For all intents and purposes, eight inches is definitely the new sweet position for tablets. We’ve up to now seen a number of hits with this particular form factor, the Samsung Galaxy Note 8. perhaps foremost and this includes. It makes sense, in fact; 10.1 inches might be unwieldy for travelers, and 7 inches scrimps somewhat on screen real-estate. Samsung’s leveraged this trend to incorporate another 8-incher to the lineup: the $300 Galaxy Tab 3 8.. With 16GB of built-in storage, a dual-core processor and WiFi — although not LTE — support, it’s hardly revolutionary in addition to those novel dimensions. Still, we’ve found plenty to enjoy with Galaxy Tabs previously, so is that this another strong contender? Meet us past the break to determine.
The Tab 3 8. might not have the name recognition of Android Tablet, but exactly what it comes with in the favor is really a svelte, lightweight design. At 10.9 ounces (309.1g), it’s comfortable to keep one-handed, as well as just .29 inch (7.36mm) thick, it can make the .31-inch Note 8. look (and feel) positively bloated. Basically we appreciate that Samsung shrunk the bezels with this model, it can allow it to be difficult to grip the slate up top without touching the display; you’ll wish to contain the tablet towards the bottom to prevent unintentional input. Incidentally, you’ll want to avoid gripping the tablet at the very top so you won’t hit the quantity rocker on the upper-right edge.
Slimness aside, the Tab 3 8. also feels more premium than the Note as well as the past-gen Tab 2 line, as a result of those skinny bezels as well as a brown-black hue done up within a dimpled pattern. While we’re not huge fans of the color — our very own Joseph Volpe calls this shade “scab brown” — it’s not quite as reflective as Samsung’s usual white and black options, meaning the tablet’s plastic build might be a more pleasing to think about. (In the event you prefer a more standard color choice, you could opt for the white version.) This textured finish can also help mask the fingerprints that will inevitably grease within the tablet’s backing, though you’ll still want to wipe across the tablet regularly. Another sweet touch: the bronzy faux-chrome trim lining the tablet, which adds a little more flare compared to standard silver trim (which you’ll still see about the white Tab 3 8.). This flourish carries up to the Tab’s backside, the location where the 5-megapixel rear camera is encompassed by the same material.
We’ve just about covered all the surprises around the Tab 3 8.: port placement is par for your course, as it is the Samsung branding sitting both atop the touchscreen and in the center of the device’s non-removable back cover. On the front from the device, you’ll get a 1.3-megapixel camera up top, as the physical home button sits beneath the display, flanked by capacitive keys for settings and back. A microSD slot sits on the left edge of the slate, as the power button and volume rocker line the right side. The correct edge is additionally the place to find an IR blaster, which lets you apply the tab as a remote device to your TV. Samsung’s been pushing this feature on several tablets, including the new Tab 3 10.1 and also the Galaxy Tab 7. Plus from almost two years ago. As always, the headphone jack sits at the top edge, whilst the micro-USB port sits at the base as well as two mini speaker grilles.
Samsung used a 1,280 x 800 (WXGA) TFT LCD panel for that Tab 3 8., and this resolution makes for an amazing viewing experience. Images and text are perfectly crisp, and colours look reasonably vibrant at the same time. In addition to that, viewing angles are nice and wide, though you’ll have a harder time using the tablet in direct sunlight; the panel is unquestionably glare-prone.The 10.1-inch version from the Tab 3 also packs a WXGA resolution, which implies the Tab 3 8.0’s panel features a higher pixel density (148 pixels per inch versus 189).
Running Android 4.2 (Jelly Bean), the Galaxy Tab 3 8. offers a few standout features together with the standard suite of Samsung apps. Some examples are Peel Smart Remote, which utilizes the tablet’s IR blaster to manipulate your TV, and also the recently introduced Smart Stay for detecting once you look out of the screen and pausing and resuming your videos accordingly. Notably, Smart Stay will be the only “Smart” feature to really make it up to this tab — many of these special features live exclusively around the GS 4, at least for the present time.
For the most part, Samsung leaves the app-collecting for your needs, only loading within the Tab 3 8. with a handful of pre-selected programs. Some examples are Dropbox, Flipboard and TripAdvisor combined with the expected parade of Samsung programs (ChatON, Game Hub, Group Play, S Voice, S Planner, WatchON — you understand the drill).
Even though the Tab’s older sibling, the Tab 3 10.1, packs a 3.2-megapixel rear camera, we have a 5MP shooter to experience with here. Many people will appreciate the basic camera UI, that offers a straightforward settings menu in the right-hand side from the screen. The camera app offers you several modes for snapping pics: the self-explanatory Auto, Beauty Face, Night, Panorama, Sports and Sound & Shot. Our sample shots deliver accurate, or even entirely vibrant, colors, though images tend to look a bit fuzzy. You’ll wish to avoid shadier, darker environments, since we didn’t have much luck in those conditions. Overall, the shooter will work in the pinch, but you’re much better with a standalone point-and-shoot (like you didn’t recognize that already).
Also you can shoot video in 720p, but don’t expect extremely fluid movement. Our sample clip looks quite jerky, and autofocus didn’t do a great job at making objects look crisp. In the upside, audio came through loud and clear, with limited background interference. Finally, there’s a 1.3MP front camera, which happens to be adequate for selfies (in the event you must) and video chats. We look somewhat washed-outside in our sample shots, but that’s to be expected.
With a 1.5GHz dual-core Samsung Exynos 4 processor and 1.5GB of RAM, the Tab 3 8. is no match for slates running higher-end silicon. If we first powered about the tablet, the device was a mess of hiccups like force closes and several seconds’ delay responding. We weren’t exactly thrilled at the possibilities of using the slate after those first couple of minutes, but luckily the going got smoother shortly after. That’s not to say you won’t encounter the occasional stuttering or freezing; since we found with all the Tab 3 10.1, everyday performance is frustratingly inconsistent. Your camera app seems especially susceptible to upsetting the tab; it force-closed on us at the very least 5 times during our few days of testing.
On our battery test — that requires playing a nearby video on loop with WiFi on and brightness set to 50 percent — this Tab’s 4,450mAh power pack lasted seven hours and 19 minutes. That’s on 01dexhpky together with the Galaxy Note 8., the latest Nexus 7 and the HP Slate 7, though a few 7-inchers much like the ASUS MeMo Pad HD 7 and also the Hisense Sero 7 Pro last several hours longer. Needless to say, you can expect more longevity with increased moderate use; we easily got using a full day with occasional emailing and lightweight gaming, as an example.
When you are able take home the Galaxy Note 8. with its superior performance and S Pen just for $100 more, the Tab 3 8. is a bit of a tough sell. Yes, the second does provide a thinner design and runs Android 4.2 instead of the Note’s Android 4.1, but those advantages only tip the scale a lot. If you want to stay within Samsung’s galaxy, we’d say you’re more satisfied going for the Tab 3 8. compared to pricier Tab 3 10.1, as the smaller size will make it a far more compelling travel companion as well as the difference in performance is negligible.
Beyond Samsung’s ecosystem, you do have a few other options also. The latest Nexus 7, retailing for $229 and up, has wireless charging as well as a brilliant 1080p display in the favor — along with a very reasonable price. And when you’re wed towards the 8-inch form factor (and accessible to another OS), the 7.9-inch iPad mini’s impressive battery and access to the App Store may be top reasons to fork out $329-plus. Basically that both these choices much more memorable than Samsung’s latest 8-incher, and we’re arriving at expect standout features on tablets in exchange for our dough.