Hot on the heels of ASUS's slew of announcements at Computex, Samsung wishes to steal the thunder away from their nearest tablet competitor by announcing their latest line of products the Galaxy Tab 3 series. The new Galaxy Tab series is composed of three products, the Galaxy Tab 3 10.1 inch, Galaxy Tab 3 8 inch and Galaxy Tab 3 7 inch. The Tab series should not be confused with the Galaxy Note series which is Samsung's premium line of tablet products, the Tab line is more budget orientated and the hardware specification sheets reflect that. Going from smallest to largest the first one up is the Tab 3 7 inch.
Galaxy Tab 3 7 Inch
The smallest kid on the block, the Galaxy Tab 3 features some fairly entry-level hardware including:
- 1.2 GHz Dual-Core Processor with 1 GB of RAM
- 7 inch 1024x600 TFT Display
- Android 4.1 Jelly Bean
- 3 MP Rear and 1.2 MP Front Camera
- WiFi, 3G, 2G, Bluetooth 3.0 and A-GPS Connectivity
- 8 or 16 GB of Internal Storage with microSD Expansion
- 4000 mAh Battery
It's disappointing that the Tab 3 doesn't even have a 720p display, but given the option to have expandable storage up to 64 GB it should be still be an excellent platform for watching and reading content. Given the fairly tamed specs, we should also expect a tamed price tag, which makes this the perfect device for people wanting to get their first tablet, or one for a family member without breaking the bank.
Galaxy Tab 3 8 Inch
The 8 inch is what Samsung views as the optimal size for tablets because it has a large enough display that reading and watching movies can be done comfortably without compromising the ability to easily hold it in one hand. The hardware in this device includes:
- 1.5 GHz Dual-Core with 1.5 GB of RAM
- 8 inch 1280x800 TFT Display
- Android 4.2 Jelly Bean
- 5 MP Rear and 1.3 MP Front Camera
- WiFi, 4G LTE, 3G, Bluetooth 4.0 and A-GPS Connectivity
- 16 or 32 GB of Internal Storage, with microSD Expansion
- 4450 mAh Battery
Now the hardware is more of what we have come to expect from modern tablets, while it's not a show stopper, it's also no slouch with a Dual-Core processor being enough to drive most Android applications, especially if it's the rumored Intel Cloverfield Atom processors. The Tab 3 8 inch should be not only be the in sweet spot of not only size, but also price vs performance.
Galaxy Tab 3 10.1 Inch
The 10.1 inch Tab 3 fits into what was the classic form factor of Tablets before the introduction of the Amazon Kindle and Google Nexus 7. The larger size of this tablet is what Samsung considers to be perfect for the entire family because it's a large enough screen for multiple people to view movies on, kids are also able to play games on it, while parents can use it to check the news and stock prices making it the perfect multimedia device. Behind the display we find hardware that is fairly reminiscent of the previous Tab 3s:
- 1.6 GHz Dual-Core Processor with 1 GB of RAM
- 10.1 Inch 1280x800 TFT display
- Android 4.2 Jelly Bean
- 3 MP Rear and 1.3 MP Front Camera
- WiFi, 4G LTE, 3G, Bluetooth 4.0 and A-GPS connectivity
- 16 or 32 GB of Internal Storage with microSD Expansion
- 6800 mAh Battery
The 10.1 Inch is not vastly superior to the 8 inch when it comes to performance despite it's larger size, with the same resolution display, less RAM and only a slightly faster CPU clock speed there is little separating the two. While some of you may cry foul with a 3 megapixel rear camera, remember this is a 10.1 inch tablet and if you wanted to take pictures of something you would find a DSLR Camera not only capable of taking much better photos, but also a lot smaller and manageable.
The new Galaxy Tab 3 series won't blow the competition out of the water when it comes to performance, but given Apple's dominance of the 'premium' tablet market and the only major success stories for Android tablets have been in the cheaper budget orientated market, Samsung's decision to make a line of products aimed for the budget crowd makes sense from a strategic point of view, especially if they already have the Note 10.1, 8 and Nexus 10 to compete in the premium tablet market space. Despite that I would have liked to see Samsung opt for a higher resolution display on the Galaxy Tab 3 10.1 Inch, HTC proved that technology is now capable of packing a 1920x1080 display into a 4.7 frame, so surely Samsung would have been able to fit such as display in their 10.1 inch tablet without blowing the budget, however the one inexcusable gripe I have is the existence of hardware buttons on all three tablets.
These tablets are expected to hit the market in the beginning of June so be sure to keep a lookout for one if you're interested in a budget tablet.