For all intents and purposes, eight inches may be the new sweet position for tablets. We’ve to date seen a few hits using this type of form factor, the Samsung Galaxy Note 8. perhaps foremost among them. It makes sense, all things considered; 10.1 inches could 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 — but not LTE — support, it’s hardly revolutionary besides those novel dimensions. Still, we’ve found plenty to adore with Galaxy Tabs in past times, so is it one more strong contender? Meet us beyond the break to determine.
The Tab 3 8. might not have the name recognition of Samsung Galaxy Tab 3, but what it comes with in the favor can be a svelte, lightweight design. At 10.9 ounces (309.1g), it’s comfortable to support one-handed, as well as just .29 inch (7.36mm) thick, it makes the .31-inch Note 8. look (and feel) positively bloated. Basically we appreciate that Samsung shrunk the bezels with this model, it can help it become difficult to grip the slate up top without touching the display; you’ll would like to contain the tablet at the bottom to avoid unintentional input. Incidentally, you’ll should also avoid gripping the tablet towards the top therefore you won’t hit the volume rocker on the upper-right edge.
Slimness aside, the Tab 3 8. also feels more premium in comparison to the Note as well as the past-gen Tab 2 line, due to those skinny bezels and a brown-black hue done up in a dimpled pattern. While we’re not huge fans of the color — our very own Joseph Volpe calls this shade “scab brown” — it’s not as reflective as Samsung’s usual white and black options, meaning the tablet’s plastic build is a bit more pleasing to check out. (In the event you prefer a more standard color choice, you could select the white version.) This textured finish likewise helps mask the fingerprints that will inevitably grease up the tablet’s backing, though you’ll still want to wipe down 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 on the white Tab 3 8.). This flourish carries up to the Tab’s backside, where the 5-megapixel rear camera is flanked by exactly the same material.
We’ve just about covered all the surprises around the Tab 3 8.: port placement is par to the course, as it is the Samsung branding sitting both atop the touchscreen and in the middle of the device’s non-removable back cover. In the front of your device, you’ll look for a 1.3-megapixel camera up top, while the physical home button sits underneath the display, flanked by capacitive keys for settings and back. A microSD slot sits around the left edge of the slate, while the power button and volume rocker line the correct side. The correct edge can also be home to an IR blaster, which lets you apply the tab like a remote control for your personal TV. Samsung’s been pushing this feature on several tablets, for example the new Tab 3 10.1 as well as 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 together with two mini speaker grilles.
Samsung used a 1,280 x 800 (WXGA) TFT LCD panel for your Tab 3 8., and this resolution creates an amazing viewing experience. Images and text are perfectly crisp, and colours look reasonably vibrant as well. On top of that, viewing angles are nice and wide, though you’ll have got a harder time utilizing the tablet in direct sunlight; the panel is unquestionably glare-prone.The Ten.1-inch version of the Tab 3 also packs a WXGA resolution, which implies the Tab 3 8.0’s panel features 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. Included in this are Peel Smart Remote, which utilizes the tablet’s IR blaster to regulate your TV, and the recently introduced Smart Stay for detecting once you look out of the screen and pausing and resuming your videos accordingly. Notably, Smart Stay may be the only “Smart” feature so it will be over to this tab — the majority of these bells and whistles live exclusively on the GS 4, at least right now.
In most cases, Samsung leaves the app-collecting for your needs, only loading up the Tab 3 8. with a few pre-selected programs. Included in this 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).
Whilst the Tab’s older sibling, the Tab 3 10.1, packs a 3.2-megapixel rear camera, we have a 5MP shooter to try out with here. Many individuals will appreciate the easy camera UI, which offers a straightforward settings menu about the right-hand side in 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 usually 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 will work in the pinch, but you’re far better 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. On the upside, audio came through loud and clear, with limited background interference. Finally, there’s a 1.3MP front camera, that is adequate for selfies (should you must) and video chats. We look a bit 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. If we first powered on the tablet, the program had been a mess of hiccups for example force closes and plenty of seconds’ delay in reaction. We weren’t exactly thrilled at the prospect of utilizing the slate after those first few minutes, but luckily the going got smoother soon after. That’s not saying you won’t encounter the occasional stuttering or freezing; while we found with the Tab 3 10.1, everyday performance is frustratingly inconsistent. Your camera app seems especially vulnerable to upsetting the tab; it force-closed on us at least five times during our few days of testing.
On our battery test — which involves playing a neighborhood 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 new Nexus 7 as well as the HP Slate 7, though several 7-inchers just like the ASUS MeMo Pad HD 7 and the Hisense Sero 7 Pro last a few hours longer. Of course, you could expect more longevity with additional moderate use; we easily got through a full day with occasional emailing and lightweight gaming, as an example.
When you are able take home the Galaxy Note 8. having its superior performance and S Pen just for $100 more, the Tab 3 8. is somewhat 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 whole lot. If you wish to stay within Samsung’s galaxy, we’d say you’re better off opting for the Tab 3 8. compared to the pricier Tab 3 10.1, as the smaller size causes it to be a far more compelling travel companion and the difference in performance is negligible.
Beyond Samsung’s ecosystem, you do have a few other choices at the same time. The latest Nexus 7, retailing for $229 and up, has wireless charging as well as a brilliant 1080p display in its favor — not to mention an extremely reasonable price. And in case you’re wed for the 8-inch form factor (and ready to accept another OS), the 7.9-inch iPad mini’s impressive battery life and access to the App Store might be top reasons to fork out $329-plus. The bottom line is that both of these choices are far more memorable than Samsung’s latest 8-incher, and we’re coming over to expect standout features on tablets to acquire our dough.