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  1. Thread Author  Thread Author    #1  

    Default My Journey: Galaxy Tab 2 7.0

    I've been getting an itch to pick up a 7 inch Android tablet, primarily for gaming.

    I have a 32 GB Samsung Galaxy S3 (SGSIII) and it plays games just fine. Unfortunately, the games I really want to play will suck the battery dry in about 2-3 hours. Also, even though the screen has excellent resolution, it seems to be a bit small for certain controls.

    I also have a 32 GB HP TouchPad, which I have set up to dual boot webOS and CM9. The problem with that is the Google Play Store doesn't recognize it as a legitimate device, so I can't install most of my apps on it. I've installed many games from the Amazon Appstore because it doesn't seem to mind what device I'm installing on. But then I found that the device is too big and heavy to comfortably game on.

    This is how I came to believe that a 7 inch tablet would probably be the sweet spot for Android gaming.

    I would really like to try the Google Nexus 7, but the lack of an SD card seemed to be too limiting. And while the price is decent, I'm always one to look for a deal. So I started looking around Amazon. Why just Amazon? Well, when I ordered Windows 8 I was later given a $30 credit. I also have an Amazon credit card with over $55 worth of rewards points on it. The trick to using them together is that the item(s) have to be sold directly by Amazon.

    Of course, Amazon doesn't carry the N7 by themselves. And the merchants that do sell them on Amazon are overcharging for them. I instead started looking for other decent 7 inch Android tablets. Amazon was offering the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 (SGT2) for $179. Using my points and credit, I was able to get it for like $93.

    Now I have it in hand and my journey begins...

    First Impressions:

    1. TouchWiz sucks just as bad on the SGT2 as it does on the SGSIII -- I immediately loaded Nova Prime from the Play Store, just like I did on my SGSIII. Big improvement.

    2. The screen is DIM. 15% brightness indoors on my SGSIII is just fine. On the SGT2 I have to crank it up to about 50% to get similar brightness. Yeah, it's probably due to the difference between SAMOLED and LCD, but it is still worth noting.

    3. The Quick Launch bar (or whatever it's called) is basically useless. I'm not going to use its programs, especially when I can put what I want on the home screen and save myself at least one touch.

    4. I have not yet filled the tab's internal memory, but I will soon. Samsung should be ashamed of itself for claiming this is an 8 GB tablet when less than 5 GB are actually available to the user.

    At this point I will keep the SGT2. I will also wait for it to be updated to Jelly Bean before I root it. But I will DEFINITELY root it and I will do so to remove a bunch of crap and also to employ the script that swaps the microSD card for main memory. I will probably remain on a rooted, de-bloated stock ROM long enough to determine if I'm satisfied enough. If not, I will employ either CM10 or an AOSP/AOKP JB build. I just want the tablet to be identified to the Play Store as an SGT2 so that I can still download apps without having to resort to the Amazon Appstore. The reason I'm trying to "avoid" the Amazon Appstore is because it takes so long for them to received updated versions of the apps they sell. I mean, does it really need to take a few extra weeks to update the AMAZON app in their very own Appstore, as compared to the Play Store? Come on, that's just ridiculous.

    I'll keep coming back to update my progress with the tablet. Thanks for reading.
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  2. #2  

    Default Re: My Journey: Galaxy Tab 2 7.0

    I agree 100% with you on point #4. If I'm only going to get half of the advertised 8gb, I'd like to at least be able to put apps on the SD card.
  3. #3  
    Lefty Drummer's Avatar

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    Default Re: My Journey: Galaxy Tab 2 7.0

    Quote Originally Posted by liteon163 View Post
    I've been getting an itch to pick up a 7 inch Android tablet, primarily for gaming.

    I have a 32 GB Samsung Galaxy S3 (SGSIII) and it plays games just fine. Unfortunately, the games I really want to play will suck the battery dry in about 2-3 hours. Also, even though the screen has excellent resolution, it seems to be a bit small for certain controls.

    I also have a 32 GB HP TouchPad, which I have set up to dual boot webOS and CM9. The problem with that is the Google Play Store doesn't recognize it as a legitimate device, so I can't install most of my apps on it. I've installed many games from the Amazon Appstore because it doesn't seem to mind what device I'm installing on. But then I found that the device is too big and heavy to comfortably game on.

    This is how I came to believe that a 7 inch tablet would probably be the sweet spot for Android gaming.

    I would really like to try the Google Nexus 7, but the lack of an SD card seemed to be too limiting. And while the price is decent, I'm always one to look for a deal. So I started looking around Amazon. Why just Amazon? Well, when I ordered Windows 8 I was later given a $30 credit. I also have an Amazon credit card with over $55 worth of rewards points on it. The trick to using them together is that the item(s) have to be sold directly by Amazon.

    Of course, Amazon doesn't carry the N7 by themselves. And the merchants that do sell them on Amazon are overcharging for them. I instead started looking for other decent 7 inch Android tablets. Amazon was offering the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 (SGT2) for $179. Using my points and credit, I was able to get it for like $93.

    Now I have it in hand and my journey begins...

    First Impressions:

    1. TouchWiz sucks just as bad on the SGT2 as it does on the SGSIII -- I immediately loaded Nova Prime from the Play Store, just like I did on my SGSIII. Big improvement.

