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Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 310 Review

on July 9, 2012 – 4:04 pmNo Comment

You saw the unboxing of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 310 back in May, here is the full review of the tablet. It was announced in February, unveiled in Asia in March and launched in India in May. This tablet packs in a 7-inch (1024×600) PLS TFT LCD display and is powered by 1GHz dual-core processor. Yes, it runs on Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich). This tablet has 3G support and also lets you make voice calls. Let’s get into the detailed review.

Box Contents

The box contents include, Tablet, Charger, In-ear headsets and the user manual.

Hardware

The first thing you notice about the tablet is how thin it is. It is also compact and easy to carry. The 7-inch multi-touch LCD display is bright and but it is too glossy and prone to smudges.


There is a ear piece at the top. The VGA front-facing camera to make video calls and there is Light sensor and Proximity sensors next to the ear piece.


The lock/ power button is at the left and the volume rockers below that.


The SIM card slot and the microSD card slot are at the right. It uses a normal SIM card and the memory is expandable up to 32GB.

There is a 30-pin jack at the bottom to charge and to transfer data instead of a micro USB slot on the Samsung phones. The speakers are present on the either side and a small microphone.


There is a 3.5mm headset jack at the top and a secondary microphone that is active when you use speakerphone or while recording videos.


There is a 3MP camera at the back that can shoot videos at 720p resolution at 30 fps.


The tab is 10.5mm thin and weighs 344g, which is pretty good compared to the other 7-inch 3G tablets.

Software

UI

The Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 310 runs on the Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich). The UI is a lot better than Honeycomb in the Galaxy Tab 680( Tab 7.7) that went on sale in India earlier this February.


The TouchWiz UI has same homescreen as the Honeycomb with the Google search at the top, App drawer at the top right, Widgets, Icons and the system bar. There are back, home, recent / multitasking and screenshot at the bottom system bar. Since there is no capacitive buttons all the actions are performed using these on-screen menu icons.


There is a mini apps panel that opens up when you press a small arrow button. This lets you access apps such as Alarm, Calculator, Email, Messaging and more number of apps more quickly while you are watching a video, browsing a web or chatting. You can click the edit button and unselect some apps but can’t add more apps other than the apps in the list.

The notifications are display at the bottom right, and there are shortcuts to toggle WiFi,GPS, Ringer, Data, Bluetooth and more. You can also adjust the brightness and view battery status.


You can press and hold the home screen to set a home screen or lock screen wallpaper or add icons or widgets. You can resize the widgets accordingly to fit the display.

The Menu icon is on the top right which list the apps and Widgets. You can hold an app icon or a widget to add it to the home-screen. You can change the app position or share an app from the settings menu.

Apps


There are Samsung’s app such as Readers Hub, Game Hub, S Planner (Similar to calendar) ChatON messenger. There is a default mail client and Google Mail for emails. Other Google apps include, Google+, Maps, Search (with voice search) and Talk. The utility apps include, Alarm, Calculator, Memo, My file (File browser), Gallery, Polar Office (to view documents) and World clock.

There is a photo editor to edit images and video maker to edit videos with also supports video themes and video import up to 1080p resolution and export up to 720p video resolution. You can download more apps from the Google Play Store and Samsung Apps store.

Camera


The 3MP back camera takes some good shots in daylight but no good for in door low-light shooting. There are different scene modes (Landscape, Night, Sports, Party / Indoor, Beach / Snow , White balance settings, Shooting modes (Single shot, Single shot and Panorama) and Timer (2 sec, 5 sec and 10 sec intervals). You can also edit the shortcuts accordingly and edit the photo with the image editor. You can switch to either cameras to shoot an image or a video.

Here are some indoor and out door sample shots for you to check out.

Even the 720p videos has noise in low light. You can shoot the videos at normal 720p resolution or limit it for MMS and Email. Other video camera features are similar to the image options. Here is the 720p video sample.

Calls, Messaging and Browser


The calling feature is a great advantage for the tablet. It has an ear piece and a microphone at the bottom for you make a call. You can also make a video call in a similar way. The call and speaker quality is good.

The Messaging feature is similar to the phones but it has 2 panes for selecting and viewing the messages. It has a conversation view. It also supports MMS, Push messages and message tone option. The contacts are similar to the phone. You can also sync Google contacts via Google account.


The Android browser is pretty fast and supports flash. It has incongnito, bookmarks, page sharing, page save option for offline reading, form auto-fill option, locations, javascript, flash and labs feature that lets you enable quick controls and Google Instant search. You can also print the page using supported Samsung printers. You can also download Google Chrome browser.

Video and Music Player


The video player plays 3GP, ASF, AVI, MP4, WMV, FLV, MKV 1080p Full HD files. You can change the ratio of the video screen and there are different equalizers such as voice, Movie and 5.1 channel. You can also share the video to other DLNA capable devices. It automatically bookmarks the place if you shop watching the video in the middle.


The Music Players plays AAC, AAC+, AMR and MP3 files. There are different panes, the first one shows the categories, the next one shows the Album songs or songs in the playlist and the third shows the currently playing songs. There is an equalizer in the settings, but you need to plugin the earphones for that. You can also adjust playback speed (0.5x, 1.0x, 1.5x and 2.0x) and view Lyrics if it’s available.

Connectivity


The Connectivity features include, 3G HSPA+ 21Mbps / HSUPA 5.76Mbps, WiFi 802.11b/g/n, WiFi Direct (to transfer data between 2 devices quickly), Bluetooth 3.0 and aGPS. You can also use your 3G as portable hotspot for other devices. There is a data usage monitor to record the mobile data used on monthly basis.

Benchmarks

Here are some benchmarks to show the performance of the tablet.

Quadrant and Smartbench2012

AnTuTu and CFBench

Conclusion

Even though the 7-inch display is not an impressive one this tablet is good for its price and is packed with features such as 3G, voice and video calling. The 4000 mAh battery lasts for a day with few hours of music, some videos and quite a bit of browsing and lasts less than a day if you are connected to 3G all day long. Sadly there is no micro USB support, and you have to rely on the 30-pin connector which doesn’t support charging over USB, so you AC adapter is must wherever you go. Overall, this tablet is good and portable under 20k, till Apple comes up with an iPad Mini with 4G support.

Pros

  • SIM card slot with voice and video calling and 3G HSPA+ support
  • microSD card slot
  • 1080p Full HD Multi-format video playback
  • Runs on ICS

Cons

  • 30-pin connector port
  • No USB charging
  • Below par camera performance
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Srivatsan Sridhar is a Mobile Technology Enthusiast who is passionate about Mobile phones and Mobile apps. He is currently using the Motorola Moto G. You can follow him on Twitter @ssrivatsan and on Google+