Samsung launched the 2017 Galaxy Tab A in a rather hush tone today in India. The launch venue was the Samsung's own workspace and it was a rather interactive session which included a hands-on experience of not only the latest tablet from the Korean technology brand but also its range of latest accessories, VR kits, smartphones and gaming peripherals.
Now let's get back to the gizmo at hand, the Samsung Galaxy Tab A. The tablet retails at Rs. 17,990 and unlike its arched rival Apple, Samsung is marketing the device with the USP of a big display for entertainment. In fact, throughout the launch there was a considerable amount of weight-age given to the fact that video content is being browsed more than ever and the figures will only go up.
Let me give you a quick first impression of the Galaxy Tab A.
Specifications: 5,000 mAh battery!
Samsung Galaxy Tab A boasts an 8-inch WXGA TFT display with a resolution of 1,280x800 pixels. It is powered by a quad-core processor which is locked to 1.4Ghz. The chipset gets 2GB of RAM to take care of multitasking and advanced rendering. The internal storage on the device is 16GB which doesn't seem to be sufficient enough. However, the microSD card support allows memory expansion to 256GB.
The tablet gets an 8MP rear paired with single LED flash while the front camera on the device is a 5MP snapper. Galaxy Tab A gets a 5,000 mAh battery which will give it n extended life on a single charge. It also has a future-ready USB Type-C port. The tablet runs Android Nougat 7.0.1 and offers Category 4 LTE support.
The specifications are just alright, however, Samsung is known to be one of those brands that keep a watch on the quality of its product. If the specifications fail to impress you the quality of its individual elements might be more than just alright.
Design: Well thought form-factor!
The design of the tablet is as simple as it is prepossessing. The rear panel is matte finish while the front panel is all dark. The latter houses a home button along with two touch-sensitive buttons for multitasking and going back to the previous screen.
The tablet is branded with Samsung logo on the front panel. The front camera along with earpiece is placed on top.
The volume rocker and power toggle acquire the same old right side edge. Samsung has placed the USB Type C port on Tab A which makes it "future proof". The device also houses speakers on either side of the Type-C port. The 3.5mm audio jack is on the top edge while the sim tray is placed on the left edge.
The design is quite attractive, however, the tablet has substantial girth and also feels heavy for an 8-inch device. It will take some time for users to get used to its weight. Although the width and length of the tablet make it pretty handy to carry and use. You can easily carry it around in a small bag.
Camera: No compromising with the camera!
Taking pictures with cameras on a tablet is probably the last thing one could imagine doing, especially when smartphones these days boast impressive camera setups which now also offers bokeh and wide-angle effects.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab A has an 8MP rear camera which has an aperture value of f/1.9. This facilitates brighter pictures in dim lit conditions. The picture quality is decent enough while the camera app has almost every feature found on sub 20 K smartphones from Samsung. The 5MP front snapper is not too bad itself. It has an aperture value of f/2.2 and it captures well-saturated pictures.
One of the most amazing features of the camera app is the floating shutter release. This is a simple shutter button that can be placed anywhere on the screen and it offers ease in clicking pictures on the big display.
Operating system and UI: Nougat and Bixby!
The device runs Android Nougat 7.0.1 which is a common entity on every small and big device these days. The user interface, on the other hand, has been equipped with several features that make this device a lot more refined.
To begin with, the tablet gets Bixby support which is Samsung's most recently developed AI assistance. It also gets a Kids mode which not only entertains but also allows kids to learn while they play. Samsung Flow is yet another feature of the OS which allows for a seamless connection between Samsung devices.
The operating system is updated and has several purposeful features. Th UI features are nothing less than expected. Moreover, the ease of operation of the device quite boldly marks the presence of a great UI on it.
Conclusion: Will Samsung face resistance?
Samsung is one of the most popular brands in India. It enjoys a reputation like no other manufacturer in the country today. It is not only deemed as a premium brand but it also offers better quality than its Chinese rivals.
The Samsung Tab A's 2017 version has its own sets of advantages and features that make it a better buy over its competition from Asus and Xiaomi. With Apple's iPad Mini 4 priced almost Rs. 12,000 more than our protagonist, a quality, and feature packed competitor is certainly a miss.
We will provide an in-depth review of the device very soon and we will give you better insight on the Tab A's performance.