    2. The screen is DIM. 15% brightness indoors on my SGSIII is just fine. On the SGT2 I have to crank it up to about 50% to get similar brightness. Yeah, it's probably due to the difference between SAMOLED and LCD, but it is still worth noting.

    3. The Quick Launch bar (or whatever it's called) is basically useless. I'm not going to use its programs, especially when I can put what I want on the home screen and save myself at least one touch.

    4. I have not yet filled the tab's internal memory, but I will soon. Samsung should be ashamed of itself for claiming this is an 8 GB tablet when less than 5 GB are actually available to the user.

    At this point I will keep the SGT2. I will also wait for it to be updated to Jelly Bean before I root it. But I will DEFINITELY root it and I will do so to remove a bunch of crap and also to employ the script that swaps the microSD card for main memory. I will probably remain on a rooted, de-bloated stock ROM long enough to determine if I'm satisfied enough. If not, I will employ either CM10 or an AOSP/AOKP JB build. I just want the tablet to be identified to the Play Store as an SGT2 so that I can still download apps without having to resort to the Amazon Appstore. The reason I'm trying to "avoid" the Amazon Appstore is because it takes so long for them to received updated versions of the apps they sell. I mean, does it really need to take a few extra weeks to update the AMAZON app in their very own Appstore, as compared to the Play Store? Come on, that's just ridiculous.

    I'll keep coming back to update my progress with the tablet. Thanks for reading.
    Thanks for the review. My wife and I have already purchased SGT2s for each other for Christmas on sale from Costco (I pushed for gifting early but she won't budge!), I'm already planning on rooting as well. If you have anything to add in the meantime please do.

    Thanks!

    Sent from my DROID BIONIC using Android Central Forums
  4. Thread Author  Thread Author    #4  

    Default Re: My Journey: Galaxy Tab 2 7.0

    I watched on Netflix an episode of Arrested Development. The GT2 handled it just fine. Video quality was excellent and there were only a few times where the sound lost synchronicity for a split second (most "normal" people wouldn't have noticed the sound issue). Battery usage seemed reasonable, considering the screen was at 50%.

    I'll try Hulu Plus tomorrow, but I suspect similar results.

    Either way, I think if I want to watch TV shows or a movie on a small screen I'd pick the GT2 over my SGSIII.

    I'll start playing more games on it as well so I can report on that aspect of GT2 performance.

    Sent from my Blue 32 Verizon SGSIII using Tapatalk 2
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  5. Thread Author  Thread Author    #5  

    Default Re: My Journey: Galaxy Tab 2 7.0

    The 7 inch form factor is really growing on me... Oftentimes my HP TouchPad is too heavy to hold while gaming for awhile or watching a movie or TV episode. My SGSIII is usually too small for viewing, and decent for gaming. The GT2 is an excellent compromise (Hulu is fine, by the way).

    The screen resolution is adequate, but psychologically I want it to be higher than my phone. But it's all in my head, as I hold the GT2 far enough from my face to obscure any noticeable difference.

    I'm really liking Peel, the IR blaster app. I have it set up to control my TV, Blu-ray player, DVD player (which I use only for SACDs and DIVX/xvid discs), and A/V receiver. It's nice having the GT2 tell me what's on TV and then changing the channel to the show I choose.

    One bit of weirdness, though, is that many tablet apps in the Play Store don't see the GT2 as a "real" tablet. And some phone apps won't install, either. Case in point: USA Today. I can't get either the phone or tablet apps to install. I guess I'll have to resort to the Amazon Appstore...

    I am doing a decent job of keeping the GT2 clear of unnecessary apps. I have to remind myself that the SGSIII and the GT2 fulfill differing purposes; I don't need them to be set up identically. Keeping that in mind, I've been able to keep 3 GB free, even with most of my games installed.

    Speaking of games, Angry Birds plays pretty good. The levels render well, but the background wallpapers can be a bit pixilated. The core game play is fine, though.

    That's what I've tried so far. I'll keep digging and report back. Anyone have specific questions?

    Sent from my Blue 32 Verizon SGSIII using Tapatalk 2
    Last edited by liteon163; 12-31-2012 at 10:57 AM.
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  6. Thread Author  Thread Author    #6  

    Default Re: My Journey: Galaxy Tab 2 7.0

    Friday night I got the Jelly Bean update. I've played with the tablet a few times since then and have noticed a few UI changes. The software buttons are now centered along the bottom, although I'm not sure if this is a Samsung thing or a Nova Prime thing. Either way, it makes the GT2 seem more phone-like. It also seems as if the notification bar is more phone-like as well.

    In terms of actual usability, the GT2 doesn't seem to be significantly different.

    I haven't started using Google Now yet. And I probably won't, since I only use the GT2 at home and have very little use for its invasion of my privacy. But I'm open to user opinions.

    I've been fairly impressed with how aggressive Samsung is with TouchWiz's memory management and such; it seems like more applications get killed in the background than on my Galaxy S3. That's probably due to less memory being available in the GT2.

    Still, I'd like to try a custom AOKP ROM or CM10. But I also want to have continued access to the IR blaster. Anyone know of a ROM like that?

    I continue using the GT2 more and more as I get used to it, to the point I typically get 48 hours of battery life from my GSIII. So, I'm glad I got rid of my HP TouchPad and picked up the GT2.

    How are other users doing?

    Sent from my Blue 32 SGSIII on Verizon

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