Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 7-inch

Samsung has added a budget-priced, small-sized tablet to its ever-growing range of mobile devices.

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CNET Editor

Nic Healey can usually be found on a couch muttering about aspect ratios and 7.1 channel sound - which is helpful given that he's the home entertainment guy at CNET.

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.

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DavidW26 Facebook

"Fantastic unit at a great price"

DavidW26 posted a review   

The Good:Screen, speed, storage, build quality, sound, value for money, small size, battery life.

The Bad:Rear camera could be higher resolution

Nice quick review, and pretty much on the ball. This is a fantastic little unit. I checked out several others (including the HP Slate 7 and Nexus 7 and more) before settling on this one. The screen on the Samsung, although slightly lower res than some more expensive units, looks so much better than most of the other offerings. Colours are deep and rich, and brightness is way better. Put them side by side and have a tinker, and you will see what I mean. Speed is fine for normal use, and I find all the apps and games I have loaded work great, with no stuttering or lag. Cameras are a bit low res, but work ok for the odd snap in good light or for Skyping. At least the rear one captures 720p video, at quite good quality. Unit feels and looks a lot more expensive than a lot of it's competitors, with typical Samsung build quality. No creaks, groans or gaps here, and seems to be of pretty tough high quality plastic. It feels strong, with no flex in the chassis. Screen feels like it's coated with teflon, fingers slip across it like it's been oiled! I find it a perfect size to hold in one hand. Video looks great on this screen, and it seems to play everything I throw at it very smoothly. Battery life is really good too, and volume levels are high from the built in speakers. Wireless performance is fast and stable, holds signal very well. For everyday use I can't fault it, and for $220 with a 16gig Sandisk microSD card (at JB Hifi), the price was right. Very happy with this little bit of kit. I recommend that you go to a store and test drive a few units before buying, and buy the unit that you like and that will suit what you want to use it for. I was all set to get a Nexus 7 before I tried this one out. Don't be swayed by super high res screens, NFC chips and such unless you really need them. You might miss out on a real bargain! Glad I went with the Samsung, and saved some money to boot. Suits me to a T!

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