Samsung recently released a set of new tablets called the Galaxy Tab 3.
These tabs aren't really that different from the tablets Samsung released last year, or the year before that.
Sure they've been updated to the latest and greatest processors and sensors but besides that they aren't really ground breaking.
Samsung is employing the doctrine, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it."
What's new this year is that the Galaxy Tab 3 line is available in almost every size: 7-inches, 7.7-inches, 8-inches, and 10.1-inches.
The entire Tab 3 line separates itself from the iPads of the world by offering true multi-tasking in the form of multiple windows. This means you can use two apps at the same time. It's easy to watch a video while editing a document.
The tablets also come bundled with 50 GB of Dropbox storage which is a nice perk.
We had the opportunity to try out the Galaxy Tab 3 8.0 and 10.1.
Here's what we thought:
The Galaxy Tab 3 8.0
This mini-sized tablet is meant to compete directly with Apple's iPad mini.
In terms of size, the Galaxy Tab 3 8.0 is perfect. It's easy to hold with one hand, works fast, and has a nice screen for watching videos.
Think of the 8-inch tablet as a blown up Galaxy S4.
The Tab 3 8.0 is wrapped in plastic, which some might find distasteful. We don't mind it as much, sure the device would be prettier if it was made from aluminum or another metal but that doesn't matter because if you really cared about the materials you'd just buy an iPad mini.
The Tab 3 8.0 measures 8.6-inches high by 4.87-inches wide by 0.28-inches deep.
The Wi-Fi only device is equipped with:
a 1.6 GHz quad-core processor
1.5 GB of RAM
a screen with a resolution of 1280 x 800 pixels
a 1.3 megapixel front-facing camera and 5 megapixel rear camera
On device storage is either 16 or 32GB but you can increase that up to 64GB with a microSD card.
Using it isn't different from any other tablet experience. The device is a great supplement to a laptop and it is also good on the go.
The Galaxy Tab 3 software isn't that different from what was released last year.
A lot of other outlets who reviewed the same tablet have pointed out a noticeable lag when switching the device from portrait to landscape. I noticed this too.
The largest of Samsung's tablets is still meant to be used primarily in landscape mode. This is drastically different if you're used to the iPad because Apple's slate tends to work no matter the orientation.
The larger of Samsung's tablets doesn't really draw us to pick it over an iPad. The screen is lackluster, as Samsung only opted to put in a 1280 x 800 pixel resolution.
The Tab 3 10.1 is also Wi-Fi only. It comes in either white or gold-brown. There's a 1.6 GHz processor packed in there with 1GB of RAM, and 16GB of onboard storage but you can upgrade that to 64GB with a microSD card.
The front facing camera has 1.3 megapixels and the rear has 3.2 megapixels. The biggest tablet is still pretty thin, it's only 0.31-inches thick, 9.57-inches across, and 6.93-inches tall. Those measurements are rounded out with a 1.12-lb weight.
Besides the usual internal spec refresh (faster processors, more sensors, and more memory), Samsung wised up for this new release and made some small tweaks to the big tablet for better and worse.
The company ditched its proprietary 30-pin-like charger and went back to the standard micro-USB.
Also, the speakers on the 10.1-inch tab have been moved from the front of the device to the sides. This isn't necessarily a bad thing. It was nice to have them on the front but placing them on the side doesn't obstruct sound and the device still sounds pretty good, for a tablet.
These changes really don't compel us to recommend jumping out and buying the Galaxy Tab 3 10.1, especially as Google prepares a brand new Nexus 10 that could wipe the floor with this device.
The Galaxy Tab 3 10.1 costs $399.99. You can get it from Samsung, Amazon, and a ton of other retailers.3
If you're in the market for a smaller Android tablet we strongly encourage you to also research Google's new Nexus 7. It's a sleek tablet, with the latest version of Android, a brilliant screen, long battery life, and a ton of other updated features which make Samsung's smaller tablet feel outdated already.