Samsung is one of the few manufactures able to challenge Apple at the top of the tablet market. However this big screen Android effort doesn’t quite hit the heights of its predecessor. The Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 is Samsung’s direct follow up to the original Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, and the bigger brother to the Galaxy Tab 2 7.0.

You’d be right to think the Tab 2 would build on the specs of its 10.1-inch brother, but you’ll still find a dual-core CPU, a 3.15-megapxiel rear camera and a 7.000mAh battery under the hood.

The Tab 2 is a slightly more budget-friendly slate, and Samsung has saved itself money with the uninspiring grey plastic case, VGA-quality front facing camera and added weight – which defiantly makes the tablet feel cheaper in the hand and less pleasing on the eye.

The dual-core Cortex A9 chip runs Android Ice Cream Sandwich without too much fuss, although the Tab 210.1 lacks the fluidity of similarly priced Android slates boasting more impressive processors. We found widgets could take a few seconds to load and the lock screen wasn’t always overly responsive when it came to unlocking the tablet. Applications opened within a couple of seconds on most occasions, however. Samsung hasn’t tinkered with the Android OS too much, leaving you with a relatively pure and easy to learn user experience, just like Google intended.

Unfortunately there’s no 3G version of the Tab 2 10.1, which means on-the-go browsing is out of the question, unless you can find a Wi-Fi hotspot to hook yourself up to.

Web surfing is not too bad, as long as you’ve got a strong Wi-Fi connection, and the Tab 2 10.1 is able to load up desktop and mobile sites with relative ease. However, the 1GHz processor is left wanting on some of the more media heavy sites.

Game on

With that 10.1-inch display the Tab 2 is built to deliver games and movies, and it does a good job when it comes to streaming HI) video and watching full length films, with colours bright and clear. While the speakers either side of the screen may not look the part, they provide a much better audio experience to the ones found on the rear of tablets.

We were able to play graphically demanding games without issue, and while they may have taken an extra second or so to load, game play was smooth and slick, making the Tab 2 10.1 a serious portable gaming contender. Batten’ life is always a concern with large screened tablets, but Samsung has managed to make this device last most of the day, with our HD video streaming playback test notching up over six hours of viewing.

It may lack the prestige of previous Samsung Tab efforts but the Tab 210.1 is a commendable tablet, offering little outside the normal boundaries of an Android slate, but enough to provide a decent experience.

There are better tablets out there for the money, but if you’re looking for a straightforward tablet experience from a brand you can trust then the Tab 2 10.1 is certainly worth considering.

KEY FEATURES of Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1

  • OS Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich)
  • Processor T1OMAP 4430 1GHz
  • Storage 16G8
  • Camera 3.15MP
  • Screen size 10.1 inch
  • Screen resolution 1,280×800
  • Weight 588g