Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 8.0 review: Middle of everywhere

GSMArena team, 3 July 2013.
Pages: 1234567891011

Tags: Samsung, Android

Introduction

In their third generation, the Galaxy Tab series by Samsung are finally coming to terms with playing second fiddle to the Notes. The S-Pen and the processing power are, at this point, the main dividing line between mainstream and premium, but the gap will probably widen. If you're after latest-generation chipsets and full-HD screens, the Note line of tablets is by far the safer bet.

The Galaxy Tabs on the other hand are shaping up as the sensible, value choice. And by the way, having two distinct product lines covering the midrange and the premium segment, is perhaps helping Samsung maintain a relatively strong position despite the fact that the Koreans are clearly not doing as well in the tablet space as in the smartphone realm.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 8.0 Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 8.0 Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 8.0 Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 8.0
Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 8.0 official pictures

Now, it's not the race to the top the Galaxy Tab 3 tablets are interested in but it isn't the race to the bottom either. Those three seem to make sense in the middle - and no other than the middle sibling stands out from the rest.

The Galaxy Tab 3 lineup comes in three screen sizes - 7.0, 8.0 and 10.1 inch. It was exactly the eight-inch version that was missing in the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 series. The first generation didn't have one either, there was a 7.7" AMOLED sporting slate there instead and an 8.9" LTE-enabled version.

The Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 8.0 conveniently uses the momentum of the eight-inch Note and, just as conveniently, is giving Samsung the chance to double-mark the iPad mini. Let's start with the rundown.

Key features

  • 8.0" 16M-color LCD capacitive touchscreen of 800 x 1280 pixel resolution
  • Android OS v4.2.2 with TouchWiz
  • 1.5 GHz dual-core Cortex-A9 CPU, Mali-400MP GPU, 2GB of RAM, Exynos 4212 Dual chipset
  • 5 MP autofocus camera with face detection
  • 720p HD video recording at 30fps
  • 16/32GB internal storage, microSD slot
  • Dual-band Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n support
  • GPS with A-GPS connectivity; GLONASS support, Digital compass
  • Stereo Bluetooth v4.0
  • microUSB port with USB host and TV-out (1080p) support, MHL, charging
  • Accelerometer, gyroscope and proximity sensor
  • Infrared port
  • Standard 3.5 mm audio jack
  • Very slim at only 8mm
  • 1.3MP secondary video-call camera
  • Document editor and file manager comes preinstalled
  • Extremely rich video and audio codec support
  • 4450 mAh battery

Main disadvantages

  • Speakers at the bottom (portrait), rather than front-facing on either side
  • No NFC support
  • No FM Radio
  • Questionable still image and video recording quality

The Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 8.0 is a cheaper, lighter and thinner version of the Galaxy Note 8.0 that has given up two processor cores and the S-Pen functionality. Still even with a dual-core Exynos chipset the Tab 3 8.0 has a decent amount of power so the cost cutting might not cost too much in terms of user experience. The slate runs the latest Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean skinned with Samsung's TouchWiz, too, so you will be getting plenty of exclusive software goodies to make up for it.

Samsung is probably hoping that its eight-inch tablet will stand out among the seven-inchers, which makers, big and small, have been bringing to the market in droves. The good thing is the Galaxy Tab 3 8.0 makes a very positive visual impression - the slim bezels and the great screen to surface ratio are a nice advantage over the 8" Note.

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Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 8.0 live pictures

Overall, it may be a modestly equipped tablet but one that takes portability to heart - the quality build and genuinely compact size are a great place for the new Galaxy Tab 3 8.0 to start. The tablet comes in three versions, suited to every connectivity taste. The one we're about to review is the Wi-Fi-only variant, but 3G and LTE models are be offered too, with full voice and data support at that.

Anyway, there'll be little on the outside (other than a side-mounted SIM slot) to set the different versions apart. Follow us on the next page, where we have a close look at the design and build.

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