Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 8-inch Review

Introduction and Design

The third generation of Galaxy Tab slates consists of three tablets of different sizes, and the Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 8-inch is the middle child in the family. It is an Android 4.2.2 based tablet that fits perfectly in the mid-range category – with an 8-inch touchscreen, 1.5GHz dual-core processor, 1.5GB of RAM, and a 5MP auto-focus camera to top it all off. But hardware specs aren't all that this device has to grab our attention with. The 8-inch Galaxy Tab 3 actually stands out with being pretty light and portable for its class. But ultimately, is it worth getting? Read on to find out!


To the surprise of no one, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 8-inch is visually quite similar to the Galaxy Note 8.0 and the rest of the members in the Galaxy Tab 3 family. And that's okay, of course, as that's how a brand's consistency is maintained. The tablet is made of glossy patterned plastic that, thankfully, doesn't have a tendency to slip out of the user's hand. The typical for Samsung devices metal-like band around the sides is present as well. Overall, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 8-inch looks okay for something made of plastic, although it won't really wow anyone with its looks.

Portability-wise, Samsung has done a great job at making the 8-inch Galaxy Tab 3 as easy to carry around as possible. For a device sporting a display of that size, the tablet is very slim, very light, and very comfortable to hold with a single hand. The super-slim bezel is partially responsible for the latter. In fact, this has to be the thinnest bezel we have ever seen on a Samsung tablet to date. The downside to this, however, is that one has to be careful not to have their thumb too close to the screen as it will register as a tap.

We have Samsung's traditional button arrangement applied to the Galaxy Tab 3 8-inch, with a physical “Home” key, accompanied by capacitive “Back” and “Menu” keys. On the right side of the tablet are positioned the power button and the volume rocker. They are both slightly raised, which makes them easier to locate and operate.


The 8-inch LCD touchscreen on this Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 model has a resolution of 800 by 1280 pixels. Yeah, we know that's far from impressive, but such pixel density (184 ppi) is typical for tablets of that size. The screen is usable, of course, and gets the job done for any task imaginable, ranging from reading books, surfing the web, or watching video, although pixelation is easy to notice throughout the interface.

Color representation is on the neutral side, but users who are more into vivid colors are free to adjust the screen mode via the Settings menu. In addition, Samsung has thrown in Adapt Display – a feature capable of fine-tuning the images on the screen depending on what's being displayed, and Reading Mode, which is available in some apps, making text easier to read.

Using the Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 8-inch outdoors may be a challenge. However, the brightness of its screen isn't to blame. It is just that fingerprints stick to the screen's surface easily reflecting the sun's light, and wiping them off is easier said than done. Cleaning its surface noticeably improves the display's outdoor visibility.


Samsung is launching the Galaxy Tab 3 8-inch running the latest version of Android available – Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean. To no surprise, the interface of the platform has undergone some heavy modification as it comes with TouchWiz Nature UX layered on top in its latest form.

What makes the UI so special? Well, it is not only good-looking, but also pretty functional. In addition to the usual lock screen shortcuts and the toggle buttons placed in the notification bar, Samsung has added its Smart Stay feature, which prevents the tablet from going into stand-by while in use, and the Multi Windows mode, allowing two apps to be used side by side.

Several handy apps have been added as well, including S Translator, which is capable of interpreting different languages in both text-to-speech and speech to text manner. The S Travel app, powered by TripAdvisor, is a tool that let's you explore popular tourism destinations around the world and get user-submitted ratings for hotels, restaurants, and places of interest. And with Group Play, one can share music or images in real time with people nearby who also happen to own a Samsung device.

Our thumbs got used to the tablet's on-screen keyboard quickly. It is wide and comfortable to type on using two thumbs in portrait mode. Word auto-complete is enabled, and so is the Continuous input feature, which works a lot like Swype. There's a split keyboard layout as well, available in both portrait and landscape mode.

Processor and memory:

The Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 8-inch comes with hardware of mid-range class tucked under its hood, including an Exynos 4212 chip with a dual-core, 1.5GHz processor, Mali 400 graphics, and 1.5GB of RAM. We're mostly pleased with its real-life performance – lags and dropped frames are uncommon and the tablet maintains sufficient responsiveness to deliver a frustration-free user experience. As for its gaming capabilities, we loaded several complex 3D games on the device and they all ran at high framerates.

