Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 discussion - Canadian TV, Computing and Home Theatre Forums

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post #1 of 20 (permalink) Old 2017-10-07, 08:47 PM Thread Starter
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Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 discussion

I've been thinking about replacing my BlackBerry PlayBook for a while now, mostly because the lack of updates is crippling apps (like the browsers and YouTube) and limiting the usefulness of the tablet.

The Suggestions for a Travel Tablet thread got me interested in the Tab S2 and the current sale on the 8.0 was just the motivation I needed to pick one up. And, wow, what a nice little unit! It's about the same length and width as the PB, but thinner, lighter and with a larger and more vivid screen. And it's fast and - most importantly - up-to-date! And thanks to the Android phone I've had for the past year or so, using it is familiar and intuitive.

The only thing I find a little bit disappointing is the camera. Not that it's bad, mind you, just that I expected an 8MP camera to produce images quite a bit better than those of my PB's 5MP camera. The S2's photos do have less noise (it seems to be able to automatically adjust ISO) and the wider aperture means brighter pics, but edges and levels of detail don't seem to be much better than in the PB's pics.

I've attached some 100% crops (I think that's the correct term) of pics I took earlier today - the photos are, in order:
- PlayBook, overhead lights off
- Tab S2, overhead lights off
- PlayBook, overhead lights on
- Tab S2, overhead lights on

Am I expecting too much from the S2's camera?
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 01-PB.jpg (290.2 KB, 67 views) File Type: jpg 02-TabS2.jpg (251.9 KB, 69 views) File Type: jpg 03-PB.jpg (253.0 KB, 70 views) File Type: jpg 04-TabS2.jpg (255.0 KB, 69 views)
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post #2 of 20 (permalink) Old 2017-10-07, 10:24 PM
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I wouldn't expect a huge difference between 5MP and 8MP, just an incremental one. With the 8MP camera, there are about 25% more pixels in each direction. There is a perceivable difference in the pictures with the lights on. Going from 5MP to 16MP, about twice the pixels in each direction, would create a significant difference.
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post #3 of 20 (permalink) Old 2017-10-08, 09:21 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the input, ExDilbert. I wouldn't expect a huge difference, either, and (white balance aside) while I do see a difference which I attribute primarily to lower ISO and a wider aperture, I don't see any of the improvements in detail/sharpness (e.g., edges of countertops, edges of newspaper, the word "POWER" on the cover of the magazine that's on top of the newspaper, etc.) that I would associate with an increase in resolution (8MP vs 5MP).

But maybe it's as you indicated and a 3MP difference in resolution isn't significant, in which case I can accept that and enjoy the tablet's otherwise excellent qualities, or look for a well-rated but less-expensive tablet with a 5MP camera. Got some thinking to do on that.

Thanks again!
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post #4 of 20 (permalink) Old 2017-10-08, 11:20 AM
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The main difference in cost is the display. That shows up as brightness, contrast and resolution. Second is the processor. A good processor is faster and uses less energy, extending battery life on standby. Those features are important when using the tablet in high light or away from charging stations. The Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 is excellent in both categories. The S3 is a little better but costs more. Most cheaper tablets have significantly lower quality displays and processors but there might be some bargains out there.

Another important issue is O/S updates. All but the most recent Android versions have significant security issues. Versions a year or two old have updates available but many vendors do not pass them on. Google and Apple tablets are the best for receiving security updates. Samsung and a few other vendors provide updates for about 2 years. Some devices have very dated versions of Android with limited or no updates.
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post #5 of 20 (permalink) Old 2017-10-08, 12:40 PM Thread Starter
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I am impressed with the S2's speed and the screen does look nice. And I like the fact that it runs the latest version of Android. I plan to replace my current smartphone with a Samsung A5 later this Fall, and I also plan to upgrade my older superzoom digital camera with something better, so I think I will try to live with the S2's "comparable to PlayBook" PQ, enjoy all of its superior qualities, and leave the better pics to the other devices I plan to purchase.

Thanks again for all your input. Much appreciated.
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post #6 of 20 (permalink) Old 2017-10-08, 03:02 PM
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I was a little surprised to receive Android 7.0 on the S2 a year after purchase but very happy as well. It means the tablet has more life than expected.

