Samsung has just introduced its Galaxy Tab 3 range, adding three new different-sized tablets to its line up. These join the Galaxy Note range of similar-sized devices, which may invite some confusion from consumers.
To Samsung, the difference is clear. The Note range features the company's "best technology", while the Tab 3 range is about "affordability and accessibility". For what it's worth, we think communicating this to potential buyers in the retail space might prove to be a little trickier than Samsung is anticipating.
Along with a Galaxy Tab 3 10.1-inch and a Tab 3 8-inch, Samsung's range includes the Tab 3 7-inch. At AU$249, the 7-inch is extremely competitively priced in the 7-inch space, but despite being definitely lower spec'd than many Samsung devices, it easily avoids the appellations of "bare bones" or "no frills".
At 9.9mm thick, the Tab 3 7-inch is actually chunkier than its 10.1-inch and 8-inch cousins, but manages to keep everything under 300g — slightly lighter than Apple's iPad Mini.
Inside, you've got a dual-core ARM7 processor running at 1.2GHz, 8GB of storage and 1GB of RAM. The screen is 1024x600 resolution with 169ppi.
It's Wi-Fi only, with Bluetooth 3.0 and Wi-Fi Direct. You've got two cameras — a 3MP on the rear and a 1.3MP on the front. Finally, the battery is 4000mAh.
If all of this sounds a little underwhelming on the page, rest assured that when hands on, the Tab 3 7-inch looks and feels very good.
Size wise, it's perfect for single-handed use. In fact, we'd even argue that the slightly thicker form factor makes it easier to hold. The weight isn't too much, and this is definitely a device that you could hold one handed for reading or any activity over a protracted period of time without discomfort.
The OS is Android 4.1.2 and while the 7-inch isn't going to break any land-speed records, the flow between screens was smooth and applications opened quickly. Browsing was swift, although the Wi-Fi seemed fairly robust, so your mileage may vary depending on your connectivity.
We ran the Antutu benchmark during our quick hands on, seeing a very decent 10751, given the dual-core processor. However, a Samsung spokesperson stated that the units are in pre-production, and that the software may change slightly from now to retail, which could make for differences in that benchmark.
Above all, two things stood out on the Tab 3 7-inch. Firstly, the microSD slot, which would allow the internal memory to be upped by 32GB. Secondly is the price: at AU$249, it's competitive against the other 7-inch tablets in the market.
While we'll wait for the retail models to arrive before we make any final assessments, the Tab 3 7-inch seems like a solid combination of design and features at a great price, and we'd suggest that it's a definitely worth a look for anyone considering a budget-priced tablet.