Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 Review – The Upgraded Galaxy Tab?

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The Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 finally makes it to Philippine soil, as Samsung recently released their new tab device in the Philippine market. Samsung’s new device is expected to deliver improvements in feature, specs and overall performance with the Philippine tablet market, highly anticipating its arrival. The Samsung Tab S2 is available in two variants, the 8-inch adequate variant, and the 9.7-inch whopper variant. On our review, we’ll focus on the 9.7-inch WiFi variant that we currently have in possession. The Samsung Tab S2 is available in the Samsung PH online store for around Php 29,990 for the 9.7-inch 4G LTE variant and Php 24,990 for the 8-inch 4G LTE variant.

Design and build

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For its design, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S2, kept most of its beloved design, with the latter, showing enough satisfaction from its predecessor’s exterior design. It’s plastic back cove felt really great and delivers a pretty decent grip. It’s 5.6mm dimension, makes the Samsung Tab S2, one of the world’s thinnest tabs in the market today, which is something that the Samsung Tab S2 should boast about.

Its thin design feels really light in hand when we picked it up for the first time, however, its weight is felt right after it, which delivers a 389g weight that felt heavy, but manageable. The Samsung Tab S2’s plastic back cover design felt like it wasn’t on par to a few of Apple’s tabs, that has metallic back covers that looked really luxurious. At the top right of the device, is its power button and volume rocker, which can also be seen with the microSD card slots. The other edge is plastic made, yet feels really good.

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Slim bezels are seen upfront the screen, which is a bit large, although, tabs were always known to deliver thick bezels. At the back of the tab is its 8MP rear camera, which is conveniently placed on the top middle part of the device. A few inches below is where the Samsung logo is placed. For overall design of the Samsung Galaxy Tab S2, it felt as though they could have done more to improve it, in terms of exterior appeal, though the vanilla-like feel does show off Samsung Tab S2’s simplicity, which to some, is a more appealing turn.

Display

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On the Samsung Galaxy Tab S2’s front is its monstrous 9.7-inch slates that boast a Super AMOLED display, complete with 1536p resolution, which equals to 264 ppi. By god, the 9.7-inch monster of a screen looks pretty damn great on the Samsung Galaxy Tab S2. Detail and display imagery looked really crisp and clear, although it felt, like it was missing a particular element in its display, can’t put my finger on it though.

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 showcased ludicrous brightness levels and very vibrant color display, which is quite expected form Samsung’s OLED tech. Despite being relatively bright and warm, in terms of display, color saturation and quality are also taken into consideration for the device. It’s combinations aren’t exactly for everyone though, with a few people, might not feel comfortable or was not used to Samsung’s vibrant and bright tabs.

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This might be a challenge for Samsung, since the product might face issues, in being accepted by a wider range of market. The Samsung Galaxy Tab S2’s overall brightness capability even pars up, great on natural light, when put to its maximum capacity. which is pretty pleasing to say the least, especially for those outdoor buffs, who’ll like to take their not-so-compact tab with them, although i highly won’t recommend carrying around a large device like the Galaxy Tab S2.

There are features present in the Samsung Tab S2, which can heavily tone down, some of its brightness and color warmth, though personally speaking, its best to experience the device at its maximum capacity, even if its only in terms of display.

Camera

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The Samsung Galaxy Tab S2’s camera isn’t exactly something special, however, its something that does its job, and does it decently. The 8MP rear shooter, did pretty okay, upon shooting a few things here and there, but, like any other tablet, it just didn’t deliver anything surprising.

HDR mode on the camera, was pretty spot-on and was able to successfully deliver satisfying outputs, and normal mode was delivering vanilla-like outputs, in terms of camera tablet capabilites, however, when tested in lowlight,  we were able to get unsatisfying outputs, which is kinda expected, from a tablet’s camera that focuses on delivering outputs, rather than delivering quality.

Video recording was smooth and actually excellent on natural light, which is to me, is pretty rare for tablets. the Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 delivered desirable outputs, in terms of video. While under medium lighting, the videos were okay, but they’re clear negative things to say on the Samsung Galaxy Tab S2’s outputs, however, the video, still delivered okay, at least for us.

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S2’s camera sticked to their predecessor’s routes, and didn’t try anything new. however, that doesn’t necessarily mean that it was a bad call overall. Outputs were satisfactorily, for as long, as you don’t expect yourself to be blown away by them.

System and Experience

The Tab S2 was ready to set sail, with its new features and ‘improvements’ that they prepared for the Tab S2. However, lets start things off, with something simple. The Tab S2’s Touch-Wiz skin.

Truth be told, Android wasn’t well known for their straightforward approaches in their system. the latter, would focus more in technical initiatives, rather than focus on something that would make their user’s experience smooth. Though, with the Tab S2, it looks like, they’ll make up for lost times, since the UI and system felt overall straight-to-the-point, which was actually reminiscent of the iOS. We don’t know, if they copied a thing or two from Apple’s book, or simply saw the error of their ways, but, overall, the system’s experience deserved a well-earned applause.

