09
Aug
t

Samsung is the biggest Android OEM on the planet by a wide margin. The South Korean company even manages to outsell Apple in the smartphone market on occasion, and it has all of us to thank for it. It has also traditionally made some of the best Android-based tablets you can buy. The first Nexus 7 from Asus last year showed us what a small, inexpensive tablet could be, and Samsung released a few competent alternatives to compete with it.

1

In 2013, Samsung is very much positioning itself as the alternative to Apple as it bundles Android in more new features and custom apps. It is increasingly going its own way, breaking away from the Android pack. The Galaxy Tab 3 is still an Android tablet, but is it a good Android tablet?

Galaxy Tab 3 8.0 Specs

  • Processor: Samsung Exynos 4412, dual-core 1.5GHz
  • RAM: 1.5GB
  • Storage: 16GB with microSD card slot
  • Display: 8-inch 1280x800 LCD
  • Dimensions: 209mm x 123mm x 7.4mm
  • Weight: 314g
  • Battery: 4450mAh
  • Connectivity: WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, 2.4 and 5GHz
  • Software: Android 4.2.2 with Samsung customizations

The Good

  • Slim form factor
  • Lightweight
  • Sturdy build
  • Multi-window mode is very cool on an 8-inch device
  • Screen has good viewing angles
  • Solid battery life

The Bad

  • Screen is only 1280x800
  • Software seems sluggish in places
  • Physical buttons make the tablet harder to hold and are less convenient
  • Slippery, cheap-feeling plastic shell
  • Typically bad tablet cameras
  • Overpriced
  • The new Nexus 7 exists now

Physical Design

Look at the Galaxy Tab 3, then look away. Are you sure that wasn’t just a Galaxy S4 being held right up next to your face? It's hard to know for sure, because the Gtab 3 is a dead ringer for a bigger GS4. The shape is almost exactly the same, the screen ratio is the same, and it even has that faux-metal band around the edge. Oh, and there are physical buttons... on a tablet.

The device is built from the same slippery plastic Samsung has been using on devices since time immemorial. It allows for the Gtab 3 to be light – only 314g. That compares favorably to most smaller 7-inch slates. It’s also very thin at 7.4mm, which is even slimmer than the new Nexus 7.

2

The entire back is make out of smooth plastic, so you can really tell when oils from your hands start to build up. I find myself wiping off the front and the back of the tablet to make it a little less unpleasant to hold.

If you're playing a game that heats up the device, then you have slippery oils warmed by the internals and it's just kind of gross. Having soft touch material, or even a little texture makes this effect much less troublesome on devices. The slipperiness feels extra noticeable because the back of the Gtab 3 is just a huge, smooth uninterrupted surface.

So I'm not crazy about how the device feels, but it does seem solid. Despite being made out of plastic, there is no creaking or give, and the seams are tight. Samsung knows how to assemble a tablet, I just wish they'd use nicer materials.

Like most Android tablets these days, there is a power button near the top on the right side with the volume rocker right below it. These are made from the same plastic-doing-a-metal-impersonation as the band around the middle of the device. The buttons are clicky and responsive, though.

6

On the bottom edge are the stereo speakers and a microUSB port. Circle around to the left side and you find the microSD card slot. A lot of Android devices are abandoning the SD card, but Samsung still has your back. The door covering the slot seems a bit flimsy, so be careful there. On the top all we have is a headphone jack.

Something I quite like about the overall design is that it's balanced well. The Galaxy Tab 3 8.0 is just the right width to hold in one hand and it doesn't feel like it's going to topple out. However, holding it with two hands is actually a bit awkward due to the very slim bezels and button layout.

Those Buttons

If you've got average size hands, it's possible to wrap your fingers around the edges of the Gtab 3 8.0, and that’s fine for short stretches. The slim bezels that make that possible also make the device more difficult to hold comfortably by one side. If you try to grasp the tablet by the side bezel, there just isn’t a lot to grab on to. Your thumb will touch the screen often, which will get annoying.

So hold it by the bottom bezel? Oh, don't I wish. Samsung has chosen to use the phone-style buttons from the GS4 on all of its tablets. So beneath the screen there is a home, menu, and back button. Menu and Back are capacitive, very sensitive, and right where I would like to rest my thumb while holding the tablet.

5

Even after using the Gtab 3 for a week I’m still triggering menu and back without meaning to. These areas are just a comfortable place to grab a tablet, especially when the side bezels are too narrow.

The capacitive buttons are actually so sensitive that I’ve occasionally triggered them simply by resting the end of device on my stomach or lap. It makes me feel like I have to hold the Gtab 3 at arm's legth to avoid triggering these buttons. You kind of want to be able to snuggle up with a tablet You know... get comfortable. Not with the Gtab 3. That's not how it rolls.

The use of phone buttons in general seems like an odd choice. It requires too much reaching and is less consistent in use. It's not the end of the world – you can adjust, but it’s a step in the wrong direction.

Screen

A year ago – or even a few months ago – the 1280x800 LCD display on the Galaxy Tab 3 8.0 would have seemed totally reasonable. Now it’s a soft spot. It’s a good quality panel, for what it is. The brightness and colors are nice, and the viewing angles are excellent. It’s just that resolution.

3

1280x800 is not terrible – let's not forget how amazing that was a few years ago. However, this screen fails to match up with the competition. I don’t know if a small tablet needs to pack a 1920x1200 panel like the new Nexus 7, but somewhere north of 1280x800 would be nice for a premium small tablet. And make no mistake, Samsung is pricing this device like a premium tablet.

