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Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 8.0 Review: A sure high-ender let down by a sub-par camera

Rahul R
Sr. Technology Reporter
Editors Rating

As soon as the Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 8.0 was released in late 2015, we were desirous of laying our hands on the slate as it was positioned by loyalists and a part of the general populace as an Apple iPad killer.

As we had not come across a product, that was not even “positioned” as an Apple iPad Killer, we were eager to check out the Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 8.0 by subjecting this slate to a multitude of performance tests. Check out, how the slate performed in our tests, below:

Design and Display

A major USP of the Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 8.0 is its weight and thickness. The tablet weighs-in at 265 grams (Wi-Fi variant)/272 grams (LTE variant) and is super-thin having thickness of just 5.6 mm. These measurements make the Galaxy Tab S2 8.0 thinner than the Apple’s iPad Mini 4 that is slightly thicker at 6.1 mm and weighs-in at nearly 300 grams.

Apart from the above, after unwrapping the tablet, the power key located at the right hand side predominantly hits the eye. Along with this, there are also the volume rocker keys and the much-required provision to insert an external microSD card for expanding the default internal storage. On the downside, there are the speakers, along with the conventional ports viz. microUSB and the 3.5mm headphone port.

When we touched to feel the exterior, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 8.0 ‘s curved corners could be felt with all their glory. The slate’s exterior also comprises of flat edges. Due to these aspects, we could properly place our fingers on the tablet for working on the device along with feeling a firm grip.

During our usage, we could effect one-handed operation upon the Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 8.0. Despite the device incorporating stronger plastic than its predecessor versions, the grip offered by the rear end of the tablet was firm enough to work on even when on the move.

We could easily carry the Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 8.0, around, in a bag. The relatively light-weight nature of the slate is a big boon as far as professionals preferring to work on the tablet frequently are concerned.

Overall, the design aspects of the tablet give off an aesthetic feel when taken out from a bag to work on. We are happy with Samsung’s approach of offering a tablet with a no-nonsense/no-frills design that still gives-off an Apple iPad like feeling when flaunted.

There is also a Fingerprint Sensor that is integrated within the Home Button of the tablet. As far as the actual display aspects are concerned, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 8.0 features an 8-inch AMOLED capacitive touchscreen that has resolutions of 1536 x 2048 along with pixel densities of 320 ppi.

We could clearly make out the contents on the screen, during our time of outdoor usage; the screen has an aspect ratio of 4:3 and due to this watching multimedia content is fairly good but there are slight tinges of bar-like effects both at the top and at the bottom of the display. However, these are only minor and are clearly manageable.

During our testing, the portrait mode worked well as we could work on the slate without getting that weird “non-sync” feeling that is the case with multiple relatively small-sized slates irrespective of brands. On-screen navigation is a pleasure within the Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 8.0, even the portrait mode helps in this aspect. Finally, we also used the tablet for reading eBooks by the bedside, in low-light conditions. This whole experience seemed a pleasure.

Processor and Memory

Under-the-hood, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 8.0 incorporates a Samsung Exynos 5433 SoC that in turn comprises of a 1.9 GHz quad-core CPU and a 1.3 GHz quad-core CPU respectively, along with a Mali-T760 MP6 GPU.

There Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 8.0 is also classified based on processor variants based on LTE/Wi-Fi editions. During our testing, multitasking seemed a pleasure to be honest. We also tested the slate by establishing a multi-app scenario as well. The Exynos SoC responded perfectly to user inputs and we also feel that the instruction processing capabilities of the SoC are fairly good considering the fact that both simple and relatively compound tasks took lesser time to be completed. There were absolutely no glitches/performance lags during our time with the Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 8.0.

Games, especially those comparatively rich in graphics, like Dead Trigger 2 can be launched fast, and there are also no graphic glitches/lags during actual gaming. The Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 8.0 comes in both 32/64 GB internal storage variants; allowing expansion via microSD card up to 256 GB. There is also 3GB RAM under-the-hood.

Camera

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 8.0 offers an 8 MP rear camera that comes with autofocus capabilities. This shooter lets users shoot 1440p videos at 30fps. Daylight imagery was fairly good during our testing, but shooting and recording images in low-light conditions was not as per expectations.

Apart from the 8 MP rear camera, there is also a 2.1 MP front camera that is custom-made for interactions via Google Hangouts (video calls).

Software

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 8.0 variant that we got to review, ran on the older Google Android 5.0.2 (Lollipop) operating system. This is however upgradeable to the much newer Android 6.0.1 (Marshmallow) when the firmware begins its seeding process.

Battery Life and Verdict

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 8.0 is powered by a fixed 4,000 mAh Lithium-Ion battery.

During our testing, we obtained a backup time of a tad less than 8 hours when we watched videos and streamed these. But when usage is restricted to basic (that includes editing documents and basic internet), the battery backup time rose significantly (to more than 8 hours).

Verdict

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 8.0, overall, comes across as a good device. Its major USP is its display and the way offered in which you can complete your work.

Pricing

In the UAE, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 8.0 costs a minimum of AED 1,250. Samsung could have put such a high price tag on the slate considering its razor-sharp display and the Exynos SoC.

Positives

Display, speedy performance

Negatives

Rear Camera, Android 5.0.2 platform offered out of the box.