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Samsung Galaxy Tab A8
Retail price: $229.99
What we like
What we don't like
Samsung Galaxy Tab A8
The Samsung Galaxy Tab A series has built an impressive reputation for delivering good tablets at reasonable prices. While it has never packed the most potent processors and it doesn’t have all the features of the flagship Galaxy Tab S range, Samsung’s affordable tablets have always nailed the value factor. Samsung has decided it’s time to refresh its affordable Android tablet with a slick new design, but is its beauty more than skin deep? Find out in our Samsung Galaxy Tab A8 review.
Update, March 2023: We’ve updated this review by adding information on the latest software update, new alternative devices, and more.
What you need to know about the Samsung Galaxy Tab A8
- Samsung Galaxy Tab A8 (Wi-Fi, 3GB/32GB): $229.99 / €229 / Rs. 17,999
- Samsung Galaxy Tab A8 (Wi-Fi, 4GB/64GB): $279.99 / £249 / Rs. 28,799
- Samsung Galaxy Tab A8 (Wi-Fi, 4GB/128GB): $329.99
- Samsung Galaxy Tab A8 (LTE, 3GB/32GB): £229 / €279 / Rs. 21,999
- Samsung Galaxy Tab A8 (LTE, 4GB/64GB): £259 / Rs. 32,799
The Samsung Galaxy Tab A8 was announced in mid-December 2021, ahead of a mid-January 2022 arrival. It serves as a successor to 2020’s excellent Samsung Galaxy Tab A7, with a few vital aesthetic changes to set the two Android tablets apart. You’ll also find a few internal updates — most notably a move away from Qualcomm’s Snapdragon chipsets to a Unisoc Tiger T618 processor.
Samsung’s new display measures 10.5 inches across compared to the 10.4-inch panel on the Galaxy Tab A7. It offers slightly rounded corners and a 16:10 aspect ratio ready for media streaming. The tablet’s body is metal, with a thin plastic strip that houses the power button and volume rocker. Color options now include Gray, Silver, and Pink Gold.
The Galaxy Tab A8 comes with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage in the base configuration, with the latter expandable via a microSD slot for up to 1TB of additional space. In the US, you can choose up to 128GB of onboard storage, while Europe and India also have the option of an LTE-enabled version.
Samsung carried the large 7,040mAh battery and the 15W wired charging over from the previous model. The identical battery size is an impressive feat, given that the Galaxy Tab A8 is ever so slightly smaller and just a hair thinner than the Tab A7.
One of Samsung’s last noticeable changes is that the rear camera now boasts a circular housing instead of a square one. That said, it appears to be an aesthetic change, as it still offers just 8MP. The front camera stayed at 5MP as well.
Staying true to its Galaxy Tab A series name, the Galaxy Tab A8 remains an affordable option for most people. It kicks off at $229.99 in the US, or you can shell out $329.99 for the top-spec model with 4GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. The tablet is often on sale, though, so there’s a chance you can get it for even less. You can grab the Samsung Galaxy Tab A8 from Samsung and Amazon, among other retailers.
How is the new design?
Overall, the updated design looks and feels like it belongs in the modern Samsung Galaxy family. Small touches like the redesigned camera and updated color options go a long way towards building a seamless ecosystem, as despite the price, it wouldn’t look out of place next to a Galaxy S series phone. The metal construction feels good in the hand, too — far more premium than a plastic tablet would (even if it’s heavier as a result).
That said, the plastic strip for the power button and volume rocker feels like an odd choice. The seam where the two pieces connect is immediately noticeable, and the plastic doesn’t feel up to the quality of the metal.
The new design feels more Samsung than ever, yet the plastic strip feels like a step backward.
It may also take some users a little while to adjust to the tablet’s shape. If you’re coming from a relatively square iPad, the wider 16:10 ratio can be tricky to hold comfortably. However, once you adjust to having the Galaxy Tab A8 in landscape orientation, its media-streaming capabilities start to shine — more on that in the next section. If there was any doubt that Samsung wants you to use the tablet in landscape, the central placement of the selfie camera in the longer bezel is a clear pointer in that direction.
Samsung continues to skip on a fingerprint reader for its cheaper tablets. It’s not a surprise, given that there wasn’t one on its predecessor, but this means you’ll have to rely on software-based security options. The facial recognition is easy to use hands-free but isn’t all that secure. Meanwhile, tracing your pattern or typing in a PIN can be tricky while holding such a wide display.
How is the display?
Samsung designed its Galaxy Tab A8 for media streaming, no question about it. In fact, it’s one of the best Android tablets for that very purpose.
