For all those intents and purposes, eight inches will be the new sweet position for tablets. We’ve to date seen several hits with this form factor, the Samsung Galaxy Note 8. perhaps foremost among them. It seems sensible, after all; 10.1 inches may be unwieldy for travelers, and 7 inches scrimps a bit on-screen real estate. Samsung’s leveraged this trend to incorporate another 8-incher to its 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 like with Galaxy Tabs previously, so is this one more strong contender? Meet us past the break to find out.
The Tab 3 8. may not have the name recognition of Galaxy Tab 3, but exactly what it has within its favor is 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 makes the .31-inch Note 8. look (and feel) positively bloated. Basically we appreciate that Samsung shrunk the bezels with this model, it can do ensure it is challenging to grip the slate up top without touching the display; you’ll would like to hold the tablet at the end to prevent unintentional input. Incidentally, you’ll also want to avoid gripping the tablet towards the top which means you won’t hit the quantity rocker about the upper-right edge.
Slimness aside, the Tab 3 8. also feels more premium compared to Note and also the last-gen Tab 2 line, as a result of those skinny bezels plus a brown-black hue done up in a dimpled pattern. While we’re not huge fans with this color — our very own Joseph Volpe calls this shade “scab brown” — it’s much less reflective as Samsung’s usual white and black options, meaning the tablet’s plastic build is a little more pleasing to think about. (In the event you prefer a more standard color choice, you can always opt for the white version.) This textured finish likewise helps mask the fingerprints that may inevitably grease within the tablet’s backing, though you’ll still want 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 around the white Tab 3 8.). This flourish carries up to the Tab’s backside, where 5-megapixel rear camera is in the middle of exactly the same material.
We’ve just about covered all of the surprises on the Tab 3 8.: port placement is par to the course, as they are the Samsung branding sitting both atop the touchscreen and in the middle of the device’s non-removable back cover. In the front of your device, you’ll find 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 around the left fringe of the slate, while the power button and volume rocker line the right side. The right edge can also be 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 as well as the Galaxy Tab 7. Plus from almost 2 years ago. As always, the headphone jack sits on top edge, whilst the micro-USB port sits on the bottom in addition to two mini speaker grilles.
Samsung used a 1,280 x 800 (WXGA) TFT LCD panel for the Tab 3 8., and this resolution results in a wonderful viewing experience. Images and text are perfectly crisp, and colors look reasonably vibrant at the same time. In addition to that, viewing angles are nice wide, though you’ll use a harder time making use of the tablet in direct sunlight; the panel is unquestionably glare-prone.The 10.1-inch version of your 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. supplies a few standout features along with the standard suite of Samsung apps. Some examples are Peel Smart Remote, which utilizes the tablet’s IR blaster to control your TV, along with the recently introduced Smart Stay for detecting when you look from the screen and pausing and resuming your videos accordingly. Notably, Smart Stay will be the only “Smart” feature making it to this tab — the majority of these features live exclusively on the GS 4, at least for the present time.
For the most part, Samsung leaves the app-collecting to you personally, only loading within the Tab 3 8. with a few 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 realize the drill).
Even though the Tab’s older sibling, the Tab 3 10.1, packs a 3.2-megapixel rear camera, we obtain a 5MP shooter to try out with here. Many people will appreciate the simple camera UI, which provides a straightforward settings menu about the right-hand side of your screen. The camera app will give you several modes for snapping pics: the self-explanatory Auto, Beauty Face, Night, Panorama, Sports and Sound & Shot. Our sample shots deliver accurate, if not entirely vibrant, colors, though images usually look a little bit fuzzy. You’ll would like to avoid shadier, darker environments, as we didn’t have much luck in those conditions. Overall, the shooter will do within a pinch, but you’re significantly better with a standalone point-and-shoot (as if you didn’t recognize that already).
You can even 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 can be adequate for selfies (when you must) and video chats. We look somewhat washed-out in our sample shots, but that’s being 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 around the tablet, the program was really a mess of hiccups like force closes and lots of seconds’ delay responding. We weren’t exactly thrilled at the prospect of while using slate after those initial few minutes, but luckily the going got smoother shortly after. That’s not to imply you won’t encounter the occasional stuttering or freezing; while we found with 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 no less than five times during our few days of testing.
On our battery test — that 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 new Nexus 7 along with the HP Slate 7, though a few 7-inchers like the ASUS MeMo Pad HD 7 as well as the Hisense Sero 7 Pro last a few hours longer. Naturally, you may expect more longevity with increased moderate use; we easily got via a full day with occasional emailing and light gaming, for example.
When you can take home the Galaxy Note 8. with its superior performance and S Pen for only $100 more, the Tab 3 8. is somewhat of a tough sell. Yes, the latter does give you a thinner design and runs Android 4.2 rather than Note’s Android 4.1, but those advantages only tip the scale so much. In order to 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 its smaller size will make it a more compelling travel companion and also the difference in performance is negligible.
Outside of Samsung’s ecosystem, you do have a few other choices too. The newest Nexus 7, retailing for $229 or higher, has wireless charging along with a brilliant 1080p display in its favor — in addition to a really reasonable price. Of course, if 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 possibly be top reasons to shell out $329-plus. In essence that both of these choices a lot more memorable than Samsung’s latest 8-incher, and we’re coming to expect standout features on tablets in return for our dough.