April 14, 2012, 7:44 AM — Android devices -- both smartphones and tablets -- are getting increasingly affordable. With its new Galaxy Tab 2 (7.0) tablet, which goes on sale on April 22nd for $250, Samsung is obviously hoping to claim its piece of the budget-price pie.
Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 (7.0)
However, while the price is new and noteworthy, there's not much else about the tablet that's fresh or exciting.
Don't get me wrong: The Galaxy Tab 2 (7.0) is a perfectly fine device. It has an attractive form and solid performance. The problem is that it seems like a sideways step -- or in some ways, a backwards one -- from the 7-in. tablets Samsung already has available. And by simply recycling and remixing an existing concept, Samsung has doomed the product to be quickly outpaced.
The many faces of Samsung's 7-inch Tab
Samsung's Galaxy Tab 2 (7.0) stands alongside two other current 7-in. Samsung Galaxy tablets: the Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus, available for $350, and the Galaxy Tab 7.7, which comes with LTE connectivity and sells for $500 with a two-year Verizon data contract (or for $700 off-contract). Generally speaking, choice is a good thing -- but lined up next to Samsung's other 7-inch offerings, the only significant distinguishing feature the new Tab can claim is its price tag.
To be fair, the Galaxy Tab 2 (7.0) does look a little different from its predecessors. The tablet has a gray plastic back and is slightly thicker than Samsung's other 7-in. devices, measuring in at 0.41 in. compared to the 7.0 Plus model's 0.39-in. size and the 7.7 model's even svelter 0.31-in. waistline. It weighs 12.2 oz., the same as the 7.0 Plus tablet and 0.2 oz more than the 7.7.
The tablet feels good in your hands; it's not at all slippery and is comfortable to hold, at least in the horizontal position. Because of its size, I found the tablet a bit awkward to use vertically; in that orientation, it's slightly too big to hold in one hand and slightly too small to hold naturally with two.
The display itself is good but not breathtaking. The Galaxy Tab 2 (7.0) has a 1024 x 600 PLS TFT screen -- the same kind as the Tab 7.0 Plus. It's easy on the eyes and certainly nothing to complain about, but it's also far less impressive than the high-quality screens we've seen on other recent devices -- including Samsung's own Galaxy Tab 7.7, which uses one of the company's newer Super AMOLED Plus (1280 x 800) displays.
Hardware and performance