If you are looking for a tablet that can do more than just provide you with a big screen for multimedia and gaming then the Samsung Galaxy Tab A 8.0 LTE is something that you might want to consider. It has an 8-inch display, Snapdragon 410 quad-core CPU, 4G LTE connectivity, Android Lollipop, and an S-Pen Stylus. But is it a better offering compared to other tablets in the same price range? Find out by reading our review below.
Design and Construction
The Galaxy Tab A is a sleek looking tablet with similarities to its more powerful brother, the Galaxy Tab S. However, since it’s a less powerful slate, the Tab A also looks the part, meaning it’s not as premium-looking but still exudes a certain level of attractiveness.
Up front you will see the 8-inch display, right above it is the earpiece (yes, you can make calls on this thing), 2 megapixel front camera, light sensor, and the Samsung logo. Found below are the physical home button, and two capacitive buttons for recent apps and Back.
If the left side of the Tab A is barren, the right side is where it gets busy. Here you will see the micro-SIM card slot, microSD card slot, the firm and tactile volume and power/lock buttons, microphone, and the slot for the stylus.
The top part is also devoid of anything, but at the bottom you will see the speaker, headset jack, microUSB port, and microphone.
Flip it on its back and you will find the protruding 5 megapixel camera, Samsung logo, and a couple of button-like ports where Samsung’s proprietary cases can be attached.
On hand, the Tab A is very comfortable to hold due to its thin frame at 7.5mm and light body at 338g. For comparison, it’s thinner and lighter than the Xiaomi Mi Pad. The bezels are relatively thin but provides sufficient space for the thumbs.
The build also feels solid and does not exhibit creakiness even when it’s made of plastic. To top it off, the matte finish at the back does not feel slippery and is effective in repelling fingerprints and smudges.
Display and Multimedia
The Tab A sports an 8-inch screen with XGA resolution (1024 x 768) or equal to 160ppi which is almost the same density as Apple’s original iPad mini. That being said, pixels are evident for a screen of this size and resolution but it can still be considered decent and doesn’t ruin the whole viewing experience.
Samsung never mentioned using IPS for the Tab A’s screen but we’re glad to report that it has good viewing angles and colors. It is also capable of producing enough brightness to make it still very legible even under direct sunlight. If there’s something that irks us a bit is the 4:3 aspect ratio which means a thick black border by default when watching movies.
As for sound quality, the speaker is capable of producing decent sounds with sufficient treble and bass. Although audible we usually find ourselves cupping our hands around it to hear more. In other words, the Tab A’s speaker could use some boost when it comes to loudness. Still, this makes the tablet a good multimedia device.
One of the main features of the Tab A is the inclusion of the S-Pen stylus which is stored on the top left side of the slate. It’s light, made of plastic, and easy to hold and write with. It features a button that is very accessible by the index finger that when pressed near the screen will launch Air command features: Action memo, Smart select, Image clip, and Screen write.
These are very handy features for on-the-go productivity like when you’re working on Office documents. That being said, Samsung was thoughtful enough to have Microsoft’s Office apps for Android pre-installed like Word, Excel, Powerpoint, and OneNote. If you really need to maximize the tablet’s display there’s also a dual screen mode which is really nifty.
The S-Pen’s performance can be considered good. It’s responsive with just the right amount of sensitivity. The S-Pen’s tip glides smoothly over the glass which makes it a treat for those who like to take notes, sketch, or doodle. In addition, the S Note and S Planner prove to be good apps for those tasks.
OS, UI, and Apps
Running the software department of the Tab A is Android 5.0.2 Lollipop with TouchWiz UI. It comes with a lot of pre-installed apps: 13 from Google and 6 Microsoft apps. Samsung also included their own apps like the Scrapbook, Side Sync 3.0, Galaxy Apps, S Note, S Planner. And since this tablet also doubles as a phone, it has its own Phone and Messages app.
The Tab A has an internal storage of 16GB, less the System memory which takes up 5GB and you’re left with almost 11GB of usable storage which is a bit limited. The good thing is it has support for microSD cards so you can just store your photos, music, video files there. We’re also glad to report that USB OTG is also supported.
Being a tablet, the Tab A doesn’t want to boast much as mobile shooter and sports a modest 5 megapixel rear and 2 megapixel front. Both are good enough for casual shooting and video calls, however, don’t expect a lot in terms overall quality which is typical for tablets.
As for video recording, the Tab A can shoot videos in HD resoltuion at 30fps in MP4 format. Video quality is similar to the sample photos above.
Performance and Benchmarks
Although the Snapdragon 410 quad-core processor and 2GB RAM will suffice for daily tasks including gaming. However there are times when things get sluggish when you start playing heavy games while having other things running in the background. If you’re going to use the Tab A for games, make sure to close background apps before playing.
* AnTuTu – 21,105
* Quadrant Standard – 13,296
* Vellamo – 883 (Metal), 1,131 (Multicore), 1,954 (Chrome Browser)
* 3D Mark Ice Storm Extreme – 2,609
Call Quality and Connectivity
The Tab A features a SIM card slot (micro) for on-the-go connectivity. And since this is also a phone you can make calls and send text messages. Call quality is okay as well although it is awkward to use as a phone due to its size. We recommend using headphones when using this feature.
The Tab A comes with 4,200mAh battery which should be more than enough for a whole day of use. In addition to the battery saving benefits of Android Lollipop, the tablet also comes with a Power saving mode and Ultra power saving mode which comes really handy when you’re out and don’t have a charger or power bank with you. We ran PC Mark’s battery test on the Tab A and the result is 8 hours 35 minutes.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab A 8.0 LTE is a very functional tablet that is both good for work and play. It’s good for watching movies, reading e-books, sketching, quick MS Office work, and light gaming. Not to mention it’s also a phone with LTE connectivity so you can take calls, send messages, and use mobile data to keep you connected while on-the-go. If you don’t mind the low-resolution display and can do with the Php15,990 price tag, the Tab A 8.0 LTE is good tablet to have.
Samsung Galaxy Tab A 8.0 LTE specs:
8-inch XGA LCD @ 1024 x 768 resolution, 160ppi
1.2GHz Snapdragon 410 quad-core processor
16GB internal storage
Expandable up to 128GB via microSD
5MP rear camera
2MP front camera
4G LTE, 3G
208.4 x 137.9 x 7.5 mm
What we liked about it:
* Slim and light
* Decent performance
* Good battery life
* Inclusion of S Pen
* S Pen
* Vibrant display with good viewing angles
* Call and text functionality
What we didn’t like:
* Pricey given the specs
* Low resolution display
* Not so loud speakers