For many intents and purposes, eight inches may be the new sweet position for tablets. We’ve thus far seen several hits with this form factor, the Samsung Galaxy Note 8. perhaps foremost one of them. It makes sense, all things considered; 10.1 inches could be unwieldy for travelers, and 7 inches scrimps somewhat on screen property. Samsung’s leveraged this trend to provide another 8-incher to its 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 aside from those novel dimensions. Still, we’ve found plenty to love with Galaxy Tabs in past times, so is this another strong contender? Meet us beyond the break to learn.
The Tab 3 8. might not have the name recognition of Android Tablet, but just what it comes with in its favor is actually a svelte, lightweight design. At 10.9 ounces (309.1g), it’s comfortable to support one-handed, as well as at just .29 inch (7.36mm) thick, this makes the .31-inch Note 8. look (and feel) positively bloated. Basically we appreciate that Samsung shrunk the bezels about this model, it can do allow it to be tough to grip the slate up top without touching the display; you’ll wish to contain the tablet at the bottom in order to avoid unintentional input. Incidentally, you’ll want to avoid gripping the tablet at the very top so you won’t hit the amount rocker in the upper-right edge.
Slimness aside, the Tab 3 8. also feels more premium in comparison to the Note and also the last-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 with this color — our personal Joseph Volpe refers to this as shade “scab brown” — it’s not as reflective as Samsung’s usual white and black options, meaning the tablet’s plastic build is a touch more pleasing to look at. (In the event you want a more standard color choice, you can always pick the white version.) This textured finish likewise helps mask the fingerprints that will inevitably grease in the tablet’s backing, though you’ll still want to wipe on the tablet regularly. Another sweet touch: the bronzy faux-chrome trim lining the tablet, which adds much more flare compared to the standard silver trim (which you’ll still see in the white Tab 3 8.). This flourish carries onto the Tab’s backside, where the 5-megapixel rear camera is surrounded by exactly the same material.
We’ve just about covered each of the surprises about the Tab 3 8.: port placement is par to the course, as is also the Samsung branding sitting both atop the touchscreen and in the middle of the device’s non-removable back cover. On the front in the device, you’ll find a 1.3-megapixel camera up top, whilst 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, as the power button and volume rocker line the best side. The right edge is additionally the place to find an IR blaster, which lets you use the tab as a handheld remote control for the TV. Samsung’s been pushing this feature on several tablets, such as the new Tab 3 10.1 and the Galaxy Tab 7. Plus from almost a couple of years ago. As always, the headphone jack sits at the top edge, while the micro-USB port sits at the base as well as two mini speaker grilles.
Samsung used a 1,280 x 800 (WXGA) TFT LCD panel for that Tab 3 8., and therefore resolution creates an excellent 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 possess a harder time while using tablet in sunshine; the panel is definitely 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. delivers a few standout features along with the standard suite of Samsung apps. Included in this are Peel Smart Remote, which utilizes the tablet’s IR blaster to manipulate your TV, and the recently introduced Smart Stay for detecting if you look away from the screen and pausing and resuming your videos accordingly. Notably, Smart Stay is definitely the only “Smart” feature so it will be to this tab — most of these features live exclusively in the GS 4, no less than for the time being.
For the most part, Samsung leaves the app-collecting to you personally, only loading within the Tab 3 8. with some pre-selected programs. Such as Dropbox, Flipboard and TripAdvisor combined with the expected parade of Samsung programs (ChatON, Game Hub, Group Play, S Voice, S Planner, WatchON — you understand the drill).
As the Tab’s older sibling, the Tab 3 10.1, packs a 3.2-megapixel rear camera, we get a 5MP shooter to play with here. Many people will appreciate the simple camera UI, which offers a straightforward settings menu about 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, or even entirely vibrant, colors, though images have a tendency to look a bit fuzzy. You’ll desire to avoid shadier, darker environments, since we didn’t have much luck in those conditions. Overall, the shooter can do in a pinch, but you’re significantly better with a standalone point-and-shoot (as if 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 great 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 (when you must) and video chats. We look a bit washed-in our sample shots, but that’s to become expected.
By 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. If we first powered about the tablet, the system was a mess of hiccups such as force closes and several seconds’ delay responding. We weren’t exactly thrilled at the possibilities of utilizing the slate after those first couple of minutes, but luckily the going got smoother soon after. That’s not to say you won’t encounter the occasional stuttering or freezing; since 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 week of testing.
On our battery test — which involves playing a nearby 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 the Galaxy Note 8., the latest Nexus 7 and also the HP Slate 7, though a few 7-inchers like the ASUS MeMo Pad HD 7 and also the Hisense Sero 7 Pro last several hours longer. Of course, you can expect more longevity with a lot more moderate use; we easily got by way of a full day with occasional emailing and light gaming, as an illustration.
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 a bit of a tough sell. Yes, the latter does give you a thinner design and runs Android 4.2 rather than the Note’s Android 4.1, but those advantages only tip the scale a great deal. If you would like stay within Samsung’s galaxy, we’d say you’re happier selecting the Tab 3 8. compared to the pricier Tab 3 10.1, as its smaller size causes it to be a more compelling travel companion and also the difference in performance is negligible.
Outside of Samsung’s ecosystem, you will have a few additional options as well. The brand new Nexus 7, retailing for $229 and up, has wireless charging along with a brilliant 1080p display within its favor — in addition to a really reasonable price. And if you’re wed towards the 8-inch form factor (and accessible to another OS), the 7.9-inch iPad mini’s impressive life of the battery and access to the App Store could be excellent reasons to fork out $329-plus. The end result is that these two options are much more memorable than Samsung’s latest 8-incher, and we’re coming over to expect standout features on tablets to acquire our dough.