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Galaxy Tab S2 review: A worthy counterpart for your smartphone

Florence Ion | Sept. 17, 2015
Samsung's second-gen tablet series knocks it out of the park again with solid performance and a lighter-than-Air chassis.

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Credit: Florence Ion

It’s been a relatively quiet year for Android tablets. Besides the Nexus 9 and Dell Venue 8—both of which are about a year old—not many Android tablets have made waves. That’s why I’m glad that Samsung is doubling down on its Tab S series.

The Galaxy Tab S2 is one of the best Android tablets, though it’s only an incremental improvement over its predecessor. It offers solid performance, a stunning display, and comes in two very thin, very comfortable-to-hold sizes. As far as premium Android tablets go, Samsung still reigns supreme.

Light as a feather

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The 9.7-inch Tab S2 is ridiculously light. Credit: Florence Ion

I was in love with last year’s 8.4-inch Galaxy Tab S. It was a stylish tablet and, with its snap-on folio case, it quickly became my daily gadget companion. I’d typically tether it to whatever smartphone I was using at the time to answer emails and get a little writing done on the train ride in to work. I also used it to play through the entirety of Peggle Blast.

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Old versus new: the Galaxy Tab S on the left and the Galaxy Tab S2 on the right. Both tablets are winners in their own respect, though I prefer the plain Jane style of this year’s Tab S2. Credit: Florence Ion

Now I’ve switched up to the 8-inch Tab S2, though there’s a bigger, iPad-like 9.7-inch version too. It’s great for reading a magazine on Next Issue or playing Pokemon Shuffle—my new obsession. It’s so much lighter than its counterparts, too. The Wi-Fi-only versions of the 8.4-inch and 10.5-inch Tab S weigh 0.648 pounds and 1.025 pounds, while the 8-inch and 9.7-inch Tab S2 weigh 0.584 pounds and 0.858 pounds, respectively. The Tab S was light, but a bit dense. With the Tab S2, I’m constantly checking to see if it’s still in my bag.

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The plastic construction of the Tab S2 doesn’t feel hokey like older generations of Samsung devices—and there’s a fingerprint scanner embedded in the Home button. Credit: Florence Ion

To keep it lightweight, Samsung built the Tab S2 out of plastic and aluminum. The tablets aren’t as fancy-looking as the latest crop of Galaxy smartphones, but the plastic construction of the Tab S2 ensures it’s a bit more drop-resistant than its smartphone counterparts—which I know a thing or two about, because I’ve dropped both review units a few times in the last two weeks. Oops.

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It’s my favorite show on the 8-inch Tab S2. Credit: Florence Ion

 

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