The Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 8.0 is the middle child in Samsung’s latest iteration of the Galaxy Tab line up and is essentially the Tab 4 7.0 with a slightly larger display just in case 7 inches wasn’t big enough for you. The design is very typical Samsung fare with an all plastic construction and a fake leather texture on the back that we’ve seen since the Note 3. A chrome trim wraps around the perimeter like usual, but they’re much thinner in comparison to what we’ve seen on previous Samsung devices wrapping around only the bezels of the display itself.
It’s thin at 7.95 mm making it very easy to hold for long periods of time and despite the plastic it feels very solidly constructed. All the ports and buttons are in the usual places with a 1.3 MP camera on the front and Samsung’s standard button layout with a physical home button and capacitive recent apps and back button flanking the left and right which oddly enough aren’t backlit making them difficult to find in the dark. On the back towards the bottom right is a single speaker denoted by two slits but don’t expect too much from it. It’s a passable speaker but otherwise it’s nothing that will blow you away.
On the front is the 8 inch display with a resolution of 1280×800. It’s not the highest resolution or pixel dense display we’ve seen on a tablet so pixels are noticeable but it’s not so bad that it detracts away from the viewing experience. The display overall is still rather enjoyable as color reproduction, viewing angles, and outdoor visibility are all quite good making media consumption a pleasurable experience. The 8 inch display does make it larger but it’s still very portable and easy to hold in one hand. Something you can’t do quite as easily on larger sized tablets.
The specs aren't groundbreaking
The specs aren’t groundbreaking with a 1.2 GHz quad-core processor, 1.5 GB of RAM and 16 GB of internal storage. It performs well through day to day usage and although the specs are identical across the Galaxy Tab 4 line up the Tab 4 8.0 performs considerably better in areas like the gallery app and playing graphically demanding games where the 7.0 struggled to do either without lag or dropping frames.
The camera around back is a 3 MP fixed focus shooter so it’s about as basic as a camera can get. The camera is merely there just for the sake of it but honestly you’re better off sticking to the smartphone in your pocket. Photos are low resolution and while it’s pretty good outdoors once you go inside photos become noisy quick especially in low light. On the other hand, battery life is fantastic. I’m a heavy user when it comes to tablets as I primarily use them only for gaming but I still managed to get a couple days out of it with close to 7 and a half hour of screen on time. With average use I have no doubt this tablet can easily last 3 to 4 days before needing any recharging.
The Galaxy Tab 4 8.0 ships with Android 4.4.2 KitKat with Samsung’s Touchwiz interface but it’s a much more slimmed down version compared to what you get on the Galaxy S5 or the PRO line of tablets as many features have been omitted. The more useful functions of TouchWiz however are still intact like Multiwindow for true multitasking, palm swipe for taking screen shots, and Smart Stay to keep the display on for as long as you’re looking at it. TouchWiz has certainly improved but there’s still areas that need work like the slow folder animations and the extremely cluttered tabbed interface of the settings menu.
The Galaxy Tab 4 8.0 is available now in both black and white with a normal price of 269.99 but as of this writing it’s on sale through Amazon for 239.99 so if you want to take advantage of that now might be the best time to make your purchase. It’s currently WiFi only but there will be 3g/LTE variants coming to carriers later this year. Personally I still think a tablet like the Nexus 7 is a better bang for your buck unless Micro SD card expansion and slightly larger display is of utmost importance. If not, the Nexus 7 offers a higher resolution display, better internals, updates directly from Google, and a better camera for whatever that’s worth. If you’re willing to spend a bit more money, LG’s G Pad 8.3 is also a very good choice, as it comes with a significantly better display, better build quality, and more powerful internals.
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It certainly is far and away from a bad choice as far as tablets are concerned as it offers decent performance, a bright and vivid display, and solid battery life but the price tag might be tough to swallow even if it is on sale right now especially with competitors offering considerably better options for less money making this tablet hard to recommend.