A brief introduction of Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 10.1

Galaxy Tab 3 10.1

The overall design of the GTab 3 10.1 lends itself better to prolonged usage. At 1.12 pounds (510g), it’s significantly lighter than its 1.29-pound predecessor and it’s about 2mm slimmer, too, measuring just 7.95mm thick. There are no hard edges or sharp right angles to dig into your palms while you watch TV, sip your coffee or stare slack-jawed at video on your morning commute. Even the faux-chrome edges bordering the display have been minimized, which means the bezels are narrower as well, especially on the shorter ends. If you’re like us, you’ll need to get used to keeping your thumbs hovering just above the display or blocking a tiny portion of the screen; it used to be easy to rest your fingers on that ring of plastic.

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The front face is little changed from the GTab 2 10.1: Samsung’s moved its logo to the top border of the screen, placing it next to the 1.2-megapixel camera. Down below, the company’s imported the home button oft-seen on its Galaxy S smartphones. That’s flanked by capacitive keys for menu access and backward navigation. The ports and physical hardware keys — power, volume rocker, microSD and IR blaster — are mostly relegated to the top edge, with the sole exception being the micro-USB port at the base. The speakers, much like on the 2012 Tab, are positioned on the top side, but in this case they’ve been shifted to the edges, so sound won’t be aimed directly at your face.

Around back, the Galaxy Tab 3 10.1 is mostly a sea of unblemished brown plastic. And yes, it features that subtle cross-hatching we’ve seen spread across Samsung’s latest Galaxy flagships. The only adornments here are the Samsung logo, FCC certification at the bottom and a 3-megapixel module sans LED flash at the top. The back cover, as you might’ve guessed, is non-removable. Neat freaks and the otherwise OCD-inclined will want to keep a cotton cloth nearby to wipe down the device; this glossy backplate serves as a great reminder that we humans are an oily bunch.

It’s a pity the Galaxy Tab 3 10.1 doesn’t sport a full HD display: its 1,280 x 800 resolution is better suited to its 8-inch sibling, if only for the increase in pixel density you’d get on a screen that size. Here, its TFT LCD is mediocre, giving way to fuzzier-looking icons and a reduced crispness. Viewing angles are okay, but outdoor use could pose a problem given how glare-prone the screen is. That said, we happily sat through an episode of Orange is the New Black on Netflix and found no faults with the display’s color reproduction. But if you’re going to depend on the dual speaker setup, you’ll want to max out the volume and situate yourself in a relatively quiet space. They’re just not that powerful.

The Galaxy Tab 3 10.1′s high sticker price should mean it packs in loads of bells and whistles, including, perhaps, a better camera, but it doesn’t. The 3-megapixel main shooter is serviceable: colors are balanced and images are sufficiently detailed, though you won’t be able to set focus. It’s adequate enough to capture action shots from the sidelines (sorry, no burst mode), but it’s not something we’d recommend relying on for your next round of vacation photos. The UI is straightforward too and doesn’t confuse users with an abundance of settings options. You have the ability to add a filter, toggle exposure / white balance and swap to different scene modes. But for the most part, auto mode is good enough. Video recording is much the same and maxes out at 720p. Again, the GTab 3 10.1 shouldn’t be your go-to for any memories in the making. It’s a decent fallback option, but nothing more.