The Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 experience

Posted by in Technology

Since I am working on in-house Microsoft Lync evaluation project, we decided to give all mobile clients a try. It included trying Android client on Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1.

I am not going to write unboxing experience or how to setup Galaxy Tab. Sorry to disappoint.

The experience is about how horrible the tab is and even worst is their customer service in my opinion. It’s unusual for me to write such harsh blog posts but here it is so I can share my experience with you my beloved readers.

Setup and Performance

So first things first. Setup. I started the setup and went on to selecting options until I got to wireless selection screen. In the selection, I immediately noticed that it didn’t show me my 5GHz wireless N network. It can see 2.4 GHz network fine. So I decided to choose 2.4 and move on for now. Hoping there may be an update I can apply later, especially since the specs on Samsung website says nothing about dual-band. Rest of the setup was usual.

Then came performance. It wasn’t particularly slow in navigation and other things. But when it came to app performance, especially for those that needed internet access, were very slow. And before you blame my network, let me assure you, I had ensured everything including rebooting my routers, trying other devices and I would be convinced it’s my network if all devices behaved the same trying to access online content, but my laptop, Windows Phone, and desktop connected with wifi adapter, were all happily moving along. This tab just wouldn’t. Accessing same YouTube video on my Windows 8 phone was working fine. On the tab, it took ages. My kids went to sleep first time waiting for video instead of reading their books.

I even reset the unit using “Backup and Reset” option from settings. This set the unit back to how it was shipped from factory and walked me through setup. I strongly believe without changing a variable, you can’t expect different outcome but I tried anyway, only to be reminded, nothing had changed and I can’t expect different outcome.

Customer Service

I figured I might be able to get around my wireless performance issues if I got the tab to see my 5GHz wifi network. First was to make sure all updates are applied. To which the updater told me the software was all up-to-date already! So there goes that option and hope. Then I resorted to web. I searched for the issue on Google and Bing. As you might notice, the first few hits are talking about the same issue I was experiencing with 5GHz wireless and the only way some were able to fix it (not all) was to set the router at lower frequency channels such as channel 36 (lowest you can set for 5GHz networks. Ofcourse, I happen to be one of those who this workaround did not work for. My Linksys EA6500 set at channel 36 still didn’t do the trick.

So came the next stop before I would RMA the unit. I hoped again that since I am not the only one having this issue, Samsung may already know about it (and I would be shocked if they don’t, not that I expect them to publicly acknowledge it), and be able to help me fix it. I got on the phone and was surprisingly quickly connected to Service Representative. However it was a quick downhill from there. After describing my issue and explaining what I had done already to try and fix it, she immediately concluded it was my router that was causing the issue because I was able to see my neighbors network fine, not to mention, my own 2.4 GHz network too! That immediately told me how the phone call was going to end, but I kept my mind open and allowed her to walk through due course of troubleshooting hoping there might be something I haven’t tried.

I was asked to check MAC filtering, which I had not enabled, Check. SSID broadcast must be enabled, check. Reboot the router, check. Galaxy still not finding my wifi on 5GHz band, check. Then came the reset of tab. To which I protested that I had already done that and it takes time to do something that doesn’t need to be done again. I was slapped down saying if I need support I have to follow troubleshooting steps and this is one of them. Ok, let’s do it. However, what she asked me to do next was unbelievable. She said proper reset procedure was to power off the device and hold volume up while powering on the device, then continue on next screen. And let me be very clear, she did not ask me to download and install Kies or to connect a USB cable to computer! It was obvious here that she had no idea she was asking me to put the device in ODIN mode. Once the device was in ODIN mode, she asked me to wait until download completes. It took about 10 minutes when she got tired of waiting and told me that she will call me back in 30 minutes and that the device should be up and running. Are you kidding me? There is no way the device is going to come back from that mode when it’s not connected in anyway and is expecting host connection. Anyhow, that was it for the call and she hasn’t called me back in about two hours. Not sure if 30 minutes in her clock means more than 30 minutes in mine.

In the end, this piece of unusable electronic goo is going back to where it came from. I could have lived with defective device but I can’t live with horrible customer service. Samsung, you have ways to go in that department.

