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Samsung Galaxy Tab A 8 Hands-on, First Impressions: A Tablet For Artists

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We go hands-on with Samsung’s Galaxy Tab A 8

Yesterday we officially attended the official launch of Samsung’s newest tablet, the Galaxy Tab A 8. We first featured that Galaxy Tab A 8 a few days ago, and many of you shared your thoughts on the specs, and features of the tablet. Of course on-paper specs don’t necessarily reflect a tablet’s potential performance or use case for its target audience, so we took a look at it ourselves, in the flesh, to see what all the fuss is about.

Samsung Galaxy Tab A 8 (LTE) specs

  • 1.2GHz Snapdragon 410 quad-core processor
  • 2GB RAM
  • 16GB storage, expandable up to 128GB via microSD
  • 8-inch XGA LCD display, 1024 x 768 resolution
  • 5.0-megapixel primary camera
  • 2.0-megapixel secondary camera
  • Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, LTE, 3G, HSPA+
  • 4200mAh battery
  • Android Lollipop 5.0, TouchWiz UI
  • S-Pen stylus
  • Php15,990

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Initial impressions: the S-Pen makes it stand out though that may not be enough

As with Samsung’s other offerings in the mid-range category, the Galaxy Tab A is made primarily out of plastic. The design is nothing to write home about either and is pretty standard as far as Samsung’s offerings go. While the design isn’t going to win Samsung any awards, it’s straightforward and functional, and overall the tablet is small and compact, which makes it easy to bring with you wherever you go.

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Control layout is pretty typical for an Android tablet – both power button and volume rocker are located on the right side of the tablet, along with the microSD slot and SIM slot. The front of the tablet is dominated by the 8-inch, 4:3 aspect ratio display, that’s rocking a 1024 x 768 resolution panel.

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Right underneath that is the physical home key, flanked by the two capacitive keys for navigation. The USB port is situated right below where it usually is, along with the speaker grille.

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Turn the tablet over and you’ll see the 5-megapixel rear camera, along with the attachment points for covers, kind of like the Galaxy Tab S. On the upper left side you’ll see the holster for the S-Pen.

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If you’re looking for a blisteringly fast tablet, then the Tab A 8 isn’t for you. The tablet uses Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 410 processor, paired with 2GB of RAM. Laid on top of Android is Samsung’s TouchWiz UI. Overall the tablet felt fast and responsive though only a full review will reveal if the tablet is up to the task of being a daily driver.

One of the main features of the Galaxy Tab A 8 is the S-Pen functionality. From what we saw during Samsung’s presentation, the S-Pen in the Galaxy Tab A 8 behaves a lot like the one in the Note 4. Pulling out the S-Pen shows the same air command panel as the one in the Note 4. If you’ve used any of Samsung’s S-Pen equipped products before, you know what to expect – the ability to write directly on web pages and share them, write notes using your handwriting, etc. We’re not entirely sure, but there’s a good chance that the Galaxy Tab 8 may have a Wacom digitizer in the panel, which explains why the S-Pen worked so well.

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Ultimately Samsung’s Galaxy Tab A 8 isn’t for everyone. Priced at Php 15,990, there are certainly more powerful alternatives out there. But not all tablets have Samsung’s powerful S-Pen functionality, which may just attract people who are looking for a tablet that they can use for more artistic (and productive) pursuits.

John Nieves

John is a veteran technology and gadget journalist with more than 10 years of experience both in print and online. When not writing about technology, he frequently gets lost in the boonies playing soldier.

12 Comments

  1. A true artist will immediately put that thing in the trash bin just for the resolution factor alone, if this was year 2000, then it’s no problem…kaso 2015 na eh

    1. I’m sorry, but this tablet is BETTER than the MiPad. The MiPad is practically an overblown smartphone, right down to the capacitive buttons arranged LIKE the Redmi 2 smartphone, how can Xiaomi think that was a good idea?

      This Galaxy Tab is a Galaxy Note by heart, and has Galaxy Note features – S Note, an accurate digitizer, notebook-like features – and Multi-Window. That alone makes it better than the MiPad – making good use of the larger-than-phones acreage with actual features.

  2. please review this tablet and post sample pictures taken from the 5 and 2 megapixel camera. thank you in advance unbox.ph!!!

  3. How would this fair against the xiaomi mipad? I’m planning to buy either this or the mipad, but looking at the specs of this, the mipad is better in specs, but I like to know if this would fair well against mipad cause I like the fact that it has a s pen.

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