Samsung Galaxy Tab A (2017) In-Depth Review: Only for Binge Watchers?

Samsung Galaxy Tab A is a good tablet for entertainment, but productivity lacks on Android OS

Samsung Galaxy Tab A

Rs 17,990
Samsung Galaxy Tab A
7.9

Design

8.5 /10

Battery Life

8.5 /10

Camera

7.0 /10

Performance

8.0 /10

Price

7.5 /10

Pros

  • Great display
  • Good ergonomics
  • Great battery

Cons

  • Not that great camera
  • No Samsung Adaptive Charge

It’s no secret that the tablet market has been shrinking. In this age of increasing screen sizes and with decreasing bezels trend of 2017 the need for a tablet has greatly diminished. Although, despite the depleting market, the tablets continue to survive. Samsung recently launched their Samsung Galaxy Tab A in the country. It is supposed to a be an affordable tablet by the company. With an 8.0-inch (800 x 1280 pixels) FHD IPS display, the screen is not far big from the smartphones of these days. So the point comes is a tablet worth it? If yes, is the Samsung Galaxy Tab A worth the money?

Samsung Galaxy Tab A (2017)

The Samsung Galaxy Tab A comes with a 1.4 GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 coupled with an Adreno 308 GPU and 2GB of RAM. It sports an 8-inch (800 x 1280 pixels) FHD IPS display. For the optics, it features an 8MP rear camera with LED Flash and f/1.9 aperture. For the selfies, it packs a 5MP front-facing camera with f/1.9 aperture. All of this is backed up by a massive 5,000mAh Battery.

Samsung Galaxy Tab A (2017)
Samsung Galaxy Tab A is a good tablet for entertainment, but productivity lacks on Android OS

The devices come with a metal body which looks like gorgeous. It is a simple yet elegant design. But with a massive screen size and big chunky bezels, it is difficult to use with one hand. That being said, all the tablets are same in this area so it passes this test. It runs on Android 7.1.1(Nougat) with Samsung Experience 8.5. The device will update to Android 8.0 Oreo in the future, so it is a good news. The Tab A sports a dual-hybrid sim card slot along with a 3.5mm headphone jack and a USB type-c port for charge and sync. However, at this price point, it lacks a fingerprint sensor. It is a big drawback considering such a big size of the device.

Design

The Samsung Galaxy Tab A  features a pretty simple design. Being said, there is nothing bad about it. The design language is not new, but nothing bad is there about it. There are big chunky bezels facilitate in holding the tablet. It also sports a physical home button along with two capacitive buttons in traditional Samsung style. There is a plastic boundary on the tablet. It prevents the tablet from scratches and scuffs. The back is made out of metal which looks and feels great.

Samsung Galaxy Tab A (2017) Front
The tablet’s massive display makes it great for watching videos and more

The front consists of an 8.0-inch (800×1280 pixels) FHD IPS display. Above that, you will find a Samsung branding. The branding is accompanied by a speaker piece on the top, which gets the job done during calls. Also, yes this tablet has the facility to make calls. On the right of the speaker piece, there is the 5MP front-facing camera with f/1.9 aperture. Below that massive screen is a physical home button. On the left and right of the home button, there are the overview and back buttons. These are capacitive buttons.

Samsung Galaxy Tab A (2017) Back
The metal back gives it a premium feel in hand

On the back of the device, there is a visible boundary between the plastic side and the metal back panel. It gives a unique look to the device. In the top centre, there is the 8MP rear camera with LED Flash and f/1.9 aperture. Below it, lies the LED flash unit. Below the camera unit, you will find another Samsung branding. the first one was above the display on the front. The bottom centre you will find the licensing information.

The right side of the device consists of the power button and the volume rockers. The power button is not textured, so that’s a minus point. textured power buttons help to find them easily in the pocket or the dark. Although considering its massive size, it won’t fit in any normal pocket. On the left side, there is only the sim card tray and nothing else. At the top of the device, you will find a 3.5mm headphone jack along with a secondary microphone. On the bottom, there is the USB type-c jack for data and sync along with primary microphone and the speakers.

Samsung Galaxy Tab A (2017)
Samsung Galaxy Tab A is a good tablet for entertainment, but productivity lacks on Android OS

Overall, it is a good looking tablet with a pretty simple yet elegant design. There is nothing to complain about the design apart from the absence of the textured power button. Although considering people won’t keep this in the pocket, it’s a useless point altogether. With the presence of plastic boundary along the sides, the ensures metal remains undamaged. Also, it offers more protection to the screen in the case of a drop. Considering the massive size, that’s a really good thing to have.

Software

The Samsung Galaxy Tab A runs on Android 7.1.1 with Samsung Experience 8.5 skin on the top. Samsung Experience is Samsung’s skin on its Android devices. While it changes truly everything about the Android as we know it. With custom launcher, new settings, notification shade, icons, and lock screen. The Samsung Experience is truly great if you don’t want the stock android. It resembles a lot of stock Android in its functionality and the similarities end there.