Quadrant StandardAnTuTuGLBenchmark 2.5 (Egypt HD)Vellamo
(HTML5 / Metal)
Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 8-inch407589871930 / 17 fps1677 / 505
Samsung Galaxy Note 8.06747

Google Nexus 73599

There are 16- and 32-gigabyte versions of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 8-inch. Taking the space occupied by system files out of the equation leaves about 5 gigabytes less available to the user. Thankfully, the tablet comes with a microSD card for storage expansion. Owners of the 16GB model are likely to need the extra space if they are to carry around lots of music and video files on their tablet.

Web browser and connectivity:

The built-in web browser on the Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 8-inch is fast and fluid even when rendering heavy web sites. Given the screen's size and resolution, we can comfortably read whole pages without having to zoom in. What makes things even better is the support for multiple tabs, allowing us to switch easily between web pages. In addition, Samsung has integrated the so-called Reader mode, which clears a page from all unnecessary content, leaving only an article's body and some images for easier reading.

Connectivity-wise, Samsung will be launching a Wi-Fi-only version of the 8-inch Galaxy Tab 3, with GPS, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth. However, a 3G/4G variant is coming as well, supporting both HSPA+ and LTE networks for users who need constant internet connectivity.


Although taking photos isn't a tablet's primary function, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 8-inch comes with a decent 5MP auto-focus camera alongside a 1.3MP front-facing snapper. The main camera does not have an LED flash, however, so shooting with it in darkness is a no-go.

The camera interface is simple and intuitive to use, with instant access to the shutter and video recording buttons. Samsung has even added Panorama, Beauty Face, Sports and Night modes for those trickier shooting scenarios. We're happy to see that the main snapper is located in the upper corner of the device – obscuring its field of view with a finger by accident is out of the question.

For something captured with a tablet, the 8-inch Tab 3's photos look pretty good. Outdoor photos are with proper color balance and pack enough detail in them. Indoor photos, on the other hand, are muddy and much noisier. The main camera is limited to 720p video – its footage is passable, as long as there's enough light provided.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 3.8-inch Sample Video:

Video Thumbnail


A couple of average-sounding loudspeakers are outfitted on the tablet's narrow wide. They have an okay volume output, with a hint of crackling when the level is set to the maximum. Something frustrating about their position is that holding the tablet in landscape mode means that the user's hand is always covering one of the speakers.

Unsurprisingly, Samsung has pre-loaded its own music player on the Tab 3 8-inch, and that's okay as the app gets the job done. It can sort music by album, artist, and song name, but browsing audio files folder by folder is also an option in case your collection isn't organized too well. The mandatory equalizer with its tons of presets, as well as the home screen and lock screen widgets, are also present.

The Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 tablet is great for those times when you feel like just lying on the couch and watching the latest lolcat videos on YouTube. You're free to load your own movies and TV shows, of course. Videos in a wide variety of file formats are supported at resolutions of up to 1080p.

Thanks to its built-in IR blaster, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 8-inch can be used to control a TV remotely. In fact, the tablet comes with the WatchON app, which acts as a TV guide, listing shows that are available right now on a given channel, or on demand. Note, however, that the service isn't available in all countries.

Battery life:

There is a 4450mAh non-removable battery inside the Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 8-inch. The manufacturer has yet to provide any specific figures as to how long the tablet should last on a single charge, but given the capacity of the device's cell, we assume that getting 8 hours of active use would be possible.


Looking for a decent mid-range Android tablet? Well, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 8-inch would be a good choice. It is light, portable, and capable enough to be used for not only web surfing and writing emails, but also for watching HD movies and even playing some Real Racing 3 every once in a while. The device doesn't have any flaws that would make it a deal breaker, so if it fits your budget, go ahead and grab one!

But as we usually do, we'd recommend you a handful of alternatives that might suit your needs better. The Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0, for example, is faster than the Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 8-inch and offers the S Pen digital stylus for drawing and handwriting input. If Android isn't a must, the iPad mini would also be a great alternative, especially when it comes with hundreds of thousands of tablet-optimized applications to pick from. And in case you need an affordable, yet still powerful portable tablet, the Google Nexus 7 is always an option. Just keep in mind that it lacks a decent camera.

Software version of the reviewed unit:
Android 4.2.2
Build number: JDQ39.T310XXUAMDA

Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 8-inch Video Review:

Video Thumbnail


  • Light, thin, easy to hold and carry around
  • Built-in IR Blaster works as a TV remote control
  • Camera is usable in daytime

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