Any time that a product sells extremely well and becomes a household name, it’s only a matter of time before rival manufacturers try to compete with it. The Kindle Fire was one of the biggest products of the 2011 holiday season, so it’s only natural that Samsung would bring something to market that rivals it. Today we saw just that, with the announcement of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2.
So how does the new Galaxy Tab stack up against the device that it has its targets set on? Let’s take a look:
If you’ve ever held a Kindle Fire, then you can expect the Galaxy Tab 2 to offer a similar experience. The Tab 2, however, is a bit slimmer, despite being (ever-so-slightly) longer and wider.
Here we see the first big advantage for the Tab 2. It should be noticeably lighter than the Kindle Fire.
The sizes and resolutions of the tablets’ displays are identical. The Galaxy Tab 2 uses Samsung’s new PLS LCD, while the Kindle Fire uses a standard IPS display.
We also have two evenly-matched processors — at least in terms of cores and maximum clock rates. What we don’t yet know is the exact type of chip in the Galaxy Tab 2. The Kindle Fire sports aTexas Instruments OMAP 4.
Though it won’t necessarily translate into a speedier tablet, the Galaxy Tab 2 does double the Fire’s 512MB of RAM, with 1GB.
Samsung will be offering the Tab 2 in three internal flash storage options (priced accordingly, of course). It will also support a microSD card.
The Fire, on the other hand, is much more limited. 8GB of storage with no SD is your only option.
Samsung also offers more options for wireless connectivity. Like storage, though, you’ll have to pay for it. Those who opt for the more expensive 3G/4G version will enjoy HSPA+ 21mbps speeds. It isn’t LTE, but it should suffice for most users.
It’s a little surprising that Samsung opted for a lower capacity battery than Amazon. Battery life in the Fire is solid, but it could have easily been improved upon.
There are many other factors that can determine battery life, though, so perhaps Samsung found the 4,000mAh battery to be sufficient. Future testing will tell us more here.
The cameras in the Galaxy Tab 2 aren’t particularly mind-blowing, but they are cameras nonetheless. That’s more than Amazon can say about the Kindle Fire, which has no cameras.
There are two big miscellaneous factors working for the Galaxy Tab 2. The first is that it will run the Android Market out of the box — no hacking required. Additionally, it will ship with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. This will be seen as an enormous advantage over the Fire, which ships with a heavily-skinned version of Gingerbread, laden with Amazon promotional content.
The Fire’s biggest extra perk, though, may trump all of that: its $200 price. Samsung hasn’t yet announced pricing info for the Galaxy Tab 2, but we’d be utterly shocked if it sold the base model for $200. Amazon can do that because it’s counting on digital and retail sales to subsidize the initial purchase. Samsung has nothing like that to rely upon.
If the 8GB Wi-Fi-only Galaxy Tab 2 runs $300 (a big “if”), then it will provide a compelling alternative to the Fire. The lighter form factor, microSD card slot, cameras, and Ice Cream Sandwich could easily make it worth the extra $100. But if its price creeps up much higher than that, then the purchase will be harder to recommend. Until Samsung slaps a price tag on the Tab 2, we’d suggest you take a “wait and see” attitude towards its attempt to combat the Kindle Fire.