Updated Review - July 10, 2015 (ONE YEARS of ownership): So I have found that this tablet CONTINUES to exceed all of my expectations and more! In July 2014, it dated OTA to Kit Kat 4.2.2 (Kernel version date June 17, 2014). Now this tablet is more up to date! As a proud owner of this tablet for TWO YEARS, I will say that it still works like new. No, it does not have Lollipop, but I am happy with the peppy performance of this tablet! So, if you are looking a high quality eight inch tablet, this may very well be the once for you! So below, I am listing the many Pros I personally have found while using this tablet:
+ Overall Speed And Performance and Android OS:
With the fast 1.5 GHz processor, I have found this to be a very fast tablet and for me, all has been running so smoothly on this tablet. Love that this tablet has 16GB Internal memory.
The Android OS (as of July 3, 2014) has 4.2.2 Kit Kat and inside it has Samsung TouchWiz overlay which is beautiful and user friendly. In fact, if you have used a Samsung Galaxy device as S2, S3, S4 or other Galaxy type, you will love the OS and the Samsung Touch Wiz interface on this. Perhaps you have never used Android OS or even a Samsung device? No worries, as this tablet is easy to learn in my opinion.
+ About the new Kit Kat Update (Coming soon to Tab 3 8.0 Tablets): Some of you may be want this update automatically, some of you may not, so if you have NOT decided about upgrading then you are going to need to STOP the tablet or phone from AUTO UPGRADING for you! It will try to auto update to the new OS as soon as it rolls out from the factory, your provider etc.... That is unless you decide to stop this and do the upgrade when you are ready MANUALLY. (Ask me more about this in the comments if you need to do so)...
+ SCREEN SIZE IS JUST RIGHT SIZE - VERY CLEAR/SHARP SCREEN FOR READING eBooks or VIEWING WEBPAGES. (Screen in my opinion is large and has superb clarity/clearness for reading eBooks and webpages as the print is so readable as I find it VERY CLEAR/VIVID. This is a great in-between size tablet to use. And I found that the screen was large enough to read webpages easily or watch videos. The screen has a PPI (pixels per inch) of 189, which renders a crisp and clear screen. **There is a new selection under Settings and Display, under Font, an option to Increase legibility of fonts. I check marked this and noticed that the fonts/letters on the screen, internet and more are very crystal clear. Also, there is in Settings/Display - Screen Mode, with choices of Dynamic, Standard and Movie. And I selected Dynamic and found that the colors are super vivid and very colorful.
+ EXTERNAL SLOT FOR MICRO SD CARD - It is said that you can add a 64gb SD card for personal files. In my case, I have a 32GB SD card and still have plenty of room after my songs, files and photos are added. (A 64 GB card has different formatting and I have not used this size, just the 32GB) About SD Cards: Keep in mind where External SD cards are concerned: They are JUST for your personal files: music, videos, photos, and other files. When you install apps from the Playstore or other sources, they store either in INTERNAL SD Card area or the main internal area. This is the law of the land where Android is concerned and ALL newer Android devices (including Samsung) work this way where storing your downloaded apps are concerned.
+ WiFi Connecting/Speed of WiFi - Setting up WiFi and keeping a great signal and long distance WiFi strong signal is one superb feature on this tablet. So I compared the signal strength with the Tab 3 vs my regular Android phone. The Tab 3 had about 35% stronger signal then the phone. I believe it is because there is a very strong WiFi receiver in this tablet. At home or on the road, I am able to connect to many free WiFi hotspots very easily with great signal strength.
****Do you need to know how to get on the internet when you are out of a WiFi range? Ask me about this as I have written an article on how to do this using a MiFi type of service from different service providers (please ask in the comment section for more info).
+ Internet/Watching Online Flash Videos: After I installed Adobe Archived Flash I can watch internet (flash) videos directly.Because this is archived flash it does take a little longer to load flash videos. If you need instructions on how to do this, please ask in the comments and I will answer this or any questions.
*Viewing of webpages in browsers on this tablet: Reading/viewing a webpage is OUTSTANDING using this tablet as the fonts, pictures and videos are very crisp and clear as well as the colors are very vivid.
+ Reading/Creating/Editing Word, Excel, Text Files and much more on this tablet: This comes with a OK app for reading Office documents, however, I prefer Kingsoft Office which is a free app from Playstore. It is the best I have ever tried and I am very picky about so called Office programs. It is very compatible with MS Office as it reads, edits and creates Office files and reads PDF files, and it has more features of any other Android Office program that I tried. This app is a MUST have for tablet owners in my opinion.
+ Home Videos - The stock video player is OK and plays MOST home videos, however, may I suggest QQ Player, this is a free App from Playstore and it plays every home video I tried). Also MX Video Player is very good, however, I prefer QQ Player.
+ Music Player/Sound Quality - Stock player has clear sound through the outside "speakers" are really OK. Better with good quality headphones or a BlueTooth Speaker. To sync easily with Windows Media Player may I suggest the Playstore app free called WinAmp for the tablet as it is very highly rated and the sound is SUPERB!
+ Battery Life- Excellent, so far, however, this is what I have found: When I am on WiFi, I go to the websites I need and then as soon as I am done (reasonable time), I exit the browser (or YouTube, etc) and TURN OFF WiFi. However, I run my brightness at 100%. So this seems to keep the battery going longer. *In addition, I have found that my battery life is improved over the Tab 2 7.0 and the Tab 2 10.1.
+ Kindle App - I installed the Kindle App and synced my Kindle books. Began to read a new book and was very impressed with how exceptional the book rendered using this Tab 3 8.0. Very impressed as the text was very crisp and clear.
