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TouchWiz UX Revisted: Ice Cream Sandwich-Flavored

Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 Review: Samsung's Second-Child Syndrome
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Despite the prevalence of Android-based devices from many different vendors, we've come to expect a fairly consistent interface experience across them. Shipping with Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich), Samsung attempts to differentiate its Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 by uniquely skinning the tablet's UI. Dubbed TouchWiz UX, we'd equate this to picking a different theme in Windows. You can do many of the same things, but the aesthetics change.

Settings/Notification PanelSettings/Notification Panel

AppsApps

Of course, TouchWiz is not new. We examined the core elements of TouchWiz in our previous-gen Galaxy Tab 10.1 review, and very little changes this time around. Even with a new operating system underneath, the settings panel is identical, and the apps unique to TouchWiz remain unchanged.

A new widget called "S Suggest" recommends popular apps. However, it behaved more like a front-end app store for filtering the myriad choices in Google Play.

The Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 appears as a portable media device in Windows, so file management is neatly integrated into Windows Explorer.

If you're a Mac user, however, Samsung's Kies is still the preferred piece of software for getting data on and off the Galaxy Tab 2. It's not as polished as iTunes, but does provide a mechanism for wirelessly synchronizing files.

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Top Comments
  • 18 Hide
    joytech22 , September 14, 2012 4:36 AM
    Honestly I was extremely surprised that Samsung didn't significantly beef up on Hardware specs.
    When I saw it on the shelves I thought the store clerks labeled the specs wrong.

    To my horror, they were correct.
    I don't know what the hell Samsung was thinking, if they were purposely pulling that stunt so that the Galaxy Note 10.1" would look more appealing they sure succeeded but sadly for them, I snagged a Nexus 7 earlier on.
  • 10 Hide
    samwelaye , September 14, 2012 5:44 AM
    correction: at the end of the conclusion it says "Moreover, we can't forget the awesome Nexus 7, also armed with 16 GB, selling for a modest $149", this should be $249.
Other Comments
  • 18 Hide
    joytech22 , September 14, 2012 4:36 AM
    Honestly I was extremely surprised that Samsung didn't significantly beef up on Hardware specs.
    When I saw it on the shelves I thought the store clerks labeled the specs wrong.

    To my horror, they were correct.
    I don't know what the hell Samsung was thinking, if they were purposely pulling that stunt so that the Galaxy Note 10.1" would look more appealing they sure succeeded but sadly for them, I snagged a Nexus 7 earlier on.
  • -9 Hide
    thomasjm52 , September 14, 2012 5:24 AM
    ahahah is the time when i say... "those specs were in my brick phone back in 1995! Fail Samsung"
  • 10 Hide
    samwelaye , September 14, 2012 5:44 AM
    correction: at the end of the conclusion it says "Moreover, we can't forget the awesome Nexus 7, also armed with 16 GB, selling for a modest $149", this should be $249.
  • 3 Hide
    pckitty4427 , September 14, 2012 7:17 AM
    I think Samsung went easy on the hardware so people buy the Note 10.1.

    The Tab 2 should be seen as a budget tablet, and the Note should be seen as a high-end tablet.
  • 1 Hide
    killerclick , September 14, 2012 9:17 AM
    It's very hard to log in to Tom's Hardware using a Nexus. Seeing how some of the writers are fans, you'd think they'd notice a thing like that.
  • 3 Hide
    belardo , September 14, 2012 9:56 AM
    So who would buy this? Why did they bother with re-doing the hardware... might as well stuck on 4.0 on the previous model.
  • 2 Hide
    blazorthon , September 14, 2012 10:01 AM
    pckitty4427I think Samsung went easy on the hardware so people buy the Note 10.1. The Tab 2 should be seen as a budget tablet, and the Note should be seen as a high-end tablet.


    That'd be a better way of looking at this if this new Galaxy Tab was priced more modestly. At this price, is is not a good deal. It's not horrible, but this is disappointing. It is only $100 cheaper than the Note, but it has maybe half of the CPU performance (if that) and is otherwise disappointing in a variety of other ways.
  • 4 Hide
    ender699 , September 14, 2012 10:14 AM
    Instead of half-baking the Tab 2 they should improve the Tab 1 experience, which is woefully inadequate: I just contacted Samsung support which confirmed that even 1 year after launch there is still a problem connecting GT-P7500's to PC's using Samsung KIES (BTW never rooted it!!!). Result is I'm still on android 3.1. Over the air update does not seem to work either. Also, they could not confirm ICS updates, and even hinted that there may never be one! As a customer I feel seriously let down, shame on Samsung!

  • -1 Hide
    blazorthon , September 14, 2012 10:19 AM
    killerclickIt's very hard to log in to Tom's Hardware using a Nexus. Seeing how some of the writers are fans, you'd think they'd notice a thing like that.


