Galaxy Tab S2 Hands On and Compared Against the iPad Air 2

Samsung unveiled the Galaxy Tab S2, the Korean’s tech Chaebol latest flagship tablet and the successor to last year’s excellent Tab S. At just 5.6mm thin and weighing only 389g (9.7”) and 265g (8.0”), the Galaxy Tab S2 is the thinnest and lightest tablet of its size in the market. The Galaxy Tab S2 offers multitasking so you can run two apps simultaneously. Users can easily navigate between multiple apps at once so they can check their emails while catching up on their favourite movies. With a paired Samsung Smart TV, consumers can not only share video or content from the Galaxy Tab S2 to their Smart TV, they can also watch TV through their Galaxy Tab S2 without any apps or complicated pre-settings.

The Tab S2 will hit stores in Singapore on 7 August, but before that, we thought we give our two cents worth on this tablet and how does it fare against the similar Apple’s iPad Air 2.

Between the Apple and Android camps, many difference persists, and there are benefits to remain in the same ecosystem depending on the mobile device you own. Apps compatibility, synchronization, and more all have their own quirks and are uniquely different between the two ecosystems. Putting software aside, let’s see how the Tab S2 fare against the iPad Air 2.

Size and Weight

As bragged by Samsung, the Galaxy Tab S2 is the thinnest and lightest tablet in its class. At just 5.6 mm (0.22-inch) thick, it’s 8 percent thinner than the already razor-thin iPad Air 2. That’s amazing. It’s also able to shave off 48g from the iPad Air 2 already svelte weight of 437g.

Design

The Tab S2 follows closely to Samsung’s flagship mobile, the S6, and that is a good thing. It sports a metal frame, but instead of glass, it sports a plastic back. This is probably so to help reduce the tablet weight. The thinness is amazing and makes the Tab S2 easy to hold or grip in one hand. One new change this year is the adoption of the 4:3 aspect ratio, with the intention to enhance the readability aspect for magazines, and e-books. The trade off would be shows and movies. The iPad Air 2 has a similar form factor and design to the Tab S2, but has a full aluminium body.

galaxy tab s2 (1)

Battery Capacity

This is where the Tab S2 loses out. 5870mAH vs 7340 mAH for the iPad Air 2. No specific details on the battery life, but it will be hard to match the iPad Air 2.

Display

The Tab S2 sports a super AMOLED screen, which offers good colour saturation, and Samsung offers 5 different modes to cater specifically to your media consumption requirements. The Apple iPad 2 sports a IPS screen. Otherwise both these tablets are similar on the display from the size to the resolution.

Storage

The Tab S2 would be available only in the 32GB configuration, whereas the iPad Air 2 offers different size options of 16GB, 64GB, and 128GB. The Tab S2 offers a micro SD slot, which allows you to bump up storage easily. Advantage to the Tab S2 here.

Fingerprint Sensor

Both the iPad Air 2 and the Tab S2 have a fingerprint sensor for quick and convenient unlocking.

Price and Availability

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 will be available from 7 August 2015 in Black. It will come in 9.7” and 8.0” versions with Wi-Fi and 4G+ options, in 32GB with microSD supporting up to 128GB. Gold will be available in August 2015. The Galaxy Tab S2 will retail at the following recommended retail prices:

  • Galaxy Tab S2 (9.7”) Wi-Fi: $$698
  • Galaxy Tab S2 (9.7”) 4G+: $798
  • Galaxy Tab S2 (8.0”) Wi-Fi: $598
  • Galaxy Tab S2 (8.0”) 4G+: $698

In comparison, the iPad Air 2 is priced at $688, $828, $968 for 16GB, 64GB, 128GB respectively.

A promotional gift with any Galaxy Tab S2 purchase is available at major consumer electronics stores, authorised retailers and Samsung Experience Stores. Receive Samsung Premium Care worth $68 for one year with coverage against accidental liquid damage and screen crack.

Compatible accessories for the Galaxy Tab S2 will also be available at the following recommended retail prices:

  • Galaxy Tab S2 (9.7”) Book Cover with Bluetooth® Keyboard: $228 in Black and White
  • Galaxy Tab S2 (9.7”) Book Cover: $98 in Black, Red, Gold, Mint and White
  • Galaxy Tab S2 (8.0”) Book Cover: $78 in Black, Red, Gold, Mint and White
  • Samsung Multimedia Dock for Tablet: $168

The Galaxy Tab S2 will be available at local telecommunication operators, major consumer electronics stores, authorised retailers and Samsung Experience Stores.

Options

Discounting the ecosystem, the Tab S2 holds its own against the iPad and does excel in many notable areas, and still retains a competitive price. The Galaxy Tab S2 ticks the right check boxes with the specs, the vibrant AMOLED display, the light and thin frame, and is definitely worthy of flagship tablet status. There aren’t many Android tablets in this league, the Nexus 9 is showing its age, and the closest that comes to mind is the Sony Xperia Z4 tablet. It is a competent competitor on many fronts but unfortunately, is priced even higher, and that makes it tough to recommend.

Sean

Sean is a tech geek and star wars fan. He loves playing with new gadgets, writing little code snippets in Python, JS, and dabbling with Android programming from time to time, while keeping a lookout for the next biggest happening in the world of tech!

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