When one talks about the tablet market, Apple has ruled the roost in the high-end and then a number of local OEMs have done decently, but providing low-cost solutions to consumers. While this is a well-known fact, Samsung too has been quietly been doing well. The company has gained a lot of market share with its multiple Galaxy Tab and Note products that span across price points and has actually been outselling Apple. Today, the company unveiled two new tablets, the Galaxy Tab 3 211 which has a 7-inch screen and the Galaxy Tab 3 311, which has an 8-inch screen. Both these products promote productivity and consumption of content over raw fire power. We had the opportunity to play around with both the products for a bit, read on for our first impressions.
Samsung does not stray away much from its signature design language with both the tablets. Both are made up of glossy white plastic material, that is incredibly light and comfortable to hold, though not very upmarket. The 7-inch model, the Galaxy Tab 3 211, actually can be used quite easily with one hand and it has a plain gloss finish on the back.
The Galaxy Tab 3 311, on the other hand, is slightly larger and has the prominent metal like rim on the sides like the Galaxy S4 smartphone, but a closer look reveals it to be plastic. The back also shares the patterned back which also shines under bright lights. Frankly, this finish to us seemed a bit slippery and we dare say a tad slimy.
The Galaxy Tab 3 211 has a 3-megapixel shooter on the back while the 311 has a higher resolution 5-megapixel camera. The 1280×800 pixel display on the Galaxy Tab 3 311 looked particularly good. The display had good viewing angles and text looked pretty sharp. Importantly, Samsung has also chopped the bezel to a great degree. The device is also super thin at 7.4mm.
The Galaxy Tab 3 211 is on the other hand has a lower resolution 1024×600 pixel display, which was not as vibrant as the 8-incher tablet. The viewing angles on this model were not as good too.
As far as pure UI fluidity was concerned, the both the tablets performed smoothly. The Galaxy Tab 3 211 is powered by a dual-core 1.2GHz Marvell CPU and has 1GB of RAM, while the Galaxy Tab 3 311 is powered by Samsung’s own Exynos 4412 dual-core CPU which is clocked at 1.5GHz. It also has 1.5GB of RAM. So technically, the Galaxy Tab 3 311 has more fire in the belly.
Judging the performance in the short time for both the products is not fair and considering Samsung’s extra TouchWiz additions tend to slow down the system over extended use, this clearly will not give anyone a clear idea regarding the performance.
The Galaxy Tab 3 211 has 8GB of internal memory, while the Galaxy Tab 3 311 comes with 16GB. Both the products have a microSD card slot that supports up to 64GB of storage.
Software wise, the Galaxy Tab 3 211 runs on Android 4.1 Jelly Bean which is slightly outdated, but the Galaxy Tab 3 311 runs on Android 4.2.2 which adds features like Android daydream, lockscreen widgets and more streamlined Android pull down menu controls. Samsung as usual adds its own bouquet of features as well, like Popup video, My education, my offers, my games, my music and my movies. Other features included are ‘Reading Mode’ that debuted on the Galaxy Note 510, Smart Stay and Multi-Window.
The Galaxy Tab 3 211 and the Galaxy Tab 3 311 can both be used to make phone calls as well as both support 3G connectivity. Samsung is also offering a Wi-Fi only model of the Galaxy Tab 3 311 which costs Rs 21,945.
Pricing of all the three products is interesting at Rs 17,745 for the Galaxy Tab 3 211 and Rs 25,725 for the Galaxy Tab 3 311, as Samsung is pushing its software features more over hardware specs that frankly are not cutting edge. It will be interesting to how these device perform in the market. In the meanwhile we will suggest one to watch out for our review.
Photographs: Harshita Rastogi