It’s almost time to go back to school. That means homework, studying, and all the other good stuff that comes along with getting an education. It also means it’s time to do some back-to-school shopping, which includes items like tablets, laptops, and other gadgets that students could have only dreamed about just a few years ago.
A reasonably priced tablet can be a great asset to a student. It is a handy portable productivity tool that can also be used for entertainment. Students can use it to complement their laptops as a great way to do research and even read digital copies of their textbooks.
The newly-launched Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 7.0 tablet is a very affordable tablet with modest specs. Will this device be the perfect companion for students as their summer comes to an end, or should they seek an alternative device to meet their needs? Keep reading the review to find out for yourself.
Best of all, we are giving away a Galaxy Tab 3 7.0 to a lucky winner. Keep reading for directions to get your hands on Samsung’s latest tablet.
The $199 Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 7.0 is an Android-based tablet running version 4.2 with Samsung’s customized TouchWiz UI. As you can probably guess from the 7.0, it comes with a 7-inch screen but with resolution of only 1024 x 600 pixels, which is slightly lacking. Samsung also makes an 8-inch model, which is aptly named the Galaxy Tab 3 8.0 and costs $100 more. Matt Smith’s article will help you decide if you need a 7-inch or 8-inch tablet.
The device is fitted with 1 GB of RAM and a fairly powerful 1.2GHz dual core Cortex A9 processors to keep everything running. It also features 8 GB of storage, which is expandable by 64 GB thanks to the microSD card slot. Although a 3G version has been announced, this until only has Wi-Fi.
Photography is not going to be this tablet’s strong point, as the rear-facing camera is only 3.0 MP. However, other tablets in the market don’t include rear cameras at all, so having one is a nice touch for Galaxy Tab 3. The 3.0 MP front-facing camera is fairly standard.
Unless you live under a rock, you’re probably familiar with this device’s competitors; the two largest of which would have to be the Google Nexus 7 and Amazon’s Kindle Fire HD. From a price perspective, all three devices cost $199. However, if you take away the differences in UI between the devices, Samsung’s falls well short purely terms of hardware. So, that begs the question: in spite of its shortcomings, is the Galaxy Tab 3 7.0 still worth buying? Well, you’ll have to keep reading to find out.
Samsung’s latest tablet is beautiful, which should come as no surprise, as most of its devices are. We elected to go with the white version, which is what the winner of the giveaway will receive. It also comes in a brownish-gold color. Personally, I am not a fan of that look, but to each his own. All that being said, it is a pretty standard looking Android tablet, and it doesn’t necessarily differentiate itself from the pack from a looks standpoint.
The box is very small, and it actually looks like it might contain a cell phone instead of a tablet. It comes with everything you need to get up and running: the tablet, the charger, and a small instruction booklet. There is definitely no wasted space within the packaging, which is a good thing.
Samsung is a very prolific creator of hardware, so it’s no surprise that there are plenty of good things to say about the Galaxy Tab 3 7.0. Of course, if you compare this to a more expensive tablet, it is definitely going to fall short. However, for students on a budget, a $200 device like the Galaxy Tab 3 7.0 can meet their needs perfectly.
There is a reason Samsung makes some of the most popular Android devices, and a large part of that is due to its fantastic take on the Android interface. It doesn’t change too much about the way Android looks and feels, but personally, I find it to be a more pleasant user experience than Amazon’s custom UI and sometimes even the vanilla interface.
There is not much I can say about TouchWiz that hasn’t been said before, but it is by far my favorite tweak on Android, and it comes with this tablet. So in my eyes, that gives it a leg up on the other available devices on the market.
WatchON: Remote Control Feature
Want one of those fancy universal remotes everyone talks about, but don’t feel like spending hundreds of dollars on one? Well, together with the pre-installed WatchON app, you can actually use your Samsung Tab 3 as a touch screen remote for any Samsung Smart TV. Your milage may vary with how it easy it is to use, but for me, it worked perfectly with my Samsung TV.
This feature is shockingly easy to use. You simply boot up the app, configure your device, and it will send a test signal to turn your TV on. As long as it works, you will be good to go.
While the Galaxy Tab 3 isn’t heavily specced, it’s actually quite fast, especially when you consider that it is a sub-$200 budget tablet. Everything feels snappy, and even when I loaded the device up with background applications, operation still felt smooth as can be, which actually came as quite a surprise to me.
Of course, you will find faster tablets out there, even others in the $200 range, but in spite of that, Samsung has tuned this device to be able to suit the needs of most tablet users.