Cameras

I'll be brief here because you can probably guess what the cameras are like on this tablet – yes, mediocre. The rear camera is 5MP, and the front is 1.2MP. The front-facing sensor is fine for a quick video chat, but produces predictably grainy still images. For some reason, the default setting on this device is 3.2MP for the rear camera.

 4

The rear sensor is maybe okay in a pinch, but there’s a lot of noise and fuzziness around the edges in images. The colors also look very washed out, even in bright natural light.

The camera app does include the new "Sound and Shot" and "Beauty Face" modes. Other than that it’s the standard Samsung camera app with a few things missing. There are no HDR shots for example, and Dual Shot front and rear video mode is not present.

Software Features

The Gtab 3 8.0 comes with Android 4.2.2, but it’s under a few layers of Samsung's Nature UX-TouchWiz-mish-mash. There are some good things, and some bad things going on here, but don' expect all the crazy features from the Galaxy S4 – the Gtab 3 lacks the IR sensor that many of the phone’s new tricks rely on.

You can swipe around, change the number and order of home screens, and do all the other things Samsung devices have been doing for the last few versions. No real complaints here, other than the aesthetics of some of Samsung’s icons.

2013-08-08 23.58.36 2013-08-08 22.16.18 2013-08-08 23.58.26

The app drawer defaults to a custom view, which makes it impossible to find anything. I don't know why OEMs do this, but it's easy to switch to alphabetical.

The notification shade takes up the entire screen when pulled down, like a phone and not a tablet. It’s kind of strange-looking and just re-enforces the "giant phone" vibe. The Quick Settings panel seems a bit redundant on Samsung's devices because there is already the toggle bar in the regular notification shade. Although, it doesn't really get in the way, and you can move buttons around in the settings.

2013-08-08 22.16.07 2013-08-08 23.59.32

Samsung has built some of its Smart-branded features into this device, but the only one I've been able to get working reliably is Smart Stay, which keeps the screen on while you're looking at it. And that's only useful in reasonably good light. Smart Rotation is supposed to keep the screen orientation locked with the angle of your head. So you can supposedly lay down on your side, and the screen won’t flip to landscape. This works about half the time – just enough to be annoying to deal with.

One place the Galaxy Tab 3 8.0 has a chance to regain some ground is with multi-window mode. You can activate this by long-pressing the back button. The sidebar lists compatible apps, which is sadly not all of them. Then just drag one app to the top and one to the bottom, and you can interact with both.

The times multi-window works, I love it. Managing my email while browsing Reddit destroys my productivity, but it's just plain neat. If there was wider support for this feature, it would be an amazing selling point. Why Samsung hasn’t worked tirelessly to get Netflix to support multi-window I’ll never know.

2013-08-08 22.15.55 2013-08-08 22.02.19

S Voice is accessed with a double tap of the home button, but it's still junk compared to Google Now voice search. To make matters worse, it causes lag when pressing the home button because the device is waiting to see if you press home again to call up S Voice. It makes the tablet feel less responsive. S Voice can be turned off, but it’s time for Samsung to throw in the towel on that front.

Performance And Battery Life

The Galaxy Tab 3 8.0 runs an Exynos 4212 dual-core processor clocked at 1.5GHz. It also has 1.5GB of RAM, which is odd. I see no reason this device shouldn't be smooth enough, but in practice there are a lot of little hitches that make me want to put the tablet down and pick up a faster one.

I can't even track down the cause of some of this behavior. The home screen swiping is smooth, except when it’s not. The app drawer is lag free, except for those times it lags like no one's business. It's a bit like the occasional slowdown issues the Galaxy S4 had at launch, but more pronounced.

Screen rotation has been sluggish for a long time on Android, but newer devices are much more responsive. The Gtab 3, on the other hand, still takes a few beats before it responds. Again, it just feels like last year's product. If you're into the whole benchmark thing, the Gtab 3 scores a little over 10,000 in AnTuTu. Other new devices can double that score.

2013-08-08 16.47.22

The responsiveness is far from the worst I've seen, but again, this is a $300 tablet. It's priced such that I expect better performance out of it. A software update could potentially shore up the sluggishness, but there’s no way to know if this device will be high on Samsung’s list when the time comes to build updates.

Shortly after getting the review unit, I encountered an issue that bears inclusion here. While using the tablet, it shut itself off and refused to boot back up. Without doing anything the least bit hackery to it, the device was in a boot loop. After several more reboots, I was able to get the Galaxy Tab 3 into recovery and do a factory reset, which fixed the problem.

I'm by no means saying this will be a common occurrence with the Gtab 3, but I've never had a new Android device fail in such a random way. It has been fine since then, so perhaps it was an isolated incident.

The battery life for this tablet was a pleasant surprise. Samsung packed a 4450mAh battery into the slim frame of the Galaxy Tab 3, and it makes pretty good use of it. I had no problem getting 2 days of moderate to heavy use out of it without needing to recharge. This is with nothing disabled and screen brightness set to auto.

2013-07-25 00.37.12 2013-07-25 00.37.06

You should be able to get about 6 hours of screen-on time with the Galaxy Tab 3 8.0, which is nothing to sneeze at.

Conclusion

So what is this new Galaxy Tab all about? It seems somewhat divorced from the rest of the Android ecosystem. Frankly, it almost doesn't make sense to have this device reviewed on an Android blog. Samsung isn’t competing with other Android tablets. Samsung – and many consumers – see its products as an alternative to Apple.

