By Charlemagne Losaria
It is quite known that Samsung has slowed down a bit after years of going neck-and-neck with Apple in vying for the top spot in the smartphone and tablet markets. While Apple has had huge success over the past two years, it has been a rocky ride for the South Korean giant.
Samsung aims to recover lost grounds by introducing the Galaxy Tab A series, which is the company?s tablet offering primarily aimed at the budget conscious crowd. Here is the review for the 8-inch variant of the Galaxy Tab A.
Design and build
At first glance, the Galaxy Tab A resembles the iPad Mini with its rounded edges and small side bezels. But the Samsung logo at the top and the elongated home button, as well as the unlit capacitive buttons, easily gives it away as a Samsung product.
There?s no surprise on the material used on the Galaxy Tab A as Samsung has quite a reputation on extensive use of plastic on its products. Then again, make no mistake about it: the plastic material used is of good quality.
This makes the device slim and light compared to other budget tablets. This is also the reason why they managed to keep the price somewhat low based on its standards.
In front, you will find the 2-megapixel camera, proximity sensor, and earpiece. Yes, this tablet can make and take calls and even send and receive SMS messages.
It tends to get busy at the right side of the device as this is where one can find the stylus, volume rocker, power button, microSD slot, as well as a single SIM slot with LTE capabilities.
The bottom edge houses the 3.5mm jack, USB port, mic and lone speaker grill, the placement of which may pose a problem as it might get muffled when you hold the device in landscape mode.
Flipping it on its back, you will see the 5-megapixel snapper, Samsung logo, as well as two button-like slots which serve as smart cover connectors.
The 5-megapixel camera is quite good for a tablet but don?t expect it to replicate what your smartphone or digital camera can do.
Overall, the build is quite solid and does not produce creaking sound when applied with pressure. The matte finish at the back ensures non-visibility of fingerprints and smudges.
Samsung opted to use TFT touch-screen for the Galaxy Tab A instead of the usual S-AMOLED display reserved for high-end models of tablets and smartphones.
It has a 4:3 aspect ratio and a resolution of 1024×768, resulting to a low pixel density of 132ppi. Despite the noticeable pixilation of icons when viewed up close, the display does manage to give out vibrant, punchy colors and also offers wide viewing angles.
The low pixel count is not noticeable that much when watching movies or playing games. It?s not the best display, but it?s not that bad either.
The tablet is driven by a 1.2GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 CPU paired with an Adreno 306 GPU and 1.5 GB RAM.
It?s not the fastest tablet out there but it certainly gets the job done. Checking social media and email poses no problems for the tablet. Opening high definition games may take some time but gaming experience is quite enjoyable and lags or dropped frames are very minimal.
It has an internal storage of 16 GB but users can extend this as it has a microSD slot that can accommodate up to 128 GB.
The S-pen performance is very responsive and has the right amount of sensitivity. The tip easily glides over the screen but with a certain friction like feeling to it somewhat replicating the pen on paper experience. It actually reminds me of a time when resistive touch-screen were used with a stylus.
Running the latest Touchwiz UI based on Android Lollipop, the tablet offers no shortage of useful applications. It comes stocked with Microsoft Office applications like Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.
It also feature SideSync 3.0 which enables users to mirror their phone?s screen on the tablet, so responding to a text message can be done on the tablet.
Samsung also incorporated the multi-window functionality as seen on its flagship devices. Samsung?s Touchwiz UI has really matured, having a tinge blue-green color all throughout, standard colors for Android Lollipop, and features a flat interface seen on most UIs today.
The Galaxy Tab A 8.0 variant packs a 4200 mAh battery which should last you a day on regular usage. On our tests, when connected to the Internet, used lightly and brightness is controlled, the tablet can last you close to eight plus hours. You can also use the power-saving mode first seen on the Galaxy S5 to squeeze out more time out of it.
The Samsung Galaxy Tablet A is clearly not lacking in terms of functionality. You can work with it as it has productivity tools, a stylus, and of sufficient speed. It can also be your entertainment hub with its long battery life.
The lower resolution and processing speed is clearly not up to par with other tablets in its price range though. But if you?re already heavily invested on Samsung products, this is would be a nice addition.
The Galaxy Tablet A LTE with Stylus 8-inch variant can be bought at Lazada for P13,199.00.