I'm still seeing a few devices for sale with Android 4.4. That was good 2 or 3 years ago but is a real liability these days. Some apps no longer run on 4.4.
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post #7 of 20 (permalink) Old 2017-10-09, 03:15 PM Thread Starter
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I took a few more pics today and while I was disappointed to see how poorly the S2 fares against the PB in "regular" mode, with HDR turned on the S2's PQ improves dramatically!

I've attached some 100% crops - the photos are, in order:
- PlayBook
- Tab S2 with HDR off
- Tab S2 with HDR on

(Note: Blurry spots on the image are raindrops on my patio door.)
Attached Images
File Type: jpg PB-03.jpg (445.8 KB, 47 views) File Type: jpg TabS2-03.jpg (415.8 KB, 48 views) File Type: jpg TabS2-03withHDR.jpg (460.0 KB, 40 views)
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post #8 of 20 (permalink) Old 2017-10-09, 03:44 PM
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I would say the Tab S2 with HDR on does a bit better than the PB. HDR off is worse. There could be some blurring due to movement.
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post #9 of 20 (permalink) Old 2017-10-09, 04:08 PM
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Also, not a great idea to take pictures through glass due to refraction and possible incorrect focus (on glass instead of desired object).

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post #10 of 20 (permalink) Old 2017-10-09, 04:09 PM Thread Starter
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I checked the original photo and as far as I can tell there's no blurring anywhere in it.

(There's no wind blowing today either, and that corner of the yard is pretty sheltered.)
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post #11 of 20 (permalink) Old 2017-10-09, 06:51 PM Thread Starter
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I took a final set of pics just after 6:00pm. HDR improved the S2's PQ, but it still fell behind the PB's PQ. I'll be returning the tablet.

I've attached some 100% crops - the photos are, in order:
- PlayBook
- Tab S2 with HDR off
- Tab S2 with HDR on
Attached Images
File Type: jpg PB.jpg (314.4 KB, 44 views) File Type: jpg TabS2.jpg (287.2 KB, 44 views) File Type: jpg TabS2HDR.jpg (279.6 KB, 43 views)
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post #12 of 20 (permalink) Old 2017-10-10, 12:48 AM
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I still believe that cameras on tablets are just an afterthought. I find it silly when I see people with their iPads in the air snapping away.
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post #13 of 20 (permalink) Old 2017-10-10, 06:20 PM
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I see it more on the latest pictures. The S2 camera seems to lack detail, especially in the stones. That's the problem with point and click. Sometimes it doesn't get the settings right.
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post #14 of 20 (permalink) Old 2017-10-10, 06:37 PM Thread Starter
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IMO and roughly speaking:
PlayBook 5MP camera
Pros
- better sharpness and detail than the S2
Cons
- ISO noise (often heavy)
- shutter lag
- no flash
- everything falls apart once you zoom in

Tab S2 8MP camera
Pros
- less noise and more-accurate white balance
- wider aperture / more brightness
- no shutter lag (although when zoomed in the shutter can become uncooperative)
Cons
- sharpness and detail equal to or worse than PB's camera
- no flash
- everything falls apart once you zoom in
___________________________

The Tab A 10.1 currently on sale at BB is interesting for a number of reasons:
- it runs Marshmallow and, like the S2, has an octa-core processor;
- it has the same camera as the S2 but with a flash;
- it has a larger battery / longer battery life; and
- its sale price is $70 less than the S2 8.0's sale price,

-BUT-
- the screen isn't as impressive (although resolution is respectable at 1920x1200)
- the form factor isn't as quite as appealing; and
- it's almost twice as heavy.

I hate it when things aren't clear-cut.
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post #15 of 20 (permalink) Old 2017-10-12, 07:30 AM Thread Starter
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I picked up a Tab A 10.1 at BB yesterday. It's got solid build quality, it's fast, the camera seems just a little bit better than the one on the S2, the speakers sound better and play louder than the ones on the S2, the screen looks great and the split-screen functionality is really nice.

But it's HEAVY!! In portrait mode, holding it near the bottom (where the controls are), it's noticeably top-heavy; in landscape mode, it's awkward to hold with one hand (it's too heavy to hold it on the left side, and there's not enough bezel at the bottom for a simple grip).

It's a shame about the weight because it's otherwise an excellent value. But it's going back today.
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