For all intents and purposes, eight inches will be the new sweet location for tablets. We’ve so far seen several hits using this type of form factor, the Samsung Galaxy Note 8. perhaps foremost among them. It makes sense, in the end; 10.1 inches may be unwieldy for travelers, and 7 inches scrimps somewhat on screen property. Samsung’s leveraged this trend to add 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 apart from those novel dimensions. Still, we’ve found plenty to love with Galaxy Tabs before, so could this be an additional strong contender? Meet us beyond the break to learn.
The Tab 3 8. may not have the name recognition of Galaxy Tab 3, but exactly what it comes with in the favor is 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 can make the .31-inch Note 8. look (and feel) positively bloated. Basically we appreciate that Samsung shrunk the bezels with this model, it will ensure it is tough to grip the slate up top without touching the display; you’ll wish to retain the tablet at the end to avoid unintentional input. Incidentally, you’ll also want to avoid gripping the tablet at the very top which means you won’t hit the volume rocker on the upper-right edge.
Slimness aside, the Tab 3 8. also feels more premium than the Note and also the final-gen Tab 2 line, because of 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 personal 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. (In case you should you prefer a more standard color choice, you could pick the white version.) This textured finish also helps mask the fingerprints that will inevitably grease 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 bit more flare in comparison to the standard silver trim (which you’ll still see on the white Tab 3 8.). This flourish carries over to the Tab’s backside, the location where the 5-megapixel rear camera is surrounded by the identical material.
We’ve nearly covered all of the surprises in the Tab 3 8.: port placement is par for that course, as is the Samsung branding sitting both atop the touchscreen and in the middle of the device’s non-removable back cover. On the front from the device, you’ll look for 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 fringe of the slate, even though the power button and volume rocker line the right side. The best edge is additionally the place to find an IR blaster, which lets you use the tab as being a remote device for your personal TV. Samsung’s been pushing this feature on several tablets, including the new Tab 3 10.1 as well as the Galaxy Tab 7. Plus from almost two years ago. As usual, the headphone jack sits at the top edge, as 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 to the Tab 3 8., and this resolution makes for an excellent viewing experience. Images and text are perfectly crisp, and colors look reasonably vibrant as well. Additionally, viewing angles are nice and wide, though you’ll use a harder time while using tablet in sunlight; the panel is definitely glare-prone.The Ten.1-inch version from 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 together with the standard suite of Samsung apps. Such as Peel Smart Remote, which utilizes the tablet’s IR blaster to manipulate your TV, and the recently introduced Smart Stay for detecting when you look outside the screen and pausing and resuming your videos accordingly. Notably, Smart Stay is the only “Smart” feature making it over to this tab — most of these bells and whistles live exclusively around the GS 4, at least right now.
For the most part, Samsung leaves the app-collecting to you personally, only loading within the Tab 3 8. with some pre-selected programs. Some examples are Dropbox, Flipboard and TripAdvisor along with the expected parade of Samsung programs (ChatON, Game Hub, Group Play, S Voice, S Planner, WatchON — you understand the drill).
Even though the Tab’s older sibling, the Tab 3 10.1, packs a 3.2-megapixel rear camera, we receive a 5MP shooter to experience with here. Lots of people will appreciate the straightforward camera UI, that provides a straightforward settings menu about the right-hand side in the screen. The digital 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, if not entirely vibrant, colors, though images tend to look a bit fuzzy. You’ll want to avoid shadier, darker environments, while we didn’t have much luck in those conditions. Overall, the shooter can do inside a pinch, but you’re a lot better off with a standalone point-and-shoot (like 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 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 (in the event you must) and video chats. We look a little washed-outside in our sample shots, but that’s to be 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 on the tablet, the device was actually a mess of hiccups for example force closes and lots of seconds’ delay in reaction. We weren’t exactly thrilled at the possibilities of using the slate after those initial minutes, but luckily the going got smoother right after. That’s not to say 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 susceptible to upsetting the tab; it force-closed on us at least 5 times during our week of testing.
On our battery test — which involves playing a nearby 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 new Nexus 7 along with the HP Slate 7, though several 7-inchers much like the ASUS MeMo Pad HD 7 along with the Hisense Sero 7 Pro last a few hours longer. Of course, you could expect more longevity with a lot more moderate use; we easily got through a full day with occasional emailing and light gaming, for instance.
When you can take home the Galaxy Note 8. with 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 provide a thinner design and runs Android 4.2 rather than Note’s Android 4.1, but those advantages only tip the scale a whole lot. In order to stay within Samsung’s galaxy, we’d say you’re more satisfied opting for the Tab 3 8. compared to pricier Tab 3 10.1, as its smaller size makes it an even more compelling travel companion and also the difference in performance is negligible.
Beyond Samsung’s ecosystem, you will have a few additional options as well. The newest Nexus 7, retailing for $229 or higher, has wireless charging plus a brilliant 1080p display in their favor — not forgetting a very reasonable price. And if you’re wed to the 8-inch form factor (and open to another OS), the 7.9-inch iPad mini’s impressive life of the battery and access to the App Store may be excellent reasons to pay out $329-plus. In essence that both these options are a lot more memorable than Samsung’s latest 8-incher, and we’re visiting expect standout features on tablets to acquire our dough.