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Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 8.0 review

Michael Sawh

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Summary

Our Score:

6

Pros

  • Decent, bright screen
  • Multi-Window support
  • Good battery life

Cons

  • Cheap design with slippery back
  • Sluggish multi-tasking performance
  • Overpriced

Key Features

  • 1.5GHz dual-core CPU
  • 1.5GB RAM
  • 16GB internal memory
  • microSD card slot (Up to 64GB)
  • Android 4.2
  • 8-inch 1,280 x 800 screen
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • 5-megapixel main camera
  • Manufacturer: Samsung
  • Review Price: £279.00

What is the Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 8.0?

The Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 8.0 is an 8-inch Android tablet that continues the Korean manufacturer’s intentions to make a tablet in every size possible. It's the first 8-inch tablet in the Galaxy Tab range and is set to take on the 7.9-inch Apple iPad Mini 2, 7-inch Amazon Kindle Fire HD and the 7-inch Nexus 7 2. But with a £279 starting price that puts it above even the iPad Mini (£269), does the 8-inch Galaxy Tab make any sense?

SEE ALSO: The latest on the Samsung Galaxy S5

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Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 8.0: Design

The Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 8.0 is essentially the Galaxy Note 8.0 minus the S-Pen. It’s the same Galaxy smartphone-inspired design from the curvy edges, glossy white plastic back and silver metal band.

This isn't a good thing. We've said it before and we'll continue to say it: this is another Samsung tablet that looks and feels cheap compared to the iPad Mini or the Nexus 7. Considering it's more expensive than either, it's hard to understand why Samsung hasn't put more effort into the Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.0's design.

It weighs 314g making it lighter than the Note 8.0 (338g) and the 7-inch Nexus 7 (340g), but slightly heavier than the iPad Mini (308g). At 7.4mm thick it’s actually thinner than the Samsung Galaxy S4 smartphone, but it’s not quite iPad Mini slim (7.2mm).

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There’s nothing radically different to report on the button and port layout front. The capacitive buttons sit either side of the physical home button. The micro USB charging port is flanked by two speakers that are loud but not great quality, and can be easily blocked when held in landscape mode.

The 3.5mm headphone jack is up top with volume rocker and on/off button on the right. There’s a microSD card slot on the left protected by a latch you can dig a nail into to open. The camera sensor has been moved to the corner to avoid covering it up when shooting pictures in landscape mode.

The back is non-removable, so there's no getting at the battery. What's more of a concern, though, is the glossy finish on the back. Holding it in portrait mode, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 8.0 feels very slippery to the point that it's difficult to grip.

The 8.0 is bit of a stretch to hold in one hand, but in landscape mode it's perfect as a media consuming tablet. Despite our feelings about the build, the 8.0 does feels durable and solid enough use on a daily basis. It’s just not that pretty.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 8.0 4

Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 8.0: Screen

Samsung has opted for the same 1,280 x 800 resolution screen found in the Galaxy Note 8.0, the first generation Nexus 7 and the Galaxy 2 10.1. The latter is a two-year old Samsung tablet. The Nexus 7 2 is £100 cheaper yet has a 1,920 x 1,200 resolution display, which makes the Samsung look distinctly old hat.

The screen also manages the same 189ppi as the Note 8.0 matching clarity levels of the S Pen-toting device. The screen is not bad. Colours are good, it's very bright and the contrast is good enough to enjoy HD videos, but it just lacks the sharpness of the Nexus 7 2.

Nivek

August 19, 2013, 8:58 pm

I couldnt even consider a Samsung device due to the 'back' button being on the wrong side compared to everyone else. Why do they insist on doing that? As for Touchwiz... urgh.

Bob

September 16, 2013, 3:31 am

Overpriced!

Kiripo

September 22, 2013, 7:31 pm

It should have come with quad core cpu and flash. . .although The back button on the right side is perfect. Coz I prefer using only my right hand for operating my tab.

Adam Quinn Robinson

November 24, 2013, 5:10 pm

Just a quick comment...You people who review these new gadgets need to really think before you write a review. The iPad has the aluminium and glass combination and may "appear" durable , but is it really "better"? Polycarbonate (the material the tab 3 is made of) would flex and give a bit if dropped from a distance. The aluminum (iPad) doesn't flex at all when it hits the ground and most likely creates a shockwave through the entire structure possibly breaking small internal components (and more likely the glass screen). Look at auto mobiles these days...they are made to crumble and flex under stress. The "plasticky" feel of the tab 3 is a good thing.

Evan

November 25, 2013, 10:43 am

We do think. It's not that polycarbonate (which is plastic) is a bad material to create tablets out of. It's that the design is fragile. By comparison the nexus 7 and kindle fire hdx are also plastic but are far more durable.

Steven Simpson

November 30, 2013, 9:02 am

I'd like to note it all depends on how you plan to use your Tablet that the way its laid out makes a difference. Its about a $229 tablet by similar comparison these days last quarter 2013. Durability of course is strong enough to maybe drop it on a linoleum kitchen floor from 5' a few times, Its fast enough for about 90% of the applications on the market/Google Play store right now. That's about all I can say.

EzJ

December 9, 2013, 7:18 pm

Can you explain what you mean by more durable? What has happened to the Samsung to make you think it is less durable.

eterna1

December 17, 2013, 8:26 pm

the galaxy tab should be a phone!!!

