The Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 10.1 stylishly embraces a more simple aesthetic compared with its predecessor. For a 10-inch tablet, it manages to be a rather compact device; it’s lightweight and sleek, with thin bezels and a clean, cohesive design that would make any iPad melt with flattery.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 10.1 features a lightweight and compact design for a 10-inch tablet. Its screen is impressively bright, and a 64GB storage expansion option is always an appreciated extra.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 10.1, the largest in the Tab 3 family, boasts a simpler and smaller design than any previous Galaxy Tab 10.1 model. Its trim size is because of its skinnier bezels and revamped metallic border. While the Tab 2 10.1’s thick frame housed front-facing speakers, the Tab 3 10.1 relocates them to the left and right edges.
The 10.1-inch tablet is relatively thin and light. It’s also comfortable to hold in both hands and feels solid, but the tactile sensation of the smooth plastic back gives it an inexpensive feel.
The Tab 3 10.1 runs Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean with Samsung’s TouchWiz UI skin. Features include Smart Stay, which puts your tablet to sleep when you’re not looking at it, and a useful notification panel that’s somewhat customizable.
The shortcut tray that is easily accessible by swiping down from the top of the screen allows you to turn features like Wi-Fi, GPS, Smart Stay, and screen rotation on and off, as well as adjust the brightness level. You can customize which order these settings are in, but you cannot add any new ones to it.
The Tab 3 10.1’s built-in IR blaster allows it to be used as a universal remote, and it offers a few apps to help you do just that. It couldn’t get Peel’s Smart Remote to work with cable box instead of television, so instead favored Samsung’s universal remote/video hub app Watch On. We can able to easily browse TV listings, set reminders, change channels, and turn television and cable box on and off.
Other Samsung features are nice additions. The S Voice app often didn’t recognize my voice commands, and found it to be more maddening than helpful. The feature is activated by double-pressing the Home button but can be easily deactivate through the settings.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 10.1 houses a 1.6GHz dual core Atom Z2560 CPU, 1GB RAM, and 16GB or 32GB of internal memory. When tested the 16GB model and it had about 11GB of free space out of the box. Its microSD expansion slot can support up to 64GB.
Performance-wise, the tablet was responsive when doing simple activities like checking e-mail or reading an e-book, but, when it came to multitasking and switching quickly between apps, it was slow and frequently lagged.
Neither of the tablet’s cameras have manual focus or flash. The rear 3.2-megapixel camera took clear photos, although they weren’t the sharpest, and it did a good job at replicating life-like colors. The front camera is a little soft but otherwise takes well-exposed photos.
The tablet’s specs resemble the Tab 2 10.1’s too closely to be considered an actual upgrade. The Tab 3 10.1’s tendency to lag coupled with its flawed navigation array functionality don’t justify the starting price of $399.