Phone, Smartphone, Notebook and Gadget Reviews and buyers guide

Home > Android Tablet Reviews > Samsung Galaxy Tab S2


Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 9.7

Editor's rating (1-5): rating starrating starrating starrating star
Carrier: WiFi only and 4G LTE models available
Manufacturer: Samsung

What's Hot: Crazy thin and light, amazing Super AMOLED display, 4:3 aspect ratio great for web and reading.

What's Not: 4:3 aspect ratio not ideal if your primary use is video playback. Android tablet app selection still slim.


Reviewed September 10, 2015 by , Editor in Chief (twitter: @lisagade)

Samsung Galaxy Tab S2

So you like the Samsung Galaxy Tab S but you figure it's last year's model and you have a hankering for a 4:3 aspect ratio that's easier to read on? Then you're in luck: the Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 models are the refresh with a faster CPU and lighter TouchWiz skin, and 4:3 aspect ratio displays. Yep, just like the iPad. That aspect ratio makes the tablet easier to hold and it is indeed better for reading documents, web pages and books. In fact, I find games more enjoyable too. However, if you're buying a tablet primarily for watching movies, TV shows and YouTube, then you might want to opt for last year's Tab S or consider the Dell Venue 10 7000. Those two will also net you the incredibly vibrant AMOLED display but with the standard Android tablet 16:10 aspect ratio that means almost no black bars on the top and bottom of widescreen content.

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 is available in two sizes: 9.7" and 8". We look at the 9.7" model in this review. They're available in your choice of black, white or gold and each has a matte back so we're not talking blingy gold or slippery stuff. The tablets are some of the thinnest and lightest on the market (currently they're the thinnest at 5.9mm). The 9.7" model weighs just 13.7 ounces (almost 2 ounces less than the iPad Air 2) and the 8" model weighs 9.34 ounces. They feel trivially thin and light--as if they were props rather than actual devices. That's a good thing-- despite the light weight, they don't feel or look cheap. Samsung hasn't moved to exotic materials here as they did with the Samsung Galaxy S6 family and the Note 5, but the plastic back with metal frame look and feel quite nice.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S2

The tablet runs Android 5.1.1 Lollipop with Samsung's ever improving TouchWiz. TouchWiz is lighter and less overwrought and it still brings great features like multi-window multitasking. Flipboard is still here as the leftmost home screen, for better or worse, and there are a few Samsung staples like their own app store and Milk Music.

Horsepower and Performance

Inside, Samsung has moved up to the (Exynos Octa 7 CPU family) Exynos 5433 CPU that has four high power 1.9 GHz cores and four 1.33 GHz low power cores. It uses the fairly powerful MALI-T760 graphics that provides very good performance not only in benchmarks but in today's popular 3D games. This is the same CPU used in the International version of the Samsung Galaxy Note 4, and while I'm sure everyone would be even more excited if Samsung used their latest high end Exynos CPU from the Galaxy S6 and Note 5, the performance is still good enough to make it one of the fastest Android tablets on the market (and almost as fast as the iPad Air 2 in benchmarks). The tablet has 3 gigs of RAM, as did the first generation Tab S and 32 or 64 gigs of storage. Our 32 gig model had 25.4 gigs available on first boot. There's a microSD card slot to expand storage with cards up to 128 gigs. The Tab S2 also supports USB host, which means if you get a USB OTG dongle adapter, you can use USB flash drives, card readers and small self-powered portable hard drives with the tablet.

optional keyboard case

Above: the optional keyboard case.



  Quadrant AnTuTu 3D Mark Ice Storm Unlimited Geekbench 3
Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 9.7 28,128 53,165 17,620 1254/4308
Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4 21,513 32,927 13,475 935/ 2739
Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5 (LTE) 22.278 37,786 16,434 937/2739
Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4 23,355 34,890 13,785 908/2807
Dell Venue 8 7480 21,314 43,926 18,343 787/2456
Nexus 9 13,728 56,937 26,307 1950/3318
iPad Air 2 N/A 63,152 21,681 1819/4452
NVIDIA Shield Tablet 21,414 51,838 30,364 51119/3407
Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 7054 16,214 3299 N/A
Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 10.1 14,515 33,947 13,458 946/2773
Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 10.1 9181 17,239 4615 N/A

Super AMOLED Display is Super

The 2048 x 1536 display is simply amazing. Few tablets have AMOLED displays, with the first gen Tab S and the Dell Venue 8 and 10 7000 models rounding up current offerings. The display far exceeds the sRGB color gamut and even covers more than 100% of the wider Adobe RGB gamut. That means you'll get incredibly saturated and vibrant colors with near infinite contrast as you do with the Samsung Galaxy S5, S6 and recent Galaxy Note phones. As with those phones, you can choose from several different color profiles including AMOLED Photo for a more realistic 100% sRGB gamut (handy if you're using it to proof photos or video). The display is also extremely bright and remains visible outdoors. Auto-brightness works well and unlike some older Samsung mobile products, indoor brightness doesn't default to a too dim setting. This is a touch screen and it doesn't have the active Wacom digitizer that Samsung Galaxy Note phones and tablets have. You can use a capacitive stylus but nothing that's precise and there's no palm rejection since capacitive styli are essentially finger replacements (they're capacitive as are your fingers).

