Top positive review
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A great entertainment tablet
on February 28, 2014
I've recently purchased a Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 7 inch (the normal, non-Lite version), so it was fun to get to compare that to this Lite version.
The Lite is well built... it feels very solid in your hands, with a a textured back instead of the slick plastic back of the non-lite version. I guess the textured back is less expensive, but it also is easier to hold and feels good in the hand. The buttons for volume and standby feel solid and are easy to press (and to know they've been pressed).
I like the design, too. It's just the right thickness, and the bezel may be a bit wide but this makes it easier to hold. With a touchscreen, it's annoying if I can't hold the thing without accidentally hitting the screen.
The screen itself has a good resolution, but the contrast is definitely not as defined as with the non-lite tablet. This is noticeable when playing darker games or movies.
To test performance I installed a few games and played some HD movies. For movie playback, this sucker is rock solid with no frame skipping I could detect. For games like Airplane!, Radiant, Candy Crush, and Angry Birds, this tablet is great, with pretty visuals and a nice size surface for gameplay. For Grand Theft Auto, San Andreas, with graphics set to maximum, the framerate was too low for easy gameplay. On medium the game was largely playable, though the frames would suffer somewhat if a lot was happening while driving. I found the game great to play on low graphics (which in my opinion look just fine).
I find the performance of the tablet to be fine, but that's worth paying attention to. For comparison, the regular Galaxy Tab 3 performed obviously better on GTA San Andreas on medium, but was pretty similar on max graphics. There was no difference on less demanding games that I could detect. Websites and movies all loaded great on both.
For other differences, it only has a 2 megapixel camera on the back, and no cam on the front. Video chatting is a nice feature of the other tablet, but it's not a big deal to me to lose that feature. In fact, if you have concerns about being spied upon, then you might even like the lack of a front facing cam.
To sum it up, a 7 inch tablet is just the right size for commuters or lounging on the couch. Everything is easy to read, and there's plenty of room for a screen keyboard, but it's also very easy to hold. Surfing the internet or watching a video on this is great, especially when I ride a bus or train around town. While it's watchable in full sun, the picture will wash out, due to the glossy screen and inferior contrast. Battery life is absolutely fantastic! About nine hours of regular goofing off, and about three-four of playing San Andreas (I keep going back to that because it's by far the most stress I can put on the device). You get a Micro SD slot, so you aren't locked in to any content vendor or the space limitations of the device. That alone makes this better, for me, than an iPad or many of the 'best' android tabs. Swiping to type works great, and S Voice is very handy (though Google Now is great for its own purposes). For example, I can set an alarm without fumbling through the menus, simply by double clicking the front button and saying "set an alarm for eight hours (or the time I want)". That is so much better when you're tired and have taken off your glasses.
Android's software library is stout, with a lot of awesome free software, a great browser in chrome, and awesome paid content too. If you haven't had an android device yet, this is an affordable way to get some awesome stuff. If you've only used it on a phone, you will be impressed with how your favorite apps look on a bigger screen. A nice game on a tablet screen puts your old Gameboy days to shame!
I did save a map and use this for navigation for a little while. It did a great job, though I really don't need anything that big for the task.
While there are better deals out there for a budget tablet, I really like Samsung's build quality and proprietary software (S-Voice, for example). Is that worth the extra money (or alternatively the less powerful processor, depending on what you're comparing this to)? I say it is, but with the current price I would go with the non-Lite Galaxy Tab. I suspect that this product will be more affordable in the near future, so this is one to keep an eye on if you're just wanting an inexpensive way to read e-books and watch media. Others may recommend a more generic branded tablet, which for the money will definitely get you more features and horsepower, but I've learned that the poor man pays twice with these mobile electronics. Get the good brands, and you'll be ahead in the long-run.