You’ll find the 10.5-inch LCD screen carries a 1,920 x 1,200 resolution, which is sharp enough for most uses. It’s only a 60Hz screen, but unlike phones, you don’t really see faster refresh rates on tablets unless you start paying a lot more.
The large panel is presented in a 16:10 aspect ratio, which is a natural fit for streaming services. I only encountered small black bars across the top and bottom edge while catching up on the second season of The Witcher. Granted, it might not work as well if you want to watch something like The Lighthouse, which was shot in 1.19:1, but more traditionally shot shows and movies will look great. I like the even bezels on all four sides, too. They’re thick enough to hold onto but not so much as to be noticeable.
My primary issue with Samsung’s display is that it seems to skew on the cooler, blue-tinged side in daily usage. It’s more noticeable in apps with white backgrounds, though it tends to disappear when watching a TV show or a movie. Adjusting the brightness didn’t seem to have too much of an effect on the tint, either. Samsung does let you try out a few color correction options, though they’re primarily for color blindness and don’t fix the general blueness.
How is the battery life? And the charging?
Samsung doesn’t make any outlandish claims about the Galaxy Tab A8’s battery life, but it’s happy to boast about the 7,040mAh battery. After all, it’s a pretty big cell to keep the 10.5-inch display chugging all day long.
I spent most of my testing with somewhat mixed usage between web browsing, social media, and streaming services. Of course, binge-watching Netflix will burn through the charge faster than scrolling through Google News, but I had no issues going for two days between charges with reasonable use. My battery results are based on the Wi-Fi-only model. You may see weaker results with the LTE-enabled options, especially if you spend a lot of time off Wi-Fi.
The 7,040mAh battery is a beast to drain, but it takes hours to refill at 15W.
If there’s one drawback to the battery and charging setup, it’s the 15W top speed. It’s not particularly fast — I gathered a 20% charge in about 45 minutes, and a full battery took more than four hours. On the bright side, Samsung includes both a charger and a USB-C cable in the box, so you won’t have to spend extra money to get back on your feet.
You’re probably not in as much of a hurry when charging your tablet, so we can’t knock the 15W speeds too much. After all, you’re likely only using a tablet every now and then instead of a smartphone that you need charged and ready at all times. I spent most of my time with the Galaxy Tab A8 in the evenings, which meant I had to really increase my usage to drain the battery quickly.
How powerful is the Galaxy Tab A8?
Samsung’s decision to go with the Unisoc Tiger T618 processor — which isn’t among the best-known chipset makers — was cause for alarm at the start of my testing. I had concerns about how well it would keep up compared to a Qualcomm alternative, especially the Galaxy Tab A7’s Snapdragon 662. However, all those concerns quickly proved to be unfounded. The Tiger purred through everything I needed it to do, though it’ll struggle with any intense bouts in demanding games.
I had no issues streaming video, bouncing between apps, or opening multiple apps simultaneously. You should also be able to give some light gaming a go, but it won’t compete with the more expensive options on the market if you’re looking to play Genshin Impact or Call of Duty: Mobile on a bigger screen. The Tiger T618 also stuttered a bit when I fired up the Galaxy Tab A8 for the first time, but that was most likely just a result of setup blues. I also noticed occasional stuttering when I picked the tablet up after a day or two of inactivity, though it usually disappeared after a few seconds.
The Tiger chipset purrs through everything except more demanding mobile games.
If anything, Samsung’s basic RAM and storage options will fall short before the processor does. The 3GB of RAM means idle apps will quickly drop out of memory. The 32GB of storage can also feel slightly limited at times, especially if you want to download shows for bingeing on the go. Those looking to push the tablet beyond basic browsing and streaming would be better off opting for one of the 4GB of RAM configurations, though you can always expand the storage on any of the models by up to 1TB with the microSD slot.
- Front and rear cameras: Even though Samsung redesigned the rear 8MP camera, it’s still very much a tablet camera. Colors come out relatively muted and soft, especially indoors, but you’re probably not using it to capture stills unless you left your phone behind. The front 5MP shooter is about the same — it’s okay for quick video calls but not much more.
- Audio: The Galaxy Tab A8 offers an impressive audio setup. It packs four speakers — two on each side — and Dolby Atmos tuning. They’re capable of remarkable volume, and I didn’t notice any distortion at higher volumes. The tablet features a headphone jack, too, but it’s located perilously close to the corner. It’s a nice inclusion, but the positioning makes it feel like headphones would pull out easily.
- Connectivity: All Samsung Galaxy Tab A8 models support Wi-Fi 5 and Bluetooth 5.0. You can also grab a version with LTE support for a small fee. There’s no option for 5G speeds, but that’s to be expected at this price.
