For those intents and purposes, eight inches may be the new sweet position for tablets. We’ve so far 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 can be unwieldy for travelers, and 7 inches scrimps somewhat on screen real estate. Samsung’s leveraged this trend to provide 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 apart from those novel dimensions. Still, we’ve found plenty to love with Galaxy Tabs previously, so is this an additional strong contender? Meet us beyond the break to discover.
The Tab 3 8. may not have the name recognition of Android Tablet, but what it really does have in their favor is really a svelte, lightweight design. At 10.9 ounces (309.1g), it’s comfortable to carry one-handed, as well as just .29 inch (7.36mm) thick, it makes the .31-inch Note 8. look (and feel) positively bloated. Basically we appreciate that Samsung shrunk the bezels for this model, it does ensure it is difficult to grip the slate up top without touching the display; you’ll would like to contain the tablet towards the bottom to avoid unintentional input. Incidentally, you’ll want to avoid gripping the tablet towards the top so that you won’t hit the volume rocker around the upper-right edge.
Slimness aside, the Tab 3 8. also feels more premium compared to the Note and even the final-gen Tab 2 line, due to 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 refers to this as shade “scab brown” — it’s much less reflective as Samsung’s usual white and black options, meaning the tablet’s plastic build is a touch more pleasing to look at. (Should you should you prefer a more standard color choice, you can opt for the white version.) This textured finish also helps mask the fingerprints that will inevitably grease within the tablet’s backing, though you’ll still wish to wipe on the tablet regularly. Another sweet touch: the bronzy faux-chrome trim lining the tablet, which adds a little more flare than the standard silver trim (which you’ll still see around the white Tab 3 8.). This flourish carries onto the Tab’s backside, in which the 5-megapixel rear camera is flanked by exactly the same material.
We’ve nearly covered all the surprises about the Tab 3 8.: port placement is par to the course, as is the Samsung branding sitting both atop the touchscreen and in the center of the device’s non-removable back cover. In the front of your device, you’ll get a 1.3-megapixel camera up top, while the physical home button sits below the display, flanked by capacitive keys for settings and back. A microSD slot sits in the left fringe of the slate, whilst the power button and volume rocker line the correct side. The proper edge is additionally the place to find an IR blaster, which lets you use the tab as being a handheld remote control for your TV. Samsung’s been pushing this feature on several tablets, for example the new Tab 3 10.1 and the Galaxy Tab 7. Plus from almost 2 yrs ago. As usual, the headphone jack sits at the top edge, as the micro-USB port sits on the bottom along with two mini speaker grilles.
Samsung used a 1,280 x 800 (WXGA) TFT LCD panel to the Tab 3 8., and that resolution creates an excellent viewing experience. Images and text are perfectly crisp, and colors look reasonably vibrant too. Added to that, viewing angles are nice wide, though you’ll possess a harder time while using tablet in sunshine; the panel is certainly glare-prone.The 10.1-inch version in the Tab 3 also packs a WXGA resolution, which implies the Tab 3 8.0’s panel has 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 combined 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, as well as the recently introduced Smart Stay for detecting if you look outside the screen and pausing and resuming your videos accordingly. Notably, Smart Stay is the only “Smart” feature so it will be to this tab — many of these features live exclusively in the GS 4, no less than right now.
Typically, Samsung leaves the app-collecting for your needs, only loading within the Tab 3 8. with a few pre-selected programs. These include Dropbox, Flipboard and TripAdvisor together with the expected parade of Samsung programs (ChatON, Game Hub, Group Play, S Voice, S Planner, WatchON — you know the drill).
Whilst the Tab’s older sibling, the Tab 3 10.1, packs a 3.2-megapixel rear camera, we receive a 5MP shooter to play with here. Many individuals will appreciate the straightforward camera UI, that provides a straightforward settings menu on the right-hand side of your screen. The digital 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 usually look a bit fuzzy. You’ll would like to avoid shadier, darker environments, when we didn’t have much luck in those conditions. Overall, the shooter will do in a pinch, but you’re a lot better off with a standalone point-and-shoot (like you didn’t know that already).
You can also 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 (in the event you must) and video chats. We look a lttle bit washed-outside in our sample shots, but that’s to become expected.
Having 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. When we first powered about the tablet, the system was actually a mess of hiccups for example force closes and lots of 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 using the Tab 3 10.1, everyday performance is frustratingly inconsistent. Your camera app seems especially at risk of upsetting the tab; it force-closed on us a minimum of 5 times during our couple of days of testing.
On our battery test — which involves playing the local video on loop with WiFi on and brightness set to one half — this Tab’s 4,450mAh power pack lasted seven hours and 19 minutes. That’s on 01dexhpky using the Galaxy Note 8., the newest Nexus 7 along with the HP Slate 7, though a couple of 7-inchers such as the ASUS MeMo Pad HD 7 along with the Hisense Sero 7 Pro last several hours longer. Of course, you may expect more longevity with additional moderate use; we easily got by way of a full day with occasional emailing and light gaming, for example.
When you can take home the Galaxy Note 8. using its superior performance and S Pen for only $100 more, the Tab 3 8. is somewhat of a tough sell. Yes, the second does offer a thinner design and runs Android 4.2 rather than the Note’s Android 4.1, but those advantages only tip the scale a lot. If you would like stay within Samsung’s galaxy, we’d say you’re more satisfied choosing the Tab 3 8. compared to pricier Tab 3 10.1, as the smaller size makes it a far more compelling travel companion along with the difference in performance is negligible.
Away from Samsung’s ecosystem, you have a few other choices too. The new Nexus 7, retailing for $229 or higher, has wireless charging as well as a brilliant 1080p display within its favor — along with an extremely reasonable price. And in case you’re wed towards the 8-inch form factor (and accessible to another OS), the 7.9-inch iPad mini’s impressive battery and accessibility App Store could be good reasons to shell out $329-plus. The bottom line is that both of these options are much more memorable than Samsung’s latest 8-incher, and we’re visiting expect standout features on tablets in exchange for our dough.