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Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1

Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 Less than a year after Samsung introduced its Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet, they released its successor, "Tab 2", and they provided Consumer World with a review unit to test.

And, it does not disappoint.

The new version is little changed from the original except for a few things: it has the latest Android operating system (Ice Cream Sandwich/Android 4.0), has much larger and better-sounding speakers, has an micro-SD slot, has a built-in TV remote control, and comes with a price tag $100 less (just $399).

When starting the unit for the first time, you are led through a series of screens to set it up. It likes to interface with Google mail, so having a gmail address helps.

Unlike the original Tab, the new one takes the mystery out of how to get to your home screen after the darn thing boots up -- there are clear instructions to swipe your finger across the screen.

The 10.1 is virtually identical physically to the old one -- slim, light, and with a big 10.1-inch screen. The screen renders text really sharply, although I have not compared it to the new iPad, which is supposed to be much improved.

The unit comes with a variety of applications, including a browser, apps for maps, GPS navigation, email, gmail, imaging software, Office-like programs for word processing, etc., and much more. The home screen is populated with various widgets such as for music and weather. I added two apps -- Bobsled and GrooveIP -- both of which allow you to make free calls to landline phones via a wi-fi connection.

One other thing that is new is the keyboard that pops-up when you touch a field that requires text input. The onscreen keys are much smaller than the previous version, but that is because a row of numbers has been added. Now you no longer have to switch to a secondary keyboard screen just to find numbers and the "@" symbol.

The unit also has two built-in cameras -- 3 megapixels facing forward (outward), with flash, and a VGA one facing you for video chatting or self-pics. This second camera appears to be not as robust as the original two megapixel one.

The built-in browser seems to recognize that most Internet sites you visit should be displayed in desktop mode rather than the narrower more text-heavy smartphone mode. You do have to manually download Flash to enable video viewing on many sites. It is inexplicably not pre-installed. The switch to display pages in desktop mode, however, does not remember when you check it. Also annoying is the auto-correct feature in the mail program which one seemingly cannot turn off. Lastly, while the app for the TV remote control shows you want is currently on TV, pressing the "watch now" button often results in the TV turning it off!

Despite those quirks, the Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 is a delight to have next to you on the couch while watching TV or when you just don't want to schlepp your laptop on a trip. I wouldn't hesitate to buy one.

May 28, 2012

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Consumer World®, launched in 1995, is a public service, non-commercial consumer resource guide with over 2000 links to everything "consumer" on the Internet. Edgar Dworsky, an avid bargain hunter, is the founder of Consumer World, editor of MousePrint.org – an educational site devoted to exposing the fine print loopholes in advertising, and a former Assistant Attorney General in the Consumer Protection Division of the Massachusetts Attorney General's Office.



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