The specs are generous given the price point with a Exynos 5433 1.9GHz Octa Core processor, 3GB of RAM and 32GB of expandable storage providing excellent value for money and exceptional performance. The Super AMOLED display provides a resolution of 2048 x 1536 and 320 PPI. The Tab S2 8 comes with Android Lollipop preinstalled and Samsung’s Touchwiz UI software layer on top. Much to my surprise a subscription to Microsoft Office 365 is included, which will be most welcome to those users seeking a discrete mobile productivity device.
I would however recommend that you purchase an external Bluetooth keyboard for typing on however, using the onscreen keyboard when working in Word is less than ideal. Samsung did add some apps of their own but bloatware is thankfully kept to a minimum.
The fingerprint scanner is vastly improved over the Tab S1 10-inch I reviewed last year. During the setup process it scans your entire finger or thumb bit by bit and as a result, provides for a much more reliable reading. The front camera isn’t anything special at just 2.1 mega pixels but the rear camera is more an adequate at 8 mega pixels providing decent image quality. Low light shooting is acceptable, albeit grainy at times and there’s no flash so that’s a negative.
The Performance is excellent, navigation, web browsing and gaming is quick and snappy with little lag to speak of. Multitasking performs well with smooth back and forth app switching. The battery life on the other hand is perhaps this device’s achilles heel, it provides on average less than 8 hours of runtime when compared to the iPad Mini’s 9 hours.
The build quality feels premium despite a mostly plastic construction, the chassis is firm with no bending or compression. The slightly raised metal edges make it easier to hold in one hand without slipping. The display quality is another treat with a broad range of colours, making it ideal for HD video watching and viewing photographs.
Overall the Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 8, which is available from Harvey Norman and is a solid mid-range small form tablet, extremely light weight, quick and affordable. It’s let down by a poor front facing camera and disappointing battery life but there’s still plenty to like about this solid 8-inch Android tablet.
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