Mark Armitage

December 22, 2013, 7:19 am

I have a lot of tablets and I really like this one. I think your review is unjustifiably scathing. It doesn't feel any cheaper than say a google nexus and the screen, battery and sd card slot make it very usable. I picked mine up for £179 including free 16gb sd card on Amazon at which price it is a real bargain. Some of the Samsung extras are genuinely useful and enhance its usability. Why you can even move applications to the sd card, which you cannot on the nexus. A definite case where the whole is better than the sum of its parts.

George Turner

January 2, 2014, 11:37 pm

Why do Apple assume punters are happy to pay over the odds for extra memory when it's as cheap as chips. I got the 16gb version plus 16gb card for £135. I could not justify the extra for the mini and the Samsung has a great screen. Ideal for what I want and easy to connect to none "Apple" stuff.

Cardinal Biggles

January 3, 2014, 10:27 pm

The Note will give you the extra power if you want to pay that sort of money.

Cardinal Biggles

January 3, 2014, 10:28 pm

Yes, the headline price is optimistic, but Ive never seen one of these at full price.

Cardinal Biggles

January 3, 2014, 10:38 pm

I disagree with your exalted praise for the Nexus 7. Apart from the critical user reviews seen elsewhere (amazon) how can a tablet with an unacceptably small screen and limited storage be better? Google want you to have it their way, and only their way.

ryan

January 6, 2014, 9:30 am

he plays basketball while using the tablet.. hahahhaha..

alaskatime

March 26, 2014, 4:30 pm

What a ridiculously biased and incorrect review.

dani

March 27, 2014, 7:57 am

i got one for christmas and i really wish i got a ipod you can do nothing with this tablet its to big for a pocket and so slow can't play music, never pushes the right buttunand it allways exsits what u r doing

Real Get

April 5, 2014, 5:49 pm

You say a better alternative tablet is the Nexus 7-2013? I strongly Beg to differ.

I just purchased the Nexus 7-2013 and the quality of the capacitive display left much to be desired.

I returned it to Amazon after just 2 days and happily ordered a Samsung Tab 3 8..

Google Nexus 7 2013 display issues and read the many dissatisfied Nexus users who are saying the same thing.

cdc700

April 17, 2014, 12:25 pm

Having owned both the nexus 7(2013), I feel like you might be leading consumers down the wrong path. My Nexus 7(along with hundred, if not thousands of others) was fraught with issues from the first day. I returned the first Nexus 7 (2013)tablet for horrible random reboot issues. The second one still had the issues, but not as frequently. The Nexus had a beautiful display, and the native Android was also nice. To me, it just felt cheap, and it did chip on the corner when dropped on the carpet from bed height. One of my kids broke their tablet, so to end those crocodile tears, I gave her my Nexus and went out to get myself a replacement. I wasn't about to press my luck with a 3rd nexus, and when I saw the Galaxy Tab 3 8.0 on sale, I decided to go for it. The tablet feels well constructed, and less juvenile(if that makes sense). While the resolution is lower, I don't notice much, if any difference when watching movies, and the 8" size is MUCH nicer than the 7. I haven't found any games that it can't run smoothly, and I have an SD slot(I had to use an OTG cable for the Nexus) I work offshore, so I can't rely on a "cloud" or the internet for content. Samsung is clearly a win for me.

Frank Rispin

May 2, 2014, 4:57 pm

Have had a Tab 3. 8 inch for a month and its brilliant.

leon

May 4, 2014, 6:55 pm

This tab is one if the worst tabs I have ever used,

it constsntly freezes, turns off and quits apps back to the home screen, also you cant watch things on bbc iplayer or itv player etx.

Very slow the processrr feels 15 years old

apps that also dont work on this and they do on I pads

wouldnt recommend getting one at all....

george

May 8, 2014, 8:47 pm

A tablet isn't supposed to be the same size as an iPod, that would defeat the point of a device with a larger screen. duh. Also didnt you realise how large 8+ inches is? how do you buy somthing of that size thinking hmmm ill put it in my pocket.

NormanSpeight

October 4, 2014, 9:34 am

Know what these 'reviewers miss? Well, I've just bought a quantity of these, only to discover that Samsung have disabled using a connector cable (mini to USB) to use external USB storage, this means you are forced into using the non-functional 'Kies' which is - frankly AWFUL and seldom works as claimed!, The micro SD is unreliable. Be very very careful about using this. Only remove after the whole device is OFF and most certainly do not rely on them. We have a number from different manufacturers. They are dead flaky. Finally, God help you if you ever ever need to replace the battery. In short for this device, Samsung have butchered the Android operating system to put several useless (and some useful) applications on it. They have removed much of your choice and instead put their awful choices on it. I have a number of these and really regret buying them. I was a long-term Samsung user.

disqus_30zN1qKq3U

July 22, 2015, 6:16 am

I like this tablet and it does everything it's suppose to do without issue but a video playing over and over for 8 hours is a joke, and getting through a day without charging?He must have left it in his glove box. Maybe if checking Facebook and your email and reading the days news, sending some messages and playing a game during lunch break was the work day use then OK. Otherwise this battery review is WAY OFF!!!

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