Using Samsung’s PLS display technology, the Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 offers decent viewing angles and image quality. PLS is Samsung’s own take on IPS, the core screen tech used in Apple’s iPad tablets.
It’s not quite on-par with the best of IPS though, with significant contrast shift creeping in when the display is tilted in one particular angle. As it’s not an angle you’d normally view the tablet from, though, it’s not a big problem.
A deficiency that’s much more noticeable is screen resolution. With a 1,024 x 600 pixel screen, the Tab 2 7.0 offers the same pixel count as the original Samsung Galaxy Tab and the comparable Acer Iconia A100. Although it offers slightly higher pixel density than the first and second iPads, with 169dpi, you can easily discern individual pixels if you get reasonably up-close – when reading, for example.
It’s somewhat-less noticeable with less high-contrast images, such as those of movies. And, in the Samsung tradition, video codec support is pretty good. MKV support is included – handy for video downloads – although unusually it failed to play some of our less challenging test files. It supports Xvid and DivX, but stumbled over one of our SD DivX tests, suggesting some more software optimisation is needed. A patch perhaps, Samsung?
There’s not need to wait around, though, as third-party apps can use software rendering to play anything not supported natively by the tablet.
Tasked with playing a looping SD-quality video at 50 per cent screen brightness, with wireless turned off, the 4000mAh battery lasted for six and a half hours – pretty close to the claimed figure of seven hours. While it outlasts most tablets of its size, and most tablets under £200, this is lower performance than premium 10.1in tabs and well below the iPad’s 10-plus hours.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 has two cameras. There’s a VGA user-facing camera for video chat and a 3.2-megapixel main sensor that captures photos at up to 2,048 x 1,536 pixel resolution.
It’s a basic affair. It doesn’t have autofocus, lacking any control over the subject of your shots, and there’s no flash. The only extras beyond the stripped-back basics of sepia/black and white filters you’re treated to are Smile Shot and a panorama mode. Image quality is fairly poor and video capture maxes out at 720p.
Starting at £199.99 for the 8GB version, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 is much cheaper than most of Samsung’s tablets. It’s also much better than the vast majority of tablets we’ve tested selling at under £200. Lacking a flashy design and top-end specs, its higher-end models, such as the more-expensive 3G editions, don’t make a great deal of sense. However, as an alternative to smaller £150-250 tablets like the BlackBerry PlayBook, HTC Flyer and Acer Iconia A100, it’s the pick of the bunch.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 isn’t out to prove a grand point. This isn’t the Galaxy Note, or the dazzling Tab 7.7. However, it is one of the very best tablets you can buy for under £200. With a dual-core 1GHz processor and relatively low-density 1,024 x 600 resolution screen, it’s hardly cutting edge but performance is solid and build is good. The one lingering concern is that the screen resolution ensures games optimisation and support isn’t up there with the best.
Score in detail
Screen Quality 8
Battery Life 7