There were a few things that we happened to cringe at, such as the overflowing bloatware, which was ironically, reminiscent of the old Android, however, i guess we can forgive them, since they made, those pesky extra apps, to be optional apps, which is pretty god darn amazing. The Tab S2, also features a pre-installed Microsoft’s Office applications, which is pretty awesome. I guess now, we can get things down.

Now on to the good part, the thing, that caught our attention is its pop-up window feature, which, pretty much allows you to go split screen mode, while using two applications, you can also switch their positions, minimize or maximize the windows and drag content, from one window to another. Its a pretty useful enhancement to say the least, however, it holds a few downsides. The pop-up feature is only applicable to certain apps, so, app combinations are pretty much limited, which is quite a bummer. Overall experience on the system delivered a pretty smooth interactive experience.

Performance and benchmarks

Tablets were made for heavy multi-task purposes, thus, Samsung equipped the Tab S2 with high-end arsenal, for it, to face everyday task with efficiency and effectivity. With that, the Tab S2 packs an Exynos 5433 octacore processor and a 3GB of RAM, to help it, in its multitasking endeavors. In action, the Exynos delivered one heck of a performance, by providing a decent performance on videos and gaming, however, it kinda felt lackluster in some aspects, specifically on the performance quality.

Here are the performed benchmarks on the Galaxy Tab S2

  • AnTuTu benchmarks – 43176
  • Basemark OS II – 891
  • Geekbench 3 – SCS: 999, MCS: 3960

In terms of video playing, the Tab S2 was actually impressive, with the combination of its decent display and the 9.7-inch monstrous screen, which was quite a delight, on either streaming your favorite series or watching your favorite movie.

For gaming, there were a few lag experienced throughout gaming, however, it delivers pretty okay overall, in gaming experience and its 9.7-inch screen played, another vital role, in how everything felt immersive.

Speaker 

Speaker-wise, it felt, that its mono speaker kinda lacked a bit of power. Overall, immersion and volume level wasn’t exactly that great. We were kinda disappointed with its speaker performance. In terms of audio quality it did, however, deliver a very decent sound quality, despite being a bit tinny at first.

Battery

Overall, the battery of the Galaxy Tab S2 can fill in for about a  day, with ease, which is actually not bad. However, its battery is more of a degrade from its predecessor, with its predecessor sporting a 7900mAh battery to the now, 5870mAh battery. however, in terms of battery longevity, it seems that, it was able to surpass, a few decent tabs, which is saying something.

Battery can almost last for approximately 12 hours, upon continuous use, which should be very efficient to some, to us, however, this was normal, although, it was convenient, so in there, we’ll give it props.

Verdict and value

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The Tab S2 has a few ‘improvements’ its sleeves, however, there wasn’t anything different that we can say that made a huge impact, though, they’re seen efforts, in terms of improving overall specs and features. So, despite lacking in any huge impact, the Tab S2 was still able to deliver a decent performance and overall capabilities, which can satisfy a few specific people.

The Galaxy Tab S2 is already available in the Philippines, where it is priced at Php 29,995 for the 9.7-inch 4G LTE variant (special offer) on the Samsung Store. The Samsung Galaxy Tab S2, is targeted to specific people, that beloved the original tab S, with its few upgrades, from its predecessor and a few unique offers, that will interest, non – Tab S users.

What we liked about the Galaxy Tab S2

  • Good display value
  • Battery was efficient
  • monstrous screen
  • decent speaker performance
  • a-okay system experience

What we didn’t like with the Samsung Galaxy Tab S2

  • vanilla-like design and exterior
  • a few lags on gaming
  • not so good camera performance

What do you think of our take on the Samsung Galaxy Tab S2? Leave your comments and suggestions on the comments section below. Feedbacks are always obliged.

Also, check out this video of the Galaxy Tab S2 unboxing

Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 specs, PH Price

9.7-inch QHD Super AMOLED display, 294ppi
5.6mm thickness, 389g weight
scratch-resistant glass protection
3GB of RAM
32GB internal storage, microSD expandable up to 128GB
Exynos 5433 octacore processor
8MP rear camera
2.1MP selfie shooter
4G LTE nano-SIM (optional), WiFi ac, BT 4.0, GPS, GLONASS, fingerprint sensor
Android 5.0.2 Lollipop
5870mAh battery
White, Black, Gold
Php 29,990 SRP for the 9.7″ 4G LTE variant and Php 24,990 SRP for the 8″ 4G LTE variant on Samsung PH store, as of September 23

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avatar of jade bryan jardinico
Hi! I'm Jade, an Electronics and Communications Engineer and tech enthusiast. I am the editor-in-chief here at ManilaShaker and on our YouTube channel. If you have questions, suggestions or anything we could talk about you can find me Instagram and Twitter @jadejardinico.