If you compare the Galaxy Tab 8.0 to the iPad Mini with no preference for operating system, Samsung has a good shot. It's a little cheaper, and the specs are slightly improved. The new Nexus 7 is faster, has better software, a better form factor, and it’s cheaper still, but Samsung doesn’t care about that. Samsung is the anti-Apple now.

It’s a state of mind I don't see as an overt directive within the company (anymore), but I’d be surprised if those south Korean engineers aren’t thinking about Apple's products when they design the next Samsung tablet. That’s not a bad thing on the face of it – trying to beat Apple is a noble goal. However, you risk missing the things that makes Android great – the quick iteration of hardware, competitive pricing, and so on.

7

I feel like the Galaxy Tab 3 8.0 is a product that doesn't know its audience. Sure, some people will compare it to the iPad Mini and make the decision that Samsung is the way to go. Although a great many Android fans, who paved the way for Samsung to become the largest smartphone maker in the world, will look at the Galaxy Tab 3 and simply shake their heads.

I'm sure this device will sell, because most average folks don’t dig deeply into the products they buy. Samsung has the name, and that moves units.

The hard truth of it is this: there is no reason I can think of to buy a Galaxy Tab 3 after the new Nexus 7 has hit retail. Google’s flagship device is better in every aspect, with the possible exception of battery life (and that's a close call), and it's cheaper.

The Galaxy Tab 3 8.0 is not a bad product, but it's got some foibles. When the asking price is $300, it's just not good enough. Don't pay more for an inferior product. It's as simple as that.

Ryan Whitwam
Ryan is a tech/science writer, skeptic, lover of all things electronic, and Android fan. In his spare time he reads golden-age sci-fi and sleeps, but rarely at the same time. His wife tolerates him as few would.

He's the author of a sci-fi novel called The Crooked City, which is available on Amazon and Google Play. http://goo.gl/WQIXBM

  • zorak19620

    Their decision to add a home button to their tablets is a horrible idea...

    • syntaxxerror

      I thought the same thing, but having a galaxy note 8 really changes my opinion. I have so much more screen space and I don't have to use cumbersome solutions like PIE.

      In CM10.1 I can remap the menu button to the app switcher, which removes my biggest problem with Samsung's layout.

      I don't foresee getting 4.3 or 5.0 working, since cm10.1 is based on graphics drivers from a leaked 4.2 rom. Samsung hasn't even updated this tablet to 4.2.

    • Major Suave

      I work with Android devices daily (over 20 to test software) and I prefer by far the hardware buttons. The Nexus 4, 7 and 10 are awesome but I still prefer hardware buttons. It gives you more real estate.

      Seriously, on Nexus 10, when you are in landscape mode there is 2560x96 pixels reserved for three buttons.That is almost as many pixels than in an NTSC video.

      • zorak19620

        Is it really that big of a deal? I don't notice the buttons that much, also its more flexible. With on-screen buttons I'm able to control my tablet either in landscape or in portrait modes. However with a button on a 10" or even 8" tablet, the form factor kinda forces you to hold it a certain way if I was watching a movie, it would feel awkward to raise my hand up to the side and press the home button. Also, I don't like WHAT buttons Samsung has chosen in their design scheme. Menu buttons are, in my opinion, a waste of space. A dedicated multitask button would be such a better idea.

        • http://clintjcl.tumblr.com/ ClintJCL

          Yes. Real-estate is everything. There's no point in paying big bucks getting a larger screen if it's just to display pictures of buttons that would cost a fraction to exist as actual buttons.

          Nevermind the fact that buttons you can feel are always,always, always, always, always, always, always easier to find and easier to push without looking than fake buttons.

          Nothing more embarassing than watching a grown man fiddle with a $300 touchscreen universal remote (this story is from 2002 or so) while having to look down to see what buttons he is pushing because there's no way to feel the existing buttons. Just embarrassing. A man should be able to turn the volume up without looking away from the screen.

      • pobautista

        I lost my love of soft keys across the years. Way too many accidental presses of "back" and "menu" while holding it landscape with the right hand.

        I wish there was a way to customize that black band. Three buttons? How about adding app shortcuts, toggles, or volume adjustment?

  • jOn Garrett

    I got the original galaxy tab 10.1 and I would rather another 10" tablet but I dont think I will ever again buy a Samsung tablet for 2 reasons.

    1. abandonment. it took forever to get ICS on it and Im sure it will never ever get jelly bean and if it does it will be after KLP is outgoing.

    2. they all have the same specs., like the same processor, same memory, same resolution.

    • http://AndroidPolice.com/ Liam Spradlin

      I also had the Tab 10.1. At the time I loved it, but none of Samsung's tablets since (save the Nexus 10) have excited me at all for the very reasons you mentioned. Something that jumps out to me is that this tablet has a 1280x800 resolution. The same as the original 10.1...and the Note 10.1...and the Note 8.0...and, oh yeah, the Galaxy Tab 3 10.1

    • IHATEHIPSTERSSS

      My Gt 10.1 is flashed with JB 4.3 and runs flawlessly, it was also cheaper than an iPad, although maybe you should get one of those since you sound like an iSheep...

      • jOn Garrett

        I cant believe you've followed me here. go back to TB.

        anyway, I could never ever be an iSheep. I'm far to intelligent for that which is why in Nov 2011 I finally got tired of wanting all the cool Android features and switched and will never go back.

        what 4.3 ROM even exists for the Tab 10.1?

  • unhappybirthday

    Blech. All that white in the UI...

