For all those intents and purposes, eight inches is 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 might be unwieldy for travelers, and 7 inches scrimps a bit on screen property. 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 besides those novel dimensions. Still, we’ve found plenty to adore with Galaxy Tabs before, so is that this another strong contender? Meet us past the break to discover.
The Tab 3 8. may not have the name recognition of Samsung Galaxy Tab 3, but exactly what it has in its favor can be a svelte, lightweight design. At 10.9 ounces (309.1g), it’s comfortable to keep one-handed, and also at just .29 inch (7.36mm) thick, this makes the .31-inch Note 8. look (and feel) positively bloated. While we appreciate that Samsung shrunk the bezels about this model, it can do make it challenging to grip the slate up top without touching the display; you’ll desire to support the tablet in the bottom in order to avoid unintentional input. Incidentally, you’ll should also avoid gripping the tablet towards the top therefore you won’t hit the amount rocker around the upper-right edge.
Slimness aside, the Tab 3 8. also feels more premium compared to the Note and also the last-gen Tab 2 line, thanks to those skinny bezels and a brown-black hue done up in the dimpled pattern. While we’re not huge fans with this color — our personal 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 little more pleasing to consider. (Should you really prefer a more standard color choice, you could always select the white version.) This textured finish will also help mask the fingerprints which will inevitably grease the tablet’s backing, though you’ll still desire to wipe along the tablet regularly. Another sweet touch: the bronzy faux-chrome trim lining the tablet, which adds a little bit more flare compared to the standard silver trim (which you’ll still see about the white Tab 3 8.). This flourish carries over to the Tab’s backside, the location where the 5-megapixel rear camera is in the middle of a similar material.
We’ve practically covered all the surprises around the Tab 3 8.: port placement is par for your course, as they are the Samsung branding sitting both atop the touchscreen and in the center of the device’s non-removable back cover. Around the front of the device, you’ll find a 1.3-megapixel camera up top, even though the physical home button sits beneath the display, flanked by capacitive keys for settings and back. A microSD slot sits around the left fringe of the slate, even though the power button and volume rocker line the proper side. The proper edge is likewise the location of an IR blaster, which lets you use the tab like a remote control for your personal TV. Samsung’s been pushing this feature on several tablets, such as the new Tab 3 10.1 and also the Galaxy Tab 7. Plus from almost a couple of years ago. As always, the headphone jack sits at the top edge, as 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 your Tab 3 8., and this resolution creates an amazing 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 possess a harder time utilizing the tablet in sunlight; the panel is without a doubt glare-prone.The Ten.1-inch version of the 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. offers a few standout features combined with the standard suite of Samsung apps. Such as Peel Smart Remote, which utilizes the tablet’s IR blaster to control 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 may be the only “Smart” feature to really make it over to this tab — the majority of these bells and whistles live exclusively in the GS 4, at the very least for now.
For the most part, Samsung leaves the app-collecting to you, only loading the Tab 3 8. with some pre-selected programs. These include Dropbox, Flipboard and TripAdvisor in addition to 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 get a 5MP shooter to try out with here. Many people will appreciate the simple camera UI, that provides a straightforward settings menu around the right-hand side in the screen. The camera app provides you with 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 bit fuzzy. You’ll would like to avoid shadier, darker environments, since we didn’t have much luck in those conditions. Overall, the shooter can do within a pinch, but you’re much better with a standalone point-and-shoot (like you didn’t know that already).
You may also shoot video in 720p, but don’t expect extremely fluid movement. Our sample clip looks quite jerky, and autofocus didn’t do a fantastic job at making objects look crisp. Around 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-in our sample shots, but that’s to become 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. When we first powered about the tablet, the device was a mess of hiccups for example force closes and lots of seconds’ delay in reaction. We weren’t exactly thrilled at the possibilities of making use of the slate after those initial few minutes, but luckily the going got smoother immediately after. That’s not saying you won’t encounter the occasional stuttering or freezing; as we found with all the Tab 3 10.1, everyday performance is frustratingly inconsistent. The camera app seems especially susceptible to upsetting the tab; it force-closed on us a minimum of five times during our couple of days of testing.
On our battery test — that requires playing a 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 brand new Nexus 7 and also the HP Slate 7, though several 7-inchers such as the ASUS MeMo Pad HD 7 and also the Hisense Sero 7 Pro last a few hours longer. Needless to say, you can expect more longevity with additional moderate use; we easily got by way of a full day with occasional emailing and light gaming, as an example.
When you are able take home the Galaxy Note 8. having its superior performance and S Pen just for $100 more, the Tab 3 8. is a bit of a tough sell. Yes, the latter does give a thinner design and runs Android 4.2 as opposed to the Note’s Android 4.1, but those advantages only tip the scale so much. If you would like stay within Samsung’s galaxy, we’d say you’re better off choosing the Tab 3 8. compared to the pricier Tab 3 10.1, as its smaller size can make it a much more compelling travel companion and the difference in performance is negligible.
Beyond Samsung’s ecosystem, there is a few other available choices as well. The new Nexus 7, retailing for $229 and up, has wireless charging along with a brilliant 1080p display within its favor — along with a very reasonable price. Of course, if you’re wed to the 8-inch form factor (and ready to accept another OS), the 7.9-inch iPad mini’s impressive battery and accessibility App Store could be top reasons to fork out $329-plus. The bottom line is that the two of these choices are a lot more memorable than Samsung’s latest 8-incher, and we’re coming over to expect standout features on tablets in exchange for our dough.