- Slimmest, lightest tablet to date
- Great battery life
- Great display
- Suited to the home, not the office
- Comparably expensive
What you get from a tablet depends on what you expect. This is true for most electronics, but more so with tablets because these are, by design, somewhere between a super convenient smartphone and a powerful notebook. When we first saw (the modern iteration of) tablets back in 2010, the trade-offs were mostly overlooked, but in 2015 we know expect much more.
Samsung’s Galaxy Tab S2 is a tablet promising more than its predecessors, but one that ultimately falls short of a productivity powerhouse. Despite its chunky mobile computing specs, including 3GB RAM, the Tab S2 is still best suited to the living room, rather than the office.
This isn’t to say that the Tab S2 is failure, or even a bad device. It’s the best tablet we’ve used in a long time, and far and away Samsung’s best to date. There is a lot to like about this slate, once you put grand plans for productivity aside.
For starters, battery life is great. We watched about 6 or 7 hours worth of streaming video on a single charge, but better still is the several days of stand by battery life we experienced between use. This is a big deal with a tablet, we think, given the pick-up-put-down nature of a device you probably won’t rely on from day-to-day.
The screen is among Samsung’s best, with a super crisp 2048 x 1536 pixel resolution. If this number seems unusual to you, it’s because the Tab S2 comes with a 4:3 aspect ration display, like Apple’s iPad, and as a departure from most other Android-powered tablets. This, as it turns out, is a very smart move on Samsung’s part. The 4:3 ratio gives you a wider view when holding the tablet in portrait mode, making it better for browsing the news in the morning, or reading emails on the train. It does mean that there are black bars above and below widescreen videos (i.e.: pretty much all videos) but this is a trade-off we’re happy to make.
Generally, the performance of the machine is pretty good. Even after several hours of use, and with numerous apps in the background, the Tab S2 manages to keep up nicely.
Oh, and it is extremely thin. At 5.6mm and 382g, the Tab S2 is lightest, slimmest tablet we’ve come across. On the way hand, any increase in portability is great news. But given that this is also the reason why the battery is about 50% smaller than last year’s battery, we don’t subscribe to the ‘thinner is always better’ school of thought.