Samsung Galaxy Tab A (2017)
Samsung Galaxy Tab A is a good tablet for entertainment, but productivity lacks on Android OS

Although, its the same on all Samsung devices, Samsung also adds a few device related add-ons. Like the Keyboard has arrow keys for navigation. The settings are two tabbed, to make use of that screen real estate. However, third-party apps from the play store aren’t optimized for a tablet. They mostly scale themselves making the experience worse. All in all, Samsung did great with the software end but it wasn’t enough. The Android app developers are to blame here. The whole depleting tablet market is the cause here we believe.

Performance

The performance is a major area of concern in any device. However, this is a Tablet with big screen and performance is not the biggest concern here for Samsung. The Samsung Galaxy Tab A sports a 1.4 GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 coupled with an Adreno 308 GPU and 2GB of RAM. While the specifications are not up to the par, the device’s purpose is not to chew on performance intensive games. Rather the design is for everyday usage.

We ran our usual AnTuTu benchmarks and the GeekBench benchmark to evaluate the performance of the device. The AnTuTu yielded a score of 35725 which is okay considering the price. The GeekBench yield a single core score of 662 and multi-core score of 1818. The performance numbers of the device on paper were sort-of good for the value.

Samsung Galaxy Tab A (2017) Talking on Phone
Calling on the Samsung Galaxy Tab A is possible, However not recommended.

The tablet is great for everyday use with an ability to run few heavy apps if you wish. However, its main forte its massive screen. The device performs great in things like internet browsing with a large number of tabs open. The Google Chrome is optimized for tablets which makes it a delight to work on it. The big bezels provide a place to hold the device. The device performs well in the way it was supposed to be used. However, you can use it as a normal phone and make calls with it. We won’t recommend it. Just purely because of its size. If you still wish to, you can insert a sim card in it and make calls or use it to browse the internet.

The device stays cool in under stressful conditions so that’s a plus.

Display

The tablet has a massive 8-inch (800 x 1280 pixels) FHD IPS display. However, comparing it to a device like the iPad it is small in size. The display gets quite low and really bight if you wish to. The sunlight readability is great and if you wish to save battery, it can get quite low too. The colours are great, however, it doesn’t match the clarity of the OLED display. Though at its price point we can say its definitely really good. As the device is made for productivity and media consumption it is a great display.

Camera

The Samsung Galaxy Tab A features an 8MP rear camera with LED Flash and f/1.9 aperture. For the selfies, it packs a 5MP front-facing camera with f/1.9 aperture. The camera is nothing that great. On paper for this price you think you can get a 16-megapixel dual camera or what not. However, remember it is not made to be your smartphone. It is an 8-inch tablet. It has cameras for video calling and not taking great stills.

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The indoor shots by the device are quite good. The colours are a bit brighter than reality but they are acceptable. The camera really shines outside with ample light. However the image stabilization, only digital its great. The photos don’t get blurry and out of focus on the movement of the hand. With outside shots, where the light is ample, it stabilizes great and provides great focusing photos with a high amount of detail.

Samsung Galaxy Tab A (2017) Front Camera Sample
Selfie

The 5MP front-facing camera with f/1.9 aperture has the same story. The photos are brighter than expected, but its good enough for video calls and more. You won’t get the best shots for flaunting on the social media during a party. Considering the fact who will hold an 8-inch tablet taking selfies during a party? During the video calls for which the front shooter is meant for, it shines with providing great but not that detailed photos. It helps in situations where the internet connection is not that great.

Battery

Packing a massive 5,000mAh battery the tablet lasts more than a day. The battery is good enough to last almost a day and a half with constant usage. Even at the full brightness where Samsung display’s a notice that the battery will drain faster, the device lasts more than a day. The charging time for the included charger is around two hours. Considering the massive battery it is quite good. The included charger is a 2 amp. It doesn’t have the Samsung Adaptive fast charging, but it gets the job done.

We ran the PC Mark’s Work 2.0 Battery Life test which subjects the device too heavy usage and finds out the battery life in that condition. The device yielded a result of 15 hours and 44 minutes. Which is up to the mark with the capacity of a battery. Although, with the massive ultra-bright display of this tablet its great.

Conclusion

Samsung Galaxy Tab A (2017)
Samsung Galaxy Tab A is a good tablet for entertainment, but productivity lacks on Android OS

The Samsung Galaxy Tab A comes with a price tag of Rs 17,990. Considering that price tag, the tablet is quite a deal. In the diminishing era of tablets, it shines brightly. Not only that, it works as advertised. For the price point, it is a great device, only if you have a use for it. Unlike a smartphone, tablets are not for everyone. So if you have a use case for a tablet, may it be binge-watching or internet browsing, its a great deal of the money. So would we recommend this tablet? Definitely, if you have a use case for the tablet. Not many people have a use-case for it, that’s why their market is depleting. But if you do need a tablet, go for this one.

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