For all intents and purposes, eight inches is the new sweet position for tablets. We’ve so far seen a couple of hits using this type of form factor, the Samsung Galaxy Note 8. perhaps foremost and this includes. It seems sensible, all things considered; 10.1 inches might be unwieldy for travelers, and 7 inches scrimps a lttle bit on screen real-estate. Samsung’s leveraged this trend to incorporate another 8-incher to the lineup: the $300 Galaxy Tab 3 8.. With 16GB of built in storage, a dual-core processor and WiFi — however, not LTE — support, it’s hardly revolutionary in addition to those novel dimensions. Still, we’ve found plenty to enjoy with Galaxy Tabs previously, so could this be yet another strong contender? Meet us beyond the break to find out.
The Tab 3 8. may not have the name recognition of Galaxy Tab 3, but exactly what it is equipped with in the favor is really a svelte, lightweight design. At 10.9 ounces (309.1g), it’s comfortable to hold one-handed, and also at just .29 inch (7.36mm) thick, it will make the .31-inch Note 8. look (and feel) positively bloated. While we appreciate that Samsung shrunk the bezels on this model, it can ensure it is challenging to grip the slate up top without touching the display; you’ll desire to hold the tablet in the bottom to prevent unintentional input. Incidentally, you’ll should also avoid gripping the tablet at the top so you won’t hit the volume rocker in the upper-right edge.
Slimness aside, the Tab 3 8. also feels more premium than the Note and in many cases the very last-gen Tab 2 line, due to those skinny bezels and a brown-black hue done up inside a 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 bit more pleasing to look at. (Should you want a more standard color choice, you could choose the white version.) This textured finish also helps mask the fingerprints which will inevitably grease the tablet’s backing, though you’ll still would like to wipe on 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, where 5-megapixel rear camera is flanked by exactly the same material.
We’ve practically covered all the surprises about the Tab 3 8.: port placement is par for the course, as they are 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 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 on the left edge of the slate, even though the power button and volume rocker line the best side. The best edge can also be house to an IR blaster, which lets you apply the tab as being a handheld control to your 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 two years ago. As always, 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., which resolution creates an excellent viewing experience. Images and text are perfectly crisp, and colors look reasonably vibrant as well. On top of that, viewing angles are nice wide, though you’ll have a harder time while using tablet in sunlight; the panel is unquestionably glare-prone.The Ten.1-inch version in the Tab 3 also packs a WXGA resolution, meaning 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. offers a few standout features in addition to the standard suite of Samsung apps. Some examples are Peel Smart Remote, which utilizes the tablet’s IR blaster to manipulate your TV, as well as the recently introduced Smart Stay for detecting if you look out of the screen and pausing and resuming your videos accordingly. Notably, Smart Stay will be the only “Smart” feature to really make it onto this tab — most of these special features live exclusively around the GS 4, at the very least for now.
For the most part, Samsung leaves the app-collecting for your needs, only loading in the Tab 3 8. with a number of pre-selected programs. These include 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).
While the Tab’s older sibling, the Tab 3 10.1, packs a 3.2-megapixel rear camera, we receive a 5MP shooter to try out with here. Many individuals will appreciate the simple camera UI, that offers a straightforward settings menu on the right-hand side in the screen. Your 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 fuzzy. You’ll desire to avoid shadier, darker environments, while we didn’t have much luck in those conditions. Overall, the shooter is going to do in a pinch, but you’re a lot 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 fantastic 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 happens to be adequate for selfies (when you must) and video chats. We look a bit washed-in our sample shots, but that’s to be expected.
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. When we first powered around the tablet, the machine was really a mess of hiccups like force closes and many seconds’ delay in response. We weren’t exactly thrilled at the possibilities of using the slate after those first few minutes, but luckily the going got smoother soon 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 camera app seems especially at risk of upsetting the tab; it force-closed on us no less than five times during our couple of days of testing.
On our battery test — that involves playing a local video on loop with WiFi on and brightness set to 50 % — 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 a couple of 7-inchers like the ASUS MeMo Pad HD 7 along with the Hisense Sero 7 Pro last several hours longer. Of course, you can anticipate more longevity with additional moderate use; we easily got by way of a full day with occasional emailing and light gaming, for instance.
When you are able take home the Galaxy Note 8. having its superior performance and S Pen for only $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 rather than the Note’s Android 4.1, but those advantages only tip the scale so much. If you want to stay within Samsung’s galaxy, we’d say you’re happier opting for the Tab 3 8. compared to pricier Tab 3 10.1, as its smaller size causes it to be a more compelling travel companion along with the difference in performance is negligible.
Outside Samsung’s ecosystem, there is a few other available choices also. The new Nexus 7, retailing for $229 and up, has wireless charging plus a brilliant 1080p display within its favor — not to mention a very reasonable price. Of course, if you’re wed towards the 8-inch form factor (and available to another OS), the 7.9-inch iPad mini’s impressive battery life and accessibility App Store could be top reasons to pay out $329-plus. In essence that both these choices are significantly more memorable than Samsung’s latest 8-incher, and we’re coming over to expect standout features on tablets in return for our dough.