Hardware Review: Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 – A Power House in a Small Device

Pros:
+Beautiful and bright AMOLED screen offering vibrant pictures and color depth
+Absurdly slim and chic for a tablet
+Batteries last quite a while even while streaming or gaming
+Upgraded memory up to 128GB via Micro SD card
+Lightning fast processing power

Cons:
-iPad Air is almost as cheap
-Comes suited with Microsoft Apps
-Plastic-ish build, going away from any form of metal
-Two speakers on bottom inhibit movie watching or gaming all together
-Headphones required to truly enjoy for media with sound


 

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When it comes to tablets we are familiar with the fact that Apple has taken that side of the market by storm. They have created some of the cheapest, most powerful, and fastest tablets on the Earth at an affordable cost. They have also offered up free OS upgrades to owners of older devices, while ensuring that performance gains to those older devices would be plausible with how the devices access apps, and even memory. Much like ACER preparing to enter the ring with their Predator performance line, we see Samsung once more entering the ring, but this time, they’re ready to yank the red carpet right from underneath everyone else and take it for their own.

Entering the ring is Samsung’s Galaxy Tab S2, which launched last year, and remains fairly relative in the terms of technology performance and upgrades. This competitor comes packed with Android offering up Google Services and even a bit of Microsoft’s own apps to allow those needing instant access to their Microsoft accounts the ease of doing so. If you have Office 365 and One Drive? Much like Google your apps are at your finger tips and at your disposal if needed be. But how does this thing compare to the market that’s becoming over-saturated with devices claiming to be performance ones? The 8 inch version, which is the one we are reviewing is extremely light, weighing in at roughly .5 to .6 pounds, the device is extremely light weight, meaning that users don’t have to worry about weight being an issue unlike former iPad devices. For those that are familiar with the iPad Air, you already know the device is light for the 10 inch version, weighing in at roughly 1lb, which makes the device alone for a metal one, feathery in weight, but still with a bit of a draw in the sense of being a strain to hold. However, this doesn’t fix the issue that fans will be slight disappointed with the devices quality in the terms of sound.

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For many that are familiar with sound quality, HTC has been dominating the market with their Boom Sound technology, which adheres to the need of quality for both multimedia and even gaming. Unlike HTC’s newer line of phones and tablets, Samsung finds itself staggering a bit. With both of the speakers being right at the bottom of the device near the USB, the sound suffers a bit when trying to hold it from the sides to enjoy films or even games. This little bit of trouble will lead to upcoming owners to needing a pair of headphones to really enjoy what they are doing without any trouble or annoyances. Much like the speakers and the USB, the audio jack is housed near the speakers, but also the USB port, making this device struggle a bit in the terms of enjoyability since cords will get in the way depending on what owners are doing. If a Skype call or even a vine? The audio situation won’t be much trouble, but as stated. For those preparing for a binging session, don’t get too comfy, you’ll want to find your headset first, which means don’t plan on sharing with others.

But even with that minor nuance, the Tab S2 is a powerful device, offering up a unique security that Apple users have been enjoying, which allows for fingerprint recognition so that the tablet can’t be unlocked by anyone, but you via the home button. The downside? Your fingerprint is stored and if someone really wanted it? It’s there for the taking. For those wondering though, the fingerprint recognition setup is rather easy, and takes only a few minutes while the S6 was a bit more of a hassle to do. Don’t want kids accessing the tablet or someone accessing work files? You can easily lock it down via the fingerprint security and make it so that it’s yours and yours only. However, when looking at the device? We aren’t looking at just the devices security, but also its overall performance.

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When looking at the Tab S2 via performance, this is where the tablet itself truly shines, and for my use? I stress tested it with games, and lots of them. The most demanding one of the lot? This War of Mine, which many fans have become familiar with on consoles and steam, but for me? It was time to take on the Tablet twist to it. Like many games it and Vainglory are rather demanding games, both of them suiting themselves with heavy particle effects, and even animations. This means that Samsung has gone all out with ensuring the Exynos octacore processor would be doing the job. To achieve this they combined both a quad-core chip at 1.9GHz with a second one sitting around 1.3GHz quad-core chip. With that ontop of it they packed the LTE or Wi-Fi versions both with 3GB’s of RAM, which is perfect to get the job done and this was perfectly exhibited while playing both This War of Mine and Vainglory as load times were quick, frames remained smooth, and both games acted just fine throughout my time with them to date.

But what Samsung does do right is packing this thing with an SD card slot so that 32GB’s doesn’t get quickly eaten by video’s, photo’s or even apps that can go on the SD card. If you’ve owned an Apple device, you know this becomes a problem, and quite quickly due to download sizes. All the while users can enjoy some built-in apps thanks to Samsung’s little bit of apps that they include, which is a popular and favorite one: Milk Music. This app allows users to customize radio stations based on their preference. For the test we decided to make a station that combined both EDM (Electronic Dance Music) with Chill, which included laid back EDM style music for those seeking to relax. For those that want a mix of say indie and techno? Have at it, this app makes just that possible. This is rather nice for those looking to have some music while playing their tablet based games or surfing the web. For a device, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 is powerful, beautiful, and offers up a lot of capabilities, but the price could be a bit steep for some.

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For a tablet that is powerful, beautiful, and extremely light weight, the Galaxy Tab S2 is by far one of the best ones I have used to date. It offers a good bit of flexibility, a nice warranty, and a bang for its buck. For those wondering what the prices are. Samsung has the devices sitting at 400 USD for the 8-inch model, and 500 USD for the 9.7-inch model. While looking at one, it is suggested to check around as both Best Buy and Amazon have been having some reasonable sales on them. Both having them promotional wise between 350-400 USD depending on the screen size. If you are looking for for a device that is sleek, light-weight, and easy for on the go? This device is the best on the market and it shows through the work done here on Blast Away the Game Review. After hours of testing, the device has earned its stay for the long haul and one that’ll be here for quite some time. Sorry Apple, you got bested this time around.


 

Our review is based upon the hardware we purchased ourselves.  For information about our ethics policy please click here.


 Final Score: 8 out of 10


 

About the Writer:

dustin_batgr_prof

Dustin is our native console gamer, PlayStation and Nintendo reviewer who has an appetite for anything that crosses the boarders from across the big pond. His interest in JRPG’s, Anime, Handheld Gaming, and Pizza is insatiable. His elitist attitude gives him direction, want, and a need for the hardest difficulties in games, which is fun to watch, and hilarity at its finest. You can find him over on TwitterGoogle+, and or you can find him on PSN with RaivynLyken.

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