Samsung has just officially launched its new Galaxy Tab 3 line-up that addresses the high-volume segments of the tablet market with 7″, 8″ and 10.1″ models. All three devices share a common design language which is close to the Galaxy Note 8.0, or the recent Galaxy Mega 6.3. Although the different units address slightly different use cases (and price), they all have in common that they are designed to also work in front of the television as an infra-red universal remote control, a feature that is quickly becoming popular on Android, and that Apple does not support yet. Many studies suggest that the large majority of users enjoy their tablet in front of a TV – at least in the U.S.
We’re going to talk about the specs in a moment, but we spotted in Samsung’s announcement that the tablets would come with significant “perks” as Samsung stroke deals with Hulu, Boingo Wireless and Dropbox to provide free service, sometime for extended periods of time. On samsung.com/us/galaxyerks/, users will be able to access free content that may include apps, music and movies. Samsung will also be including a $10 Google Play voucher with each device.
Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 Specifications
|Galaxy Tab 3 7.0||Galaxy Tab 3 8.0||Galaxy Tab 3 10.1|
|Wireless||WiFi a/b/g/n||WiFi a/b/g/n||WiFi a/b/g/n|
|Processor||Marvell PXA 986 (2-core)||Exynos 4212 (2-core)||Intel Z2560 (2-core)|
|F. Camera Megapixel||1.3||1.3||1.3|
|R. Camera Megapixel||3||5||3|
|GPS||A-GPS + GLONASS||A-GPS + GLONASS||A-GPS + GLONASS|
|Battery capacity (mAh)||4000||4450||6800|
The specifications show that Samsung’s priority was to make the tablets relatively affordable (while still making a profit), and does not try to compete for the absolute “specs” or performance here. That explains the relatively low 1280×800 resolution for all tablets, especially for the 10.1 screen display which has a 149 PPI pixel density, which is more or less comparable to what you get on a PC, but it’s much lower than what you can see on smartphones or on Google’s $399 tablet, the Nexus 10.
The choice of main processors is interesting too. For example, I didn’t expect to find a Marvell PXA 986 since Samsung also has chips that could be used in the $199 market. At the high-end, the Intel Z2560 is also an interesting choice, and it’s nice to see Intel processors being used more and more for mainstream Android devices, which is exactly the goal that Intel has set to achieve over time.
For those who want to use their tablets at work, Samsung has made all of them SAFE-enabled so they have a higher chance of being compliant with what IT departments may require. If you’re not familiar with Samsung SAFE, it is a software initiative that allows Samsung devices to be integrated into most Enterprise IT environments.
The battery capacity seems adequate to a battery life that should be long enough (I expect 8-10hrs of movie playback) to satisfy the typical tablet user. Right now, it’s hard to estimate what the gaming performance will be, so we will have to run some tests, but with the various display resolutions mentioned above, I would expect most games to run at 25FPS or 30FPS.
All in all, the market remains extremely competitive, thanks to Google who can sell the Nexus 7 and Nexus 10 with razor-thin margins, and Samsung would know all about it, since they produce the Nexus 10. Right now, I would think that the Nexus 10 holds an edge because it has a beautiful display, and on the low end, the Nexus 7 remains competitive. Samsung offers more perks and has the remote control feature, but the choice won’t be easy. The Galaxy Tab 3 8.0 is the one that may end up feeling a bit less pressure from the competition.
All three tablets will be available in the U.S for $199, $299 and $399 on July 7 at “major retailers”, and pre-orders will start on June 25 at the following places: Best Buy, Amazon, Wal-Mart, h.h Gregg, Office Depot, Toys ‘R’ Us, P.C Richard & Son, Fry’s, Newegg, Sears and Samsung.com.