For all intents and purposes, eight inches is the new sweet location for tablets. We’ve to date seen several hits using this form factor, the Samsung Galaxy Note 8. perhaps foremost and this includes. It seems sensible, in fact; 10.1 inches might be unwieldy for travelers, and 7 inches scrimps a lttle bit on-screen real estate property. 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 — although 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 that this another strong contender? Meet us beyond the break to find out.
The Tab 3 8. may not have the name recognition of Samsung Galaxy Tab 3, but exactly what it does have in the favor can be a svelte, lightweight design. At 10.9 ounces (309.1g), it’s comfortable to carry one-handed, as well as 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 allow it to be challenging to grip the slate up top without touching the display; you’ll desire to retain the tablet in the bottom in order to avoid unintentional input. Incidentally, you’ll also want to avoid gripping the tablet at the top so that you won’t hit the quantity rocker about the upper-right edge.
Slimness aside, the Tab 3 8. also feels more premium compared to the Note as well as the final-gen Tab 2 line, due to those skinny bezels along with a brown-black hue done up in a dimpled pattern. While we’re not huge fans of this color — our very own Joseph Volpe calls this shade “scab brown” — it’s less reflective as Samsung’s usual white and black options, meaning the tablet’s plastic build is a touch more pleasing to look at. (Should you really want a more standard color choice, you could always choose the white version.) This textured finish can also help mask the fingerprints that can inevitably grease within the tablet’s backing, though you’ll still want to wipe along the tablet regularly. Another sweet touch: the bronzy faux-chrome trim lining the tablet, which adds a little bit more flare in comparison to the standard silver trim (which you’ll still see in the white Tab 3 8.). This flourish carries over to the Tab’s backside, in which the 5-megapixel rear camera is flanked by exactly the same material.
We’ve nearly covered each of the surprises around the Tab 3 8.: port placement is par to the course, as they are the Samsung branding sitting both atop the touchscreen and in the midst of the device’s non-removable back cover. In the front from the device, you’ll locate a 1.3-megapixel camera up top, whilst the physical home button sits below the display, flanked by capacitive keys for settings and back. A microSD slot sits in the left fringe of the slate, while the power button and volume rocker line the correct side. The correct edge is additionally the place to find an IR blaster, which lets you use the tab as a remote control for your TV. Samsung’s been pushing this feature on several tablets, such as the new Tab 3 10.1 as well as the Galaxy Tab 7. Plus from almost 2 yrs ago. As usual, the headphone jack sits on top edge, even though the micro-USB port sits on the bottom as well as two mini speaker grilles.
Samsung used a 1,280 x 800 (WXGA) TFT LCD panel for the Tab 3 8., and that resolution creates a wonderful viewing experience. Images and text are perfectly crisp, and colours look reasonably vibrant too. On top of that, viewing angles are nice wide, though you’ll use a harder time making use of the tablet in direct sunlight; the panel is without a doubt glare-prone.The 10.1-inch version of 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. supplies 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, along with the recently introduced Smart Stay for detecting once you look from the screen and pausing and resuming your videos accordingly. Notably, Smart Stay is the only “Smart” feature to make it onto this tab — many of these bells and whistles live exclusively in the GS 4, no less than for the present time.
Most of the time, Samsung leaves the app-collecting for your needs, only loading in the Tab 3 8. with a few 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).
While the Tab’s older sibling, the Tab 3 10.1, packs a 3.2-megapixel rear camera, we obtain a 5MP shooter to play with here. Lots of people will appreciate the simple camera UI, that provides a straightforward settings menu in the right-hand side of the screen. The digital camera app offers you several modes for snapping pics: the self-explanatory Auto, Beauty Face, Night, Panorama, Sports and Sound & Shot. Our sample shots deliver accurate, or else entirely vibrant, colors, though images tend to look a little bit fuzzy. You’ll desire to avoid shadier, darker environments, when we didn’t have much luck in those conditions. Overall, the shooter will do in the pinch, but you’re a lot better with a standalone point-and-shoot (as if you didn’t know 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. About 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 (should you must) and video chats. We look a bit washed-outside 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 no match for slates running higher-end silicon. Once we first powered on the tablet, the device was a mess of hiccups like force closes and plenty of seconds’ delay responding. We weren’t exactly thrilled at the prospect of utilizing the slate after those first couple of minutes, but luckily the going got smoother shortly after. That’s not saying you won’t encounter the occasional stuttering or freezing; as 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 at the very least five times during our few days of testing.
On our battery test — which involves playing a nearby 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 using the Galaxy Note 8., the newest Nexus 7 and also the HP Slate 7, though a couple of 7-inchers much like the ASUS MeMo Pad HD 7 along with the Hisense Sero 7 Pro last a few hours longer. Needless to say, you could expect more longevity with a lot more moderate use; we easily got using a full day with occasional emailing and lightweight gaming, as an example.
When you are able take home the Galaxy Note 8. featuring its superior performance and S Pen only 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 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 selecting the Tab 3 8. than the pricier Tab 3 10.1, as its smaller size causes it to be a much more compelling travel companion and also the difference in performance is negligible.
Outside Samsung’s ecosystem, you 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 really reasonable price. Of course, if you’re wed to 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 good reasons to fork out $329-plus. The end result is that these two choices a lot more memorable than Samsung’s latest 8-incher, and we’re arriving at expect standout features on tablets to acquire our dough.