Samsung's Galaxy Tab 2: Five things to know

And reasons why Kindle Fire could be a better option

Samsung's sequel to the Galaxy Tab will make its public debut next month and you may be wondering what separates it from all the other Android tablets on the market.

We've gone through all the specifications and features to discern both what the new Galaxy Tab model offers users as well as what it lacks compared to the competition. Here are five things you should know about Samsung's Galaxy Tab 2:

First: It runs on Android 4.0 ("Ice Cream Sandwich"). This is important because Ice Cream Sandwich is the first edition of Google's open-source Android mobile platform that has been optimized for both tablets and smartphones. Google developed the platform to unite Android on both form factors and thus give application developers assurance that they can develop applications for Android that will perform consistently over different types of devices.

RELATED: Google Chrome headed for Ice Cream Sandwich Android devices

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In addition, the operating system came with several new features including a lock screen that can unlock using facial recognition software; Android Beam, technology that lets users send contact information, directions, Web pages and more via NFC by tapping their phones together; and integration with the Google+ social network that lets users host online video chats among their circles of friends.

Second: It will give users the ability to surf the Web with Google Chrome. Last week Google announced that it was slowly rolling out its mobile version of its popular Chrome browser to tablets and smartphones running on Ice Cream Sandwich. Since the Galaxy Tab 2 does indeed run on Ice Cream Sandwich you'll thus be able to browse the Web on Chrome instead of on Google's standard Android default browser.

With the release of Chrome for Android, Google is promising users that they'll soon be able to experience the same quality of browsing on their smartphones and tablets that they experience on their desktop computers. If your Android device is signed into your Google account, your Android Chrome browser will automatically open up with the tabs that you have open on your desktop. The mobile version of Chrome will also sync up bookmarks on your current browser and give autocomplete suggestions based on frequently visited websites.

Third: It does not - repeat, not - have LTE connectivity. This is pretty puzzling since Samsung's original Galaxy Tab model released last year did actually have the ability to connect with Verizon's 4G LTE network. Instead, users will have to make due with Wi-Fi connectivity and 3G HSPA+ connectivity that allows for maximum download speeds of 21Mbps. Don't be surprised to see an LTE-capable version of the tablet released sometime later this year, however, since both Verizon and AT&T have launched their LTE networks in major markets throughout the United States.

Fourth: Its specs are solid but not remarkable. The Galaxy Tab 2 has all the key technical specifications you want out of a tablet right now, although it doesn't break any new ground. Its display screen (7 inches with a resolution of 1024x600 pixels) matches that of the Amazon Kindle Fire, as does its 1GHz dual-core processor. It is slightly lighter than the Kindle Fire's 14.6-ounce frame as it weighs in at just 12.1 ounces, and it does have a 3-megapixel camera that the Kindle Fire is lacking entirely, but otherwise it doesn't do anything to really separate itself from the pack in terms of overall specs.

Fifth: It is cheaper than the iPad. Buying a Galaxy Tab 2 will set you back $US350, which is more than the Kindle Fire's $US200 price tag but less than the $US500 you'll pay for the cheapest version of Apple's iPad 2. The bottom line is that if you're looking for a cheap-and-serviceable Android tablet, you might be better off going with the Kindle Fire for now until Samsung adds something of major value to the equation such as LTE connectivity.

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