+ Camera - The 5MP rear camera on this Tab 3 8.0 has improved over the Tab 2 line. There is no flash on the camera, yet there are several helpful modes to enhance your shots. For me, I use Auto mode. And I tried the camera and video and was happily surprised in the quality - it is pretty good. However, I will continue to use my regular camera for serious picture taking and videos.
+ OTG USB Compatible - You can add an optional OTG (On the Go Micro USB adapter cable to the Micro port for copying files to your flash drive and from your flash drive to the Tab 3). I already had one from my Note I and it works great on the Tab. You can also plug in a mouse, I tried it and it worked. *Note that portable external hard drives and portable DVD/CD drives will not work using OTG in the Tab 3 as I discovered when I tried to read my hard disks via OTG in the Tab 3. However, it is still good to know that you can easily plug in your flash drive and copy files to the Tab 3 and from Tab 3 to PC--what a time-saver.
+ Bluetooth Speed and Performance - The Bluetooth paired quickly with several devices as well as Bluetooth keyboards, Bluetooth Stereo Headsets, Bluetooth speakers (all I tried) and copied files at a great rate of speed. SUPERB and FAST Bluetooth.
+ Screenshots: There is no ICON for screenshots, however, to take a quick screenshot, hold down home button and power button (at the same time), and then it will take a beautiful screenshot. You can find your screenshot in MyFiles, Internal Storage, Pictures, and Screenshots. I use this sometimes for a map on the internet it saves time and this way it is SAVED for later viewing when I am offline.
+ MICRO USB PORT - No more having to use the old type of (non standard) USB charger/cable that the Tab 2 line had. However, this tablet requires a 2 AMP USB Charger to charge the tablet so it will not charge on a standard 1 AMP (phone charger) as I tried and only the 2 AMP one will work. This tablet uses the same Micro 2 AMP type of chargers that the Galaxy Note 8 uses.
CON (Just ONE however, NOT the fault of Samsung):
- Just one con/concern: New Adobe Flash is not supported, however, I found that archived flash gets the online videos to play and they even play in the stock browser. So I downloaded the older archived flash which gives me the ability to view many internet videos. If you need instructions, just ask me in the comments and I will answer.
* Bottom line/My Suggestions to You: Would I buy this WiFi only model over again? Yes because this Tab 3 8.0 is lightweight, easy to hold in ONE HAND, and it just as easy to hold as the Tab 3 7 inch, yet has so much more screen real-estate than the Tab 3 7 inch and clarity etc, for just 90 dollars more, this is a MUCH BETTER BUY! And I have found because the screen is so crisp and clear, it reads internet pages CLEARER, Videos are larger and much clearer to see etc. And the 8 inch is so easy to pop into a briefcase, bag or purse etc than say a large 10 inch is...if you travel and want to go light, may I suggest this Tab 3 8.0 to you!
Also, since I am somewhat of a techie person, I will be glad to answer any questions that you may have. Just ask in the comment section and I will answer promptly.
on July 7, 2013
So it's been three days since I got my Galaxy Tab 3 8" (my brother is a manager at BestBuy so I got it early if you are wondering) and before I start my review, I just want to say that I used to own an iPhone 5 but ditched it for a Galaxy S4 and now I'm ditching my iPad Mini for a Galaxy Tab 3 8". I've literally had enough of Apple products and will not be buying their products any longer. I have become an Android fanboy and literally love all the products that Samsung makes.
The Galaxy Tab 3 8.0 has the same look and feel as the Galaxy S4 but it's just bigger which I have no problems with. My brand new Galaxy Tab 3 8" makes my iPad Mini look like a joke in everything that I have tested so far, from battery life, web browsing to 3D games etc. The Galaxy Tab 3 8.0 comes with the latest version of Android which is Android 4.2.2 (Jelly Bean) and it is liquid smooth. I haven't experienced a single slow down so far and everything seems to open very quickly. It also has a very fast CPU (Mali 400) that runs at 1.5Ghz and handles 3D games like a champ. I have listed some things below that I love about the Tab 3 8.0.
These are some of the things that I love about the Galaxy Tab 3 8.0:
+Build Quality / Design:
If you are familiar with Samsung's devices and have no problems with their glossy plastic design, then you will love the design of Tab 3 8.0 as well. The Galaxy Tab 3 8.0 has a nice thin bezel that's thinner than its predecessor and also better looking as well. While my iPad mini was made of aluminum, Samsung continues to use the same glossy plastic with their devices and this isn't a bad thing by any means because my Galaxy S4 is plastic as well and I absolutely love it. The Galaxy Tab 3 8.0 is a bit taller than my iPad Mini but also a bit narrower and both of them are extremely light, around 310g.
The web browsing experience is awesome on the Tab 3 8.0, everything looks sharp and loads quickly. I'm not using the stock browsing app because it lacks many features that I use on a daily basis but instead, I'm using Chrome and Dolphin Browser. I'm also not using the stock Samsung keyboard because it doesn't have the swipe feature that I use quite a lot so I downloaded the official Google keyboard from the Play Store and I love it. I highly recommend you guys try the official Google Keyboard if you want a clean and slick keyboard that's not cluttered with a lot of useless stuff.
The Galaxy Tab 3 8.0 is the perfect size for me because tablets that are usually 7 inches are too small (I have large hands btw) and tablets that are over 9 inches are sort of big and this makes the Tab 3 8.0 the sweet spot for me. The Galaxy Tab 3 8.0 has a nice 8 inches screen that makes everything looks sharp with vivid colors when watching HD videos or playing games. The colors and viewing angles are fantastic, I have absolutely no complaints. The screen resolution and ppi is also much higher on the Galaxy Tab 3 8.0 (1280x800, 189ppi) than the iPad mini (1024x768, 162ppi) so this makes everything look sharper on the Tab 3 8.0. The iPad Mini has an aspect ratio of 4:3 while my Tab 3 8.0 has an aspect ratio of 16:10.
