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Galaxy Tab 3 series released in the US

Kris Carlon
3

Samsung has just released the Galaxy Tab 3 series in the US. The range comes in standard 7.0'', 8.0'' and 10.1'' screen sizes and the new tabs are set for release from Samsung's web store on July 19th (Amazon and Best Buy have them ready to ship already). The 8.0'' and 10.1'' come rocking Android 4.2 straight out of the box, but for some reason the 7.0'' only boasts Jelly Bean 4.1. Weird. They also still have physical buttons.  

GalaxyTab3SizeComparison
The new Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 range. / © Samsung

The Galaxy Note series still dominates Samsung's tablet offerings, but the Galaxy Tab series provides a solid mid-range (although still quite pricey) compromise. The 7.0'' Galaxy Tab 3 comes in at $199.99, the 8.0'' at $299.99 and the 10.1'' at $399.99. At these prices, the 10.1'' is not far off the iPad with Retina display or even Samsung's gangbuster Galaxy Note 10.1''.

So, what's under the hood? Is the price worth it for the specs you get? Well, have a look and see what you think:

Technical Specs

Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 7.0''

System:  Android OS, v4.1 (Jelly Bean)
Display:  7.0 inch TFT, 600 x 1024 pixels
Processor: Dual-core 1.2 GHz
RAM: 1 GB
Internal Storage: 8/16 GB
Expansion: microSD, up to 64 GB
Camera: 3.15 MP, 2048x1536 pixels (rear-facing camera), 1.3 MP (front-facing camera)
Video: 720p@30fps
Connections: Bluetooth v3.0 with A2DP
  Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, dual-band, Wi-Fi Direct, DLNA, Wi-Fi hotspot
  Infrared port
  USB v2.0
Battery: Non-removable Li-Ion 4,000 mAh
Dimensions: 188 x 111.1 x 9.9 mm (7.40 x 4.37 x 0.39 inches)
Weight: 306 g (10.79 oz)
GalaxyTab3Brown
The 8.0'' in the alluring new 'gold brown' colour option. / © Samsung

Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 8.0''

System:  Android OS, v4.2.2 (Jelly Bean)
Display:  8.0 inch TFT, 800 x 1280 pixels
Processor: Dual-core 1.5 GHz, Exynos 4212  
RAM: 1.5 GB
Internal Storage: 16/32 GB
Expansion: microSD, up to 64 GB
Camera: 5 MP, 2560x1920 pixels (rear-facing camera), 1.3 MP (front-facing camera)
Video: 720p@30fps
Connections: Bluetooth v4.0 with A2DP
  Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, dual-band, Wi-Fi Direct, DLNA, Wi-Fi hotspot
  Infrared port
  USB v2.0 (MHL), USB Host
Battery: Non-removable Li-Ion 4,450 mAh
Dimensions: 209.8 x 123.8 x 7.4 mm (8.26 x 4.87 x 0.29 inches)
Weight: 314 g (11.08 oz)

 

Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 10.1''

System:  Android OS, v4.2.2 (Jelly Bean)
Display:  10.1 inch TFT, 800 x 1280 pixels
Processor: Dual-core 1.6 GHz
RAM: 1 GB
Internal Storage: 16/32 GB
Expansion: microSD, up to 64 GB
Camera: 3.15 MP, 2048x1536 pixels (rear-facing camera), 1.3 MP (front-facing camera)
Video: 720p@30fps
Connections: Bluetooth v4.0 with A2DP
  Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, dual-band, Wi-Fi Direct, DLNA, Wi-Fi hotspot
  Infrared port
  USB v2.0 (MHL), USB Hub
Battery: Non-removable Li-Po 6,800 mAh
Dimensions: 243.1 x 176.1 x 8 mm (9.57 x 6.93 x 0.31 inches)
Weight: 510 g (1.12 lb)
GalaxyTab3White
The 10.1'' Tab 3 is also a giant universal remote. Sold! / © Samsung

So, what are the major differences? Well, nothing spectacular. The jump from the 7.0'' to 8.0'' is noticeable enough, with a half GB more RAM, beefier processor (from 1.2 to 1.5 GHz), more on board storage, the jump to Jelly Bean 4.2.2 and a better camera at 5 MP. 

The gap between the 8.0'' and the 10.1'' is much smaller though, with the camera dropping back to 3.15 MP, the RAM back to 1 GB, no increase in resolution despite the increased screen size, only a minor CPU upgrade (from 1.5 to 1.6 GHz, but still only dual-core) and a Lithium-Polymer battery (admittedly at a strapping 6,800 mAh compared to the Lithium-Ion 8.0'' at 4,450 mAh and the 7.0'' at 4,000 mAh).

With the minimal spec improvements between the 8.0'' and the 10.1'', I really don't think the larger tablet is worth the extra dough. At these prices you might be better off dropping just a little more ($100 for the 10.1'') and buying a Galaxy Note instead. But the smaller screen models, especially the 8.0'', are a decent enough entry-level tablet, although far from strong competition, especially at these mid-range prices.

Although a quad-core processor, full HD, more RAM, better camera and processor speed on the 10.1'' might have made it more enticing, it would then perhaps be a little too close to the Galaxy Note series. If Samsung really wanted to distinguish these tablet series, they should have introduced a slightly (much) bigger price discrepancy for the lower-end Tab 3 to match the lower-end specs.

What do you think? Would you buy a Galaxy Tab 3 or spend the extra for a Galaxy Note?