    • Omar Al Matar

      *coughgingerbreadcough*

      • Jack

        Don't you mean Froyo?

  • jani jokela

    Samsung seems nowadays booring

  • deltatux

    I find that 7" tablets have a very narrow body and isn't good for book reading than a more squarish design. This is why I like the 8" designs better since they're more square than their 7" counterparts...

    • Kevin Aaronson

      That really doesn't make any sense. The ratio is the same, size is different.

  • Cary

    If Samsung is really gunning for Apple, I can't imagine anyone will pick up one of these and not immediately notice the cheap materials and laggy interface compared to the Ipad mini or even the new Nexus 7. You don't have to be up on the tech specs to notice these things.

    • CoreRooted

      It looks like Samsung is gunning for both Google and Apple with Tizen. I almost have to wonder if Samsung did this on purpose to hamper Android sales so that if/when they do release Tizen tablets, they can say "Look at this compared to Android!!!". Total conspiracy theory, but yeah...

      • Hans Pedersen

        Conspiracy theory overdrive? :)
        Sure, it's not the best tablet in the world. But it is definitely far from being the worst. First of all, you have to remember that the Nexus 7 is sold at manufacturing cost. That is something Samsung wouldn't do with a tablet of their own. Second of all, Samsung are still the biggest Android tablet manufacturer in the world. They're the ones who created this tablet segment that saved Android on tablet. I think people are a bit short-sighted and quick to jump on the Samsung hate train lately.

        • CoreRooted

          Oh, I don't hate Samsung at all. Most of my devices are Sammy devices. But, given all the stories coming out about Sammy wanting to have Tizen as the top platform, one has to wonder if they would stoop to undermining Google to make that happen. It's not like their bottom line would really be affected by pulling a stunt like that.

          • Hans Pedersen

            Again. They sell more Android tablets than anyone else. They're making a huge profit on these. What would they lose by killing their own sales? How about billions every quarter? :)

          • CoreRooted

            On just the Tab series? Not as much as we would think. Again, total conspiracy theory. :)

          • momentai

            Hans... Sammy is selling these tablets and phones based on the branding and features. They don't sell these as an Android phone/Google phone. From my own experiences, the majority of the market don't understand that Samsung even uses android or that HTC/Huwaii/Motorola run Android.

            Core may be stating a conspiracy theory, but it is a conspiracy theory based on hard facts and market evidence (and consumer stupidity with their love of buzz words).

            The Tab 3 is a mid range tablet using old tech that is attempting to directly compete with the iPad Mini. It will be a low range expensive tablet when the iPad Mini is refreshed in September.

          • Hans Pedersen

            Momentai, stop arguing with made up stuff while you call them hard facts.

            Samsung is a hardware company. That is a fact. People are aware about what Android is. The imaginary super dumb consumer that just buys without knowing anything does not exist in actual reality, they are made up people that are used too often in an attempt to build an argument, if they existed in great numbers Windows RT would have been a hit, which we both know it wasn't because the consumers are smart enough to understand that RT is a useless buy.

            The only real fact is that Samsung is a hardware company, they make money off selling as much hardware as possible, at a price as high as possible. They don't really care what software is on it, as long as it helps selling the hardware as much as possible and as long as it helps them make the consumer come back for more of the same stuff. That is why they sell them with Android. Whatever you are babbling about has nothing to do with "hard facts" and I bet you are fully aware of that yourself.

          • SakuRedux

            Gotta say I disagree. I work in retail for a mobile carrier, and we get a lot of people coming in wanting a Samsung phone. Most of them will ask about what the phone does, and when I mention that it's Android a lot of them will ask me what Android actually is. They have no idea. It doesn't matter to the average consumer, they just want something that works.
            I honestly think Monumentai and Corerooted might be onto something. Apple do so well because they create the OS and Hardware, and I think Samsung want to go that route too. They have the ability, no doubt, as well as the marketing clout to pull it off.

          • Hans Pedersen

            If you work in a phone store, you must know you also use Android as a huge selling point, all phone stores I've seen has all sorts of big android related promotional things.

            What would Samsung gain from messing everything up and gamble on a new ecosystem? Exactly, nothing. The only winner if Samsung would do that is Nokia, as they would suddenly have a much more "accepted" ecosystem. Consumers in general are not stupid people with an iq of 47, Saku, people in general can figure basic things out themselves and make educated choices based on that. Though people will of course use the opportunity to get a store clerk explaining thing to them when they are actually there, mostly to get a confirmation that they are actually in a store that cares
            about what they are selling.

            Samsung will not use Tizen actively to replace Android, because there is absolute nothing for them to win if they do. There is however a market dominance to lose.

          • SakuRedux

            Actually in the company I work for we're encouraged to talk about what the USP's (Unique Selling Point) of each handset is. For instance the HTC One's BoomSound speakers, or the Galaxy S4's Air Gesture and Air Touch technology, or the Dust/Water resistance of the Xperia Z. If anyone who actually works in telco retail uses Android as a selling point, they're an idiot. Almost every phone out there barring Nokia and Apple is an Android phone. It's almost like telling someone the new car you're selling them has a steering wheel.

            For Samsung to push Tizen instead of Android, all they would need to do is get Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Viber, Whatsapp, Snapchat and maybe Zynga to make apps for them. For Samsung, that's a very easy thing to do given the amount of money they can throw at the developers to get it done.

