Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 : [Exclusive Review]


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Samsung recently pulled the covers off its latest tablet series christened as the Galaxy Tab 3. Now Samsung is offering the Tab 3 in three different versions. They are the Tab 3 7.0 inch with Wi-Fi + 3G aka T-211, Tab 3 8.0 inch Wi-Fi only aka T-310 and Tab 3 8.0 inch with Wi-Fi + 3G aka T-311.

The Tab 3 range of Samsung Tablets replaces the existing Tab 2 series and it can be hoped that they repeat the success story of the Tab and Tab 2 series of tablets.

We have here with us the Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 (T-211) today and this is going to be an exclusive hands-on review of the product.

What’s In The Box:

The Tab 3’s box includes the device itself, user manuals (quick start guide, etc.), the data cable and a travel adapter. Surprisingly, Samsung isn’t providing a headset or a pair of ear-phones in the box. Samsung did provide them with the Tab 2 though. What’s worth noting is that this box, just like the boxes of other new products from Samsung is made from entirely recycled materials.

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The unboxed Galaxy Tab 3

Even the user manual and other literature provided in the box is made out of 100% recycled paper. I think that’s a pretty good touch and shows Samsung’s commitment towards environmental conservation.

Form Factor:

Measuring in at 188 x 111.1 x 9.9 mm and weighing in at 304 grams, this 7 inch tablet feels chunky to hold and is well weighted. If you have used a tablet before, then you won’t have any issues getting accustomed to this one as well.

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The Micro SD slot.

Available only in white color (in India) and with a faux metallic strip running all around it, the Tab 3 feels well put together, although I’m not too sure about its long term physical durability because there have been instances of people reporting incidents like the paint peeling off from the edges, that faux metallic strip losing its sheen, etc. on other Samsung devices so maybe this one (Tab 3) could be susceptible to the same.

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Dual speakers and a USB slot.

Up front, you have the secondary camera that sports a rather low resolution of 1.3 Megapixels and the various sensors (proximity and light) located next to it. Lower down, there is one physical button that acts like a multi-function button and two capacitive buttons for accessing the options menu and to return to the previous screen. Again, usual Samsung layout.

On the left side, there are the slots for the Micro-SIM card and Micro-SD card. Since the battery is a non-detachable type, the SIM and Memory Card are both hot swappable. On the right side, there are two physical buttons. One to lock/un-lock or put the phone in sleep mode and the other is a volume rocker.

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The Tab 3.

The back of the tablet is a very plain glossy surface with a 3 Megapixel primary camera located towards the top. A 3.5 mm audio jack is located on the top of the device while the bottom houses the charging cum USB slot and a set of dual speakers.

Display:

The Tab 3 (T-211) has a screen size of 17.8 centimetres (7 inches). While the screen size is good for this segment, its resolution turns out to be an Achilles’ heel for it. With a resolution of 1024×600 pixels on a 7 inch WSVGA LCD screen that can display up to 16 million colours, this is the same configuration as that of the Galaxy Tab 2. The screen turns out to be lack lustre and although it supports HD playback, the display output is marred by the low spec screen resolution.

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The 7 inch screen.

It does get the job done but it just leaves you wanting for more.

Performance and Features:

  •  The Tab 3 ships in with the older version of Android i.e. 4.1 so if you were expecting to have a tablet with Android 4.2 you’ll have to consider buying the 8 inch version of the Tab 3 that costs a good 7.6 grand more than this variant. Anyway, Android 4.1 isn’t that bad either. It comes with Samsung’s familiar Touch Wiz UI system. It has a 1.2 GHz Dual Core Processor along with 1 GB of RAM.
  • The internal storage capacity comes up to 8 GB (on paper) but you get about 5 GB for data, the rest being taken up by the OS and other stuff. You can expand the storage capacity up to 32 GB via Micro-SD card.
  •  As mentioned earlier, this tablet comes equipped with a 1.3 MP secondary camera and a 3 MP primary camera. The cameras do not have LED flash support but they are capable of recording HD videos.
  •  This tablet can be used as a phone as well. Yes, the Tab 3 T-211 supports voice calling feature and I think it is a pretty good feature to have in your tablet for it only adds to the versatility.
  • The in-call audio quality is also quite good.  The Tab 3 doesn’t suffer from any connectivity issues as such; data sharing via Bluetooth and Wi-Fi direct was also done without much hassle. This device doesn’t support NFC.  Connection to Wi-Fi and 3G networks was done easily and the process of download and upload was seamless.
  • As far as gaming and entertainment is concerned, I spent quite a lot of time playing games like Angry Birds, Air Navy Fighters, Jurassic Park Builder, Despicable Me – Minion Rush and others on this tablet and I’m quite satisfied with its gaming capabilities.
  • The video playback is also pretty decent, only being let-down by the poor resolution. The dual speakers deserve a special mention over here for the sound output quality is highly impressive. The audio is loud and clear even by tablet standards and I feel it’s one of the best ones around.
  •  The Tab 3 T-211 is powered by a 4000 mAh battery that has enough juice in it to keep the tablet going on for a good 20 hours (talk time, 3G network). As far as standby is concerned, this tablet can last for days on end with a single charge.

Retailing at a price point of Rs. 16600, the deal on the Tab 3 T-211 seems to be quite tempting. While you still might find some examples of the Tab 2 being sold and probably at a lower price than this, those will be the final units of the Tab 2 that vendors might be trying to clear out since it has been replaced by the Tab 3. So I wouldn’t suggest you to strike such deals, however lucrative they might seem to be.

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Good enough to be a phablet?

The Tab 2 was indeed a good product but now it’s gone and even though the Galaxy Tab 3 T-211 might not be fundamentally different from it or far superior, it is undoubtedly better than it in every possible way. There are subtle changes here and there to make sure that the device is updated, its inherent strengths have been retained and most importantly the price has been kept under check. At the moment this is possibly the best tablet under the Rs 20k mark.

Here are some sample images taken from the Tab 3 to ascertain the picture quality (click to enlarge).

All images, copyright : ShikharTechLabs.

Note: Prices mentioned here are as per Flipkart.

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One thought on “Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 : [Exclusive Review]

  1. Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 is a good device than its predecessor Samsung Galaxy Tab 2. It is very faster and performing well. As i used both of them i would say Tab 3 is a lot better both in speed and performance.

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