Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 10.1 Review

Introduction and Design

Once regarded as Sammy’s prized tablet series, the Galaxy Tab has now been reverted to being nothing more than an entry model option – especially now that the Note series has seemingly replaced the Tab series as the company’s premium tablet solution. With the latest entrant to the series, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 10.1-inch is most notable for being the company’s first Android tablet to receive the Intel inside treatment, as it sports a 1.6GHz Atom with the Clover Trail architecture. No doubt, it’s a departure from the usual ARM-based stuff we’re normally exposed to, so let’s hope that this new hardware is going to give this tablet some much needed staying power.

The package contains:

  • microUSB cable
  • Wall Charger
  • Quick User Guide
  • Important Safety and Handling Information


Just like its predecessors, the Galaxy Tab 3 10.1-inch continues the same design language we’ve been exposed to already with the series. Sporting a dark glossy plastic body that’s accentuated by its silver colored trim, its design is pretty much expected and straightforward – though, its glossy nature makes it a magnet for smudges and fingerprints, which are notorious to remove. Still, it’s lightweight and features a skinny profile (0.31-inches) to make it comfortable to hold over a long period of time. Interestingly, Sammy reduced the size of the bezel on the tablet’s left and right edges, thus, making it a smidgen smaller than its predecessors at 9.57-inches wide.

Looking at the thing, it’s safe to say that the tablet copied many of the Galaxy S4’s design cues – like how its oval looking home button is surrounded by capacitive menu and back keys. So yeah, it can be argued that this is essentially the S4, but in tablet form.

Around the trim, we find all the usual set of buttons and ports in familiar locations – such as the power button, volume control, 3.5mm headset jack, microphone, microUSB port, and microSD card slot. Indeed, it’s sporting two speakers that provide stereo support, but seeing that they’re placed on its sides, it doesn’t particularly do a better job at dispersing audio towards us as we’re holding it. Now a staple with Samsung’s tablets, this is packing along a very useful IR blaster too, allowing it to double as a universal remote.

Yes, it’s a tablet, and lucky for this one, it’s outfitted with two cameras. Specifically, it’s flaunting a 3.2-megapixel rear camera and a front-facing 1.3-megapixel rear one – which respectively shoot video at 720p and VGA resolution.


Call us bored, but the 10.1-inch 1280 x 800 (WXGA) LCD panel of the Galaxy Tab 3 isn’t going to wow people all that much, especially with its 149 ppi pixel density. Sure, it’s lacking the pixel crunching resolution we crave, but nevertheless, it’s still effective enough for visualizing most things on screen without much squinting. Moreover, its color production is on the natural side, seeing that it’s LCD technology and all, but some distortion is evident at wider viewing angles. Outdoor visibility is good, but it’s still something that would benefit from being shielded. Overall, it might be bland compared to other things, but it’s still effective enough for the task at hand.

Interface and Functionality:

The Galaxy Tab 3 10.1-inch is still treated to the same experience that graces the company’s beloved flagship in the Galaxy S4. To be more precise, it’s running the TouchWiz Nature UX experience on top of Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean. Therefore, we find SOME of the interface’s hallmark features – like Pop up Play, S Voice, and Smart stay. Underneath all of the cartoony looking UI, we’re still given the same ample level of personalization and functionality we find with any other Android tablet. However, its features set still pales in comparison to what Samsung offers with its Galaxy Note tablets.

As we’ve come to expect, all of the core organizer apps have been treated to subtle visual changes over its predecessor. When it comes to multitasking, though, we’re still left doing it the old fashion way via the standard task manager menu. Naturally, it would’ve been nice to see multi window support a la Galaxy Note, but you’ll know why it’s omitted in the next section.

When the tablet’s performance is being good, the messaging experience isn’t bad. Despite having a more cramped on-scree keyboard layout than others in the same size category, the TouchWiz keyboard does offer a lot of number and punctuations that are accessible from the main layout.