            They'd also need to encourage the people selling the phones to sell their Tizen phones rather than their Android phones. They could do this in any number of ways, be it through incentivising people to sell them or by providing sales people with free devices. The main reason Nokia haven't sold all that many phones is that they don't get the people selling the phones to /like/ the phones. It's hard to sell someone on a phone they didn't come in to buy. It's even harder to sell one you're entirely unfamiliar with.

            Just as an example, the Nokia Lumia 925 just launched in our lineup, and not one of the people in the store I work in (barring myself, as I used to own a HTC 8X) has any clue how to use Windows Phone because they've never /had/ a Windows Phone before. You might say that they should learn how to use it, but what incentive do we have to do that (buying a phone, using it as our "daily driver" and getting used to it) when we have a much easier time showing off Android and iOS based phones which have a familiar interface? None. For Nokia or Microsoft to get sales numbers up, they need to butter up the people selling their devices. Samsung, for the S4 at least, are more than willing to do that. Free devices, plenty of promo material, and, most importantly, marketing the damn thing.

            Yes, people can figure things out and they generally do. They figure out that they prefer Apple, or Samsung, or HTC, or Nokia. For the most part the people I encounter every single day have a /brand/ loyalty, and could care less about the OS their phone is using.

            What you have with Android, to the everyday end user, is a centralised framework which at the end of the day basically results in a few common features and a central app store for multiple manufacturers. Given that Tizen is open, the same as Android, and has both Samsung and Intel (two well respected household names) behind it I can see it being popular if it's both marketed and funded correctly.

            Just to summarise, if Samsung want Tizen to do well they need to do X things:

            - Have a good marketing campaign for their launch devices
            - Have a range of popular apps ready at launch
            - Make it easy for stores to sell, and give them a reason to want to

            The transition to Tizen may not happen quickly, and it may not be complete, but it will happen. For a company as big in the market as Samsung, being reliant upon a single external company for your software isn't a good position to be in.

          • Hans Pedersen

            There is no direct correlation between what your company prefers to sell and what consumers wants to buy. Your company wants to sell whatever makes them the most money at as small effort as possible. The things you talk about are also things manufacturers insists resellers to promote. Things that they themselves use in commercials.

            No, all they would need is to get the whole developer community to follow suit. They can't even get them into the Samsung app store on Android, what makes you think they would want to start developing for a completely different software platform then? Look at how hard it is for Nokia and Microsoft to convince just a few devs to start working on WP. It will be much harder for Samsung to convince those same devs to wasting money on a completely unknown platform.

            Samsung will only lose by promoting Tizen instead of Android. That is a simple fact.

          • MindFever

            ...Did you even read his comment ?

          • Hans Pedersen

            Did you even read my comment?

          • http://clintjcl.tumblr.com/ ClintJCL

            I had to stop reading after your false (*AND* fallacious) first paragraph.

          • Hans Pedersen

            Yeah, it's a widely know fact that it's a fallacious blatant lie that Samsung is primarily a hardware company, right? =D

          • http://clintjcl.tumblr.com/ ClintJCL

            Um... Yeah, dude. You showed me.

          • akhil

            You have to remember there are 2 things making android great . Its being open source and Google Services (gmail, search, youtube etc. ). Without these, i don't think Tizen can be samsung's sole bread and butter.

          • CoreRooted

            Well, according to Sammy, they think Tizen could succeed on their own.

            Just so we know that I'm not pulling this out of thin air: http://news.cnet.com/8301-1035_3-57597026-94/samsung-co-ceo-we-want-tizen-to-be-on-everything/

            "Samsung Electronics has broad ambitions for Tizen, an open operating system the company has taken a lead role in developing as it looks to wean itself off its dependence on Android and Google.

            That's according to Samsung Electronics co-CEO J.K. Shin, who runs the company's IT and mobile communications division. In a joint interview with CNET Korea (Korean language) and CNET, Shin made it clear that Tizen is more than a pet project and "simple alternative forAndroid." Indeed, he envisions Tizen running on more than just smartphones, and that it will eventually move to vehicles and other industries."

          • Hans Pedersen

            I see, you're one of those who just reads headlines and takes words out of context to make a point? :)

          • CoreRooted

            Not at all. I've been following Tizen for years (ever since the bada days) and watching what Samsung wants to do with it. I even tried my hand at writing a Tizen app before. If you look at the cumulative stories AND the amount of code they have put into Tizen, the logical conclusion is that Sammy wants Tizen to be the next Android.

          • Hans Pedersen

            Sure. But the reality is still; Tizen is really mostly about development. It's not directly intended as a competitor to Android, really never has been. I've been following it a long time too, since before they made it open source, you know when they started experimenting with semi-smart phones like the Jét.

            Tizen is not gunning for Android, of course unless Google fucks up with Android completely. That is the reality, what you're writing is just basic FUD. :)

          • CoreRooted

            I did say it was a conspiracy theory. However, which part of the statements made by a VP or higher (in this case, co-CEO) for the mobile division of Samsung is FUD exactly? Statements over the past year coming from various c-level execs in Samsung have all pretty much carried the same message; Tizen will replace Android in future Samsung products. Plus, it's not only Samsung who has said this. Look at the Intel blogs/press releases and they coincide with what Samsung is saying.

            I'm failing to see where this is FUD at all.

          • Hans Pedersen

            How about the part where you try so hard to interpret that they want Tizien on all kinds of devices (from smart devices to refrigerators and in cars) as they want it on all devices in the world.

