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?
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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).
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 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.