If you are planning to buy a tablet, then you will be quite literally spoilt for choice. Competition amongst the top brands coupled with the influx of cheaper Chinese devices has benefitted consumers as it has resulted in tablets with higher specification at a good price point. The recent entrant in the market is the Samsung Galaxy Tab 3. The Korean giant is riding high owing to the unprecedented popularity of its Galaxy phones and hopes to capture the tablet market too.
With these new entrants, Samsung has once again tried its hand at the 8-inch display size. The new 8-inch Galaxy Tab 3 has two variants – Tab 3 311 (Wi-Fi + 3G) and Tab 3 310 (only Wi-Fi). These tablets are priced at Rs 25,725 and Rs 21,945 respectively. The price bracket pits it against Apple’s iPad mini whose base model also starts at Rs 21,900. Besides the powerful iPad mini, the mid-range tablet category is highly competitive and the Tab 3 could face competition from the popular Nexus 7 and the recently launched Amazon Kindle Fire HD 8.9.
Before we look into the existing competitors of the new Galaxy Tab 3 8-inch, lets take a quick look at its specifications:
- 8-inch capacitive touchscreen with 800 x 1280 pixels resolution
- 3G, W-Fi, Wi-Fi Direct, Wi-Fi hotspot, DLNA, USB 2.0 (available 3G and 3G + Wi-Fi models)
- GPS with A-GPS support and GLONASS
- 5MP rear camera with auto-focus and LED flash, 1.3MP front-facing camera
- 16GB internal memory, expandable up to 64GB via microSD card slot
The Galaxy Tab 3 7.4mm thin tablet comes with an 8-inch WXGA display (189 ppi) and runs on Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean OS). It is powered by a 1.5GHz dual-core processor with 1.5GB RAM. The device is fuelled by a 4450 mAh battery. Samsung has also included some smart apps such as S Voice 2.0, S Travel, Story Album, S Translator, Multi Window, Pop Up Play, Samsung ChatOn and more.
Though it comes with a 7-inch display, the Nexus 7 is one of the popular tablets in the similar price bracket. The 32GB Nexus 7 tablet was made available in India a couple of months ago. It is available in 3G and Wi-Fi variants priced at Rs 21,999 and Rs 18,999 respectively. However, if you check online, the tablets are available for a much lower price. The 32GB Wi-Fi model is up for grabs at Rs 14,911 and the 3G model for Rs 18,999. The tablet is powered by a 1.3GHz quad-core Tegra 3 chip and supposed to be a gamer's delight. Google claims it to be a serious gaming device as the brand has added a 12-core Nvidia GeForce GPU. This tablet also comes with pre-installed Google Wallet. It is among the first Jelly Bean-based devices and runs on Android 4.2.2. You also get the tablet exclusive features of 4.2, such as setting custom user profiles. In terms of specifications, the 8-inch Galaxy Tab appears to be in a better position.
32GB Nexus is available in India
Here's a quick look at the key specifications of the Nexus 7:
- 7-inch IPS display with a resolution of 1280 x 800 pixels
- Available in 3G and Wi-Fi variants
- GPS with A-GPS
- 1.2 megapixel front-facing camera with HD 720p video shooting capabilities
- 32GB of inbuilt memory
This miniature version of the iPad put a silence to all rumours and speculations about Apple venturing in the 7-inch tablet category. Needless to say, the iPad mini sports a slightly bigger screen at 7.87 inches, making it a popular size for tablets. It uses the same 1024 x 768 resolution of the iPad 2 on a smaller screen, so the ppi count is higher a 163 ppi. Though not Retina-grade, it’s still a lot better. It has a similar A5 processor like the iPad 2 and dual-core 1GHz Cortex-A9 processor with 512MB RAM. It has a 7.2 mm thick aluminium and glass design, which is almost equivalent to the 8-inch Galaxy Tab and weighs 308 grams. It runs on iOS 6, but apparently Apple is planning an iOS 7 upgrade for the device. It is available in Wi-Fi + 3G and Wi-Fi-only models, just like the Tab. The 16GB iPad mini Wi-Fi only version is available for Rs 21,900 and Wi-Fi + cellular version costs Rs 29,900. The 16GB Galaxy Tab 3G + Wi-Fi model with expandable memory up to 64GB costs Rs 25,725 while the 32GB Wi-Fi + 3G iPad mini costs way higher at Rs 35,900.
iPad mini dipped in white shade
Here's a quick look at the key specifications of the Apple iPad Mini:
- 7.87-inch IPS display with a resolution of 768 x 1024 pixels
- Available in 3G and Wi-Fi variants
- GPS with A-GPS
- 5 megapixel front-facing camera with 1080p video capabilities
- 16GB/32GB/64GB of inbuilt memory
Amazon Kindle Fire HD 8.9
Amazon recently launched its Kindle Fire HD 8.9 in India. The tablet features a 8.9-inch capacitive IPS LCD panel with 254 ppi. This brings it almost close to Apple’s Retina display. And this is what gives the Amazon Kindle Fire HD 8.9 an edge over the Samsung Galaxy Tab 3, which sports a resolution of 1280 x 800 with a pixel density of 189 ppi. Additionally, it also features an Advanced True Wide polarising filter to effectively address the viewing angle problem. Speaking about the OS, the Fire HD features a highly customised version of Android, but you cannot access the Google Play store from the tablet. However, you can install the apps you want by transferring the .apk files via USB. Also, some of the popular apps are available in the Amazon store too. In terms of performance, the Fire HD packs quite a punch. It is powered using a TI OMAP 4470 chipset, which features a dual-core Cortex-A9 1.5GHz processor and 1GB of RAM. It is powered by a 6000 mAh battery. The tablet measures 239 x 163 x 9 mm and weighs about 567 grams. It is available in two variants – 16GB and 32GB versions, priced at Rs 21,999 and Rs 25,999 respectively. There is no microSD card slot, so there is no option to expand the memory. Kindle Fire supports only Wi-Fi and it doesn’t even feature USB OTG for 3G dongles, which is bit of a downer.
Amazon Kindle Fire HD 8.9
Here's a quick look at the key specifications of the Amazon Kindle Fire HD:
- 8.9-inch IPS display with a resolution of 1920 x 1200 pixels
- 1.3 megapixel front-facing camera
- 16/32GB of inbuilt memory
While the sub-Rs 15,000 tablet space is dominated by horde of budget Android tablets, the iPad mini is one of the best and most preferred options in the mid-range tablet category. Though not Retina-grade, it has a good display and a solid app ecosystem. The planned iOS 7 upgrade would further spruce up the usability. Those ready to shell out a little over Rs 20,000 could easily opt for the 16GB iPad mini.
The Nexus 7 is a great option for those looking for a value for money budget tablet with a decent spec sheet, especially with the new best buy price at which its models are available. As it is one of the first Jelly Bean devices, one can even expect further OS updates too. The device brings in complete Android experience. If you’re looking for a tablet for gaming, then the Nexus 7 is the best budget tablet option.
What works in favour of Kindle Fire HD is it’s performance, usability, battery life, large display and also its near-Retina screen resolution. However, the tablet seems to be a bit overpriced; at the same price, you can opt for the iPad 2 or the iPad mini. Also, it doesn't support 3G nor has an expandable memory slot. Another factor to be taken into consideration is the lack of Google Play Store. You will have to rely on the Amazon ecosystem, which isn’t that powerful in India yet.
Looking at the specifications, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 8-inch appears to be a powerful Android option in its class which focuses on productivity, atleast on paper. However, we will know how it performs only after a complete review of the device. We think it is slightly overpriced and could have been easily placed under the sub-Rs 20,000 bracket.