The Bottom Line
Nov 15 2013 - Samsung tried to deviate from the standard design for an Android tablet and the gamble almost worked. Sure, the tablet runs Android on an Intel Atom processor, but there are lag issues that plague it such that it is not a good experience compared to the standard ARM based competitors. Add to this the fact that they decided to use a lower resolution display without dropping the price accordingly and the tablet is going to be a tough sell. At least Samsung elected to have a high capacity microSD card slot for easy storage expansion and the tablet is one of the lightest and thinnest 10-inch Android tablets on the market.
- Relatively Thin and Light For 10-inch Tablet
- MicroSD Card Slot For Storage Expansion
- Tablet Experiences Lots of Lag
- Lower Resolution Display
- Intel Atom Z2560 Dual Core Atom Mobile Processor
- 1GB PC2-6400 DDR2 Memory
- 16GB Storage
- 10.1" WXGA (1280x800) Multitouch Display
- 1.3 Megapixel Front Camera and 3.0 Megapixel Read Camera
- Intel HD Graphics
- 802.11a/g/n Wireless, Bluetooth
- microUSB 2.0, microSD, 3.5mm Audio
- 9.57" X 6.93" x .31" @ 1.12 lbs.
- Android 4.2
Review - Samsung Galaxy Tab 3
Nov 15 2013 - Samsung was one of the first to produce Android tablets in response to the original iPad and their Galaxy Tab 3 is the latest from the company. The overall look doesn't seemed to have changed that dramatically with the emphasis on a plastic back in white with some metal edges. The plastic offers a decent look but shows fingerprints and smudges quite easily that many other companies have dealt with through texturing or different materials. The home button does return to the face of the tablet below the screen on the bezel which is unfortunate as they are easy to accidentally press. The tablet is extremely thin and light for a 10-inch tablet but has since been eclipsed by the new iPad Air in both of these categories.
Samsung took a very different approach with the Galaxy Tab 3 10.1 compared to its other tablets. Instead of using an ARM based processor, it uses the Intel Atom Z2560 dual core processor that one would associate with running a Windows based tablet. The tablet is instead running a new x86 based version of the Android operating system though. In terms of performance, this should provide it with a solid experience but the new operating system still has some kinks in it that ends up with an experience that is frequently plagued by lag. This is not present in ARM based tablets running the same versions of the Android operating system.
For storage, Samsung only offers the Galaxy Tab 3 10.1 in a single 16GB capacity. This is a typical capacity rating that many tablets start at but it is unusual for it not to have options with 32 or 64GB models. The reason for this is that Samsung has elected to include a microSD card slot that is compatible with SDXC class cards. This means that users can add up to 64GB of storage through the card which is far more affordable than it would cost for internal memory. This is a nice feature that many tablets have been dropping in recent years in favor of just internal storage.
The 10.1-inch display for the Galaxy Tab 3 is nice and large but has the drawback of featuring just a 1280x800 resolution display. This is practically unheard of in modern 10-inch tablets that feature at least 1920x1080 displays or higher. Even the old Google Nexus 10 features a 2560x1600 display. While it certainly does not have a lot of detail in the image, Samsung does make up for this by providing one of the brightest displays on the market that lets it function very well even in tough conditions such as direct sunlight. As noted earlier, there is a lot of lag inherent in this tablet which is apparent in the graphics as well as the interface. It will provide a smooth experience when watching a video but switching between apps can be quite painful.
With its thin profile, Samsung is still able to mange to put a 6,800mAh capacity battery inside of the tablet. The company claims that this can provide up to eight hours of running time. In digital video playback tests, the tablet was able to run for eight and a quarter hours. While this is right on the mark for the reported use it is much lower than either the Apple iPad Air or the Lenovo Yoga Tablet 10 was able to achieve at roughly twelve hours.
With a retail price of $399, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 10.1 has some serious pricing issues. Sure, it is far more affordable than the iPad Air which starts at $499 but the Air has a much better screen, better performance and is so much thinner and lighter. On the Android side, you have options such as the now very old Google Nexus 10 as mentioned earlier which has the higher resolution display but it much thicker and heavier. A much newer option is the Lenovo Yoga Tablet 10 which offers a much more stylish and durable design that also features a smoother experience with Android and very long running times.