          • Core Rooted

            Ok. Either you are using a completely different version of English than I am or you are being dense. That is exactly what they have said for over a year now. How else would you interpret it? They want Tizen everywhere and reduce their reliance on Google and Android. What do you take that to mean? That they are going to just be satisfied with their "own" product to not do as well or better than Android? That's laughable.

          • Hans Pedersen

            Tell me where in that article Shin says he wants Tizen to replace everything. English is my third language, but I am definitely not the dense one of us if that is what you're reading from his comments and ideas about Tizens.

            Here's the real life argument that just proves that you, Core, is the dense one here: Tizen is not a propriety operating system owned by Samsung. It is open source, and it is a project they're working on in cooperation with several other hardware manufacturers. They all primarily use it to help develop how hardware and software works together. Again; Samsung has nothing to gain from replacing Android with Tizen on everything, because their source of income, just like Intel, is hardware. They make as much money from selling a GS4 with Android on it as they do by selling it with any other operating system.

            This "discussion" is over. I'm not here to be insulted just because someone wants to defend an argument that doesn't exist.

          • southerndinner

            Conspiracy overload. Tizen isn't replacing Android and Samsung likes selling devices

        • MindFever

          Because Samsung makes crappy tablets,that's the only reason for hate. No,Nexus 7 is not sold at manufacturing cost.That is a myth ...
          Samsung overprices their shit ,pure and simple...come on there is no reason this tab is in the premium range of price

    • Bleakvision

      Or that a drawn line lags an inch behind the stylus on the note 8.0. Consumers will notice these kinds of things. I really would like to know the sales numbers for these Samsung Tabs, you don't see them much in peoples hands...

  • CoreRooted

    I have a Galaxy Tab2 10.1"... With the stock ROM, the thing was HORRIBLE to use. I've since thrown CM 10.2 on it. It's much, much better now. Hardware wise, it's still a mid-range tablet, but at least it's usable without all of Sammy crap spewed all over the place (and 4.3 is MUCH better than the original 4.1.2). As for the Tab3 8; all I can say is meh.

  • TY

    I highly doubt that the 8-inches series of Samsung Tabs will even exist if there is no iPad mini/iPad mini is not 8-inches.

    • jOn Garrett

      what are you talking about? its the other way around, apple is responding to smaller tablets AND Samsung had the very nice Galaxy Tab 7.7 (the one that apple successfully had banned before it even hit the streets) as well as the Tab 8.9 since way back.

      • L boogie

        Yeah, the Galaxy tab 7.7 as well as the 8.9 were a pair of well made tabs by Samsung and should have continued to produce these tabs but abandoned ship and instead made tabs of the same caliber such as the reviewed 8.0 tab and more of the same crap. Just looking forward to when they eventually start making HD versions of their Galaxy tab line.

      • TY

        Look at 7.9 vs 8.0... look at those mini side bezels which shouldn't exist in android yet in a 8-incher...
        Basically what Ryan is saying. It's not made to be good; it's made to compete with the iPad mini.

        • jOn Garrett

          nope, don't think so. I don't believe it was made to compete with the mini. how could it be when the mini has a huge advantage. it wouldnt be enough to just make a mediocre tablet to compete with the crowd favorite.

          If Samsung intended to go after the mini, they would have to come with more serious effort which in my opinion the ALL the current Samsung tablets (minus the nexus) are a joke--they're all not much different than my Tab 10.1 of 2011. basically the same processor, same screen res, same ppi, same amount of RAM.

          Samsung is just milking the Galaxy brand, and too much in my opinion.

  • troph

    It might just be touchwiz that's causing the sluggish-ness. I have a nexus 4 and S4 Active. Although S4A is well in front of the nexus in terms of processor and specs, my Nexus is much smoother running a custom rom (PA 3.9+ on 4.3) compared to S4A running touchwiz.

    • Ivan Myring

      Out of interest which is your daily driver?

    • Major Suave

      My idea too. Touchwiz is slow

  • Bleakvision

    "You should be able to get about 6 hours of screen-on time with the Galaxy Tab 3 8.0, which is nothing to sneeze at." Sorry, but this is something to sneeze at. I want 10 hours of continuos video playback, nothing less.

    • Van Davis

      Good luck with that, at the price point.

  • PamelaLibrarian

    I totally agree with you that this tablet seems to be competing with the ipad mini, especially since it's in white.
    Also, nice Sci-Fi collection!

  • Andrew

    So I take it the Nexus 7 is a better buy than this?

    I feel like I'd prefer the 8" screen over the 7", but other than that it seems the Nexus is better in pretty much every respect?

    • Clark

      I agree, I think that part was horribly written. With the Tab 3 you get MicroSD and 8", Nexus 7 doesn't have MicroSD and is not 8". So it makes the extra $70 seem more worth it at the end.

      • Kevin Aaronson

        Based on those specs, yes you are correct. But you forgot about the price, screen resolution, ram, android 4.3, build quality and feel, price, screen resolution, price, unadulterated android, screen. Other than that, yeah your right.

        • southerndinner

          The vast majority don't care about 'unadulterated' Android

      • RyanWhitwam

        A slightly larger screen with a much lower resolution? I don't see how that's in any way positive. I think we're at a point that microSD doesn't matter to most tablet buyers. It's certainly not enough to put the Gtab 3 anywhere near the NN7 in overall value.

    • FRiC

      I have a Nexus 7 (2012) which is not widely available in my country. I got it because someone bought it and didn't like it, so he went and bought the Galaxy Tab instead since the Tab can make phone calls and take photos, while the Nexus 7 can do neither. The Nexus 7 is now widely available on the second hand market since there are so many people buying them (second-hand) and then immediately reselling it since they discover that it doesn't make phone calls.

