Samsung launches next tablet, we go hands-on

Thinking of buying a tablet but not into the whole Apple world and want something to go with your Galaxy or Note handset? Samsung has a tablet designed to be used anywhere, and it’ll be here very, very shortly.

Announced back in July, Samsung’s Galaxy Tab S2 is on its way to Australia, as the company’s local guy on all things Samsung Mobile stated that the tablet was about to arrive, heading to stores on September 15.


“The Galaxy Tab S2 offers a high performance tablet with sleek style. Its stunningly bright and vivid super AMOLED screen, combined with outstanding performance, and long battery life are delivered in a thin, light and stylish design,” said Prasad Gokhale (above), Vice President for IT & Mobile at Samsung Electronics Australia.

“We’ve had great success last year with the Galaxy Tab S and we’re very excited to bring the Galaxy Tab S2 to Australians.”


That number two probably gives it away that this is a follow-up to last year’s Tab S, a model that didn’t arrive with a number at all, but what you need to know between the two tablets is that they are entirely different.

For instance, last year’s Tab S relied on Samsung’s oft used 16:10 aspect ratio, a wider format that made movies look the way they were supposed to be without any black bars on the top or bottom, and this has been the way most Android tablets have gone for years.


This year, Samsung has made a change, moving to the screen aspect ratio used by Apple’s iPad, with 4:3 employed and an identical screen resolution of 2048×1536, producing 264 pixels per inch, lower than that of last year’s Tab S.

A change in screen design has also led to a change in overall design, and there’s no textured plastic back here, though the body has reduced in size and weight, jumping from 467 grams to 392, and even shedding a good millimetre in thickness from 6.6mm down to 5.6mm.

Thickness — or lack thereof — is one of the areas Samsung is pushing, as is performance, with Samsung calling this the “most powerful Galaxy tablet yet”, offering an eight-cord processor with 3GB RAM, 32GB storage, and the ability to expand on the storage with a microSD slot, something that has been removed from all of the flagship smartphones this year, much to the grumbles by many a customer out there.


Wireless connectivity is offered through 802.11ac dual-band, with LTE variants of the tablet also being made available, allowing you to plug in a nanoSIM card and surf the web when you’re on the go.

Mobile models with LTE support will also come with something that’s a bit of a surprise: phone support.

Essentially, if you want a big phone, both the 8 inch and 9.7 inch models of the Galaxy Tab S2 will be able to make phone calls, though neither appear to arrive with speakers where you ear would go, so you’d likely want to make phone calls with a headset of some sort.


But you will notice that we said “both models” in that last paragraph, talking about an 8 inch and a 9.7 inch model, and that’s because there will be models in each of those sizes available in black and white colours.

Aside for colours, variants on these will be based on connectivity options, with the 8 inch WiFi version running a price of $499 while the 4G 8 inch will cost $649. Meanwhile, the larger 9.7 inch model will start at $599 for the WiFi only version, with the 4G option coming in at $749.

All four models, however, will technically be the same, with the same processor, same memory, same storage, same Android 5 “Lollipop” operating system, and same 8 megapixel camera on the back with a 2 megapixel camera up front.

Where they differ will be on the size and the battery, with the 8 inch running at 4000mAh with up to 14 hours of life, while the 9.7 inch hits 5870mAh and up to 12 hours of life.


Hands-on with the Tab S2, we found Samsung’s typical attention to detail in the screen department with one of the brightest displays you can find on a tablet.

There’s no doubting that this is a panel made by one of the better display makers on the tablet, with oodles of brightness on a tablet able to be used both inside and outside.


The design is one of the first things you notice about this tablet, too, and it kind of feels like a cross between Samsung’s Galaxy Note 4 — metal and plastic and glass — meeting the softened rectangular design of Apple’s iPad.

In fact, from a brief play, this is easily the most Apple-like product Samsung has made thus far.

It’s a curious design for Samsung, in fact, which has up until this year been about textures, and it feels like the Tab S2 should have a new product name rather than be a follow-up to last year’s textured plastic backed Tab S 10.5.


Still, it’s a comfortable body, and is very, very slim, with the optional Book Cover case hardly adding much to the thickness and giving it a magnetic clasp to hold the cover in place.

Release is next week, though, so stay tuned for a review as soon as we can.