For those intents and purposes, eight inches is the new sweet destination for tablets. We’ve thus far seen a few hits with this particular form factor, the Samsung Galaxy Note 8. perhaps foremost one of them. It makes sense, all things considered; 10.1 inches might be unwieldy for travelers, and 7 inches scrimps somewhat on-screen real-estate. Samsung’s leveraged this trend to provide another 8-incher to its lineup: the $300 Galaxy Tab 3 8.. With 16GB of built in storage, a dual-core processor and WiFi — although not LTE — support, it’s hardly revolutionary aside from those novel dimensions. Still, we’ve found plenty to enjoy with Galaxy Tabs previously, so could this be another strong contender? Meet us past the break to learn.

The Tab 3 8. might not have the name recognition of Android Tablet, but just what it comes with in its favor is really a svelte, lightweight design. At 10.9 ounces (309.1g), it’s comfortable to keep one-handed, as well as just .29 inch (7.36mm) thick, it makes the .31-inch Note 8. look (and feel) positively bloated. Basically we appreciate that Samsung shrunk the bezels with this model, it does allow it to be hard to grip the slate up top without touching the display; you’ll desire to contain the tablet at the end in order to avoid unintentional input. Incidentally, you’ll want to avoid gripping the tablet towards the top which means you won’t hit the amount rocker about the upper-right edge.

Slimness aside, the Tab 3 8. also feels more premium compared to Note and even the last-gen Tab 2 line, because of those skinny bezels as well as a brown-black hue done up in the dimpled pattern. While we’re not huge fans with this color — our personal Joseph Volpe calls this shade “scab brown” — it’s less reflective as Samsung’s usual white and black options, meaning the tablet’s plastic build might be a more pleasing to think about. (In case you want a more standard color choice, you could select the white version.) This textured finish can also help mask the fingerprints that may inevitably grease up the tablet’s backing, though you’ll still desire to wipe on the tablet regularly. Another sweet touch: the bronzy faux-chrome trim lining the tablet, which adds a bit more flare compared to the standard silver trim (which you’ll still see around the white Tab 3 8.). This flourish carries onto the Tab’s backside, where the 5-megapixel rear camera is flanked by the identical material.

We’ve nearly covered all of the surprises around the Tab 3 8.: port placement is par for the course, as it is the Samsung branding sitting both atop the touchscreen and in the center of the device’s non-removable back cover. Around the front of the device, you’ll look for a 1.3-megapixel camera up top, even though the physical home button sits underneath the display, flanked by capacitive keys for settings and back. A microSD slot sits about the left side of the slate, even though the power button and volume rocker line the correct side. The right edge is also home to an IR blaster, which lets you employ the tab like a handheld control for the TV. Samsung’s been pushing this feature on several tablets, such as the new Tab 3 10.1 as well as the Galaxy Tab 7. Plus from almost 2 yrs ago. As always, the headphone jack sits on top edge, whilst the micro-USB port sits at the base in addition to two mini speaker grilles.

Samsung used a 1,280 x 800 (WXGA) TFT LCD panel for the Tab 3 8., which resolution makes for a wonderful viewing experience. Images and text are perfectly crisp, and colours look reasonably vibrant also. Added to that, viewing angles are nice and wide, though you’ll use a harder time utilizing the tablet in direct sunlight; the panel is unquestionably glare-prone.The 10.1-inch version from the Tab 3 also packs a WXGA resolution, which suggests the Tab 3 8.0’s panel has a higher pixel density (148 pixels per inch versus 189).

Running Android 4.2 (Jelly Bean), the Galaxy Tab 3 8. provides a few standout features in addition to the standard suite of Samsung apps. These include Peel Smart Remote, which utilizes the tablet’s IR blaster to manipulate your TV, and also the recently introduced Smart Stay for detecting when you look from the screen and pausing and resuming your videos accordingly. Notably, Smart Stay is the only “Smart” feature making it over to this tab — a large number of features live exclusively in the GS 4, no less than for now.

