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Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 8.0 - Software, Performance and Camera

Michael Sawh

By Michael Sawh
Reviewed:

Summary

Our Score

6/10

User Score

Review Price £279.00

Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 8.0: Software

No Samsung phone or tablet would be complete without TouchWiz, its custom interface and skin for Android. The Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 8.0 gets the customary Samsung app and software treatment including some of the more impressive multitasking and 'Smart' features previously introduced on other tablets and smartphones.

Multi-Window support is included, letting you use two applications on the same screen by simply dragging them on from the side-bar. There’s Pop Up video, which does a similar job, and Smart Stay eye-tracking to turn off the screen when you are not looking. It works well as long as you are in good light.

There's also access to the Samsung App Store, S-Voice to control camera functions with voice commands, ChatOn instant messaging and Group Play.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 8.0

TouchWiz is a decent, engaging take on Android, but there a few areas where it feels less efficient than stock Android. For instance, you can’t simply create folders by dropping icons on top of each other or swipe up from the bottom of the screen to open Google Now.

The most important thing is that while Samsung’s software still has a presence throughout, it doesn’t feel as overwhelming as previous versions. It’s cleaner and more intuitive and we are happy that Samsung has taken this approach, though given the choice we'd still favour stock Android.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 8.0: Camera

The Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 8.0 has a 5-megapixel main camera and 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera. There’s no flash on the main camera, but it does have autofocus to help muster up decent photos.

The camera app is the same one seen on current Galaxy devices, which includes a large selection of Shot Modes that includes Auto, Panorama, Sound & Shot and Night modes. It's very comprehensive, even if it feels like overkill on a tablet where photography is not such a key concern.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 8.0 7

It delivers a performance comparable to the Note 8.0. Images offer decent exposure and reasonable levels of detail, but lack sharpness and the ability to shoot in low-light conditions. It’s suitable enough for sharing on Facebook and Twitter, but these are not going to be great for printing out and hanging up on the wall.

As for the 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera, the megapixel count might be slightly up from the Note 8.0, but it’s only good for one thing and that’s video chatting.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 8.0 2

Photo taken in Auto mode

Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 8.0

Photo taken in Auto mode

Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 8.0: Performance

The Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 8.0 runs on a Samsung Exynos 4412 dual-core processor clocked at 1.5Ghz. There’s a 1.5GB of RAM to help with multitasking and a Mali 400 GPU to take care of gaming.

For everyday tasks, this is more than suitable. Flicking through homescreens is smooth, web browsing is quick and applications launch with little issue. It’s when the CPU is pushed to its limits that you begin to see signs of a struggle.

In Multi-Window mode, web pages take longer to render and videos in YouTube take longer to load. It’s here where it could do with the quad-core power and 2GB RAM that’s nestled inside the Galaxy Note 8.0 to help things run smoothly.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 8.0

Using multi-screen apps slows things down noticeably

Running the gaming benchmarks, the Galaxy Tab 3 8.0 scores a 2351 in the Ice Storm Extreme test putting it behind the original Nexus 7 (2362). In the Ice Storm test it scores a 3121 placing it around the performance of the Acer Iconia Tab A1.

It musters up a 9471 score in the AnTuTu benchmark putting it some way behind the Asus MeMo Pad HD 7 (12,800) and the original Nexus 7 (12726). This is serious concern given both are considerably cheaper, with the recently released Asus in the region of £150 less. Its 7-inch screen is smaller, but its screen has the same resolution.

The Epic Citadel benchmark, meanwhile, gives an average 47.4 FPS score putting it in the same realms as the HTC One Mini and S4 Mini smartphones.

Benchmark scores is one thing of course and running Real Racing 3 there’s little signs of lag. It does struggle to run Galaxy on Fire 2 HD. There are definitely other tablets more suitable for high-powered gaming.

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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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