While this might be a budget device, the Galaxy Tab 3 7.0 slick, shiny, and downright beautiful. Nothing about it feels cheap. It’s light and comfortable to hold, and it’s a device users can be proud to show off to their friends.
Side by side, with other tablets on the market, it looks just as good or better. If you want a device so pretty you won’t want to cover it up with a case, look no further than the Galaxy Tab 3 7.0.
I’ve eluded some of the problems I have with this device earlier, and now it’s time to jump right in and look at some of the negatives points.
I am not a numbers junkie, but they really are an important part of the decision-making process when it comes to buying a device. So how does the Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 7.0 compare to the Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire HD? Let’s take a look:
- Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 7.0: 1.2GHz Dual Core
- Google Nexus 7: NVIDIA Tegra 3 quad-core processor
- Kindle Fire: 1.2GHz Dual Core
- Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 7.0: 1 GB
- Google Nexus 7: 1 GB
- Kindle Fire: 1 GB
- Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 7.0: 1024 x 600
- Google Nexus 7: 1280 x 800
- Kindle Fire: 1920 x 1080
Storage (at $200):
- Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 7.0: 8 GB
- Google Nexus 7: 16 GB
- Kindle Fire: 1920 x 1080: 16 GB
As you can see, the Galaxy Tab 3 7.0 is a little behind the competition, but there are two particular areas where it really falls short that anyone will notice, even if they are not at all tech savvy: the screen resolution and the internal storage. While the Nexus 7 comes with a much better processor, many users will not even notice that difference, but the lack of resolution and storage space is an issue that will be noticed right away.
I mentioned that the screen was a major drawback purely from a specification standpoint, but it’s also something you will notice in daily use. With thin, high-resolution screens becoming commonplace in today’s market, it seems odd to see the Galaxy Tab 3.0 7.0 hit the market with such a poor screen.
It’s not just numbers though. If you load any high quality game or HD video, you will really see how much it is lacking in terms of pure fidelity. Will this be a deal-breaker for all users? Of course not, but for anyone looking to watch videos in HD or play graphically advanced games, the screen on the Galaxy Tab 3 7.0 really disappoints.
Of course, the 8.0 model with its 1280 x 800 resolution screen doesn’t suffer from this issue, but that’s also $100 more. And when you think about the Kindle Fire HD and Nexus 7 being offered the same price point as the Galaxy Tab 3 7.0, while sporting far superior screens, it kind of leaves me scratching my head and asking myself, “What was Samsung thinking?”
There are some aspects of the tablet that neither impress nor upset me. However, just because they aren’t good or bad, doesn’t mean they are not worth mentioning.
Because this is a Samsung device, it comes with Samsung’s calendar option. Of course, you can also use Google Now and Google Calendar, so this gives users choices. This is actually great for students, as it allows them to stay organized in whatever way they choose. Having a choice of how you wish to keep tabs on your day is always a good thing, and in that regard, the Tab 3 7.0 most certainly delivers.
When shopping for apps, you can choose to use the Google Play Store or Samsung’s own app store. Unlike Kindle Fire, which locks you down into the Amazon store, or the Nexus 7, which only has Google Play, you get some options here out of the box. Of course, most apps bleed over between the two stores, but if there happens to be an interface that you find preferable, you can choose to use that.
The battery life in the Galaxy Tab 3 is average. Its 4000 mAh battery is slightly smaller than the Nexus 7, but in terms of actual life, it was competitive. So while it won’t knock your socks, it will easily make it though a day or two of regular usage, and that should prove to be more than sufficient for students, or any other tablet user.
Should you buy the Galaxy Tab 3 7.0?
Overall, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 7.0 is an average budget device. Budget devices is a very competitive space, and there are simply better devices available for the same price. However, for people who own other Galaxy devices, this will be right up their alley, as it features an interface they can be comfortable with, and it will fit right in with their other devices. For everyone else, though, I would look to the Nexus 7 as the $200 tablet to own.
How do I win the Galaxy Tab 3 7.0?
You may enter by submitting your name and email address. You’ll receive one entry simply by doing so.
After that, you’ll also be offered various methods to earn additional entries. They range from sharing a link to this giveaway on social networks; to commenting or visiting a specific page. The more you participate, the higher your chances of winning! You will receive 5 additional entries into the giveaway for every successful referral via your shared links.
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This giveaway begins now and ends Friday, August 16th. The winner will be selected at random and informed via email.
Congratulations, Sonya Sparks! You would have received an email from email@example.com. Please respond before September 12 to claim your prize. Enquires beyond this date will not be entertained.