For many intents and purposes, eight inches is definitely the new sweet destination for tablets. We’ve thus far seen a couple of hits using this form factor, the Samsung Galaxy Note 8. perhaps foremost and this includes. It seems sensible, all things considered; 10.1 inches can be unwieldy for travelers, and 7 inches scrimps a little on screen real estate. 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 — however, not LTE — support, it’s hardly revolutionary besides those novel dimensions. Still, we’ve found plenty to enjoy with Galaxy Tabs in the past, so is this one more strong contender? Meet us beyond the break to discover.
The Tab 3 8. may not have the name recognition of Samsung Galaxy Tab 3, but what it really does have in the favor is actually a svelte, lightweight design. At 10.9 ounces (309.1g), it’s comfortable to hold one-handed, as well as just .29 inch (7.36mm) thick, it makes the .31-inch Note 8. look (and feel) positively bloated. While we appreciate that Samsung shrunk the bezels about this model, it does help it become challenging to grip the slate up top without touching the display; you’ll would like to support the tablet in the bottom to protect yourself from unintentional input. Incidentally, you’ll also want to avoid gripping the tablet towards 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 compared to Note as well as the last-gen Tab 2 line, because of those skinny bezels as well as a brown-black hue done up inside a dimpled pattern. While we’re not huge fans on this 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 might be a more pleasing to think about. (In case you want a more standard color choice, you can always choose the white version.) This textured finish can also help mask the fingerprints which will inevitably grease up the tablet’s backing, though you’ll still would like to wipe along the tablet regularly. Another sweet touch: the bronzy faux-chrome trim lining the tablet, which adds much more flare compared to standard silver trim (which you’ll still see about the white Tab 3 8.). This flourish carries to the Tab’s backside, where 5-megapixel rear camera is surrounded by the same material.
We’ve nearly covered all the surprises in the Tab 3 8.: port placement is par for your course, as is also the Samsung branding sitting both atop the touchscreen and during the device’s non-removable back cover. About the front of your device, you’ll look for 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 right side. The correct edge is also home to an IR blaster, which lets you use the tab like a remote device for the TV. Samsung’s been pushing this feature on several tablets, like the new Tab 3 10.1 along with the Galaxy Tab 7. Plus from almost two years ago. As usual, the headphone jack sits on top edge, whilst 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 this resolution results in a wonderful viewing experience. Images and text are perfectly crisp, and colors look reasonably vibrant as well. In addition to that, viewing angles are nice wide, though you’ll have a harder time making use of the tablet in sunlight; the panel is certainly 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 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 in addition to the standard suite of Samsung apps. Some examples are Peel Smart Remote, which utilizes the tablet’s IR blaster to manage your TV, and also the recently introduced Smart Stay for detecting whenever you look out of the screen and pausing and resuming your videos accordingly. Notably, Smart Stay is the only “Smart” feature to make it onto this tab — the majority of these bells and whistles live exclusively around the GS 4, a minimum of for the present time.
For the most part, Samsung leaves the app-collecting to you, only loading the Tab 3 8. with a few 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 already know the drill).
Even though the Tab’s older sibling, the Tab 3 10.1, packs a 3.2-megapixel rear camera, we have a 5MP shooter to experience with here. Lots of people will appreciate the basic camera UI, which offers a straightforward settings menu about the right-hand side of the screen. Your 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, if not entirely vibrant, colors, though images have a tendency to look a little fuzzy. You’ll desire to avoid shadier, darker environments, as we didn’t have much luck in those conditions. Overall, the shooter will work in the pinch, but you’re far better 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 fantastic 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 (when you must) and video chats. We look somewhat washed-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. If we first powered around the tablet, the device was a mess of hiccups including force closes and lots of seconds’ delay responding. We weren’t exactly thrilled at the possibilities of utilizing the slate after those initial minutes, but luckily the going got smoother immediately after. That’s not to imply 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 at risk of upsetting the tab; it force-closed on us at the very least five times during our day or two of testing.
On our battery test — that requires playing a local 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 the HP Slate 7, though a couple of 7-inchers like the ASUS MeMo Pad HD 7 and also the Hisense Sero 7 Pro last several hours longer. Of course, you may expect more longevity with additional moderate use; we easily got using a full day with occasional emailing and lightweight gaming, for example.
When you are able take home the Galaxy Note 8. with its superior performance and S Pen for only $100 more, the Tab 3 8. is somewhat of a tough sell. Yes, the second does give you 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 want to stay within Samsung’s galaxy, we’d say you’re more well off going for the Tab 3 8. in comparison to the pricier Tab 3 10.1, as its smaller size causes it to be a more compelling travel companion as well as the difference in performance is negligible.
Outside Samsung’s ecosystem, you will have a few other available choices too. The latest Nexus 7, retailing for $229 and up, has wireless charging along with a brilliant 1080p display in their favor — not to mention an extremely reasonable price. And if you’re wed for the 8-inch form factor (and available to another OS), the 7.9-inch iPad mini’s impressive battery lifespan and accessibility App Store might be top reasons to spend $329-plus. The bottom line is that the two of these options are much more memorable than Samsung’s latest 8-incher, and we’re coming over to expect standout features on tablets in exchange for our dough.