It ships with the most up to date version of Android, Android 4.2.2 (Jelly Bean) which is the fastest Android version yet. Everything is liquid smooth, from web browsing, watching HD videos, recording videos and playing intensive 3D games. Samsung has added many new features to TouchWiz which is great but I'm not really a fan of TouchWiz. I usually just disable all the things that I don't use to improve the performance of the tablet and the battery life. I just wish Google would force all these manufactures to use stock Android OS instead of coming with pre-installed bloatware and whatnot that slows the tablet down and kills the battery life.
The rear camera on the Tab 3 8.0 is 5MP (2592x1944 pixels) and the front camera is 1.3MP. It can only take 720p videos which is more than acceptable for me but it would have been better if it had an 8MP camera and took 1080p videos. My iPad mini was able to take 1080p videos @30fps and I just wish I had that option with the Tab 3 8.0. There's nothing wrong with 720p and 5MP camera because it takes great pictures and videos and this is not really a deal breaker for me.
The battery on the Galaxy Tab 3 8.0 is 4450 mAh which is more than enough to last a full day (brightness turned down a bit) with a single charge if you watch YouTube videos, web browsing, picture taking or even watch HD movies for that matter. I can get through the day with a single charge and still have 10% left at the end of the day. My brightness is currently set at 40% and it's perfectly visible both indoors and outdoors. The battery life is one of the most important aspects when deciding which tablet to buy for me because I travel a lot and I need a tablet that can last the entire day.
With the option of an external sdcard, the Tab 3 8.0 supports an sdcard of up to 64GB. If you are someone who wants that amount of space on their tablet than you have that option with the Tab 3 8.0. I can store as many pictures, music, games and HD videos as I want and it will never come close to being full. I am the type of person who stores large collections of pictures, music, videos, and movies and the Tab 3 8.0 lets me do all of that easily. I also play 3D games that require a minimum of 2-3GB of space and this tablet is perfect for that. It comes with 16GB of storage (11.2GB usable) which is plenty for taking a ton of pictures/videos, installing large 3D games and whatnot. It also comes with 1.5GB of ram which is three times as more as my iPad Mini (512MB). I hated the lag that I would get when running out of ram on my iPad mini but now I don't have that problem with my new Tab 3 8.0.
The Galaxy Tab 3 8.0 comes with ARM Mali-400 which is a dual core CPU that runs at 1.5Ghz and it has no problems handling everything you throw at it, from 3D games to HD videos. The tablet comes with a ton of bloatware as always and I always try to disable most of it because it can really waste precious battery life and slow down the tablet. I rarely ever use all the features that Samsung provides so I just disable it. The Mali-400 has no problems playing games such GTA Vice City on the highest settings and that says a lot about the performance of the CPU. Multi-tasking is fantastic on the Tab 3 8.0 because it has a ton of ram and a fast CPU to handle all your apps running in the background if you need to.
-Not 1080p display:
I just wish Samsung would have upgraded the display to 1080p since that's the standard nowadays but oh well, I'm perfectly fine with what I have. That's the only negative that I can think of but it's not a deal breaker for me because it won't make a huge difference to the eyes even if it had a 1080p screen.
Overall, the Galaxy Tab 3 8.0 is the perfect tablet for people who want a mid-range device with amazing specs that's not too small and not too big but somewhere in between. The Galaxy Tab 3 8.0 fills the sweet spot for me and the fact that it lasts a full day with the brightness turned day a bit is great for me. I can get all of my work done when traveling without having to constantly charge the device. It also comes with a fast CPU, Mali-400 that runs at 1.5Ghz and has a ton of ram, 1.5GB. I was a little disappointed that it didn't come with a 1080p screen but it's not the end of the world because it still delivers an amazing web browsing experience, watching HD videos, battery life and playing 3D games. The iPad Mini is $349.99 while the Tab 3 8.0 is only $299.00 and it's still faster and better overall. I highly recommend the Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 8.0 to anyone who want the best mid-range tablet on the market!
I hope this was helpful and I will update my review once I do more tests. If you guys have a question about the tablet then just leave a comment and I will respond.
on September 17, 2013
Due to the recent releases of the Asus MeMO 8 and the Dell Venue 8, I have updated this review to reflect the new tablets and the price drops of each of the tablets.
The Samsung Tab 3 8 is an attractive, light weight, easy to use tablet with a decent screen. It is reasonably fast, but it is still IMO a slight bit overpriced for it's specs.
UPDATE 27 Nov 2013:
The price of the Samsung Tab 3 8 has recently dropped to 249 dollars. At this price, it is more competitive. Asus has recently released the ASUS ME180, an 8 inch tablet with a quad core processor, micro sd card slot, and front and back cameras. The Asus is selling for 229 dollars and is a worthy competitor. Based on my experiences with Asus and Samsung, I would rate these two tablets neck and neck for features. I rate the Samsung ever so slightly better for overall build quality, however, build quality can vary greatly among tablets. The Samsung also feels a bit more comfortable in the hand. Unless you have a brand preference or prefer one over the other because of design or ergonomics, either of these two tablets are very good.
UPDATE 3 Dec 2013: The Dell Venue 8 is a pure android tablet. It has been selling for $179.00 and even as much as 20 to 50 dollars less on sale. It runs on an atom (dual core) chip and has 2gb of memory and 16gb of storage. It looks like a good budget tablet but still offers reasonable quality and a one year warranty. Dell tends to be much better at honoring their warranties and at customer service than any of the other tablet makers other than Apple. The display is 1280 x 800. The most significant complaint about the tablet appears to be the touch screen sensitivity not being very good or at times unresponsive. It also has an micro sd slot and camera.
