The Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 8.0 is the best compact Android tablet there is
Processor: Octa-core 1.9GHz + 1.3GHz Samsung Exynos Octa 5433, Screen size: 8in, Screen resolution: 2,048×1,536, Rear camera: 8 megapixels, Storage (free): 32GB (23GB), Wireless data: 4G +£40, Size: 135x199x5.6mm, Weight: 389g, Operating system: Android 5.0.2
With its latest Android tablets, Samsung has decided the only way to beat its big rival Apple is to meet it head-on in every respect. The Galaxy Tab S2 9.7 has the same size screen, the same screen resolution and is the same price as the iPad Air 2 while this, the Galaxy Tab S2 8.0, has the same size screen, the same screen resolution and is the same price as, you guessed it, the iPad Mini 4.
I liked the 9.7in version of the Galaxy Tab S2, but felt it lost out to its Apple rival in terms of power and had some competition from the not-much-smaller and far cheaper Google Nexus 9. The 8in Galaxy Tab S2, however, is less under threat from Google’s cut-price slate. The inch difference in screen size translates to 30% in terms of tablet area, and the Galaxy Tab S2 8.0 is 2.4mm thinner and 35g lighter than the Nexus 9, so is much more compact and a different proposition entirely.
The tablet feels incredibly thin and light, and is a real pleasure to hold and use. Compared to the 9.7in version, the 8in Galaxy Tab S2 is easier to hold one-handed in portrait mode, and the fact you can more easily stretch your fingertips round the side of the tablet makes your hold feel more secure. Which display size you prefer will be a matter of taste, of course – some in the office much prefer larger tablet screens for watching films – but at least you don’t lose out on any screen resolution by opting for the smaller model.
One striking aspect of Samsung’s new tablets is their excellent build quality. Like its bigger brother, the Galaxy Tab S2 8.0 feels tough, with no flex at all in the chassis. By contrast, artefacts appear on the iPad mini 4’s display when you squeeze the back of the tablet on the right-hand side. The Galaxy Tab S2 8.0 is slightly thinner than the iPad mini 4, at 5.6mm compared to 6.1mm, but which you prefer to hold will come down to taste; the iPad mini 4’s round edges are potentially more comfortable for your fingers, but the Galaxy Tab S2’s sharper angles make it easier to grip.
In terms of size and resolution, the Galaxy Tab S2 8.0’s display matches its Apple rival. It’s an 8in 2,048×1,536 model with a 4:3 aspect ratio; until recently most Android tablets had 16:9 screens, but squarer 4:3 displays are becoming more popular. Some would argue that 16:9 screens are better for watching films, but I find the 4:3 aspect ratio more agreeable when browsing the web with the tablet in portrait mode.
It’s an excellent screen. Its AMOLED technology means blacks are truly black, as opposed to the almost-black common on LCD panels. This leads to an infinite contrast ratio and punchy images. The display isn’t quite as bright as the iPad mini 4’s LCD screen, with a maximum measured brightness of 346cd/m2 compared to 439cd/m2, but it’s still bright enough to use outdoors. There was little to choose between the tablets’ panels when viewed side by side; the iPad’s screen was slightly cooler, and the warmness of the Samsung tablet’s display made things appear more yellow, but both are equally pleasing to use and showed similar amounts of detail in our test images. Continues on Page 2
|Processor||Octa-core 1.9GHz + 1.3GHz Samsung Exynos Octa 5433|
|Front camera||2.1 megapixels|
|Rear camera||8 megapixels|
|Storage (free)||32GB (23GB)|
|Memory card slot (supplied)||None|
|Wireless data||4G +£40|
|Operating system||Android 5.0.2|