Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 review

This ultra-light Android tablet is an iPad challenger

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Battery life

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 battery life is also underpowered when compared to Apple's iPad Air 2 and last year's Samsung Galaxy Tab S.

Its battery capacity is the smallest of the three tablets at 5,870mAh and 4,000mAh for the 9.7-inch and 8-inch models, respectively. The iPad Air 2 has 7,340mAh, while Samsung's own Galaxy Tab S1 packed in a 7,900mAh battery.

Samsung's 9.7-inch tablet did better than I anticipated in our routine battery life test, thanks to its power-saving "big.LITTLE" CPU configuration. But it could've lasted even longer.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S2

Running a 90-minute HD video loop at full brightness, it slashed the battery life by to 84%, which actually beats the Nexus 9, iPad Air 2 and ties the Dell Venue 8 7000.

Beating the Galaxy Tab S2 was last year's Samsung tablet, the Galaxy Tab S1, which saw a decline to 87% from a full charge during the same 90 minutes of HD video.

I still felt like the newer tablet could've lasted longer in day-to-day use outside of our battery life test, and that might happen with the Android Marshmallow update.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 review

Google's Android update has a special Doze mode that retains more battery life when devices are in a sleep state. This is something Apple's iPad line does well, and is almost certainly why I feel like the iPad Air 2's real-life longevity is closer to the Tab S2 battery life than lab tests show.

I expected more from the Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 when it came to charging, too. It takes about four hours to fully juice up, and there's no fast-charging capability here. Wireless charging is also absent.

All of a sudden, that Samsung wireless charging pad with 1.4x the charging speed is less of a value outside of your Samsung Galaxy S6 or Note 5 phone.


You're not going to (or shouldn't) use them, but the Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 has two cameras: one on the back that's 8 megapixels (MP) and one on the front that's 2.1MP that you're hopefully using for video conferencing and now selfies.

The 8MP camera is OK with enough light, but can't compare to any camera inside Samsung's phones. It doesn't inherit that 16MP sensor we've grown to love in the S6 and Note 5. The 2.1MP camera photos look even noisier and should be avoided at all costs.

The rear camera can now shoot 1440p video at 30 frames per second, up from the 1080p video from the Tab S1, but don't look for a 4K video option. Such high-resolution video isn't ready for Android tablets yet.

Samsung does bring the now-familiar interface of its camera software to the Tab S2. But, while the layout is the same, features like wide selfies, RAW files and YouTube Live are missing.

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It can't even keep up with the slow drip of ice cream
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With enough light, the main camera photos are okay
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The front-facing camera does okay too, again, with ample light
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Take it into an indoor setting, however, and you get lots of noise