7-inch Samsung Galaxy Tab 2: a Little Better, a Little Cheaper

Samsung has officially launched its Galaxy Tab 2 products, the latest additions to the company’s line of multi-sized Android tablets.

With its new Galaxy Tab 2 (7.0) tablet, which is scheduled to go on sale on April 22nd for $250, Samsung hopes to claim its piece of the budget-price pie. Photo: Samsung Mobile LATAM/Flickr

The new Samsung device was released at the price of just $249.99 for 8GB of storage. To compare it with similarly sized competitors, the 8GB Barnes & Noble Nook Tablet goes for $199, and the BlackBerry PlayBook is $50 more, at $299 — although a temporary price drop to $199 appears to be slowly becoming permanent.

In the large size, the Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 costs just $399.99, that is at the same price as the iPad 2. The new Galaxy Tabs run the latest version of Android, “Ice Cream Sandwich,” and boast a few novel features.

One of them is a built-in remote control. Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 is equipped with an infrared emitter to control your TV, Blu-ray player and other electronics. In addition to operating your gear, the Smart Remote app also integrates TV listings from your cable or satellite provider (or over-the-air if that’s your bag).

However, Mashable reports: “It’s a great idea in theory, but emphasizing content has a price in control. After getting our Galaxy Tab 7.0 to pair with one of Mashable‘s Sony TVs, we found that it didn’t do a very good job of replicating all of the TV’s abilities, for example widgets and web browsing. That’s ironic, since our Sony set is actually a Google TV device — the same company that makes Android.”

It’s nearly identical to the Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus, measuring 7.6 by 4.8 by 0.41 inches (HWD) and 12.13 ounces. The Galaxy Tab 2.0 is thinner and lighter than the Kindle Fire, which measures 7.5 by 4.7 by .45 inches (HWD) and 14.6 ounces, and the Galaxy Tab 2.0’s nicely tapered edges only add to the effect.

In addition, the news Samsung device can actually take whatever’s playing on the TV and mirror it on the tablet which is quite a useful feature. It allows someone cooking in the kitchen watch the same media (TV broadcast, cable show or Blu-ray movie) that people in the living room are watching — without any installation. Much appreciated, but again, only Samsung TV owners need apply.

Moreover, now the users can buy music and videos with the widget front and center on their homes screen at the Samsung Media Hub. Besides, there’s built-in integration with AllShare, the company’s media-sharing (soon to be cloud) service that lets you easily move and copy your photos and movies between Samsung devices.

As PC Mag reports, Samsung downgraded the cameras on the Galaxy Tab 2, with a VGA front-facing and a 3-megapixel rear-facing camera with no LED flash. The original Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus has a 2-megapixel front-facing and 3-megapixel rear-facing camera with an LED flash.

The Galaxy Tab 2 is an 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi only tablet, with Bluetooth 3.0 and DLNA connectivity. The IR emitter lets you use the tablet as a remote control for a variety of media devices.

According to Gizmodo, the Galaxy Tab 2 is expected to be a incremental update. Meaning, for some reason, Samsung’s launching two new products that aren’t very different at all from tablets already in existence. Look for the 7.0 on April 22 and the 10.1 on May 13. And closely, too, lest you confuse them for their remarkably similar ancestors.

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