Skip to main content

Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 review

This ultra-light Android tablet is a budget iPad challenger

Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 review
Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 review

Verdict

Was the Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 enough of an upgrade over the company's 2014 tablet? It had a new shape and was thinner, and in some ways mimicked the iPad Air 2 but probably not quite in enough areas.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 review

Samsung Galaxy Tab S2

We liked

Samsung's thinnest and lightest tablet when it launched, the Galaxy Tab S2 is easy to tote around. Its 9.7-inch model's weight fits in between the 2018 iPad and the iPad mini 4, and the 8-inch tablet is even lighter. Yet it offers a metal frame upgrade, keeps the microSD card slot and uses a more comfortable, soft touch plastic back.

To Samsung's credit, the TouchWiz software doesn't get in the way of Android too much, and includes a few useful extra features. The Tab S2 is not as powerful as it could be or as long lasting, but it's enough for a consumer tablet.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 review

Samsung Galaxy Tab S2

We disliked

Besides the svelte design and slight specs upgrade, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 isn't always better as much as it's different from the Galaxy Tab S1. The tablet is less powerful than today's iPads, and even struggled against the iPads of 2015.

It's not best for movies, either, with its more boxy 4:3 screen, instead of a wide-screen-friendly 16:9 aspect ratio. That makes it a matter of taste, but no one will like the fact that Samsung backed off the pixel count in the transition to the new screen shape.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 review

Samsung Galaxy Tab S2

Final verdict

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 is a lightweight tablet that's a svelte upgrade over the 2014 Galaxy Tab S. Beyond those year-on-year improvements though, it struggled to keep up with the iPads of 2015, and has since got more dated.

If you're just reading and web surfing, the Galaxy Tab S2 will do the job. The screen aspect ratio isn't the best for video, but it can just about do that too.

When it first came out, the Galaxy Tab S2 was undoubtedly one of the best Android tablets you could buy. It has of course become more outdated since then, but if you can find it at a decent price then it might still be worth a look.

How does the Galaxy Tab S2 look compared to the rest of the market? Here are some other choices you may prefer to Samsung's 2015 slate.

iPad (2018)

iPad (2018)

iPad (2018)

It's hard to make the case for splashing a few hundred dollars (or pounds) on the Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 when you can pay a little bit more and get a brand new iPad.

The iPad is more powerful, more stable to use, and only costs a little bit more. Unless you really need Android or love Samsung devices, this is probably a better option for you than the Samsung Galaxy Tab S2.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S4

Samsung Galaxy Tab S4

Samsung Galaxy Tab S4

If you want the latest, 2018 version of the Galaxy Tab S2, the the Galaxy Tab S4 from 2018 is it. Better components, Android 8.1 Oreo and a gorgeous-looking 10.5-inch screen make this a much more appealing option.

Obviously you're going to have to spend more – maybe as much as twice as much – but we reckon it's worth the upgrade at this stage. The Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 is still fighting the good fight against the iPads.

Pixel Slate

Pixel Slate

Pixel Slate

The tablet scene has changed a lot since the Galaxy Tab S2 made its debut: we've seen a lot more 2-in-1 devices appear on the scene, for example, and Chrome OS has added support for Android apps.

With that in mind, the Pixel Slate is a viable competitor to the Galaxy Tab S2. You get the full Chrome experience, plus the Google Play Store, plus an easy way to enter text (if you splash out on the keyboard attachment).