The Samsung Galaxy Tab 2: not likely a worthy purchase

By Herb Scribner

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There’s not much working in favor of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2.

Sure, it has a sleek and stylish design that puts it up there with the rest of today’s tablets, but for users that have a capable smartphone with Internet access, you won’t be missing much by nixing the Tab 2 from your purchase list.

Out of the box, the Tab 2 feels like it should be competing with the newest Kindle and iPad. The 7 inch screen looks fresh and stylistic, but the Tab 2 doesn’t have much else to offer.

First off, the Tab 2 has an awkward size in that users’ thumbs are the focus, but the arms are not. Users will find themselves angling their wrists inwards just to keep their thumbs on the screen long enough. It is supposed to be held in the same fashion one would hold a touchscreen cell phone, but because of its size this is virtually impossible.

That’s how the software is built as well. Anyone with an Android device won’t be impressed by what they see upon turning on the device. Many of the same apps and tools that any new Android provides can also be found on this tablet.

On the side of the tablet, users will find the power button as well as the volume button. But unlike Samsung’s Galaxy S phones, the buttons are placed right on top of each other, which is difficult when beginning to use this new tablet.

One of the bigger problems with the tablet is that it is far too difficult to get back to the home screen or to the menu. The buttons for both of those are hidden in opposite sides of the screen, marking them easily forgettable. This doesn’t help when users are trying to get back to the main page or to switch apps.

Another big issue comes with the device’s on-screen keyboard. Despite the device being bigger than a smartphone, the keypad seems eerily similar. Unlike the iPad keyboards, the Tab 2 doesn’t allow users to really get a good grasp on sending notes or emails. The buttons are just too small.

The Tab 2 does improve, however, on several other issues that have plagued previous Android devices. For one, users can now take a screenshot and either save it, or play around with it – by doodling, cropping, etc.

With the camera, users can now flip the cameras facing point around so they can take a shot of themselves or use the screen as a mirror as with the newer iPhone models.

The device also touts a video maker, which is great for anyone looking to put together a video when they don’t have the convenience of a laptop near them. The video maker app is a bit limited compared to iMovie or anything you will  use with a regular laptop device, but it does give the tablet an extra amount of pizazz.

It’s tough to support the Tab 2. It’s not a worthy purchase for anyone that already has an Android device, since both products essentially serve the same purpose and function. Aside from a few key differences, the Tab 2 is nothing but a blown-up Android smartphone.

But for those looking for something different – and something moderately priced at $199 at most retailers – then the Tab 2 is surely for you.

Just don’t complain when you run out of things to do with it.

Herb Scribner can be reached at [email protected]