Samsung has been producing tablets for quite a few years now, but the company’s latest take on the mobile computer moves away from the elongated widescreen rectangle to something a little larger.
This week, Samsung has announced that a new tablet will indeed be coming to stores around the world later this following up last year’s reinvention of the tablet brand, the Tab S.
In that product, Samsung slimmed the tablet, went for a sexier and more metallic-looking aesthetic, and brought in one of the slickest displays we had ever seen, with an immense amount of brightness and clarity on offer from the Quad HD 2560×1600 screen.
Overall, that was a decent product, but it needed to be actually made of metal rather than just designed to look like metal, which appears to be a lesson Samsung has been gradually learning these past few years.
Fortunately, the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge appears to be showing that Samsung has listened, with metal and glass high on the feature lists for those products, and in the Galaxy Tab S2 being announced this week, it’s a big deal there, too.
Yes, the announcement of the Galaxy Tab S2 will include metal in the body, using it in the frame of the tablet, though it appears the tablet features a leather-look plastic on the back, similar to what we saw on the Galaxy Note 4 last year.
Aside for the design changes, a new screen size is also here, as Samsung shifts from the 16:9 widescreen form-factor that it has been using for ages over to something Apple has been reliant on for longer, the 4:3 aspect ratio.
With the Galaxy Tab S2, you’ll find 8 and 9.7 inch screens, both with 2048×1536 displays, exactly like the iPad Air 2 and the iPad Mini 3.
Given the similarities to Apple’s own tablets, we’ll be curious to find out what prompted Samsung to make this change, as it is certainly a bit of a surprise when Samsung has persisted with widescreen up until this point.
Under the screen, though, it’s totally different from an iPad, with an octa-core processor, Google Android 5.0 “Lollipop”, 3GB RAM, 32 or 64GB storage, and support for a microSD (because Samsung apparently still believes in expandable storage, just not in its flagship phones).
This metal frame has also allowed Samsung to get the Tab S2 down in size, pushing to a thickness of 5.6mm for both variations and a weight of 392 grams for the 9.7 inch model and 272 grams for the 8 inch, below that of Apple’s releases that were announced last year.
“The Galaxy Tab S2 is not only our thinnest and lightest tablet of its size ever, it also gives users quick, easy access to a wealth of superior viewing and productivity features,” said Samsung’s JK Shin, CEO and President of its IT and Mobile Division.
“We believe the Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 is the most complete personal visual device designed for consumers to carry and use anywhere.”
Beyond those core specs, the change in screen resolution and aspect ratio, and the processing tech, most of what is inside these models appears to be the same, just like last year’s two-tab release from Samsung in the Galaxy Tab S range, with an 8 megapixel rear camera, 2 megapixel front-facing camera, 802.11a/b/g/n/ac WiFi, Bluetooth 4.1, GPS, fingerprint scanner, support for FLAC audio, and an option for 4G LTE connectivity.
Multitasking will be included for side-by-side app running, as will a new file storage structure aimed at making it easier to find files, and Samsung’s Smart Manager used on the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge will also be here to manage your apps and battery life.
Pricing on the Galaxy Tab S2 tablets have yet to be announced, but Samsung’s global people are suggesting a release of August is likely.
Meanwhile, we’re checking with Samsung’s local arm to find out if Australia is included in that local release, and if a price is ready. Our guess is we’ll see these replace the Tab S models for much the same price, but we’ll let you know when we’ve confirmed it all for good.