      Since the 2012 Nexus 7 sold so badly ASUS has no plans yet to bring in the new Nexus 7 right now, but the Tab 3 is already widely available. It's not hard to see why Samsung is selling so well.

  • Michał Ostrowski

    An overclocked old Exynos from SGS2? Damn... Samsung knows how to make a new product feel outdated...

  • Kevin Aaronson

    As an owner of the new nexus 7, suck on my balls Samsung.

    • southerndinner

      You sure showed them.

      • MindFever

        ...you can't be serious :D even if you are,consider the following : Google doesn't even use aggressive advertising for their products and they still sold a shitload of Nexus devices.

        • Devon Day

          Ya, without microSD expansion capability. I wouldn't recommend a Nexus because of that reason.

  • RaptorOO7

    I find it laughable you diss the screen resolution, have you looked at the iPad mini lately 1024x768 I do believe that is lower resolution.

    • RyanWhitwam

      I don't follow. Yes... the iPad Mini screen is 1024x768. It's not a super-clear panel, but it looks okay. The Gtab is higher than that, but it's a lot lower than the NN7. Being better than the iPad at something doesn't make it a good product. They can both have crap resolutions compared to other devices.

  • disqus_0DvjPGmqim

    What a d-bag review

  • Tyler

    It looks like someone sat on my Galaxy S4 and flattened it.

    I find it interesting (and somewhat reassuring) that my original Nexus 7 that I got LAST July for $230 is still better than a lot of well publicized tablets coming out now.

  • Save Lowest

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  • Mirosław Jurdeczka

    i really like those books you have in the background of the first pic. I hope that i can get my hands on RED MARS soon:)

  • Billy Brown

    I disagree with your review. Here is mine Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 Review Definitely a buy at this price.

  • nwaves

    The biggest plus this tablet has is the size of the screen. I talked to several friends and they all have the same complaint, 7" is a bit small for a tablet, 8" is the best size for reading. So that's where their market comes from, not from the name but from the lack of decent 8" tablets. I wish the new nexus was a Nexus 8 not a Nexus 7.

  • Bob V

    My wife picked up a Galaxy Tab and would like to add a blue tooth keyboard to ease data entry. There are a number of 1Pad keyboards on the market, will they work with the Galaxy Tab?

  • Melissa Murray

    As a new tablet buyer, have read MUCH about tab3 & nexus7.2. Confused as to whether to wait for nexus7.2 to hit retail in oz. Help!

  • bob

    Sd card slot! Nexus doesn't have it

  • Steven Rodriguez

    i liked this device bcuz it sorta attracts attention that way when my friends have the samsung galaxy s4 ill have same thing just bigger and i love the battery life it lasts a very long time even on heavy usage BUT the main reason i got this tablet is bcuz the expandable storage by micro sd bcuz i wouldnt like to download all my 250 songs all over again and i really dont know how to use dropbox bcuz it seems like too much hassle

  • DiscoZ

    It has a larger screen than the Nexus 7, has SD storage and a better battery. I also don't seem to have issues with the screen. It is not as HD as it can be (I had a Retina Ainol, have a Retina iPad 4 and had a Transformer) but is bright with good colours. For this size, there is no other credible competition. Including the Toshiba or the Acer with the worse screen. Let's not forget that the Nexus would be around this price point if it had a larger screen. Somehow, all the great reviewers seem to forget this when apeing their canned reviews on this and other devices.

  • The experienced android guy

    Dont believe the person who typed it , he's lying. I have a Samsung Galaxy tab 3 8.0 and there IS a ir tv controller, it is actually very fast and the front camera is 1.3 mp. Oh yeah, the screen is very hd, even though the resolution is not that good.

  • tj

    stupid review... I mean really this guy has clearly not used the new nex 7 and the new 8" note side by side. no reason to not get the nex over note is flat crazy. there are many. one big reason.... minisd slot.. now on price point for sure Samsung is dreaming but using both side by side the samy is obvious choice for the extra hundred bucks.

  • stan the man

    What ? How can you say pro: sturdy build, then con: cheap slippery plastic shell ? uh, next review site, thanks.

  • Bali

    to me this device is perfect
    although nexsus 7 has better specs in terms of hardware
    but for me screen size and the option for micro SD card is good enough buying points over nexus 7
    screen size is smack in the middle not large and not too small
    and i have an ipad mini and i am tired of deleting stuff to install new ones

  • Camilo Gamba

    I would not be that sure about google's device. Did you hear about their problem with the GPS?...well, there was an update-> solved. Did you hear about the touch problem...solved. Did you hear about the wireless+bluetooth problem? they have just release an update, and many still have the same problem. They release that tablet kind of improvising...i want to buy a small device, but it seems to me that samsung tab 3 8.0 is better quality than google asus.

  • kingz59

    I have enjoyed your review, Do me a favour visit

    http://generallog.blogspot.com/2013/09/samsung-galaxy-note-3-review-semi-tablet.html

    It is my perspective about Note 3. I have tried hardly to make it, and I hope that you will love the animations and review

  • Shelly

    I cAnt understand why it won't turn on properly and just doesn't leave the page where it's loading up!!

