With Straits Times giving out a free Galaxy Tab 3 8.0 if you do a three years contract, the Galaxy Tab 3.0 would be invading most Singapore households in the coming months. Personally, I feel that 8 inches is the absolute perfect size for a tablet. I had been using 7 inch tablets (Nook Color and Nexus 7) and I always felt that they were a little cramp. Anything larger is too heavy and I would prefer a laptop instead. Yet, till date, I still haven’t found the perfect tablet.
For design wise, the Tab 3 8.0 looks almost exactly like a blown-up Galaxy S4, replicating the same smooth plastic housing and the overall physical design with the silver band lining the edges. The only design departures are the rear-facing camera moving to the top-left corner, and the TV infrared blaster slotted on the right edge rather than the top.
In typical Samsung fashion, you’ll have a hardware-based home button, flanked on either side by a single capacitive touch button. From left to right, you’ll have the menu button, home button, and a back button. Sadly, hardware-wise, it pales in comparison to the smaller Galaxy S4. It is at best a mid-range tablet, nothing too fanciful. In fact, the specifications would seem to have lost out to last year’s Google Nexus 7. Powered by a dual-core 1.5 GHz Exynos chipset and 1.5 GB of RAM, the Galaxy Tab 3 8.0 runs Android 4.2.2 with Samsung’s custom TouchWiz user interface. The screen is decent, but nothing too shout about either, at only 1280×800 resolution, falling short of the fullHD resolution that are typical on top-range models.
The Galaxy Tab 3 8-inch features S Translator, which provides instant translation through voice recognition and via text on applications including email, text message, and ChatON. This instant translation is possible both from speech-to-text and text-to-speech, ensuring that you can communicate with ease while traveling internationally. In addition, S Travel, the Smart Travel Companion, provides real-time local information in need for travel along with user’s travel paths. Users can get information and make reservation of the places classified in various categories such as Place, Hotel, Tickets, Food and Forum, and more. Also, intuitive features such as Story Album and Group Play also allow users more ways to instantly share and enjoy music, photos, documents, and games with those around them. These are the typical software features provided by Samsung which well, doesn’t really stand out for me.
Price & Availability of the Galaxy Tab 3 8.0
At $668 (LTE) and $468 (WiFi), the Galaxy Tab 3 8.0 would be available from 3 August 2013 at telecommunication operators (Singtel, Starhub, M1), major consumer electronics and IT stores, and Samsung Experience Stores.
It is not the best specification-wise but still a decent tablet, especially if you are looking for something easy to use. The good thing about buying the Tab 3 is that it is consumer-friendly. It has a comprehensive suite of video, music, and photo software, making it ideal for everyday family use and multimedia consumption.
For all its shortcomings, the 8.0 stands out from the competition by simply being an 8-inch tablet. The new Nexus 7 is cheaper, faster and has a better screen, but the 8.0’s larger screen is a unique advantage. It is the optimal size for viewing videos, reading e-Books and magazines. Otherwise, the iPad mini might be more preferred but I would just wait a little longer, for the iPad Mini refresh which should be coming soon.