Samsung Galaxy Tab S2


Deals and Shopping:


Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 9.7 Video Review


Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 vs. iPad Air 2 Comparison Smackdown

Battery Life

The Galaxy Tab S2 actually has a lower capacity battery than the Tab S. CPU efficiencies and the lower resolution afforded by the smaller 4:3 aspect ratio display mean lower power consumption. But the 5870 mAh battery in our 9.7" model (4,000 mAh in the 8" model) seems a bit too modest. With auto-brightness on and WiFi turned on, our 9.7" tablet typically lasted two days on a charge with light to moderate use. That clocked in at 4.5 to 5 hours of screen on time (actual active usage time), which is lower than the original Tab S and several competing tablets like the Dell Venue 10 7000 and the iPad Air. Our tests include web browsing, email, reading an eBook in Kindle, streaming an hour episode via Netflix, editing a few photos and watching 5 short YouTube videos. If you use the GPS or play 3D games, battery life will be shorter.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S2


We look at the WiFi-only models here, and they have dual band WiFi 802.11ac, Bluetooth 4.1 BLE and a GPS with GLONASS but no NFC. Carriers will sell versions with 4G LTE added, typically for $150 additional at full retail.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S2


The Samsung Galaxy Tab S2, as Samsung intended, is the Android answer to the iPad Air, right down to the 4:3 aspect ratio and thin and light design. Though the back is plastic, the tablet has a quality feel and look, and it indeed is one of the nicest Android tablets money can buy. It may not add groundbreaking new features, but it brings some of the best features and parts Samsung has to offer in 2015. We like the improved TouchWiz experience that lightens the load and the bloat while providing very useful capabilities like multi-window multitasking. The S2 runs as smoothly as the Nexus 9 running straight Android 5.1, and in fact it feels faster. The tablet's only problem with respect to the iPad isn't Samsung's fault: there are still relatively few tablet optimized apps in Android land, and that means some of your favorites (Instagram, Facebook) stretch the small screen experience to fill the display rather than make good use of the added real estate. If your interests extend only to the built-in apps like PIMs, the web browser, video player and MS Office, then you'll do fine. Netflix supports tablets nicely and there are a few tablet-optimized games that are truly pleasant on the Galaxy Tab S2.

Price: $499 for 32 gig WiFi-only model. ~ $650 for 4G LTE model sold direct by carriers



Samsung Galaxy Tab S Review

Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4 Review

Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 10.1

Dell Venue 8 7000 Review

Google Nexus 9 Review

iPad Air 2 Review

iPad mini 4 Review

Microsoft Surface 3 Review

blog comments powered by Disqus


Display: 9.7" Super AMOLED display. Resolution: 2048 x 1536, 4:3 aspect ratio. Has ambient light sensor, accelerometer and proximity sensor.

Battery: 5870 mAh Lithium Ion Polymer rechargeable. Battery is not user replaceable.

Performance: 1.9GHz Samsung Exynos 7 Octa 5433 quad core with addition 4 1.3GHz low power cores, MALI-T760 graphics. 3 gigs RAM and 32 or 64 gigs internal storage.

Size: 9.34 x 6.65 x 0.22 inches. Weight: 13.7 ounces.


Camera: 2.1 MP front camera and 8 megapixel camera with LED flash, HDR and up to QHD 2K video recording.

Audio: Built in stereo speakers, mic and 3.5mm standard stereo headphone/mic jack.

Networking: Integrated dual band WiFi 802.11b/g/n/ac and Bluetooth 4.1 BLE.

Software: Android OS 5.1 Lollipop.

Security: fingerprint scanner embedded in home button.

Expansion: 1 microSDXC card slot, USB host via option USB OTG adapter cable.


All Phone Reviews
Smartphone Reviews
Android Phone Reviews
Windows Phone Reviews
HTC Phone Reviews
LG Phone Reviews
Motorola Phone Reviews
Nokia Phone Reviews
Samsung Phone Reviews
Sony Phone Reviews
AT&T Phone Reviews
Sprint Phone Reviews
T-Mobile Phone Reviews
Verizon Phone Reviews
Unlocked GSM Phone Reviews


All Tablet Reviews
Android Tablet Reviews
Tablet Comparisons
Android Tablet Comparisons



Laptop Reviews
Ultrabook Reviews
Laptop Comparisons
Best Ultrabooks



Bluetooth Headsets
iPhone and iPad Accessories
eBook Readers

iPhone Game Reviews
iPad Game Reviews

iPhone Case Reviews
iPad Case Reviews


RSS News Feed

About Us

Contact Us


Site Map