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My First Hour with the Samsung Galaxy Tab S2

Check out my first impressions of the Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 after I bring it home to replace my aging tablet.

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My First Hour with My Samsung Galaxy Tab S2

For months now I have been trying to decide what tablet I should buy, and I finally made up my mind.  I went out and picked up the 32GB Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 9.7-inch the other day.  So, I thought it would be fun to document my first hour with the tablet so I can give you all a little bit of an insight into the tablet, how it works, and how well it is made.  The following are a collection of my thoughts about the tablet and what I believe many of you will be looking for when you are doing a little tablet shopping of your own.

My First Impressions

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When they handed me the box I was surprised out how small it was, even for the 9.7-inch version like I bought.  Still, it was well packaged although everything was tight inside.  Everything was wrapped well and the tablet was beautiful when I first opened it.

One of the first things I noticed about the tablet when I pulled it out was how light it really was.  I don’t think I have felt a tablet this size that felt so light in my hand.  Of course, once I add a case, some of that will go away, but that’s not Samsung’s fault.  They did a great job on the overall design of the tablet and it feels great when holding it with just one hand.

The iPad Retina display gets quite a bit of attention these days, and they are great.  But they don’t have anything on Samsung tablets.  The screens on the Galaxy Tab S2 are bright and beautiful with a very high resolution that makes everything look clean and clear.  I basically love looking at this display.  In a market where screens can vary widely, this is the one to get if you really want a beautiful picture on your display.

Initial Setup

When I turned it on, I was taken to a custom setup created by Samsung that differs from the standard Android affair, but it was easy to use and a relatively quick process.  Once complete, I was taken to my home screen.  The process probably took me about 15 minutes total if even that.  I admit I was taking my time through the process as I wanted to thoroughly enjoy all aspects of the process.

Security

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 comes equipped with all the latest security features that you would expect in a premium tablet, including a fingerprint reader.  While the fingerprint ready was easy to setup, I can’t say it has been all that easy to use.

In fact, I often find when I unlock it that it can’t read my fingerprint.  Now maybe I need to redo the fingerprint on it and things would be better.  But so far I have had to enter my password far too often.  This is something that Apple has definitely gotten right but Samsung has yet to catch up.  Sure, you have it, but it only works some of the time, making it almost useless in practice.  It’s so bad that I am actually thinking about disabling it altogether.

Apps and Software

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This tablet is built on Android, but uses Samsung’s own custom interface instead of the standard Android experience.  My first impressions of this interface are that it reminds me of an Apple iPad, but with a little more to it.  This interface is pretty to see and very easy to use, but it isn’t for everyone.  Heck, I’m even considering going back to the standard Android interface, even though it means a little extra setup work on my part.

It comes with many apps out of the box, some of which you will like and others you will want to get rid of.  Chrome is there from the beginning but it placed in a folder of Google apps and is not the default browser for the tablet.  Of course, like anything Android, that is easy to change.

You can install apps from both the Google Play Store and the Samsung Store, which is kind of nice, although I did find myself spending most of my time in the Google Play Store.  Still, you can use both and I always love having more than one option.

Every app I chose installed quickly and flawlessly, and I have yet to find an app that didn’t run.  I haven’t tried to sideload any apps just yet, but I imagine that is just a matter of time.  Still, no matter what happens there, most users will find more than enough apps for their needs right out of the box.

Battery Life

If you have done any research on this tablet, you will know that the battery is smaller than previous models.  I have to say, that is shows.  While the tablet came out of the box with 50% battery, I can’t say that it lasted me all that long.

Sure the tablet was under heavier than normal load as I installed all my apps and did all my different setups.  Still, by the end of the night the tablet was ready for a charge.  My guess is that this tablet will last about a day or two with regular use but if you are a heavy user you will want to keep your charger close by.

Final Thoughts

I have to say, my first hour with the Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 has been great.  The screen is beautiful, clear and bright and the tablet moves fast both in apps and while you are switching apps making for a great user experience.  I am a little suspicious of the battery life and the fingerprint reader lacks much to be desired, but for my purposes this tablet was simply a great choice despite strong competition in the 10-inch tablet market.

If you are seeking a tablet with a great screen that is fast and designed to be one of the best tablets running Android, then the Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 is the tablet for you.  While I chose the 9.7-inch, there is also an 8-inch option as well if you are looking for something a little smaller.  Overall, I have to say I’m happy with this purchase and I would make it again in a heartbeat, and I look forward to the next few years of tablet use on this gorgeous tablet.