seems to be really focused on the home with this line of tablets. A few of the newer software features include SideSync 4.0, a way for you to get your phone screen onto your tablet, so you could use third-party messaging apps like WhatsApp while you’re on your couch and your phone is charging, for example.
You can also access your phone’s camera from your tablet, a bit of a heady, phone-ception-y trick. There’s also a streaming tool that, using Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, can stream content from your tablet onto your smart TV—like a Chromecast. But you can also stream content from your TV to your tablet, while it’s still playing on your set. It only works with really recent smart TVs, though, and of course, among them, Samsung’s latest line.
It seems that Samsung has some focus this time. The home isn’t exactly an untapped market, but these features make the case for a tablet that can act as a home command center and Internet of things (IoT) hub rather than your phone; they’re not just browsing, binging, and reading machines anymore. You even get a three-month trial of Next Issue, the magazine app, to read at your leisure.
Admittedly, the new Tab S2 models feel much more premium than the last iteration of Samsung tablets, and much more travel-friendly due to the decrease in weight and thickness. But it also comes at a rather hefty price: $400 for the 8-inch tablet and $500 for the 9.7-inch—more if you want the cellular option from all four major carriers. Is it worth it? We’ll update with a full review once we really dive deep into the Samsung Galaxy Tab S2.