Samsung Has A Tablet That's Better Than The Kindle Fire [GALAXY TAB 2 REVIEW]

samsung galaxy tab 2 7.0

Photo: Steve Kovach, Business Insider

Finally. We have a tablet that’s better than Amazon’s Kindle Fire at a comparable price.

Samsung’s new Galaxy Tab 2 is another 7-inch tablet that runs the latest version of Android, Ice Cream Sandwich. It’s priced at an enticing $250, putting it in the same tier as Amazon’s $199 Kindle Fire.

What makes it better? For starters, Samsung only added modest changes to Android instead of forking the entire system and closing it off from Google’s Android app store.

Plus, Ice Cream Sandwich makes a much better tablet OS than Amazon’s solution. 

I spent the last few days using the Galaxy Tab 2. Keep reading for the full review.

The Galaxy Tab 2 has a nice 7-inch display. A 10-inch model is coming soon too.

The casing feels great. Samsung used higher quality plastic than it normally does on its tablets.

There's a Micro SD card slot for expandable storage up to 32 GB.

The rear camera isn't spectacular, but it gets the job done.

There's also an infrared blaster on the side. That's because the Galaxy Tab 2 can act as a universal remote for your entertainment centre thanks to a nifty Android app called Peel. (More on that later)

This is Samsung's first tablet to ship with the newest version of Android, Ice Cream Sandwich. Here's the lock screen.

Here's the home screen. Like all Android tablets, you can customise it with widgets.

Finally, Samsung gives us a tablet with the best version of Android to date.

Multitasking is a lot better in Android Ice Cream Sandwich. Just tap the multitasking key in the task bar and this handy list of running apps pops up.

Samsung tweaked the notifications and control panel a bit.

You can access all your apps and widgets by tapping the icon at the top right of your home screen.

Here's the Peel app. It lets you control your TV, cable box, DVR, etc. from your Galaxy Tab 2. Instead of manually typing in channel numbers, all you have to do is tap the show you want to watch.

However, you can change channels the old-fashioned way if you want.

Here's a great perk: You get 50 GB of free Dropbox storage for a year with your purchase of a Galaxy Tab 2. NICE.

The new Google Play store is full of movies, apps, and books to download to your tablet.

Instagram is technically designed for smartphones, but it looks great on a 7-inch tablet.

Because the Galaxy Tab 2 runs Ice Cream Sandwich, you can use the beta version of Google's Chrome web browser.

Unfortunately, some apps don't support the Galaxy Tab 2 yet.

Should you buy it?

Warning: I did encounter a few software glitches. For example, the weather and clock widgets had trouble resizing when switching from portrait to landscape mode. There were also a handful of app crashes. It's not horrible, but just know Samsung doesn't have the best record when it comes to providing users with timely software updates for Android devices.

That said, if you don't want to shell out $500 or more for a tablet, then the Galaxy Tab 2 is a decent choice. In fact, I'd choose it over Amazon's Kindle Fire. You'll get access to the Google Play store, which has thousands of more apps to choose from than the Kindle Fire's app store. Plus, Android Ice Cream Sandwich is much better on tablets than Amazon's forked version of Android.

Now for the best tablet you can buy...

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