Samsung Galaxy Tab A review: Calling, messaging apps make it a giant phone with average processor at 30k
16:10 aspect ratio make it ideal for watching videos in horizontal screen mode.
Pros: Large screen in a narrow form factor, quad speakers with Dolby Atmos (great for media consumption), built-in LTE calling (and many phone features like WhatsApp), great battery life with USB C fast charge, built in Kid zone
Cons: Powered by entry-level Snapdragon 450 processor, slow face unlock and no fingerprint unlock, polycarbonate body feels cheap and shows fingerprints, basic quality cameras, no accessories available (cases, guards, etc.)
This latest tablet is Samsung’s endeavour to offer something new, powerful and capable to tablet buyers. That being said, it’s really difficult to break into the market where the iPad just has complete dominance. And that’s not without reason — iPads are known to offer a higher level of performance, build quality and versatility. iPads typically borrow a lot of technology and components from the latest iPhones and that’s exactly what Samsung is trying to do here as well.
It’s narrower than the iPad for sure — someone with larger hands can span the width easily. It’s made out of black polycarbonate with a matte finish. You’ll notice that it has narrower bezels (so there’s no home button) and four loudspeakers (one at each corner). This gives you good stereo separation — great for watching video. Plus, the Tab A comes with Dolby Atmos technology that gives it an added advantage for media consumption.
The 1080p display is an LCD with 16:10 aspect ratio (taller than iPad). This makes it ideal for watching videos in horizontal wide-screen mode. Keep in mind that this is the biggest display in an A series tablet by Samsung to date. The screen impressed us with its brightness level, vibrant colours and wide viewing angles. Some people want a tablet that can do everything. This Tab A is a calling tablet with LTE. Pop in the SIM card and this is basically a giant phone, albeit with an entry level processor found in sub Rs 10k phones. You can expand the 32GB storage too. There’s a phone app, messaging app, contacts and you can put phone apps like WhatsApp on it. Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Skype, secure folder are built in as is a Kid zone which you can password protect. Battery life is great, giving you almost 14 hours of video.
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There is some sort of smart connector on the side, presumably for a keyboard case accessory though there doesn’t seem to be any mention of that from Samsung. That’s actually a big disadvantage of a tablet that’s not an iPad — hardly any first or third party accessory support. Finally, the Tab A offers just basic performance from the Snapdragon 450. Media playback is not an issue but stay away from gaming.
If you need something latest in Android with LTE/calling, then Tab A works just fine. If you’re in the market for a cheaper Android tablet, options are limited. Lenovo Tab 3 (10-inch) with the asymmetrical design is Rs 10k cheaper and will still do great if all you want is media consumption. The new iPad 6th generation is also cheaper (Rs 23k for 32GB), is compatible with Apple Pencil (though that is a separate purchase) and still offers better build quality and the best tablet ecosystem on the planet (for apps and accessories). You can buy a 6th Gen iPad and Apple Pencil for the same price as this Tab A and that just heavily skews our recommendation in favor of the iPad.