UPDATE 10 Dec 2013: The ASUS MeMO 8 tablet has dropped to 199 dollars. Unless you have a brand preference for Samsung, need the TV remote control features, or have a preference for the lightest tablet possible, then you may want to seriously consider the Asus MeMO 8 or the Dell Venue 8 as less costly alternatives to the Samsung Tab 3 8. The Tab 3 8 is still selling at a premium ($249) to the cost of the Asus Memo 8 ($199) and the Dell Venue 8 ($179).
In the 8 inch tablet category there is now the following tablets in the order of my overall judgment of their desirability (see specs at the end of each for comparison purposes):
Samsung Tab 3 8 - at 249.00, this is still a bit costly, but it is light, responsive and has a good screen. Probably has a slight edge on reliability over the others.
Specs: 1.5 GHz Samsung Exynos 4210 Dual Core processor, 1.5 GB DDR2 SDRAM memory, 1280 X 800 resolution, Mali 400 GPU, .68 pounds
Asus Memo 8 - at 199.00, the ASUS MeMO 8 is the best value in price vs. performance for the 8" tablet market. Samsung is placing itself as a premium tablet while the Asus Memo 8 is priced as a good quality tablet at a reasonable price.
Specs: AMD Quad Core 1.6GHz processor, 1 GB DDR3L SDRAM memory, 1280 X 800 resolution, Mali 400 MP4 graphics, .8 pounds
Dell Venue 8 - at prices ranging from 129.00 to 179.00 for the 16GB tablet, it is definitely worth a look. Dell tends to be good on customer service and this tablet has 2GB of DDR memory which is definitely a plus. One review commented on the lack of response for the touch screen, however reviews on Dell's site have been positive. The Dell Venue 8 runs true android. If you can get a branded 8" pure android tablet for the $129 Black Friday sale price, the deal is hard to pass up. Note: As of 12/19/2013, Dell has released an update so that multiple user profiles can be used on the Venue 8.
Specs: Intel Atom Z2580(up to 2.0GHZ)Dual Core processor, 2GB DDR2 memory, 1280 X 800 resolution, Intel HD Graphics, .82 pounds
Acer Iconia A1-810 - gets some good reviews and sells for about 170.00. It is kind of heavy at 1.01 pounds (If Amazon's specs are correct). It also has a lower resolution than the other tablets. With the release of the Asus MeMO 8 and the Dell Venue 8, this tablet is trailing the others by a bit. Amazon shows a few complaints about the customer service. The Acer A1-810 was on sale for as low as 149 dollars recently.
Specs: Acer MTK MT8125 1.2 Ghz Quad Core processor, 1 GB DDR3L SDRAM, 1024 X 768 resolution, Integrated PowerVR SGX 544 Graphics, 1.01 pounds (website says 14.46 ounces or approximately .9 pounds)
There are too many tablets these days, right?! Samsung's third generation of Galaxy Tab series is highly anticipated and for this price point phenomenal. I have been using Galaxy Tab 2 and I will compare and contrast here. I played around with review units of all sizes and I have since returned them. I liked the Tab 8 so much, I purchased 2 for myself and my family. My reviews are unbiased and neutral! 7 and 8" are ideal for plane trips, long journeys. I had used a 7" Tablet on a long journey to listen to songs and read epub books (Aldiko) and it was a very pleasant experience. 7" form factor is lightweight, compact and great. If you are a bit experienced and can afford it, I recommend the 8". Samsung has made 8" and 7" almost same weight. In my opinion 8" is the maximum value for the money and features and hence I gave 8" a 5 star. I am personally getting the 8" version. I gave 7" a 4 star (but no means undermining it). I gave the 10" also a 4 star because of some strange feature `limitations'.
Samsung has introduced 7", 8" and 10.1" of the Tab 3 series. They are entering all form factors. As I know they have something in 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10" lines. Woo.. All of the 7, 8, 10" Galaxy Tabs come in white and golden brown color. My preference is white color. Looks pretty!
Let's start off with salient points of all of the Galaxy Tab 3 series. In previous version of Tab 2, there was simply no 8" form factor. So I will compare with Note 8 later.
7-inch tablet: 1024 x 600, Marvell dual-core 1.2GHz processor, 1GB RAM and 8GB storage or ROM, a microSD card slot (upto 64 GB), Camera: 3MP rear-facing, 1.3MP front-facing and weighs 10.58 ounces (300 grams). Android 4.1.2
8-inch model: 1280 x 800, Exynos 1.5GHz dual-core processor, 1.5GB ram, 16GB of built-in storage (ROM), a microSD slot (upto 64 GB, 5MP rear-facing, 1.3MP front-facing and 10.9 ounce (309 grams) Android 4.2.
10.1-inch model: 1280 x 800, Intel Atom 1.6GHz Z2560 dual-core processor, 1GB RAM, a 16GB built-in storage (ROM), a microSD slot, 3.2MP rear-facing, 1.3MP front-facing and weighs 17.99 oz (510 grams). Android 4.2
I am not going into other details like accelerometer etc as they are all standard these days, Audio support - AAC, AMR, MP3, OGG, WMA/ASF, 3GA/M4A, FLAC, WAV; MP3/MP4/Music Tones; Music Player; Ringtones, Polyphonic. Video support: AVI/DIVX, WMV/ASF, FLV, MKV, MP4/3GP, WEBM; Video Player; Video Streaming. Software is current of release date, and it is expected could be upgraded as next version Android 5 Key Lime Pie. (Currently targeted for Oct 2013). Key Lime Pie's one of the main touting points is compatibility to avoid fragmentation, so I can foresee, all of these models being able to upgrade if Google keeps their promise.
