Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus review

Samsung's Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus (Wi-Fi) isn't anywhere near the top of the line for seven-inch tablets these days, with the company's own Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 offering a notable upgrade in some regards (and a lower starting price point), while the Nexus 7 handily bests both options and the new Kindle Fire HD looks rather appealing.

But the recent upgrade to Ice Cream Sandwich gives this aging Android tablet new legs, significantly boosting moment-to-moment performance and adding a sleek edge to the interface. At the listed price, it's far too expensive to warrant a pick over newer and cheaper options, but if you can find a refurbished or otherwise majorly discounted one, the Tab 7.0 Plus can be a pretty good option in many respects.

We liked:

Ice Cream Sandwich is available as an over-the-air upgrade, and it immediately clears much of the lag that we saw while first using the tablet with Honeycomb installed. It's not quite as smooth or powerful as newer seven-inchers, but it can hold its own in everyday use.

With a dual-core processor and solid build, it's capable of fitting in well with your daily life, whether you're looking to surf the web and check email, use various apps, or play games or media. It's versatile and easy to use.

Expandable storage via micro-SD cards means you're not bound by the 16GB of internal storage in this model (a 32GB option is also available), which is more than we can say for the Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire. For heavy media consumers, that's a big perk.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus review

We disliked:

Following the launch of the Kindle Fire and Nexus 7, the original $400 price on the Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus seems utterly laughable. If you can find it for a bargain (say, half that price or less), though, it can be a very good option.

Even with Ice Cream Sandwich, the TouchWiz-overlaid interface doesn't come close to the aesthetic bliss of the Nexus 7's Jelly Bean-based setup. It's disappointing to be limited to only the middle of the display for placing widgets and apps.

We encountered occasional issues with the responsiveness of the touch screen, especially when trying to tap small buttons or icons. It's not something we faced on a regular enough basis to kill the experience, but it's annoying all the same. The tablet also randomly crashed a couple times with ICS installed.

The display isn't terribly vibrant, while the wimpy back camera produces bland photos and grainy video. We know, tablet cameras aren't highlight features, but even this one feels like it's on the low end of the pack.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus review

Verdict:

Without Ice Cream Sandwich, we'd completely shrug off the Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus in favor of newer and cheaper options. But the upgrade works wonders for last year's model, and makes it a suitable bargain-basement option.

If you're seeking a capable Android tablet with expandable storage, and happen to find a refurbished or otherwise discounted model for $200 or less, we can solidly recommend the Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus. But that's a window that's shrinking by the day as manufacturers continually top themselves with better and cheaper seven-inch options.