  • Liza 1013

    Thanks very much for the part about the boot loop - I have just bought Tab3 and within 4 days the tab has shut down on me twice. Tab 3 costs much more than USD 300 in my country and I was really sorry that it would need repairs so soon but you helped me to understand the problem.
    I replaced Tab 2.7 with Tab 3.8 and, apart from that boot loop, I find its performance very good, much better than Tab 2.7.
    As to slippery cover - yes, it is a bit unpleasant but I have bought Samsung jacket for the Tab and it helps with narrow edges of the tablet as well!

  • http://clintjcl.tumblr.com/ ClintJCL

    "Oh, and there are physical buttons... on a tablet."

    Oh, and there are rules about what is or isn't a tablet....on a blog?

  • http://clintjcl.tumblr.com/ ClintJCL

    I just got one and love it. I've never owned a cellphone before. Well, I had 2 weeks with an iPhone once, before I put it down from hating it so much and never used it again.

    Once I figured out how easy it is to kill all running applications, I stopped worrying about lag.

    Don't have to root it to do what I want, either. Though I'm going to anyway because there are a few tiny things that rooting would help. Much less of a difference here than an iPhone though...

  • Anton

    In tbe article, it says that the default camera is 3.2 megapixels. So how do you change it to 5 megapixels? I just bought one a few days ago, and I'm wondering about why the resolution is so bad. Can someone please help me? It would help me so much. Thank you!

  • Anton Escano

    In the article, it said that the default setting for the camera is 3.2 MP, but its supposed to be 5MP. Does anybody know how to change this default setting? I'm just bought this tablet a few days ago, and I really want to know how to change it. Thank you!

  • Shahrokh

    Hi ryan,
    I've decided to buy a mini tablet an after some research i ended up to Nexus 7 and Galaxy tab 3 8". I think 8" screen of Galaxy has more space than Nexus 7. I just want something to take with myself and read my PDF books, mnuals on it, and also browsing internet.
    If i can buy Galaxy tab 3 8" $225 and Nexus 7 new $249, which one you suggest?
    Tab 3 8" is $275 on shop.ca and they give $25 credit for signing up to the website, also if I buy with paypal it give $25 more discount, so it becomes $225. They don't sell nexys 7 on this website.
    Thanks,
    Shahrokh

  • http://www.shopbychoice.com/ ShopByChoice

    The Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 is the latest offering by Samsung for the tablet . The device comes with updated specifications and hardware which translates into faster performance .

    Features :-
    1. Android v4.1 (Jelly Bean) OS
    2. 3 MP Primary Camera
    3. 1.3 MP Secondary Camera
    4. 1.2 GHz Dual Core Processor
    4. 7" TFT Capacitive Touchscreen
    5. Wi-Fi Enabled
    6. Expandable Storage Capacity of 32 GB
    http://www.shopbychoice.com/samsung-galaxy-tab-3-t211-tablet-white/p/TXpnd09Eaz0

  • srtysfdgbsdf

    Haha are you serious? I've used this tablet for work and school for the past months and It's an awesome tablet, one of the best android tablets offered in fact. It's got an S pen for taking notes and drawing as well. I think you're more of a nexus fanboy so It's okay

    • Van Davis

      Sounds like you have the Note, if it has an S Pen. Not this tablet. They're similar, though. :P

  • art

    Nexus fanboy?

  • Z0NK

    good and honest review. I totally agree with pretty much everything you said. Keep up the good blogging :-D

  • callmechaz

    No reason to buy? Sounds like a Nexus salesman. I chose bigger screen, memory card. (Did u even mention mem card?) Much of the rest is subjective. No regrets.

  • Coolcooker

    I think you must be using something different than the tab 3 8" I have. Of course there is always room for improvement with all technology but "mediocre camera", seriously?? I have found just the opposite, actually producing photos that compete with my Canon DSLR. In my opinion it is actually one of the best features of this tablet. I love the screen and prefer to watch netflix on my tablet rather than my laptop. Not to be mean, but sometimes I wonder if pros who are reviewing stuff actually use them for a while.

  • Van Davis

    My God, how greasy/sweaty are your hands, that this is really an issue?

    I was late to this tablet...just picked it up a week ago, after my Note 10.1 from last year was stolen. I was gunning for another 10 in tablet, but wasn't really interested in the stylus anymore.

    Saw this baby for $249.99, held it for a while, realized the 8 inch screen was really perfect for my uses and took it home.

    Running 4.2.2, using the Google NOW launcher, and I am having none of the lag issues this review talks about. It's possible they've done some updates since this was written?

    The physical buttons gave me trouble for about two seconds...until I realized they were there, and adapted the way I held the tablet to a new, comfortable grip on the corners or the edges. The damn thing is so light it's not really hard to hold, no matter how you choose to do it.

    Camera's not amazing, but it's not a piece of shit, either. MY ONLY issue is the lack of a flash, but I'm really not a fan of taking photos with my tablet in the first place...that's what my phone is for.

    I can agree that $300 would have been overpaying for this device, when it released. But, with the price drop, it's a great tablet for someone who just wants a nice, light Android tablet to read, web browse and game on...as long as you don't have issues greasing up the backs of smooth surfaces with your hands.

  • khadir

    Samsung Tab 3 7-Inch

    in amazon $169.99 & FREE Shipping

    http://goo.gl/DVSYaF

  • Frank Kavanagh

    Who cares about the plastic back, everyone puts a cover on as soon as they buy one. [Except reviewers, it seems]. And the Nexus is FULL of problems, so not a good alternative.

  • Olivia Smith

    This thing constantly disconnects from wifi. It's slow and I really regret buying it. I hate it so much. I'm never buying another piece of trash from Sumsung again.