Thursday, January 2, 2014

Review: Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 T211 - A Decent Tab With Over Enthusiastic Pricing!

For: Light Weight, Calling facility, Samsung Brand, Touch Response, Decent Looks
Against: Steeply Priced, Hardly an Upgrade From Tab 2, Ordinary Hardware Specifications.




The Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 T211 has been launched in India in July 2013 with a price tag of Rs. 18,000.It is powered by 1.2 GHz dual core processor, 1 GB RAM, PowerVR SGX540 graphic accelerator, 8 GB internal memory, microSD card support upto 64 GB, 3 MP primary camera + 1.3 MP secondary camera,  7.0 inches TFT capacitive multi touchscreen with 16M colors & resolution of 600 x 1024 pixels which gives ~170 ppi pixel density and Android OS v4.1.2 Jelly Bean.



Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 is the successor of Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 which had similar specifications except for 1GHz Dual core processor and 0.3MP secondary camera. Rest specs are more or less the same. So what makes Tab 3 different from Tab 2? Should Tab 2 owners upgrade to Tab 3? To find out let's have a closer look at  Samsung Galaxy Tab 3.

Screen & Build Quality

Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 is look alike of Tab 2 with only difference is that Tab 3 is much lighter than Tab 2. At 300 grams, it is indeed a easy to hold and carry around. For comparison Tab 2 weighs 340 grams.
Tab 3 has typical Samsung design cues with round edges, similar plastic casing and overall build quality which is quite decent for this tab. Tab 3 is slim and light which makes handling effortless. Look wise also it is quite decent - follows please all and offend none concept. The side panels are surrounded with fine finish chrome strip.




It has 7.0 inches TFT capacitive multi touchscreen with 16M colors & resolution of 600 x 1024 pixels which gives ~170 ppi pixel density. Touch response is good. Though the screen resolution is not great for a 7.0 inch display, it still offers decent image and video quality. Sharpness, colour and contrast ratios are fairly decent. Overall display clarity is excellent. Under the sun visibility is also fair. Below the display, there are three physical capacitive buttons for Home, Menu and Back functions. Back cover can not be removed. On the front there is 1.3 MP camera for skype video calling and on the back lies the same 3.0 MP shooter of Tab2. On the front we also have proximity and ambient light sensors.

Camera, Buttons & Call/Audio Quality

Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 has a 3.0 MP primary camera which captures images of 2048x1536 pixels. Image quality is fairly decent for a 3 MP camera. It is the same lens doing duty in Tab 2. Samsung should have provided a 5MP primary camera in Tab 3. It can record 720p HD videos @30fps. Features includes autofocus and geo-tagging. Camera interface in 4.1.2 JellyBean is familiar with basic controls available at ease. Front camera is now a 1.3 MP as compared to VGA lens in Tab2 which will result in much better video call quality. There is no LED flash on the rear.





Tab3 lacks a dedicated camera shutter button. On the right, we have the power button and volume rocker. On the left, we have sim card and SD card slot with plastic flaps. Buttons have nice feel and appears durable. On the top there is a 3.5mm audio jack and at the bottom there are two stereo speakers and micro USB cum charging port. Audio quality is nothing to write home about. Loudness is also below par. Call quality is decent at both ends.

OS/Performance and Battery

Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 T211  is equipped with a 1.2 GHz dual core processor, PowerVR SGX540 graphic accelerator, 1 GB RAM,    8 GB internal memory, microSD card support upto 64 GB  and Android OS v4.1.2 Jelly Bean. On the paper, the specifications don't excite much when we compare to other devices. The Tab 3 performs fine, as such there is no lag with basic functions. Samsung has skinned the 4.1.2 JellyBean with its touch wiz interface. I doubt this will be updated to newer Android versions in future considering its low end hardware. Rest interface is familiar with notification bar, three customisable home screens etc.

 





Overall the interface is easy to use. Navigating through screens is quite snappier. Lock screen can be customized heavily. Various widgets are made available by both Samsung & Google. Pinch to zoom feature is also present. It, however, doesn't have Samsung's Multi-Window feature. All casual games like temple run, subway surfers, punch hero etc ran perfectly well. No lag or hiccups as such but don't expect heavy games to be played on this tab. It is not a gaming tab nevertheless. Best utilisation of Tab 3 includes web browsing which is smooth on this device, video calling, pdf reading, movies and casual gaming. There is no overheating during charging or gaming.

 




It has 8 GB internal storage out of which 5 GB is available to user. Storage capacity can be further expanded upto 64 GB via SD card support. Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 has non-user replaceable Li-Ion 4000 mAh battery which easily lasts for a day under casual use. Company claimed talk time is around 10 hours.

Verdict

While Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 is lighter, slimmer and comparively snappier than Tab 2, it is no way a real upgrade for existing Tab 2 users. For first time buyers, Tab 3 is decent device but priced inappropriately. Current market price is Rs. 18,000 which is way higher than market standards. The true value for money pricing for this device should be ~ 12-14k for 8 GB model and ~ 16-17k for 16 GB model. For a device which is not setting benchmark charts on fire, it will be very difficult for Tab 3 to be as successful as its predecessor was.

If you want a tablet with calling facility manufactured by a white-label prominent brand then Tab 3 is a good buy. But if you want a Tab with only Wi-Fi facility then look no other than Nexus 7.

 Ratings (out of 5 stars)

Build Quality ***
Screen ***
Performance ***
Value for Money **
Overall ***

Quick Specs


Screen
7.0 inches TFT capacitive multi touchscreen with 16M colors & resolution of 600 x 1024 pixels which gives ~170 ppi pixel density
Processor
Dual-core 1.2 GHz processor
RAM
1GB RAM
Storage
8GB internal storage(5GB user available), expandable up to 64GB via microSD
Camera
3-megapixel autofocus camera and 1.3MP front camera
Network Type
SIM Support, Wi-Fi Hotspot, Bluetooth 4.0, EDGE, GPRS, GPS
Battery
4000mAh non-removable battery
OS
Android 4.1.2 (Jelly Bean)
Dimensions
188 x 111.1 x 9.9 mm
Weight
306 grams

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