The 8" has a physical home button so are others in the series. Also has capacitive Back and Menu buttons. 64 GB SD card is awesome! With prices plummeting for 64 GB cards, it is a great boon. Put all your music, books, photos on the SD card and you have a powerful computer in hand always! I personally use the 64 GB microSD card on my mobile devices. Get this mobileUltra (SanDisk 64GB Mobile Ultra MicroSDXC Class 6 Memory Card with SD Adapter - Retail Packaging.
Best thing about Tab 3 8.0 is how holdable it is. It's narrower than the Galaxy Note 8.0. But in every other way, including lightness, comfortable curves, and screen brightness, it feels the same. There is a $100 prices difference between Tab 3 7" and Tab 3 8". If that matters get a Tab 3 7in. Otherwise 8" is more portable and lightweight compared to 10". The Galaxy Note 2 as well as iPad Mini are same form factors as this one. There are other reasons to pick the 8-incher over the 7.0. The larger Tab 3 gets Android 4.2 instead of 4.1, 1280 x 800 resolution, twice as much (16GB) internal storage, and 1.5GB of RAM.
The comparison with 8" Note are: Note 8 is slightly heavier 338 grams compared to 309 grams of Tab 8. Each gram matters for long holding. From CPU processor perspective, Note has a Quad-core 1.6 GHz Cortex-A9 Versus dual-core 1.5 GHz of Tab 2 8". Resolution same on both 1280 x 800 pixels, 8.0 inches (~189 ppi pixel density). The Tab has - Dolby Surround sound enhancement, it does sound good! The Note has no such mention and I am sure does not have dolby enhancement. Note 8 has 2 GB RAM compared to 1.5 GB here. Both have Bluetooth 4.0" and have USB Host capability. USB Host is one of the most under noticed features of Androids and is in my opinion one of the best features compared to iPad lines. What this means you get a USB Host cable also otherwise called OTG (On the Go) cables and plug in your USB thumb drive or other USB devices and the device recognizes it. I have used it with Alfa AWUS036H for a wireless project with Android PCAP Capture from reputable Kismet wireless. Both have same camera 5 MP, 2560х1920 pixels, and 720p@30fps. Another much ignored feature is the TV-out (via MHL A/V link). 8 and 10.1in supports it, whereas 7in does not. You can connect Galaxy devices to a TV to make it truly a fantastic computer if MHL is supported. Throw in a Bluetooth keyboard and it is awesome. Leo Laporte's TwIT TV which is Internet based show has one full episode in Know How on covering this topic. Battery on Note 8 is slightly bigger Non-removable Li-Ion 4600 mAh battery than 4450 mAh on Tab 3 which is not a big difference.
Believe me, don't get mired in the spec game. Samsung is creating markets for all form factors and I would consider this as an exploratory stage. Just like Ford or Toyota has cars in different shapes, sizes and price range, so are the tablet vendors now. Remember the laptop wars, 10", 12" 13", 15, 17 and even some 19" if I remember right few years ago. We used to debate endlessly which laptop sizes are better, which has better speakers and so on. The time has come to fight it out for tablets! I would say go from budget and size. If budget is not a concern, I would say go for Samsung Tab 8. I am usually not a big fan of 10". 8" is a sweet spot. If budget is a concern, Tab 3 7" is awesome, otherwise get the Tab 8. 10" is marketed for specific segments in business who use for spreadsheets, presentations, remote desktop like Citrix GoToMeeting. GPS was spot on and I tried multiple GPS apps. It was bright outdoors (had to crank the brightness all the way up). I personally use Navigon from Garmin and have downloaded several apps.
I tried following apps and they just worked awesome. A tablet is only as good as the apps you have how productive it makes you. It's almost like the camera/lens analogy in the DSLR space. What good it is to have a great DSLR body if you have no good lens? Same with Tablet body and apps you have.
WolframAlpha (I can go on for hours praising this. This is a truly genius app powered by hundreds of supercomputers in the background. Wolfram is a computational genius). Well worth the $3 price.
Withings HealthMate. (another remarkable app great UI/UX). I am getting the Pulse device as soon as it hit stores. I have been using Fitbit and just itching to get the Pulse as I like the intergrated weight/track runs in one app)
Aldiko Book Reader Premium (absolutely love it)
Android Central app (great and must have for Android users)
Angry Birds (Space/Seasons)
Amazon App Store
Battery Monitor Widget Pro (a great app)
BeyondPod (excellent for podcasts, I haven't used Pocketcast, some friends say it is very good too)
Car Maintenance Reminder Pro
Despicable Me Game! And weather widget (cute for kids)
Dictionary M-W Premium
NAVIGON (from Garmin - offline maps)
Google Navigation/Earth/Maps using a portable MiFi box
Google Currents (nice way to read News)
Google Music (Awesome, I have now upto 10,000 songs halfway through Google's 20K Limit)
Tapatalk HD (awesome forum browsing app)
OverDrive Media Console: Library eBooks & Audiobooks
Microsoft One Note (legacy docs, skydrive of 25 GB is good)
Subsonic Music Streamer
Terminal Emulator (still need to use vi, yes this is it)
TweetCaster Pro for Android
Sphero (Awesome bluetooth ball game)
RealCalc Plus (Awesome calculator app)
Tweetcaster Pro (again awesomeness)
Plenty of Widgets
Ask questions, the reviews cannot do full justice. I will be glad to answer any questions and usually answer within 24 hours to any query.
on July 26, 2013
I'd like to preface my review by saying that I've always had an affinity for Samsung products. I've owned the original Galaxy tab 10.1, Samsung Series 9 ultrabook, Galaxy s3, Note 2, and the Nexus 10 tablet. But for those that may simply dismiss me as a fanboy, that's not to take away from my enthusiasm towards tech in general - I own a 15' Retina macbook pro, Ipad 4, Vaio Pro 13, and have had a myriad of other products along the way which I have thoroughly enjoyed. If it works well and fits my needs, I will get it.
