About this blog Subscribe to this blog

The iPad Killer

Galaxy-tab-s2-white-angleIn the race to capture America’s student’s palms and fingers, Samsung takes the lead over the iPad with its Galaxy Tab S2 tablet. It is not only lighter, more secure and has a brighter screen but the Tab S2 costs less than a comparable iPad. In other words, it should move to the head of the class.

At 13-ounces and 6.6- by 9.4- by 0.2-inches, the Tab S2 is fractions of an inch smaller and 2-ounces lighter than an iPad Air 2, making it the choice for those who don’t want to be weighed down by a tablet. If that’s still too big, Samsung also makes a 9-ounce model with an 8-inch display that mirrors most of its specs, but is $100 less.

Overall, the design is nothing short of spectacular, with a flush display, rounded corners and an angled back edge that feels natural in the hand. It has an on/off button, one for controlling the volume as well as the expected Android Home, go-back and open apps keys. A micro-USB charging port and headphone jack round out the Tab S2’s basics.

Tab s2 8 and 9.7While the iPad Air 2 and Tab S2 have screens that show 2,048 by 1,536 resolution and respond to 10 finger inputs, they couldn’t be more different. The Air 2’s Retina screen uses conventional liquid crystal screen technology and looks pretty good with saturated colors. By contrast, the Tab S2 uses the latest Organic Light Emitting Diode (OLED) display and is among the brightest I have ever seen. It can be set manually or to automatically adjust itself to suit the local lighting. In fact, I was able to comfortably use it for a variety of tasks with the brightness set at about half.

You can choose from several different color balance schemes suited for looking at images or reading documents. On the downside, it takes on a bluish tinge if you look at the display at an angle.

Unfortunately, the Tab S2 does without the Galaxy Note 5’s S-Pen active stylus. It worked well with a generic rubber dome stylus, though.

While it doesn’t have an HDMI-out port for feeding a projector or flat-screen display, you won’t need one. You can use an MHL adapter to connect the Tab S2’s display on the big screen for all to see. The system has 802.11ac WiFi as well as Bluetooth 4.1 wireless, and worked well with both Samsung’s All Share Cast wireless video connection as well as Google’s latest Chromecast device.

The $500 Tab S2 model that I looked comes well equipped with Samsung’s Exynos 1.9GHz 8-core processor, 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage space and matches the 16GB iPad 2 on price. There’s also a $600 version that has 64GB of storage, equaling the 64GB iPad Air 2 model. There’s no 128GB Tab S2.

Black_5a_keyboard_cover_9.7The good news for data hogs is that –unlike the iPad – the Tab S2 has a micro-SD card slot for adding up to 64GB of extra storage space to the slate. It also comes with two-year’s worth of 100GB of online storage with OneDrive, which should be plenty of space.

Its accessories make the Tab S2 very versatile at school and home. The multimedia dock combines wired networking, video and USB ports, making it a good way to turn the Tab S2 into a the equivalent of a desktop PC. The $149 keyboard case connects via Bluetooth and the cover solidly snaps onto two small holes in the back of the Tab S2. While it delivers a 2.1-pound ultraportable computer, you can fold the keyboard case over, yielding a slate.

When it comes to security, the Tab S2 has the lead. It not only has Samsung’s Knox and its Enterprise security built-in, but can do 256-bit AES encryption.

Galaxy Tab s2While you can always load Microsoft’s Office apps on an iPad, they come preloaded on the Tab S2. It also has apps for sharing documents, video conferencing and saving files online. My favorite is the Smart Manager, which keeps any eye on all key areas of the tablet’s operations.

It all adds up to a hot slate that never gets more than warm to the touch. With single- and multi-core GeekBench 3 scores of 1,247 and 4,186, the Tab S2 falls a little short in the former but blows the iPad Air away in the latter. Its 5,870 miliamp-hour battery pack allowed the Tab S2 to run for 8 hours and 25 minutes of playing YouTube videos over a WiFi link, which is on a par with most recent iPads and plenty for every day use. While it charges quickly with the included USB power adapter, the Tab S2 does without the Qi inductive wireless charging that the company’s S6 Active has.

If you’re looking for a tablet that has the power and display to replace notebooks or desktop computers in the classroom, look no farther than Samsung’s Galaxy Tab S2. It not only undercuts the iPad on price but outdoes it in just about every category, making the Tab S2 nothing short of the best slate available today.



Samsung Galaxy Tab S2

$500 with 32GB of storage; $600 with 64GB of storage

+ Inexpensive

+ Spectacularly bright OLED screen

+ Lightweight

+ Top security

+ Optional dock and keyboard case

+ Smaller 8-inch model also available


- Doesn’t work with keyboard folded over

- Lacks inductive charging

Post Comment

If you have a TypeKey or TypePad account, please Sign In

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in Tech Tools are strictly those of the author and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Scholastic, Inc.