Since this isn't a carrier-branded device, the bloatware load on the Tab 2 is relatively light. Samsung preloads its standard handful of apps, like Media Hub (for buying movies and music) and AllShare Play (a useful DLNA app for sharing files with other devices). There's also S Suggest, which recommends apps you might like based on... something. Then there are the standard third-party apps, like Amazon Kindle and Netflix. A couple of preloaded apps are a little more interesting, though.
I'm thrilled that Samsung decided its tablets make perfect remote controls, because it's absolutely correct — you probably already have it on your lap, plus it has a big screen, internet connectivity, and all manner of cool apps. Peel uses the Tab 2's IR blaster to control your entire home theater stack; there's a simple setup wizard that gets everything connected. Peel's also a clever TV Guide app, sorting the guide by what you want to watch — tell it you want to watch How I Met Your Mother, and it finds it for you, and switches to it no matter what channel it's on. I love Peel especially for sports – figuring out which channel the game is on is a constant pain — but it's a great app in general, and is really well implemented on the Tab 2.
Next Issue is the "Hulu for Magazines" we've been hearing about forever, and it comes preloaded on the Tab 2. You pay $9.99 / month for unlimited access to the service's monthly magazines, or $14.99 for weekly and monthly issues, and though the selection is small it's a pretty great deal for a heavy reader. The app is still brand new, and it's a little clunky and crash-prone at the moment, but it's a clever idea and magazines look great on the Tab 2's big screen. I was reading the latest issue of Esquire — so many grooming tips! — in only about five minutes, and the app automatically downloads new issues as they become available.
Unfortunately, the list of great and useful tablet apps is otherwise still too small, especially compared to the huge ecosystem of 9.7-inch apps designed and optimized for the iPad. Android has a handful of good apps — games in particular — but you're still going to be dealing primarily with upscaled phone apps that don't look very good on a 10-inch screen.
The 7-inch Tab 2 has a pretty terrible camera, even for a tablet, so my expectations weren't high for the 10-inch model either. Sadly, I was right. The Tab 2's rear-facing 3-megapixel camera doesn't even take very good pictures in great lighting — every picture is just a little bit too dark and too saturated, and photos are soft enough that it's hard to tell what's actually in focus. For bright shots of distant landscapes, it's not bad, but it falls pretty flat on any shot more complex. There's also no autofocus to speak of, which means anything close to your camera is near-impossible to get in focus. The VGA-resolution (read: less than one megapixel) front-facing camera is bad, but fine for video chat and checking your teeth. The Tab 2 also shoots 720p video, which isn't really a badge of honor — at least 720p is just expected at this point. Footage looks the same as still photos: everything's soft and over-saturated, but it'll work in a pinch.