I like to appreciate each product for what it truly is: the value and usefulness it can provide me. This Galaxy tab 3 8 is as good as any tablet out there on the market today.
Size and Build Quality:
In my opinion, 8 inches is the perfect size for tablets. 7 feels a little cramped, and isn't the best for reading books or watching media on. 10 inches is great if you're always at home, but not so much if you're on the go or traveling. The 8 feels like that perfect equilibrium between the two that combines screen usability, with portability.
Build quality? What can I say, it's typical Samsung. It's not made of crazy precious metals and rare materials; nor should you expect it to be. However, it's sturdy, light, durable, and doesn't have any flex or creaking when held. It's also extremely light so you won't even feel the difference in weight when you throw this thing in your backpack or bag. You can also easily hold it in your hands without having to use a brace for hours without fatigue or discomfort. The Gold Brown color looks luxurious to me and is a unique offering by Samsung.
Is it a 300+ PPI, top-of-the-line incredible monster display? No. Does it pack enough pixels to rival retina displays? No. Does it really make a difference? Well, I can honestly say in terms of actual everyday use and color reproduction, no it does not make a difference.
Side by side to a Retina Ipad 4, I watched 1080p videos of a wide variety ranging from Nature, Cars, Sports, Music Videos, you name it. The Galaxy Tab 8 easily held its own, and you'd be hard pressed to notice enough of a difference between the 2 displays to really complain or nitpick at all. I'd venture as far as to say that the color looked even better on certain videos on the Tab 8, but I don't want to start another online feud with Apple loyalists so I'll stop right here.
The 1280 x 800 display is plenty for a tab of this size, and for comparison is a higher resolution than the iPad Mini.
For games, movies, pictures and browsing, it's a perfectly fine display. The only thing I will say, is that text is more crisp, clear and sharp on the Ipad and Nexus 10. If you're not used to those displays, you'll have no complaints with the display on the Tab 8. Nor does the difference make reading/browsing difficult or straining by ANY means. Simply put, the displays on those other 2 devices are out of this world, and you shouldn't expect this tablet in this price range to match that offering.
TouchWiz: Most people hate it or love it. I've tolerated it in the past, but have grown to appreciate its added features over the years. It's not as cartoon-y or bloated as in the past. TW on this tab is fast, responsive, and offers some nice features you won't get on Nexus devices or other brands. All I can say is, try it for yourself. They've made it easy to use and it doesn't interfere or get in the way of the Android experience in my opinion.
If you hate it, you can install Nova or other launchers and customize your look and layout from there.
Processor: The Dual core exynos and 1.5 gb ram should be plenty for 90% of users out there.
I don't play too many games on tablets so I'll let some of the other reviews answer those questions. But I played Candy Crush, Baseball Superstars 2k13, and a few others for test, and they all played smooth and fast. Note that the referenced games aren't the most graphically demanding or intense.
For normal tasks such as browsing, media, email, video chatting? You've got plenty of power, don't worry.
The Tab 8 comes with Polaris Office which is great as it offers a comparable experience to the Office Suite of products on your tablet. You're not going to be writing a novel on this thing, nor are you going to open up 40,000 line spreadsheets and perform data analysis. However, for touching up documents on the go here and there, it's a perfectly fine alternative solution.
IR blaster: Samsung gave us this nifty feature along with the SmartOn remote app. It hooked up to my LGTV and Comcast set top box within seconds, and I was able to control almost every function of my Home entertainment system from my tablet. It's great to see a large colorful TV guide, and I appreciate and enjoy this feature. If you don't like it, you don't have to use it.
Camera: Adequate. I myself don't take photos with a tablet. If you do, this will work for things like taking a quick food pic or family pic. It won't blow your shoes off, but you probably shouldn't be expecting a tablet camera to do that.
Speakers: Blah. They're both positioned at the bottom which is not ideal, especially in Landscape mode. The volume levels are decent but nothing to write home about. I wish Samsung stuck with the 2 stereo front facing speakers of the 10.1 2 and Nexus 10. Easy fix? Use earphones.
Micro SD Card: Oh, the feature that so many users covet, but so few manufacturers actually provide. HTC, Apple, and Nexus devices all fail to grasp the importance of this functionality. Samsung provides this so you can store your music, photos, books, documents, and movies when you need that extra storage space.
There's not too much else that will be a different experience from other Android tab offerings. Apps such as Kindle, Amazon, Netflix, Flipboard, etc are all what you'd expect and work great.
If apps, more specifically tablet optimized apps are important to you, then perhaps an Android tablet still isn't the right choice for you. Apple still has far more tablet optimized Apps than the Play Store. However, with the advances already made over the past few iterations of Android, and the rising popularity of tablets in general, I think developers will see the value for providing tablet optimized Apps for Android going forward.
Lastly, price: at $299, the value of this product is really hard to beat. It's in the price range to appeal to a wide base of users' budgets, and backs it up with great functionality, features, and design. I'd recommend to any of my friends and family.
on July 21, 2013
I bought this tablet on release day at Best Buy. This tablet is the perfect blend of portability with a big enough screen to comfortably web browse. It is lightweight and the slim side bezels allow me to grip it with one hand. It is designed with portrait orientation being it's preferred position which is the way I find myself holding it 90% of the time anyways unless watching videos.
The inclusion of hard buttons makes the most of the screen real estate, but take some getting use to if you come from non-Samsung android devices as myself.