- One UI: There aren’t too many changes in the tablet version of One UI, which you can read all about here. However, Samsung Kids shines on the bigger display, giving your kids the freedom to enjoy safe games and videos while you keep an eye on their screen time. The Samsung Notes app is also particularly good, as you can split your screen and take notes while following along with a recipe, for example.
- Software commitment: The Galaxy Tab A8 was slated for two full Android OS updates at launch, and it has already received Android 13. There’s a good chance that means the end of the road for the budget tablet, but it’s also scheduled for quarterly security patches for four years, which is pretty great for a tablet at this price.
Samsung Galaxy Tab A8 specs
|Samsung Galaxy Tab A8|
1,200 x 1,920 pixels
Unisoc Tiger T618
15W USB-C fast charging
246.8 x 161.9 x 6.9mm
3.5mm headphone jack
Value and competition
At just $229, the Samsung Galaxy Tab A8 is right in line with the launch price of its predecessor, the Galaxy Tab A7. As such, it might be tough to decide whether or not you should upgrade. Both share similar display sizes and overall specs, though the newer Galaxy Tab A8 will receive longer software support and has a slightly larger display.
The Galaxy Tab A8 is also priced competitively against other budget Android tablets such as the Lenovo Tab P11 Plus ($299.99 at Amazon). While P11 Plus is no longer Lenovo’s newest tablet, it includes 4GB of RAM and 128GB of storage in the base configuration. It carries a more powerful Helio G90T chipset and an 11-inch IPS touchscreen with a sharper 2K resolution. The overall designs are relatively similar, with two-toned rear finishes and Dolby Atmos speakers. However, the Lenovo Tab P11 Plus offers sharper cameras, if that appeals to you.
Amazon’s Fire tablets are another solid alternative if you’re on a tight budget. You’ll trade the metal construction for plastic and lose easy access to Google’s suite of apps, but you’ll save a nice chunk of change. The Fire HD 8 Plus ($109.99 at Amazon) packs 3GB of RAM, 32GB of storage, and a 12-hour battery with wireless charging support.
On the iOS side, Apple’s price increase for the 10th-generation iPad ($449.99 at Amazon) makes it tough to recommend as an alternative. Yes, it includes a few design tweaks and a chipset upgrade, but it costs double what Samsung asks for the Galaxy Tab A8. Instead, we recommend the 9th-generation iPad ($334.99 at Amazon), with the base model priced in line with the most expensive Galaxy Tab A8 configuration. For your money, Apple will only give you 64GB of storage, but you’re getting a sharper display and a far more powerful A13 Bionic chip. The iPad also carries a Touch ID fingerprint reader and a 12MP front-facing camera for all of your FaceTime needs.
The iPad Mini ($35.99 at Amazon) might be worth a look, too, though it also moves well beyond the budget tablet realm. However, it does offer the latest A15 Bionic chip and the option of 5G cellular access. Apple’s latest iPad Mini sports a refreshed design with flat edges and slim, equal bezels on all four sides.
Samsung Galaxy Tab A8 review: The verdict
The Samsung Galaxy Tab A8 isn’t a massive upgrade over its already great predecessor, but it didn’t need to be. This is a well-built tablet that performs admirably and is shaped just right for media streaming. The expandable storage also means you should have more than enough room for the apps, photos, and games you need most. It would be nice to see a longer commitment to Android version updates, but the two Android version commitment aligns with other affordable Android tablets, and the four years of security is beyond any competition not made by Apple.
The Galaxy Tab A8 shines as a media streaming tablet thanks to its booming speakers and an eye-catching 16:10 display.
Even though the tablet’s wide footprint takes some getting used to, it becomes a fast favorite once you open Netflix or YouTube for the first time, with the 16:10 display leaving you with minimal black space on any one side. The Dolby Atmos speakers also punch well above their price tag.
Granted, the cameras are nothing special, but we can’t imagine anyone relying on the Galaxy Tab A8 as a crucial part of their photography toolbox anyway. Likewise, you may not want to dive into intense gaming with the Unisoc Tiger T618 processor, but acing your daily Wordle will be no problem at all.
Equally suitable as a starter tablet for kids or a media slate for the whole family, if you’ve been waiting to try an Android tablet and hoping for a solid, affordable option, this is it.
Samsung Galaxy Tab A8 top questions and answers
Yes, the Galaxy Tab A8 is worth buying if you’re in the market for a media streaming tablet on a budget. However, it’s not the best choice for hardcore gamers or power users in general.
The tablet was announced in December 2021 and went on sale a month later.
No, there’s no wireless charging support on the Galaxy Tab A8.
Yes, you get a charger with your Galaxy Tab A8 purchase.
No, you don’t get an S Pen with your Samsung Galaxy A8 purchase.