Why Buy a Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 when you could have a Nexus 7?

Why Buy a Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 when you could have a Nexus 7?

So, the Nexus 7 is the best 7″ tablet on the market, right? No need to go shopping round, right? So why on Earth would anyone in their right mind buy a Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0?

Well, whilst some may question my sanity, I’m the bloke at Coolsmartphone Towers that did just that, and I feel it’s a question I should answer.

The first part of my answer is that I bought it before the final details of the Nexus 7 had been announced. I had recently had a Gemini Joytab 8 on loan for review and I’d become smitten with the smaller form factor compared to my Asus Transformer. After having to send it back to Gemini I decided that I couldn’t wait for the Nexus 7, so I pre-ordered myself an 8GB Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 and had it the day after release. I then bought a 32GB microSD card and loaded it with MP3’s. The plan was to use it until the Nexus was launched, keep the SD card and flog the tablet on ebay the next day.

So, picture the scene: Google are doing their launch presentation for the Nexus 7, many members of the technology world are glued to the live video stream, credit cards in their sweaty palms, salivating over the prospect of a new Nexus device to play with – and yes, I was one of them. But then it became clear that there was no SD card slot.

Hang on, a multimedia device with only 8 or 16GB of storage and no way to expand it? My credit card went back in my wallet and my Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 was here to stay.

Why Buy a Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 when you could have a Nexus 7?

That’s not to say it’s just an SD card slot with a screen. The 1GHz dual core processor and 1GB of RAM sound like they’re going to be a bit weedy, but coupled with the PowerVR SGX540 GPU I’ve had no lag when watching HD video, or playing high demand games such as Grand Theft Auto III.

The screen on the Galaxy Tab 2 is ‘only’ 1024 x 600, but I have found it to be bright and sharp; friends that have used it have been impressed by the colours and contrast.

One of the significant differences between the Galaxy Tab 2 and the Nexus 7 is the different version of Android they run. Whilst the Nexus is bang up to date running the latest version of Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, the Galaxy Tab has Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS), skinned with Samsung’s idea of an upgraded user interface called TouchWiz. Each to their own, but whilst I don’t think there’s a massive advantage to running Jelly Bean. I do think, however, TouchWiz is a poor UI that detracts from the Android experience. It’s also the only thing I’ve found that causes any lag, which seems a bit self defeating to me! For this reason alone I will shortly be flashing it with a custom ROM – shame really.

One of the main criticisms of the Nexus 7 is that it feels like a big phone. The reason for this is that it runs the phone style user interface, rather than the built in tablet mode that the Galaxy Tab uses. It’s a matter of taste, but I want my tablet to run as a tablet!

The camera is better than the Nexus 7’s… but that’s because the Nexus doesn’t have one! The 3.15 mega pixel shooter is adequate at best for stills, however, the 720dpi video recording capabilities are actually pretty impressive for the price. I only ever use forward facing cameras for face unlock, for which I’m sure its VGA squinter will work fine.

In short, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 is a very well built 7″ tablet that serves every purpose I bought it for – from writing articles for Coolsmartphone, emailing, surfing, and twitter through to watching videos and listening to a couple of thousand of my favourite MP3’s.

So, is the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 the best 7″ tablet on the market? To be honest, unless you need an SD card slot and a tablet that actually works in tablet mode, I’d have to say no. It’s that little bit too expensive. Although, if you buy one direct from Samsung you can get £30 cash back “for a limited time only”.

With the imminent release of the new Acer Iconia A110 tablet there’s pressure on Samsung to reduce the price of the Galaxy Tab 2 even more, as it also has the crucial addition of a micro SD card slot.

If I lost my Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 would I buy another? Yes, but only with the cash back deal.

Would I swap it for a Nexus 7? No. Definitely not.

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  • I agree, the lack of SD card is in some ways a mistake, but fair play Asus/Google do seem to be selling a few. After all if it’s good enough for the fruity ones to sell devices without card slots then why not Asus?

    Oh, sorry to be a Pedant:
    ‘So, picture the scene: Samsung are doing their launch presentation for the Nexus 7,’

    Shouldn’t that be Asus / Google?

  • didja find the front camera on the Nexus 7 yet?

  • HL

    I have just bought a galaxy 2 7.0 16g but the 4g version and the biggest feature which is not punted is the fact that it is also a phone. This feature means when i travel overseas i can simply leave my phone, bulky laptop, camera , and 3 chargers and just take my tab. Unlike the ipad which i could not get a micro sim for, on a pay as you go plan , cant connect it to another computer, etc, I can simply buy a local pay as you go sim and i am set.
    Unfortunately free wifi signals in reality are few and far between. Being able to just use my device without finding a wifi signal and also make calls is the massive plus for this device. Having the sd slot also puts it in a league of its own. Its the device i have been waiting for. Total love affair!

  • Eric

    The samsung tablet will soon get the jellybean update and guess what tablet UI lovers? It’s getting the “Phone” UI. Samsung won’t save you this time, it’s just a part of jellybean. Even the new 10 inch nexus has the “phone” UI, which I do agree is a bit of a strang move for a tablet that big. Just sold my tab to my dad, getting the 32 gig nexus 7 from office depot for about 230. No lack of an SD card slot can keep me away from a 32 gig package of goodness.

    • Ronnie Whelan

      I wrote this back in August, and obviously things have changed. My opinion on the “Phone” UI is that I don’t like it as much as the tablet UI, but, let’s face it, Apple have the same UI on all their devices and that hasn’t effected sales! Personally, I’ll be running a custom ROM to retain the tablet UI, but Jelly Bean won’t make this any less of a tablet for most people.

      On your second point, a 32GB N7 is a fantastic tablet, but when one considers that there is £30 cash back on a GTab 2 at the moment, and a 32GB SD card is no more than £15, one really does have to consider both options.

  • What are your thoughts now that Jelly Bean is rolling out for the Tab 2?

    • Ronnie Whelan

      Thanks for your question, John, see my reply to Eric for my comments.

  • Rex_D

    I know this article is “old”, but there are still people shopping and deciding between the 2 tablets (myself for one). I think a lot of people decide on the Nexus because of the quad-core processor, thinking it will be infinitely smoother and faster than the GT2. I have read tons of comments from people saying that their Nexus 7 “rarely lags” (meaning it STILL lags!!). I think the promise of quicker updates for the Nexus 7 is nice, but if your tablet still can’t take pictures with a back camera, still doesn’t have enough internal storage for all the apps you collect over the 2 years you own it, and still has lag… then updates don’t really matter so much to me. I am sure the Nexus 7 is a “great” tablet (I also think many people lower their standards so they can be proud of the decisions they make), but it is not perfect and not decidedly a superior choice over the Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 . The GT2 7.0 has been out longer and has proven itself. Getting updated to JB is proof of that. Plus the recent decrease in price is appealing to those afraid to take a risk (you can get a refurb GT2 for under $200. Held side by side, the GT2 feels like a better quality product (for those fools that think how something “feels” is a real indicator of its build quality). I think the support behind the GT2 is also something to consider. Samsung is a large company with multiple products. You get the support of Samsung as well as the support of the retailer. With the Nexus 7, who do you call with problems? I am sure more people own the GT2, meaning when there are problems with the product, there are more voices to be heard and more customers to satisfy. Wow… I typed more than I planned to… sorry for the rant.

    • Thanks for the comment Rex. Sounds like you may already have made your choice!