This device has become my favorite android device that I use on a daily basis. It fits in cargo pants/shorts pockets. I also have an HP Touchpad running android that I never use that much due to its weight and size. I use this to read books, web browse, listen to music, and watch videos.
I am a tech junkie. I have also been involved with android since its first device, the original Motorola Droid. I want to highlight some of the features of this tablet that make it stand out from the rest of the pack. I also want to correct misleading and sometimes incorrect information presented in other reviews.
Unfortunately, Samsung chose to skimp a little on specs of this device. I'm sure it was because of the cost of the 8" screen and yet trying to keep the overall cost cheaper than Samsung's premium line Note 8.0. If you are one that is dead set on using specs,i.e. processor, ram, resolution, as the main determining factor, this tablet will not stand out amongst competitors. What will stand out is the 8" screen. This tablet is using the same screen as the Note 8.0. I find it sharp with natural colors and not over-saturated. Photos and videos look excellent.
Samsung includes a microSD slot that can use cards up to 64GB. This can hold music, documents, and videos.
This model also comes with a forward and rear camera. The forward camera can be used with Skype and Google Hangouts and is also used in one of Samsung's software enhancements that I will touch on in a minute.
As you can see, nothing pops out from a hardware standpoint except it's form factor, 8" screen, and microSD slot. It also has an InfraRed blaster built-in for controlling A/V equipment. I wanted to add that while this tablet may not be using top of the line specs, it does not suffer in the least bit from its exclusion. I have not experienced any lag or long delay.
This is where Samsung shines. It has some innovative features that enhance the tablet experience and brought back a much requested feature that was included in past versions of android.
Multi-window - This allows more than one app to be open at the same time. This is a feature I don't use that much, but I find it nice if someone emails me to setup an appointment. I can have the calendar app and email app open at the same time to input the time/place from the email into the calendar. The multi-window feature does not work with all apps, only the ones pre-selected in the scrollable list which is understandably geared toward productivity.
Smart Screen - This is a feature that uses the front camera to look at your eyes. This is a great feature when web browsing. It keeps the screen lit as long as you are looking at the tablet. When you look away, it allows the screen to timeout. I find this feature does not work well when reclined because it does not detect my eyes. This is due to the angle I am looking at the tablet with my eyes half closed. It also does not work well in landscape orientation most likely due to the camera being on the left edge in that position.
Move apps to SD - This is a feature that was available in past versions of android. Google removed this feature in all current builds. Samsung reintroduced this feature in their tweaked version of Jellybean 4.2.2. This allows you to move compatible apps to your microSD which help frees up precious internal storage. Keep in mind, this does not work with all apps. It is up to developers of the apps to allow this feature. I tested this with Angry Birds, Netflix, Kindle. They all successfully moved to my microSD and ran flawlessly. Tip: You may have to format your microSD with the tablet instead of a PC for this feature to work.
Miracast/Screen Mirroring - This device is Miracast certified. This allows you to wirelessly mirror the tablet's screen to your TV. For this to work you need a Miracast certified TV. Sony, Samsung, and LG all make Miracast certified TVs. You can also use a Miracast certified dongle that attaches to an HDMI input on your TV. This is the only small portable tablet that currently has this feature besides the Note 8.0. Even Samsung's new Tab 3 7" does not have this feature.
Bluetooth v4.0 with aptX codec support - I had to dig to find that this tablet supports aptX codec. This is a huge improvement in sound quality via bluetooth. To use this, you also need bluetooth headphones that support aptX or an bluetooth dongle for your home stereo that supports aptX. Not all new devices support this, but I have found that Motorola and Samsung both have been including this in their newer products.
Polaris Office - This tablet ships with Polaris Office installed. This lets you edit, create, and view Microsoft Office documents, spreadsheets, and powerpoint presentations. Some tablets and phones only come with a version that lets you view the files while Samsung included a full version with this tablet.
This tablet is selling with mid-range specs, but a high-end user experience. It comes with Samsung's optimized version of android Jellybean 4.2.2. The only notable feature missing from this tablet is NFC which would have come in handy for the Miracast feature. Overall, this tablet comes packed with features not available on any other tablet in this price range or form factor. This is the first android device that I haven't wanted to root right away to gain more functions and abilities.
on February 3, 2014
On November 1st, 2013 I purchased the new iPad Air and really enjoyed it. However, I did not like the 10" form factor and returned the unit. Luckily, I was able to purchase the new iPad Mini with Retina display on its first day launch at the Apple Store on November 15th. I was able to spend a good deal of time with this unit since it was in the "holiday season" and I was able to return it on January 6th.
To be honest, I absolutely loved both Apple products but it was somewhat of a hollow feeling as I really felt like I paid too much vs. the competition. I don't mind paying a premium price for a premium product, but the iPads are no longer the only premium products in this space.
So, after almost 2 months with the Mini I purchased this Samsung Tab 3 8". Technically, it does not match the impressive spec sheet of the Mini with Retina. But in real world performance (viewing videos, surfing the web, running applications, running games - from Candy Crush Saga to Asphalt 8, reading e-books and Flipboard magazines, etc.) there is actually no noticeable performance differences between this and the Mini with Retina with the exception that the Mini seemed to hold its charge a bit longer (about 1 extra hour).
Oddly, the Mini would stutter when I scrolled in the Facebook app whereas the Samsung does not. Another odd thing about the Mini would be it would start Netflix videos in Standard Def then about a minute or two in switch to High Def.
I don't mean to bash the Mini as it is a great product. But I don't think it is worth 160 dollars more than this Samsung (I purchased mine at Costco for 239 vs. the 399 Mini).
On to the Samsung Tab 3 8"...