Most of the time, Samsung leaves the app-collecting to you, only loading up the Tab 3 8. with a few pre-selected programs. Some examples are Dropbox, Flipboard and TripAdvisor combined with the expected parade of Samsung programs (ChatON, Game Hub, Group Play, S Voice, S Planner, WatchON — you understand the drill).

Even though the Tab’s older sibling, the Tab 3 10.1, packs a 3.2-megapixel rear camera, we obtain a 5MP shooter to try out with here. A lot of people will appreciate the simple camera UI, which offers a straightforward settings menu around the right-hand side in the screen. The camera app will give you several modes for snapping pics: the self-explanatory Auto, Beauty Face, Night, Panorama, Sports and Sound & Shot. Our sample shots deliver accurate, otherwise entirely vibrant, colors, though images tend to look a little bit fuzzy. You’ll want to avoid shadier, darker environments, as we didn’t have much luck in those conditions. Overall, the shooter can do in a pinch, but you’re significantly better off with a standalone point-and-shoot (as if you didn’t know that already).

You can also shoot video in 720p, but don’t expect extremely fluid movement. Our sample clip looks quite jerky, and autofocus didn’t do a fantastic job at making objects look crisp. On the upside, audio came through loud and clear, with limited background interference. Finally, there’s a 1.3MP front camera, which happens to be adequate for selfies (if you must) and video chats. We look a bit washed-out in our sample shots, but that’s being expected.

By using a 1.5GHz dual-core Samsung Exynos 4 processor and 1.5GB of RAM, the Tab 3 8. is not any match for slates running higher-end silicon. If we first powered around the tablet, the device was really a mess of hiccups like force closes and many seconds’ delay in response. We weren’t exactly thrilled at the possibilities of utilizing the slate after those first few minutes, but luckily the going got smoother shortly after. That’s not saying you won’t encounter the occasional stuttering or freezing; as we found using the Tab 3 10.1, everyday performance is frustratingly inconsistent. Your camera app seems especially vulnerable to upsetting the tab; it force-closed on us a minimum of five times during our day or two of testing.

Synthetic benchmarks tell the identical tale: the Tab 3 8. is capable enough, but it’s no overachiever. On Quadrant, as an example, the appliance trailed the quad-core Galaxy Note 8. by a lot more than 2,000 points. In the JavaScript benchmark SunSpider, however, the Tab 3 8. managed a score of 798, though it’s not as great as the brand new Nexus 7’s outcome of 602 (lower scores are better here).

On our battery test — which involves playing a local video on loop with WiFi on and brightness set to fifty percent — this Tab’s 4,450mAh power pack lasted seven hours and 19 minutes. That’s on 01dexhpky together with the Galaxy Note 8., the latest Nexus 7 along with the HP Slate 7, though a couple 7-inchers just like the ASUS MeMo Pad HD 7 as well as the Hisense Sero 7 Pro last a few hours longer. Naturally, you could expect more longevity with a lot more moderate use; we easily got through a full day with occasional emailing and light-weight gaming, for example.

When you can take home the Galaxy Note 8. with its superior performance and S Pen for just $100 more, the Tab 3 8. is somewhat of a tough sell. Yes, the second does give you a thinner design and runs Android 4.2 as opposed to the Note’s Android 4.1, but those advantages only tip the scale so much. If you want to stay within Samsung’s galaxy, we’d say you’re better off opting for the Tab 3 8. in comparison to the pricier Tab 3 10.1, as the smaller size will make it a much more compelling travel companion and the difference in performance is negligible.

Beyond Samsung’s ecosystem, there is a few additional options at the same time. The brand new Nexus 7, retailing for $229 or higher, has wireless charging as well as a brilliant 1080p display in their favor — not forgetting an extremely reasonable price. And if you’re wed towards the 8-inch form factor (and accessible to another OS), the 7.9-inch iPad mini’s impressive battery and accessibility App Store could possibly be top reasons to shell out $329-plus. In essence that these two choices significantly more memorable than Samsung’s latest 8-incher, and we’re visiting expect standout features on tablets in exchange for our dough.