Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 – A Non-Technical Review

Most of the reviews I looked up when trying to get more info on this device were heavily technical in nature.  Great for comparisons, but a lot of the terms and numbers went over my head.  I’ve since purchased the device (and I’m writing this post with it, in part!), so I thought I’d give a more practical hands-on review.

Display

The display on this thing is absolutely amazing. It is what’s called “Super AMOLED”. I’m not really sure what that means, other than that it’s optimized to not light up the screen when black pixels are present. And it’s a super version of that.

Last night, I watched the highlights of the Ottawa Senators win over the Columbus Blue Jackets, and the display quality was noticeably better than what I’d get on my TV.  The tablet also has a 4:3 aspect ratio, which means that when I watch Star Trek: The Next Generation in HD, it plays in full screen.  It’s amazing.

Physical Input

I didn’t know how to label this section – but this is the best I came up with.  The device inputs are your standard touch screen inputs – your fingers.  But I also bought a Logitech Type-S keyboard case to go with it, which is how I was typing with earlier in this post.

But it doesn’t stop there.

I was playing Blades of Steel using a Logitech USB Gamepad.
I was playing Blades of Steel using a Logitech USB Gamepad.

As you can see in the above photo, I was able to hook up a Logitech Gamepad I bought years ago for my laptop and play NES games with it.  Specifically I was playing Blades of Steel.  I’m hoping that some of the other games I have will support it (such as Knights of the Old Republic).

But that’s not all, either.  I then hooked up a USB mouse/keyboard combo and was pleasantly surprised to see that those worked as well.  There’s even a mouse cursor / pointer when you attach a USB mouse to the tablet.  Essentially, this is going to act as a pretty decent laptop replacement.

Unfortunately, my USB mic did not work when I connected it to the tablet.  I have to figure that one out still – but I have some ideas for that.  One thought is that my USB mic is technically a Rock Band mic, so that could be a mitigating factor right there.

Software

Nothing out of the ordinary here; out of the box it was running Android 5 (Lollipop) but immediately after I set it up, there were software updates to bring it up to Android 6 (Marshmallow).  So, it’s functionally the same as my S7 edge in terms of the operating system – and both devices should be getting an update to Nougat (Android 7) “soon”.

What I was happy about was that it wasn’t over-loaded with software bloat; my previous tablet, the Galaxy Tab 4, came with a bunch of stuff I never used and just took up precious space.  I haven’t fully explored everything, but from what I can see there wasn’t too much extra.

A welcome pre-installation was Microsoft Office Mobile.  Waiting for me to sign into my Microsoft account were OneDrive, Word, Excel, and other mobile Office suite apps.  I’ve used them before, but when used on the Tab S2’s 9.7 inch screen they actually look and feel closer to their desktop counterparts.

Also pre-installed is Samsung’s SideSync, which allows you to remotely control your phone and transfer files.  It’s a pretty nifty feature to have, though I have yet to make full use of it.  It’s definitely fun to play with!

Overall impressions

Overall, from just one weekend with the device, I’d give it an 8.5/10.  I love the size of it, and having the extra input options just put it over the top.  It loses points based on the fact that you kind of need these additional input options to get good solid use out of it.  I feel like it should be able to stand on its own – which it mostly does, but not completely.

The Tab S3 is coming out in 2017 so now is the perfect time to jump on the S2 bandwagon.  It’s amazingly fast, display quality is top notch, and gives you everything you can do with Android, plus a few extras that only Samsung can give you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The NHL – 2016 Mirror Universe

I recently found a free hockey simulator called “Hockey GM“, which is an off-shoot of Baseball GM, which itself is an offshoot of Basketball GM.  It’s a fun text-based simulator where you run a team, and control everything from ticket prices to player movement.  I uploaded a fan-created NHL database to Hockey GM, and ran the Ottawa Senators for the first season.  Here’s what unfolded in this mirror universe!


The season started on a sour note for the Ottawa Senators, playing to a 2-5-3 record after 10 games.  In those games, the Sens allowed 36 goals while scoring only 18.  The worst loss in that stretch was a 7-0 thumping at the hands of Colorado Avalanche.

After 35 games, the Senators sat with a record of 10-18-7, good for 27 points and last in the NHL overall.  That 35-game stretch included a 10-game winless streak, which started with the 7-0 loss in Colorado, that wasn’t snapped until a close 2-1 victory against the Florida Panthers.  Craig Anderson made a solid 21 saves to earn the victory, while Ryan Dzingel and Zack Smith picked up the goals for Ottawa.

While Ottawa hoped the victory would be a turning point in the season, they continued their poor play going into the half-way mark of the season to sit with a record of 13-19-9.  Still last in the Atlantic Division, but at least 3 points up on top of the New York Rangers for second last in the Eastern Conference.

In the end, the Sens finished with a record of 34-35-13, good for 7th in the Atlantic Division / 11th in the Eastern Conference.  They did NOT make the playoffs, though they did hold the 8th spot for a few games as they climbed their way back to respectability.

Unfortunately for the Senators, Craig Anderson decided to retire so the priority for 2017 is to find a new number one goaltender.

Team Leaders:
– Points – Erik Karlsson – 66 (37G-29A)
– Goals – Erik Karlsson – 37 (Finished 10th in scoring)
– Assists – Mark Stone – 40 (25G-40A-65P)

Some individual game stats of note:
– Mark Stone scored 4 goals and Derek Brassard had 3 assists in a 6-3 win over the Minnesota Wild
– Erik Karlsson scored 3 goals in a 4-3 OT win over the Nashville Predators
– Mike Hoffman and Erik Karlsson each had 3 assists in a 6-5 OT loss to the Montreal Canadiens
– Erik Karlsson scored 3 goals in a 6-5 win over the Minnesota Wild

Awards:
Stanley Cup Champions: Dallas Stars
Playoffs MVP: Tyler Seguin (DAL) (10G-12A)
Best Record – East – Pittsburgh Penguins (60-18-4)
Best Record – West – Chicago Blackhawks (53-24-5)
Regular Season MVP: Ryan Getzlaf (ANA) (65G-39A)
Defensive Player of the year: Erik Karlsson (OTT) (279 Hits, 337 Blocks)
Goalie of the year: Braden Holtby (WAS)
Rookie of the Year: Connor McDavid (EDM) (43G-32A)

Notable Retirements (* Demptes players named to Hall of Fame)
Jaromir Jagr*
Joe Thornton*
Roberto Luongo*
Vernon Fiddler*
Chris Neil
Henrik Sedin
Craig Anderson