Samsung, which had accepted earlier its inability in making a great impact on the tablet market, is trying hard to bounce back. The Korean company has recently launched a series of low-cost tablets.
The latest addition to Samsung's already overflowing Galaxy Tab edition is the Galaxy Tab 2 7.0. This new tab, however, is the company's first tablet to be shipped with the latest Ice Cream Sandwich OS. The latest tablet has striking resemblance with its predecessors 7.0 Plus (and with almost all of them) as far as the looks and designs, buttons and ports go but the new tab features a front-facing camera with VGA resolution and a dual-core TI OMAP processor that clocks at a lower 1GHz.
Although we feel Samsung could have done much better with the latest 7.0 slate, the tablet's reasonable pricing ($249.99) can still be a threat to all the low-cost tablets like Amazon Kindle Fire and Barnes and Noble Nook tablet.
Kindle Fire already enjoys an enviable fan base, but can Samsung's latest Galaxy Tab 2 own the same glory?
More will be known once Samsung rolls out the tablet (it's slated for an April release) but for now, we compare the two big shots in the low cost tablet market to predict the battle of the coming days.
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Display and Design: Even the biggest Fire fan will accept that Fire's design is anything but original. The Amazon tablet has directly inspired from the BlackBerry PlayBook and has drawn some fair amount of inspiration from Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus too.
The 7-inch is a simple black rectangle device which measures 7.5 x 4.7 x .45 inches (HWD) with a high gloss screen that comes with 1024 x 600 screen resolution capabilities at 169 ppi and the device weighs 0.91 pounds.
The Galaxy tab looks sturdy but slim. The device measures 7.6 x 4.8 x 0.41 inches and weighs 0.76 pounds, a little thinner and lighter than the Kindle Fire. The Galaxy Tab 2 retains the 1024 x 600 pixel TFT LCD display of Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus.
Processor: Galaxy Tab 2 is powered by a dual-core 1GHz processor and 1 GB RAM. The processor is a less-powerful one compared to that of the dual-core 1.2GHz processor of the Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus.
But Kindle Fire is also not a speed demon when it comes to its TI OMAP dual-core CPU clocked to 1GHz. The Fire has 512MB of RAM.
Memory: Kindle Fire comes with 8GB of storage space which certainly seems insignificant but, according to the Amazon designers, the company has focused more on the practical uses of secondary storage spaces and has offered another 5GB of cloud storage options (only for content purchased on Amazon.com).
The latest Galaxy Tab 2 7.0, on the other hand, comes with 8/32 GB internal storage and a microSD card slot to expand the memory up to 64 GB.
Operating System: Kindle Fire runs on Android 2.3 Gingerbread while the Tab 2 runs on Android's latest 4.0.3 (Ice Cream Sandwich) with TouchWiz UX UI topping. While the less-powerful CPU could make the Samsung device significantly slower than its predecessor, the Ice Cream Sandwich OS has saved the latest slate to be tagged as sloppy. On the contrary, Samsung slate feels very snappy and responsive to us.
Battery: The Li-Ion 4400 mAh battery of Kindle lasts for 7:42 hours while Tab's Li-Ion 4000 mAh battery lasts for 7:38 hours.
Camera: Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 features dual cameras. The rear camera has a 3 megapixel with a capacity of 720p of video recording and a front camera of only a VGA unit. Nevertheless, this is still much better than the Fire, which has no cameras, either in the front or at the back.
Apps and GPS: Kindle Fire has a little more than 15,000 applications to choose from and does not have the GPS option but features Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n.
Galaxy Tab proves that Android really needs to work hard to come up with good, tablet-optimized apps. The preloaded apps include the standard Samsung-made set of Media Hub, Game Hub, AllShare, and ChatON. Some third party apps like Amazon Kindle, Dropbox, Evernote, and Grand Theft Auto are also there.
The tablet features Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, DLNA, Wi-Fi Direct, dual-band, Wi-Fi hotspot, Bluetooth version 3.0 with A2DP, HS and microUSB version 2.0 with USB On-the-go support.
Pricing: Kindle Fire comes at the amazingly low price of $199 while the new Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 has also been competitively priced at $250.
Deal Breakers for Kindle Fire
- Bluetooth audio or keyboard support
- Good gaming graphics engine
- Video output
- Compass, gyro sensor and calendar
- SDcard slot for extra memory
Deal Breakers for Galaxy Tab 2 7.0
- Poor display quality (yellow lines and blurred texts)
- Front VGA camera (given that even the old model had a better 2 MP camera)
- No zoom in camera
Editor's Pick: In case you are a die-hard fan of Samsung and you want Ice Cream Sandwich on your small and low cost tablet right now, the Galaxy Tab 2 is your slate. Even after pointing out a host of features absent in the Kindle Fire, we still believe that backed by Amazon's vast e-book library along with MP3 and on-demand video, Fire is still the better one.
A line of suggestion for Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0, either chop off an extra $50 to bring it on the same level with the Kindle Fire or pack in some extraordinary features to make the slate stand out among the line of Android 4.0 devices.