For those intents and purposes, eight inches is definitely the new sweet location for tablets. We’ve thus far seen a few hits with this particular form factor, the Samsung Galaxy Note 8. perhaps foremost among them. It makes sense, in fact; 10.1 inches could 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 — but 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 that this another strong contender? Meet us beyond the break to determine.
The Tab 3 8. may not have the name recognition of Android Tablet, but what it does have within its favor is actually a svelte, lightweight design. At 10.9 ounces (309.1g), it’s comfortable to keep one-handed, as well as at 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 on this model, it does help it become tough to grip the slate up top without touching the display; you’ll wish to hold the tablet in the bottom to protect yourself from unintentional input. Incidentally, you’ll should also avoid gripping the tablet towards the top so you won’t hit the quantity rocker around the upper-right edge.
Slimness aside, the Tab 3 8. also feels more premium than the Note and even the final-gen Tab 2 line, thanks to those skinny bezels along with a brown-black hue done up in 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 less reflective as Samsung’s usual white and black options, meaning the tablet’s plastic build is a bit more pleasing to look at. (Should you prefer a more standard color choice, you could pick the white version.) This textured finish likewise helps mask the fingerprints that may inevitably grease within the tablet’s backing, though you’ll still wish to wipe across the tablet regularly. Another sweet touch: the bronzy faux-chrome trim lining the tablet, which adds a little bit more flare in comparison to the standard silver trim (which you’ll still see on the white Tab 3 8.). This flourish carries to the Tab’s backside, where 5-megapixel rear camera is flanked by a similar material.
We’ve nearly covered every one 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 midst of the device’s non-removable back cover. About the front from the device, you’ll locate 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 in the left fringe of the slate, even though the power button and volume rocker line the proper side. The right edge is likewise home to an IR blaster, which lets you apply the tab as a remote control for your personal TV. Samsung’s been pushing this feature on several tablets, like the new Tab 3 10.1 and the Galaxy Tab 7. Plus from almost 2 yrs ago. As usual, the headphone jack sits on the top edge, even though 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 therefore resolution results in an amazing viewing experience. Images and text are perfectly crisp, and colours look reasonably vibrant at the same time. Additionally, viewing angles are nice wide, though you’ll have a harder time utilizing the tablet in direct sunlight; the panel is certainly glare-prone.The 10.1-inch version of your Tab 3 also packs a WXGA resolution, meaning the Tab 3 8.0’s panel carries 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. These include Peel Smart Remote, which utilizes the tablet’s IR blaster to manipulate your TV, and also the recently introduced Smart Stay for detecting whenever you look outside the screen and pausing and resuming your videos accordingly. Notably, Smart Stay is the only “Smart” feature to really make it to this tab — many of these features live exclusively on the GS 4, at the very least right now.
Most of the time, Samsung leaves the app-collecting for you, only loading in the Tab 3 8. with some pre-selected programs. These include Dropbox, Flipboard and TripAdvisor along with the expected parade of Samsung programs (ChatON, Game Hub, Group Play, S Voice, S Planner, WatchON — you already know 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 people will appreciate the easy camera UI, which offers a straightforward settings menu about the right-hand side of the 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, otherwise entirely vibrant, colors, though images tend to look a little bit fuzzy. You’ll would like to avoid shadier, darker environments, since we didn’t have much luck in those conditions. Overall, the shooter is going to do in the pinch, but you’re a lot better off with a standalone point-and-shoot (like you didn’t realize 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. On the upside, audio came through loud and clear, with limited background interference. Finally, there’s a 1.3MP front camera, which is adequate for selfies (in the event you must) and video chats. We look a little washed-out in our sample shots, but that’s to get expected.
Using a 1.5GHz dual-core Samsung Exynos 4 processor and 1.5GB of RAM, the Tab 3 8. is not any match for slates running higher-end silicon. Once we first powered about the tablet, the program was actually a mess of hiccups including force closes and plenty of seconds’ delay in reaction. We weren’t exactly thrilled at the possibilities of while using slate after those initial few minutes, but luckily the going got smoother immediately after. That’s not to imply you won’t encounter the occasional stuttering or freezing; while we found together with the Tab 3 10.1, everyday performance is frustratingly inconsistent. The digital camera app seems especially prone 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 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 latest Nexus 7 along with the HP Slate 7, though a couple 7-inchers such as the ASUS MeMo Pad HD 7 as well as the Hisense Sero 7 Pro last a few hours longer. Naturally, you can anticipate more longevity with increased moderate use; we easily got via a full day with occasional emailing and light-weight gaming, as an example.
When you are able take home the Galaxy Note 8. having its superior performance and S Pen for just $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 rather than 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 satisfied going for the Tab 3 8. than the pricier Tab 3 10.1, as its smaller size will make it a far more compelling travel companion along with the difference in performance is negligible.
Outside of Samsung’s ecosystem, there is a few other options at the same time. The brand new Nexus 7, retailing for $229 and up, has wireless charging along with a brilliant 1080p display in their favor — along with a really 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 lifespan and accessibility App Store could possibly be excellent reasons to shell out $329-plus. Basically that the two of these choices are far more memorable than Samsung’s latest 8-incher, and we’re coming over to expect standout features on tablets to acquire our dough.