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Review: Samsung's Galaxy Tab Active2 Is The B2B Tablet We've Been Waiting For

The CRN Test Center finds the enterprise-focused Android tablet to offer ruggedness, strong performance and competitive pricing.

In the battle for business customers, Apple and Samsung have taken diverging paths on how they're developing new products.

Apple has been pushing for business users while keeping its products largely consumer-oriented — and in some cases even removing features that business users appreciate, such as the elimination of all ports besides USB-C on the MacBook Pro.

[Related: 5 Things To Know About Samsung's Galaxy Tab Active2]

Samsung, on the other hand, has been developing products that are influenced by both consumer and business interests. Earlier this year, Samsung introduced an Enterprise Edition of the Galaxy S9 that is sold by channel partners. The company then went on to unveil a new rugged tablet that is exclusive to the channel — the Galaxy Tab Active2.

We've been trying out the Android tablet at the CRN Test Center, and the most striking thing is the way that the tablet manages to fulfill a B2B mission while maintaining a consumer-friendly design and user experience.

The 8-inch Android tablet meets military ruggedness standards for drops, pressure and extreme temperatures, and has an IP68 rating for water and dust resistance. The tablet also features a water-resistant S Pen.

The tablet and pen didn't seem to be affected after we doused them in water, and continued working even when they were still wet.

As for the pen itself, the feel of taking notes on the tablet is top-notch, though there's a bit more latency than we'd like.

One of the tablet's coolest and most useful features for enterprise customers is that it can be used even when wearing many types of gloves.

In our tryout, the tablet worked flawlessly while wearing different pairs of polyester and synthetic leather gloves thanks to this "enhanced touch" mode.

The performance was excellent in our tryout model. Everything ran fast and smooth the way you'd expect from a tablet.

The display also looks better than its 1,280 x 800 resolution would suggest — it's hard to tell that this isn't an Full High Definition display. That might be partly because the tablet compensates with very high brightness of 480 nits. That high brightness will no doubt be crucial for any workers needing to use the tablet outdoors.

Samsung is targeting the tablet for verticals including manufacturing, transportation and retail. Key applications include replacing paper-centric processes like enterprise asset management (i.e., for field work such as managing inventories and doing inspections).

In transportation, the tablet works with fleet management software such as Omnitracs XRS. In retail, the tablet can replace handheld scanners when working with mobile data capture software such as Scandit, Samsung has said.

The Galaxy Tab Active2 comes both in LTE-connected and Wi-Fi-only models and includes a Pogo Pins connector for easy docking.

Along with running Samsung's Knox security software, the tablet includes capabilities for eFOTA (enterprise firmware over-the-air) management to ensure continuous security and control over the devices for business customers.

Other features include an option for a replaceable battery to extend the battery life, facial recognition for fast authentication and an 8-megapixel autofocus camera.

Samsung has also been smart to work closely with manufacturers of third-party accessories, such as mounts. That helps ensure there are options for partners to build comprehensive solutions around the Tab Active2.

The pricing is also key. The Galaxy Tab Active2 is competitively priced with a suggested starting price of $419.99 for the Wi-Fi-only model, and $519.99 for the LTE model.

All in all, we think Samsung has a strong B2B offering with the Galaxy Tab Active2--and we applaud the decision to go channel-only for sales of the device.

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