Tablet computers seem to be enjoying a little bit of a surge in popularity again, maybe because they’re coming down in price, and are offering some nice features along the way. It also helps that more ‘generic’ software is now available for the most popular platforms like Android, which makes them even more useful. We recently checked out one of the latest tablets to come out of the Samsung stable, and found it to be a very solid workhorse for general computing tasks.
The new Samsung Galaxy Tab A is a slimline tablet computer with a 9.7″ touchscreen, which may not win any performance awards, but definitely will appeal to those who prefer to buy their technology from the more reputable brands on the market. The computer features a Qualcomm Snapdragon 1.2GHz quadcore processor, Android 5.0, a 5MP rear camera, 1.5 GB of RAM, 16 GB of internal storage and support for microSD cards up to 128GB in capacity.
The screen resolution is fairly mundane at 1024×768, but the good news is that helps deliver a really solid battery life out of the 6000mAh battery pack. You should easily reach a full day’s worth of general use.
The tablet comes in a very under stated box, and inside there’s the minimum of frills. Just a simple leaflet, a power block and a microUSB cable for charging. The tablet itself is beautifully slimline and lightweight in the hand (at just 470g), but it feels solid with no flimsy flexing on show. Take a look at our video review below to get an idea of the product in action.
Although the screen resolution is nothing to shout home about, we found it perfectly adequate for general use, which means you’ll find it perfectly fine for web browsing, checking emails, and general computing tasks. The fact that the tablet also ships with Microsoft Office For Android installed out of the box also helps in this regard, since you can be up and running with your office tasks instantly, no downloading or installing needed.
The new Android 5.0 gives you some nice multi-tasking touches, and Samsung add to that with their own split-screen option, which lets you cut and paste from one app to another, for example, if you have compatible apps which can work with the tech. It’s cool. The processor and RAM combination give a respectable Antuttu benchmark score of 21706, although we’re more than a little cautious about trying to rely on those numbers as a measure of performance for general tasks. Suffice to say it’s nice and responsive for general purpose apps and tasks.
However we’re guessing that you’re not going to want to run ultra high definition games on the tablet for long periods, as that’s not really what the product is designed for. But as you can see from our video, it will run 3D games like Asphalt 8 pretty well. One surprise is how loud the speakers are, perfect for your multimedia extravaganzas, and a welcome change from some of the more anemic volumes coming out of other tablet computers on the market.
The camera also is actually not too bad, especially when you compare it against other 5 megapixel cameras available on tablets. The close up mode in particular is very impressive. The general image quality is not going to blow you away, but it’s good enough for quick snaps on the go. As is typical with Samsung products, the tablet provides access to a range of free Samsung apps, including a Kid’s Mode for secure computing, and some neat tools to make sharing your content between devices as easy as pie.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab A is an interesting addition to the Samsung tablet computer gallery. It offers the larger screen size, but with a resolution that helps maximize battery life, while also providing good enough quality for day to day computing tasks. The tablet is clearly not designed as a performance powerhouse, but what it does offer is the kind of sleek looks and professional Samsung finish that should please buyers looking for a reputable brand to spend their hard earned money on.
Processor – Qualcomm Snapdragon Quad-core 1.2 GHz
Operating system Android 5.0 (Lollipop)
Memory (RAM) 1.5 GB
Storage 16 GB eMMC
SCREEN Screen size 9.7″
Resolution 1024 x 768
Pixels per inch 131.96 ppi
CONNECTIVTY Wireless 802.11 b/g/n
Bluetooth Bluetooth 4.0
USB Micro-USB x 1
Audio interface 3.5 mm jack
MEDIA – microSD card reader (up to 128GB)
SOUND Speakers Integrated speakers
FEATURES Camera – 5 MP camera – 2 MP webcam (front)
POWER Battery type 6000 mAh
Dimensions 242.5 x 166.8 x 7.4 mm (H x W x D)
Weight 470 g