The new Samsung Galaxy Tab A's are coming to the US on May 1, but our northern brethren in Canada can order them right now at through the Samsung Experience stores. They are carrying both models - an 8.0-inch model will cost you $279 CAD and the 9.7-inch model with an S-Pen for writing notes, sketching or playing games for $429 CAD. These were designed as mid-range family tablets that allow each family member to customize their own access, with complete privacy from one another. They are great for reading, emailing and browsing the internet and with the 9.7-inch model, with the S-Pen you can write, capture, crop and multi-task fast and easy.
The specifications are about par for their price, and remember these at not Samsung's high-end devices. The Tab A 8 comes with a PLS LCD display rather than Samsung's Super AMOLED and has an HD resolution of 1204 x 768 with a 4:3 aspect ratio. At 208.4mm x 137.9mm x 7.5 mm thick and weighing in at 313 grams, it is slightly lighter than the iPad mini. It sports a Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 quad-core processor clocked at 1.2GHz and an Adreno 306 GPU, along with 1.5GB of RAM, 16GB of internal storage and a microSD slot for expansion. It has a 5MP main camera and a 2MP front-facing camera (FFC) with a 4200mAh battery. It runs Android 5.0 Lollipop and has Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and a microUSB 2.0 port.
The Galaxy Tab A 9.7 uses the same resolution display and processor, but packs 2GB of RAM, adds the S-Pen and bumps up the battery to 6000mAh - giving you two more hours over the 8-inch version. While the Tab A 9.7 does not have the value of the iPad Air, which costs $439 and offers more apps, a faster processor and a better display, but the Samsung gives you more RAM, expandable storage and an S-Pen.
Samsung is rethinking its product line after a subpar 2014 with lower smartphone and tablet sales. They started to experiment with the Galaxy Alpha and the Galaxy Note 4 and Galaxy Note Edge. They felt confident enough to really make changes to their 'bread-and-butter' Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge and the experiment has paid off with sales going off the charts... analysts expect them to sell over 50 million Galaxy S devices in 2015. Samsung is now extending this higher build quality to their tablet line-up... they will not be cheap, but should not suffer from poor build quality.