    What is difficult about it? I have no trouble on my Android phones, but I don't have a Nexus of any kind, so I'm not sure if they have some sort of problem with Tom's that I'm not aware of.
  • 0 Hide
    killerclick , September 14, 2012 10:32 AM
    blazorthonWhat is difficult about it? I have no trouble on my Android phones, but I don't have a Nexus of any kind, so I'm not sure if they have some sort of problem with Tom's that I'm not aware of.


    When I try to leave comment when not signed in, the form asking for my username and password is being incorrectly repositioned, and on the Nexus (but not on Gingerbread), the focus is being returned to the username field after every keypress even if I'm trying to enter the password.
  • 0 Hide
    blazorthon , September 14, 2012 10:53 AM
    killerclickWhen I try to leave comment when not signed in, the form asking for my username and password is being incorrectly repositioned, and on the Nexus (but not on Gingerbread), the focus is being returned to the username field after every keypress even if I'm trying to enter the password.


    Did you try using a different browser and/or making sure that you're viewing the desktop, not mobile, version of Tom's?
  • 2 Hide
    kartu , September 14, 2012 12:04 PM
    If you walk into a store you'll see Samsung's tablet still has vastly superior screen. That including alternatives with higher resolution.
  • 2 Hide
    chesteracorgi , September 14, 2012 1:13 PM
    I just (2 days ago) received the N7 16 GB tablet. Compared to older tablets it is the first one that I would consider to be a serious contender, if not altogether better than the iPad. JB is smoother than ICS (I also have the Samsung GSIII) but, because it lacks flash support has its own downside.

    I'm sure that the 10" form factor has its uses, but the 7" screen of the SGIII is much more comfortable to hold withone hand to watch video and/or websurf.

    I looked at the Fire HD before settling on the N7, and rejected it because of the form factor (it isn't comfortable to hold in one hand) and the conscription to the Amazon eco-system under a heavily modded ICS.

    While I am not enamoured of Google Play, it is more open than either Amazon or ios. The fact that much of Amazon's content can be played on the N7, while the Fire HD has difficulties with native android apps is another reason that I think that the N7 is the major challenger to the iPad.

    It would have been ni8ce to see Samsung offer a better, more competative, tablet. From this review it looks like Samsung put out the Tab2 as a stop-gap, and not a real competator.
  • 4 Hide
    dthx , September 14, 2012 2:06 PM
    I'll never understand how Samsung manages to obtains such decent market shares and profits!
    There are a few companies like Asus for example who "think different". They take the risk of proposing products that are either original or either well built or cheap (sometimes both in the same product)... but Samsung has absolutely nothing special to offer and yes, their tablets are pale copies of the iPad. Don't get me wrong, I hate Apple's methods (and I am not so convinced by their products), but Samsung is even worse and clearly not here to save us from the evil Apple: they just make huge margins by selling us overpriced and uninspired stuff backed by some good marketing.
  • 3 Hide
    Anonymous , September 14, 2012 2:46 PM
    This article is a bit disappointing. Not very thorough.
    IR blaster for a wicked universal remote with TouchSquid: Galaxy Tab 2 10.1: yes Nexus 7: no
    HDMI output: Galaxy Tab 2 10.1: yes Nexus 7: no
    MicroSDHC slot with 64GB card support: Galaxy Tab 2: yes Nexus 7: no
    Jelly bean? Reliable reports have it coming out very soon for the Galaxy Tab 2 and Galaxy S III.

    It is great to be excited about the Nexus 7. It is a fine device.
    These are like two women, beautiful for different reasons.
  • 1 Hide
    GabZDK , September 14, 2012 2:48 PM
    Samsung really screwed up the Tab 2 didn´t they?? Cause this one is really their fault, guess they thought that after Apple´s lawsuit everyone would buy their products just to be against Apple. Sorry Samung, you need to put more effort on your products, especially with the actual competition
  • 4 Hide
    freggo , September 14, 2012 5:57 PM
    thomasjm52ahahah is the time when i say... "those specs were in my brick phone back in 1995! Fail Samsung"


    That's one hell of a brick you had back then :-)

  • 0 Hide
    dalethepcman , September 14, 2012 6:00 PM
    blazorthonDid you try using a different browser and/or making sure that you're viewing the desktop, not mobile, version of Tom's?



    These are good recommendations, and they do work, but it would be nice if the stock browser displayed properly. Not sure why someone down voted you, but I gave you a thumb for it.
  • -1 Hide
    markheber , September 14, 2012 6:38 PM
    The aspect ratios in the chart were strange. One was a reduced fraction and the other was not, they should have been the same.

    Either:
    16:10 and 16:12 or,
    8:5 and 4:3
  • -2 Hide
    belardo , September 14, 2012 8:19 PM
    Problem with all 16GB Nexus 7 tablets (besides you only really have about 12GB to use) - is that when you have less than 3 and especially 2GB of memory left, the performance becomes too slow to operate.

    I think adding memory may help... so store all photos and media on an SD Card.
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