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.
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.
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.
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.