Processor and Memory:

This is where it all comes down for the Galaxy Tab 3 10.1-inch, seeing it’s the first Android tablet to feature a dual-core 1.6GHz Intel Atom processor with 1GB of RAM. The switch to Intel is something worth talking about. Hoping to see its performance amped up, we’re dismayed to say that it’s not the case here, as the tablet is just bogged down by trivial things. Heck, even some basic tasks prove to be burdensome to the point that we’re left feeling frustrated waiting for things to happen.

Quadrant StandardAnTuTuGLBenchmark 2.5 (Egypt HD)Vellamo
(HTML5 / Metal)
Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 10.16047199523632 / 32 fps1731 / 623
Sony Xperia Tablet Z7657196753492/31 fps2260 / 646
Google Nexus 104446

Asus MeMO Pad Smart 103281

By today’s standards, its 16GB of internal storage is regarded as normal, but it’s always nice having the convenience of supplementing that capacity with its microSD card slot.

Internet and Connectivity:

Due to the finicky nature of its performance, the web browsing experience can be hit or miss. Presented with the stock and Google Chrome web browsers out of the box, we actually find the former to deliver the better experience, since it’s quicker with page loads, rendering, and navigational controls. With Chrome, we’re sometimes coming across some annoying sluggishness that softens the experience.

At the moment, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 10.1-inch is available in Wi-Fi form only. Regardless of that, it’s still packing all the mandatory set of connectivity features – like aGPS, Bluetooth 4.0, and 5GHz 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi. Unfortunately, this one isn’t blessed with NFC technology.


It’s a tablet, and a lucky one at that, for having TWO cameras on board. However, there’s nothing great we can say about the quality from its rear 3.2-megapixel snapper, as it produces shots that lack fine detail and devoid of any vibrant looking colors to make its shots even passable for printouts. And don’t get us started about its low lighting performance!

Likewise, the 720p video recording quality pretty much follows in the same footsteps. Aside from its speedy capture rate, there’s not a whole lot that makes its quality polarizing – even more when we find evidence of artifacting, jittery exposure, and distorted audio recording.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 10.1 Sample Video:

Video Thumbnail


Frankly, the Google Play Music app has so much going for it, so that’s why we prefer it over Sammy’s own TouchWiz music player. Featuring dual speakers for stereo support, they’re positioned so that audio is dispersed from the tablets sides – as opposed to the front, which would be most optimal. Unfortunately, it doesn’t help either when its audio output is weak and screechy.

Despite the tablet’s intermittent performance issues, it’s able to handle high definition videos with no problems at all – plus, it supports all the popular codecs out of the box. Naturally, we’re pleased to find the Pop Up Play feature on board with this, but it challenges it to perform smoothly when multitasking with something else.


Using the Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 10.1-inch strictly as a complementary device to our smartphone, we’re impressed by the 3 days of usage we’re able to get out of its 6800 mAh battery. Though, it wasn’t necessarily something we were on all the time, but mainly the go-to thing while at home.


Once regarded as the premium tablet offering from Samsung’s camp to compete against Apple’s mighty iPad, the Galaxy Tab series has now taken the back seat as an entry-level model – leaving the Galaxy Note series to occupy its former throne. Brandishing a $399 price point for the base 16GB Wi-Fi model, the Galaxy Tab 3 10.1-inch might seem like a tempting offering, especially when it’s priced below the $500 mark, but seriously, it just doesn’t seem enough to overpower some of the other noise makers in the same category. Heck, the sluggish performance and ho-hum specs doesn’t particularly make it as prized as the Google Nexus 10, which has undoubtedly redefined the Android tablet space.

Software version of reviewed unit:
Android version: 4.2.2
Build number: JDQ39
Kernel version: 3.4.34

Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 10.1 Video Review:

Video Thumbnail


  • Thin and light construction
  • Great battery life


  • Sluggish performance

PhoneArena Rating:


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