Update

After publishing this article, Samsung support engaged with me on Twitter and I again hoped that they would bring their top guns to bring valuable conversations. Well, it was my fault to hope so much. The conversation started with the following:

@bhargavs Hi. I checked out your blog post and reviewed what’s been done so far. I’m sorry to hear you’re having this trouble. (cont)
@bhargavs Assuming the router is broadcasting the SSID (which is usually the source of this type of problem), (cont)
@bhargavs the next step would be to manually add the SSID yourself. Go to Settings > Wi-Fi and choose “Manually Add Network” (cont)
@bhargavs near the top of the screen. Add the SSID, network key, and security type and see if you can connect that way. If not, (cont)
@bhargavs you may want to contact ur network provider because the SSID may not be broadcast properly. There’s no reason why the tab (cont)
@bhargavs should pick up a 5GHz network. Let us know if this helps. Thanks!^David

So I am being asked to add network manually. Mind you this is the network that is broadcasting its SSID, and all other devices I have (laptop, phone, desktop with dual-band adapter)  can see it fine and connect to it as well. But it doesn’t hurt to try. So I did. And ofcourse, the tab didn’t find or connect to the network.

The person on twitter also went on saying I should contact my network provider because SSID may not be broadcasting properly and that the tab should pick up 5GHz network. So according to them, not only that my standards based Cisco/LinkSys EA6500 router is bad (while it works fine with other devices), they are essentially skirting from the issue completely and continue blaming my network. They have yet to make any sensible effort to even try and acknowledge that it could be an issue with their device. And I thought Apple was arrogant.

So I continue my twitter dialog:

@samsungsupport Thanks but that didn’t help. And it’s EA6500 router, standard SSID broadcast, works with all other devices I have. (cont)
@bhargavs Good morning! Does it work correctly on other Networks? ^Sabrina
@samsungsupport Yes on 2.4 GHz network from same router it does. Let me ask you, does Galaxy Tab support 5GHz network as it claims?
@bhargavs Yes, it does support 5GHz Network. ^Sabrina
@samsungsupport so it leaves me only one option and that is to return the device. RMA it is then.

So Samsung went on claiming again that Galaxy Tab 2 works with 5GHz networks. So it was clear that I may have bad device because I have done every effort to rule out my network and I KNOW it’s not my network. However, Samsung doesn’t think so and haven’t even tried to take a look at their device. I am sure they have other support cases open with similar issue, after all I am not the only one having this issue like I said earlier. And the dialog should have ended here as I already said I no longer want this device and will return it. But, Samsung support was here to stay:

@bhargavs with your Network. I recommend reaching out to your Network provider or Router manufacturer for assistance. ^Sabrina

Now I am sorry but all I want is a working device and am not looking to pick a fight for any reason but please… show me that you care and are willing to look at the issue from your device’s standpoint but no, they had to push it and had to treat me like I am an idiot. and last follow-up went on saying:

@bhargavs we can not guarantee that the Galaxy Tab will be compatible with all Networks. ^Sabrina

Well, I am not buying a piece of hardware that claims standards based connectivity to Wireless-N (Wireless-N is published standard isn’t it?). And if it is my Cisco EA6500 router,  which by the way implements standards based wifi network and not a proprietary methods, why did all my other devices connect to it without a fuss?

Update 2

I ended up returning Galaxy Tab 2, however for android testing, I was provided with Galaxy Note 10.1. It looked like the same configuration as Galaxy Note 2 as far as wireless support is concerned. However, to my surprise it saw my wireless network on 5 GHz and worked without any issues. That confirms my belief even more (can I say I have a working proof?) that there is something wrong with Tab 2 that either Samsung knows about and won’t acknowledge or they just don’t know it themselves. Either way, they have made no effort during my calls and discussions with them to try and troubleshoot their device. All they did was kept blaming it is my network when their own Note 10.1 is proving them wrong.

Sorry Samsung. You just lost all respect I had for your products. All because of your arrogance and ignoring the fact that you had second chance to fix the bad experience. You my friends instead took this chance to make it even worse. It doesn’t even matter at this point how good your products are if you can’t treat a customer with respect. #FAIL

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