For all those intents and purposes, eight inches will be the new sweet location for tablets. We’ve to date seen a couple of hits using this form factor, the Samsung Galaxy Note 8. perhaps foremost among them. It makes sense, all things considered; 10.1 inches may be unwieldy for travelers, and 7 inches scrimps a lttle bit on screen property. Samsung’s leveraged this trend to add another 8-incher to the lineup: the $300 Galaxy Tab 3 8.. With 16GB of built-in storage, a dual-core processor and WiFi — yet not LTE — support, it’s hardly revolutionary besides those novel dimensions. Still, we’ve found plenty to like with Galaxy Tabs before, so could this be an additional strong contender? Meet us past the break to discover.
The Tab 3 8. might not have the name recognition of Samsung Galaxy Tab 3, but what it does have in their favor is actually a svelte, lightweight design. At 10.9 ounces (309.1g), it’s comfortable to hold one-handed, and at just .29 inch (7.36mm) thick, it will make the .31-inch Note 8. look (and feel) positively bloated. Basically we appreciate that Samsung shrunk the bezels with this model, it does make it challenging to grip the slate up top without touching the display; you’ll wish to retain the tablet in the bottom to protect yourself from unintentional input. Incidentally, you’ll want to avoid gripping the tablet towards the top so that you won’t hit the amount rocker on the upper-right edge.
Slimness aside, the Tab 3 8. also feels more premium in comparison to the Note as well as the very last-gen Tab 2 line, thanks to those skinny bezels plus a brown-black hue done up within a dimpled pattern. While we’re not huge fans on this 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 is a touch more pleasing to look at. (In the event you prefer a more standard color choice, you can always select the white version.) This textured finish can also help mask the fingerprints that may inevitably grease within the tablet’s backing, though you’ll still would like to wipe down the tablet regularly. Another sweet touch: the bronzy faux-chrome trim lining the tablet, which adds much more flare than the standard silver trim (which you’ll still see in the white Tab 3 8.). This flourish carries to the Tab’s backside, where the 5-megapixel rear camera is flanked by a similar material.
We’ve nearly covered all of the surprises on the Tab 3 8.: port placement is par for your course, as it is the Samsung branding sitting both atop the touchscreen and during the device’s non-removable back cover. In the front in the device, you’ll look for a 1.3-megapixel camera up top, as the physical home button sits below the display, flanked by capacitive keys for settings and back. A microSD slot sits around the left edge of the slate, whilst the power button and volume rocker line the correct side. The correct edge is likewise house to an IR blaster, which lets you use the tab as being a remote device for your TV. Samsung’s been pushing this feature on several tablets, such as the new Tab 3 10.1 along with the Galaxy Tab 7. Plus from almost 2 years ago. As always, the headphone jack sits on the top edge, while the micro-USB port sits at the base along with two mini speaker grilles.
Samsung used a 1,280 x 800 (WXGA) TFT LCD panel for the Tab 3 8., which resolution provides a wonderful viewing experience. Images and text are perfectly crisp, and colours look reasonably vibrant too. On top of that, viewing angles are nice and wide, though you’ll have got a harder time making use of the tablet in sunshine; the panel is without a doubt glare-prone.The Ten.1-inch version of your Tab 3 also packs a WXGA resolution, which suggests the Tab 3 8.0’s panel includes a higher pixel density (148 pixels per inch versus 189).
Running Android 4.2 (Jelly Bean), the Galaxy Tab 3 8. delivers a few standout features together with the standard suite of Samsung apps. Included in this are Peel Smart Remote, which utilizes the tablet’s IR blaster to regulate your TV, along with the recently introduced Smart Stay for detecting if you look out of the screen and pausing and resuming your videos accordingly. Notably, Smart Stay is definitely the only “Smart” feature making it up to this tab — a large number of bells and whistles live exclusively in the GS 4, at the very least for the time being.
Most of the time, Samsung leaves the app-collecting for your needs, only loading within the Tab 3 8. with a few pre-selected programs. Such as Dropbox, Flipboard and TripAdvisor along 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 get a 5MP shooter to perform with here. Many individuals will appreciate the simple camera UI, which provides a straightforward settings menu in the right-hand side of your screen. The digital camera app gives you several modes for snapping pics: the self-explanatory Auto, Beauty Face, Night, Panorama, Sports and Sound & Shot. Our sample shots deliver accurate, otherwise entirely vibrant, colors, though images have a tendency to look a little bit fuzzy. You’ll wish to avoid shadier, darker environments, since we didn’t have much luck in those conditions. Overall, the shooter is going to do within a pinch, but you’re far better off with a standalone point-and-shoot (like you didn’t understand 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. About the upside, audio came through loud and clear, with limited background interference. Finally, there’s a 1.3MP front camera, which can be adequate for selfies (if you must) and video chats. We look a lttle bit washed-outside in our sample shots, but that’s being expected.
By using 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 on the tablet, the system was actually a mess of hiccups like force closes and several seconds’ delay in response. We weren’t exactly thrilled at the prospect of making use of 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; while we found with all the Tab 3 10.1, everyday performance is frustratingly inconsistent. The camera app seems especially at risk of upsetting the tab; it force-closed on us a minimum of five times during our week of testing.
On our battery test — which involves playing a neighborhood video on loop with WiFi on and brightness set to fifty percent — this Tab’s 4,450mAh power pack lasted seven hours and 19 minutes. That’s on 01dexhpky with all the Galaxy Note 8., the brand new Nexus 7 and also the HP Slate 7, though several 7-inchers much like the ASUS MeMo Pad HD 7 and the Hisense Sero 7 Pro last a few hours longer. Of course, you can expect more longevity with additional moderate use; we easily got via a full day with occasional emailing and lightweight gaming, as an illustration.
When you are able take home the Galaxy Note 8. using its superior performance and S Pen only for $100 more, the Tab 3 8. is somewhat of a tough sell. Yes, the second does provide a thinner design and runs Android 4.2 as opposed to the Note’s Android 4.1, but those advantages only tip the scale a whole lot. If you wish to stay within Samsung’s galaxy, we’d say you’re more well off going for the Tab 3 8. than the pricier Tab 3 10.1, as its smaller size can make it an even more compelling travel companion as well as the difference in performance is negligible.
Outside of Samsung’s ecosystem, there is a few additional options too. The new Nexus 7, retailing for $229 or higher, has wireless charging and a brilliant 1080p display in its favor — in addition to a really reasonable price. And when you’re wed to the 8-inch form factor (and accessible to another OS), the 7.9-inch iPad mini’s impressive battery and accessibility App Store may be good reasons to fork out $329-plus. The end result is that both of these options are a lot more memorable than Samsung’s latest 8-incher, and we’re coming over to expect standout features on tablets in return for our dough.