Samsung is jumping into the budget tablet market with a 7-inch device that looks nearly identical to the company’s Galaxy Tab Plus, but costs $200 less. This week, I crack open the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 Android tablet.

The Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 has a 1GHz dual-core Texas Instruments OMAP 4430 processor, 1GB of RAM, 8GB of storage, a 7″ Plane to Line Switching (PLS) display (1,024 x 600 resolution), 802.11b/g/n and Bluetooth, a 3-megapixel rear-facing camera, and a VGA front-facing camera. It measures measures 7.6″ (H) x 4.8″ (W) x 0.41″ (D) and weighs 12.1 ounces.

Full teardown gallery: Cracking Open the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0

Cracking Open observations

  • Easy-open case: Samsung didn’t use any hidden or tamper-resistant case screws on the Tab 2 7.0. To open the device, you just pop off the back cover.
  • Super-clean hardware layout: Like the Galaxy Tab 8.9 and 10.1, the Tab 2 7.0 has a clean internal hardware layout. There’s a single circuit board, each component is attached to the main PCB with a snap-on connector, and with the exception of the display, nothing is held in place with adhesive.
  • Replaceable battery: The Tab 2 7.0’s 4,000 mAh battery is held in place with screws and attached to the motherboard with a snap-on connector. Once you’ve removed the back cover, replacing the battery is a snap.
  • Same processor as the Kindle Fire: As for the tablet’s engine, Samsung used a Texas Instruments 1GHz dual-core 4430 OMAP processor, which is mounted under the unit’s 1GB RAM chip. This is the same processor Amazon used in the Kindle Fire, but a step down from the Galaxy Tab Plus’ 1.2GHz Exynos 4210 processor.

Bottom Line

How does the Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 stack up against the other 7-inch tablets, like the Galaxy Tab Plus and Kindle Fire? As Erik Franklin pointed out in his CNET review, this tablet “offers an excellent value and a full Android 4.0 experience that no other tablet can currently match for the price.”

At $249, the Tab 2 7.0 is $50 more than the Kindle Fire, but the Samsung device has two cameras, you can expand the device’s memory to 32GB using a microSD card, and it functions as a TV remote. On the other hand, the Fire puts the power of Amazon’s online store in the palm of your hand.

Comparing the tablet to other 7-inch devices is a bit trickier. Does it have the processing power of the Galaxy Tab Plus ($349 for 16GB and $449 for 32GB)? No. But the user experience is still good and you get a lot of bang for your buck.

Internal hardware

Our Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 test unit had the following hardware:

  • 1GHz dual-core Texas Instruments OMAP 4430 processor
  • Samsung K3PE7E700M-XGC1 2x 4Gb LP DDR2 DRAM (1GB)
  • 8GB Samsung KLM8G2FE3B-B001 eMMC memory
  • 7″ Plane to Line Switching (PLS) display (1,024 x 600)
  • 3MP rear-facing camera
  • VGA front-facing camera
  • 3.7V, 4,000 mAh Li-Ion battery (SP4960C3B)
  • Unknown i7514HS H201H0Y
  • Unknown 34LM85AM 1205
  • Melfas 8QL373 1208 (perhaps a touch sensor controller)
  • Texas Instruments TWL 6032 Fully Integrated Power Management With Power Path and Battery Charger (23A9ETI TWL6032 A1BB)
  • Maxim 8893C power-management IC (+MAX 8893C EWV 9 203 TGC)
  • Wolfson WM1811 Stereo CODEC (WM1811AE 22AGKGW)
  • Broadcom BCM4330 802.11a/b/g/n MAC/Baseband/Radio with Integrated Bluetooth 4.0+HS & FM Transceiver (BCM4330SB2KUBG)