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