Samsung is bringing the Galaxy Tab Active 2, previously only available in Europe, to U.S. shores, offering businesses even more choice when it comes to picking a rugged tablet that can survive the rigors of mobile office work on the go.
No, you won’t be able to purchase this tablet as it’s strictly not a consumer device. At the same time, it looks like a consumer-grade tablet because it’s meant to be easy to pick up and use — targeting a younger workforce that knows everything about smartphones and technology.
The Galaxy Tab Active 2 is rugged, combining a MIL-STD-810 certification that means it can withstand drops, extreme temperatures, and excessive pressure, and an IP68-rating against water and dust ingress. This mix makes the Galaxy Tab Active 2 ideal for extreme work conditions, from dusty building sites, to harsh weather, and wet fields. The tablet’s touchscreen has a touch sensitive mode that is designed to work while wet and with gloved fingers; and Samsung also has included physical buttons for ease-of-use, as well as a specially rugged S-Pen housed inside the tablet.
The Tab Active 2 has a choice of biometric scanning technology and Samsung’s Knox security to make sure the tablet’s work secrets stay secure. There’s a fingerprint scanner built in, but also facial-recognition, making it easy to access the device in varying conditions or with full hands.
The internal specs are modest, but 3GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage (with 256GB of optional added storage via MicroSD card) should provide more than enough oomph to keep the tablet running throughout its work life. The 8-inch LCD screen runs a 1280 x 800 resolution on Google’s Android 7.1 Nougat, and that resolution should allow the hefty 4,450mAh battery to keep the tablet running for a good while. That battery is also easily replaceable, as is the case protecting the tablet, allowing for fast replacements should the situation demand. Pogo pins allow for easy charging points and fast data transfer, as well as an optional keyboard for data entry.
An 8-megapixel rear camera and 5-megapixel front-facing camera should be more than sufficient for scanning barcodes and taking pictures of documents. We saw special software on a Tab Active 2 — Scandit — capable of scanning many barcodes at once, and Samsung wants to replace the traditional barcode scanners you see delivery employees using. There’s also other support for a variety of business apps, including fleet management service Omnitracs.
Samsung also said its Knox technology could let employees safely switch off from work mode — say if a delivery driver is on break — so the company isn’t charged for any Netflix binge-watching the employee wants to catch up on during off hours. Again, the company hopes these kind of features will help with retention in these industries.
But what Samsung thinks is key is the amount of third-party support the tablet will have. We saw a mount and keyboard for the tablet, meant to replace workstations; and a docking station that can charge and house many Tab Active 2 devices at the same time.
The tablet comes with an optional LTE model upgrade. The standard Wi-Fi Galaxy Tab Active 2 will cost $420, while the LTE-equipped model will cost $520 and be compatible with Verizon and AT&T. If you’re interested, you’ll have to look for this tablet through your work’s IT channel distribution network.