The 16:9 aspect ratio screen is perfect for watching videos. The screen is brilliant and stunning to look at ... more brilliant than the Mini even though the Mini has a higher resolution screen.
The camera has many more features and shooting modes than the Mini. The Mini does shoot video in 1080p vs. Samsung's 720p. Oddly enough, I actually prefer shooting video in 720p as it is still HD but the files are much smaller and easier to process on my MacBook Pro (using iMovie).
Another fantastic feature about this Sammy is that you can upgrade storage using micro SD cards. I purchased one, here on Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/SanDisk-MicroSDHC-Memory-Adapter-SDSDQU-032G-AFFP-/dp/B009QZH7BU/ref=sr_1_1?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1391452164&sr=1-1&keywords=sandisk+ultra+32+gb), for 22 bucks - thus, increasing storage to 48 GB (16GB standard + 32GB card). Apple charges $100 to upgrade Mini from 16GB to 32GB.
Another interesting thing is that the same apps on this device take up less space than on the Mini. For example, the Facebook app on this is 44MB vs. over 300MB on the Mini. Also, Asphalt 8 is only 27MB on this vs. 1.5GB on the Mini. So, you very quickly use up storage on the Mini vs. this.
I love the IR blaster on this tablet and use it to control all of the TV's/satellite in my home -- it's awesome!
The "Cons" of this tablet are: the back and menu buttons on the bottom can be mistakenly hit when you don't mean to push them ... this can be very frustrating when watching a movie or playing a game, then suddenly the movie/game stops because of an errant back button touch.
My only real wish for this tablet is that it lacks (as almost all tablets do) a LED flash for the back camera. Unlike the popular consensus that "why should a tablet have a camera anyways?", I completely disagree. Sure with a big 10" tablet it looks odd taking a pic or video, but with a smaller 7-8" tablet it really is quite nice/easy to frame shots/video and playback of the pics/videos in this larger size (vs. phone) is awesome for all who view it.
For the price and performance, I love this tablet.
on July 18, 2013
I don't write reviews, but this tablet deserves a 5 star because of its functionality and user friendliness.
I'm not an tech expert by any means, but this product is pretty easy to use and the main apps and basic functions are mostly self explanatory.
With that in mind, if you are in the middle of the fence, like I was a few weeks ago trying to decide between buying a kindle HD or a Nexus 7, I recommend you to pick up a Samsung instead, preferably this model instead the 7" because of its better features.
I have friends who have Kindle and Nexus tablets, but this one blows them out of the park mostly because you can add an external memory card and have your music and family photos loaded on the card instead of going through an online storage service like "cloud", the remote control app and and included charger which the kindle doesn't include.
This tablet holds a charge with no problem.
Again, i'm not a tech expert, so please don't bash me, but as i mentioned from the get go this tablet is great for a person who wants to browse the web, watch videos on you tube, use skype, to watch shows on netflix of hulu plus and to play games and listen to music.
You just can't go wrong with it. As a side note, the Invellop HD screen protector for this model fits like a glove.
on October 29, 2013
So I did my research on tablets. And I found three small tablets that seemed to be the best for the money: the google nexus 7, Kindle fire hdx, and samsung tab 3 8.0. The first thing that really stood out was the 8" screen on the samsung. Yeah the nexus 7 has a sharper screen when you look closely but it had both larger bezels and a significantly thicker frame making it feel chunky campared to samsung. The nexus does have a quadcore processor which is clocked at the same speed as the tab 3 8.0. But both are very fast. Otherwise these tablets are similar. They both have plenty of RAM, front and back cameras with HD video shooting, access to google play, and android's jelly bean OS. The samsung tablet felt so thin and sleek in hand. And the nexus' limited you to 32gb of storage, while samsung's tablet allowed you to expand from 16gb all the way to 80gb by adding a 64gb sd card which is now supported by the tab 3 line. This is very helpful if you like to carry your movies around with you. I ruled the kindle fire hdx out for several reasons before but mainly because it restricted you to amazons app store and media supply.
I bought the samsung tab 3 8.0. But i can confidently say that overall, all three tablets are great choices just be sure you actually look at them and play with them before choosing the one that's right for you.
on July 28, 2013
I've used my Galaxy 3.0 tablet for 2 weeks, every day, and I couldn't be happier. I find the screen to be great, very sharp and very responsive, and am not having any issues with rapid discharge - in fact I have been able to go 2+ days on one charge as long as I let the tablet sleep when I am not using it. I purchased one of the cases that put the tablet in sleep mode when the cover is closed, and this may be hapling with battery life. So far I have not watched videos much but I have spent lots of time on the internet, listening to music (through earbuds) and on youtube and with multiple apps open at the same time.
I often edit documents and photos on the tab and am very happy with its performance. OTG capability is a must for me as I use my tablet as a laptop replacement when I travel and I need to be able to transfer files from SD cards and USB drives. File transfer and uploading/downloading to the internet are all very fast, much faster than my previous android tab, which was a relatively new and very well-rated 10-inch tab from a different manufacturer. I have a Motorola bluetooth keyboard which works beautifully with this Samsung tab (all the keys work properly with no resetting).
I am finding the 8-inch size to be perfect for me, just big enough for all the "work" I do (file and photo editing) and for watching videos but small enough to be very easily transportable. It is also a perfect size for reading (eg using the Kindle app), and the tablet has a "reading mode" setting that is easily accessible that optimizes the screen for such apps.
A few caveats - I use a Samsung Galaxy phone and so am used to the Samsung interface and am a fan of it. I like the external buttons and I love that my phone and tablet interface so well. Also, I have small hands so am not bothered by small buttons or form factor. I am not a gamer so do not use my tab with those apps.
I am very happy with my purchase.