Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 review

This ultra-light Android tablet is an iPad challenger

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The Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 came with Android 5.0.2 out of the box, but the operating system can now be upgraded to Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow, ensuring it's still relevant in today's market.

Samsung has already made a bunch of tweaks to Google's lockscreen notification-infused software through its always-meddling TouchWiz interface.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 review

Samsung is ahead of Google's software update by incorporating a component fingerprint sensor into the home button. It also allows its devices to be silenced from the volume rocker.

Google stripped this function from stock Lollipop and is bringing it back in Marshmallow. Its current phones and tablets devices stop short, toggling between volume and vibrate via the rocker.

Splitscreen mode continues to be a big part of Samsung tablets, and multitasking works best on the larger Galaxy Tab S2. A long press on the "recent" touch key quickly divvies up the screen.

Apple's new iOS 9 operating system adds true multitasking for the first time, but its half-and-half "Split View" is reserved for the iPad Air 2, iPad mini 4 and iPad Pro and works with only a few apps at launch.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 review

There's potential there for Apple, but Samsung does it the best for every app I've tested – except Flipboard. The magazine news reader isn't compatible with splitscreen mode.

However, I've become a big fan of swiping to the leftmost homescreen on Samsung devices and becoming caught in the latest news presented in a beautiful Flipboard layout.

It's really how Apple should arrange its leftmost iOS 9 menu, bringing the new Apple News app out from the shadows. Of course, now that I've said it in a Samsung review, it'll never happen out of spite.


This is where Samsung is known for its Android meddling: giving you apps you never wanted and never asked for. The company has learned its lesson in the last two years – to an extent.

Tab S2 contains useless Internet, Email, Memo apps, even though it also has Android-required Chrome, Gmail, Drive apps. Gallery is a bit faster than Google Photos, so that's a keeper.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 review

Well, they're all really keepers because you can't delete many Samsung-made apps: Contacts, Gallery, Camera, Music, Video, Clock, My Files, Smart Manager, Calendar, SideSync and Galaxy Apps (in case you want more of these) are all stuck on your Tab S2.

It's a pain, because who wants their app drawer stuffed with generic Internet or Email apps? I did find uses for transporting files via SideSync and playing movie files more quickly through Video, but it should really be up to me to decide which apps stay and which ones go.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 review

Samsung also throws in a bit of bloatware, for better or worse. There's a Microsoft apps folder full of Office, Skype and OneDrive apps, its own Samsung Milk Music, Samsung+, Screen Saver, a CNN for Samsung and Next Issue apps.

Thankfully, while Samsung would love to steer you into downloading new apps through its Galaxy Apps store, it includes the Play Store in the app drawer.