If you're looking for a tablet that's smaller, lighter and more portable than the iPad, you're in for some good news. The 7-inch tablet category is going to explode this year, and we've already seen some excellent devices such as the Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7, Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9, Motorola Xoom 2 Media Edition, and even rumours of an iPad Mini. Now it's time to see the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0.
Samsung has been one of the leaders of the Android tablet pack since its successful Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, and the whole range is now being refreshed with the Tab 2 moniker. But despite its success, Galaxy Tab sales haven't made an impression on the iPad.
So Samsung tries again, with a cut price, (available from £199 in the UK and $249 in the US for the 8GB Wi-Fi version) 7-inch Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich tablet, which it hopes will differentiate its product from the new iPad, and encourage a new onslaught of sales.
It's been a long time coming, and we first got our hands on the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 back at the Samsung Worldwide Conference in February, where it was hurriedly unveiled to the tech media.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 is now in stores and the 8GB version can be picked up from £199, while the 16GB model is availabe from £250.
Despite creating an extremely strong mobile brand in Galaxy, Samsung hasn't yet unified the look, feel and design of its smartphone and tablet range.
On the front the curved edges are a homage to its predecessor, and the Samsung logo shines from the bottom, which not only makes it unmistakably Galaxy, but points to the user that the designers would like you to use this in portrait orientation. This is in contrast to the Samsung Galaxy 10.1, which is geared towards landscape use.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7-inch is silver and pleasing looking from the back, which is one design trait that it shares with its Tab brothers. There are just three buttons to the top-right for wake/sleep/power, and volume up and down.
It weighs 344g and measures 193.7×122.4×10.5mm, and feels lightweight in the hand. In perspective this is little more than half the weight of the new iPad, but only fractionally lighter than the Motorola Xoom 2 Media Edition, which manages to pack in an extra inch of screen real estate.
The smaller size makes it easy to read one handed, which is great for commuters and, we're assured, mothers who want to read while holding a small child.
Inside the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 is a TI OMAP 4430 dual-core processor, clocked at a rather pedestrian 1GHz. We're used to seeing beefier processors now, and many manufacturers are looking to the quad-core Nvidia Tegra 3.
That said, there should be enough speed to power the smaller 7-inch tablet through most tasks.
Backing up the processor is a healthy 1GB of RAM, so there's no scrimping there, and there's an interesting lineup of storage sizes.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 is available in 8GB, 16GB and 32GB sizes, making it a truly budget option. You can add to the built-in storage by adding a microSD card up to 64GB in size, so the low cost 8GB version won't cripple media lovers. There's a 3G option as well, with pricing and availability TBC.
The 7-inch screen is a 1024 x 600 TFT affair, which shuns any AMOLED love that once threatened the Galaxy Tab lineup. The panel itself is lacklustre, lifeless and dull, which won't impress movie lovers one bit.
Our go-to movie, should you be interested, is the Full HD version of Kanye West's Runaway, and the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 even managed to mask the cornucopia of colours and turn blacks to grey.
Temple Run was our next port of call, and having played this more recently on the new iPad and Asus Transformer Pad 300, we were disappointed in the representation of the beautiful golden world. We turned screen brightness up to maximum, but this just drained our battery faster, without providing a feast for our eyes.
That said, the smaller screen size didn't ruin the gaming experience. We were soon posting some of our highest scores on Temple Run, and we were even tempted to have a go on the commute.
Pulling out a large 10-inch iPad is a bit conspicuous, but the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 felt at home among the Kindles and smartphones, and we were able to enjoy apps, books, games and TV shows without feeling like a fool.
Disappointingly, we found the touchscreen experience to be a little sub-par. The sensitivity of the display was lower than we expected, and we found it hard to register presses on small parts of the browser, such as links, and the close tab button.
While watching embedded video, skipping and scrubbing through the movie was a challenge, due to the lack of response.
There are two cameras on the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0, a rear one for photography and a front-facing lens for video chatting with friends. Let's just say that photography isn't the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2's strong point, with only 3MP on the back, and VGA quality for the front.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 can shoot 720p video at 30fps, which means you can take a quick video on holiday or while you're out and about, and it can be edited on the supplied app.