Galaxy Tab A8 review: One step forward

P13,990 (4GB+64GB WiFi)
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From office work to education, COVID-19 has forced a majority our daily activities indoors. Two years into the pandemic, we have now established a routine of virtual and digital activities to enable us to continue to function as a society. Central to this infrastructure are mobile devices such as smartphones, laptops, and tablets.

So we were beyond delighted to see Samsung bring the Galaxy Tab A8 to the Philippines. It has been a over a year since the Galaxy Tab A7 first came out, and the Android tablet market sorely needs more options, especially in the budget department.

https://astig.ph/samsung-galaxy-tab-a8-specs-price-philippines/

Comparison: Galaxy Tab A8 vs Xiaomi Pad 5 vs realme Pad

  Xiaomi Pad 5 Realme Pad Galaxy Tab A8
Dimensions 254.7 x 166.3 x 6.9 mm (10.03 x 6.55 x 0.27 in) 246.1 x 155.9 x 6.9 mm (9.69 x 6.14 x 0.27 in) 246.8 x 161.9 x 6.9 mm (9.72 x 6.37 x 0.27 in)
Weight 511 g (1.13 lb) 440 g (15.52 oz) 508 g (1.12 lb)
SIM No Nano-SIM Nano-SIM
Type IPS LCD, 1B colors, 120Hz, HDR10, Dolby Vision IPS LCD, 360 nits (typ) TFT
Size 11.0 inches, 350.9 cm2 (~82.8% screen-to-body ratio) 10.4 inches, 307.9 cm2 (~80.2% screen-to-body ratio) 10.5 inches, 319.7 cm2 (~80.0% screen-to-body ratio)
Resolution 1600 x 2560 pixels, 16:10 ratio (~274 ppi density) 1200 x 2000 pixels, 5:3 ratio (~224 ppi density) 1200 x 1920 pixels, 16:10 ratio (~216 ppi density)
OS Android 11, MIUI 12.5 Android 11 Android 11, One UI 3
Chipset Qualcomm Snapdragon 860 (7 nm) Mediatek MT6769V/CU Helio G80 (12 nm) Unisoc Tiger T618 (12 nm)
CPU Octa-core (2.96GHz max) Octa-core (2.0GHz max) Octa-core (2.0 GHz max)
GPU Adreno 640 Mali-G52 MC2 Mali G52 MP2
Card slot No microSDXC (uses shared SIM slot) microSDXC (dedicated slot)
Internal 128GB 6GB RAM, 256GB 6GB RAM 32GB 3GB RAM, 64GB 4GB RAM, 128GB 6GB RAM 32GB 3GB RAM, 64GB 4GB RAM, 128GB 4GB RAM
Rear camera 13 MP, f/2.0 8 MP 8 MP, AF
Front camera 8 MP, f/2.0 8 MP, 105˚ (ultrawide) 5 MP
Loudspeaker Yes, with stereo speakers (4 speakers) Yes, with stereo speakers (4 speakers) Yes, with stereo speakers (4 speakers)
3.5mm jack No Yes Yes
Wi-Fi Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
Mobile None None Yes (LTE version)
Bluetooth 5.0, A2DP, LE 5.0, A2DP, LE 5.0, A2DP, LE
GPS No Yes, with A-GPS, GLONASS, BDS Yes, with A-GPS, GLONASS, BDS, GALILEO
NFC No No No
USB USB Type-C USB Type-C 2.0, USB On-The-Go USB Type-C 2.0
Type Li-Po 8720 mAh, non-removable Li-Po 7100 mAh, non-removable Li-Po 7040 mAh, non-removable
Charging Fast charging 33W Fast charging 18W Fast charging 15W
Price P17,990 (6GB+128GB), P19,990 (6GB+256GB) P8,990 (3GB+32GB), P12,990 (4GB+64GB), P14,990 (6GB+128GB), P14,990 (4GB+64GB LTE), P16,990 (6GB+128GB LTE) P13,990 (4GB+64GB WiFi) P18,990 (4GB+128GB LTE)
Specs comparison: Xiaomi Pad 5 vs realme Pad vs Galaxy Tab A8

 

Looking at the list Android tablets released in the last 6 months proves our point: If you are looking for something with a 10 to 11-inch screen, your top choices would be the realme Pad, Xiaomi Pad 5, and the Galaxy Tab A8.

Head over to our 2022 tablet comparison for a more in-depth comparison.

https://astig.ph/galaxy-tab-a8-vs-xiaomi-pad-5-vs-realme-pad-tablet-2022-comparison/

(Editor’s note: As of publication time, SAMSUNG has also announced the arrival of the Galaxy Tab S8 Series, priced at P41,990 for the Wi-Fi version and P49,990 for the 5G version)

Build quality and display

SAMSUNG Galaxy Tab A8 sports a 10.5-inch TFT display with a native resolution of 1200×1920 pixels running at a fixed refresh rate of 60Hz. With minimal bezels, we have a relatively small form factor that benefits from having a larger display while remaining portable enough.

Its brushed aluminum chassis is solid as always, weighing only 508 grams – the combined weight of about two smartphones.

Unlike phones, tablet design has mostly remained static, and for a good reason – they are heavier and cover a larger surface area, hence, rigidity is important to survive falls. The Galaxy Tab A8 is no exception – it’s build to last even without a case.

Our 3 year-old toddler has dropped the Galaxy Tab A8 more times than we can count, surviving with but a few minor scuffs and dings around the corners where it’s hardest hit.

There are four powerful loud speakers, two firing on each side with the tablet in landscape mode. The 5MP selfie camera is located at the top center bezel which we feel could even be thinner, though it’s good enough for now.

Performance and benchmarks

Powering the Tab A8 is the Unisoc Tiger T618 chipset, fabricated using a 12nm process. It is equipped with an octa-core processor clocked at 2.0GHz and a Mali G52 MP2 for its GPU. We’re reviewing the LTE version which sports 4GB of memory and 128GB of storage.

It runs Android 11 with SAMSUNG One UI 3 out of the box, but these specs are a little low for 2022, and we could not help but notice some sluggishness while navigating the UI.

Still, the Galaxy Tab A8 manages to score a hefty 197k points in AnTuTu and 5304 points in PassMark which actually decent although it is in the lower-mid spectrum for 2022. For reference, the Galaxy A03 scored 5304 points, while the Galaxy A22 5G scored 5129 points.

Model System CPU Memory Disk 2D 3D
SAMSUNG Galaxy Tab A8 (4+128) 5304 2451 13448 19360 23247 20039
SAMSUNG Galaxy A22 5G (8+128) 5129 2288 13838 36454 25788 16695
moto moto g50 5G (4+128) 6779 3037 16656 52213 42014 18009
TECNO Spark 7 Pro (4+128) 4773 2144 13040 26533 23488 16654
SAMSUNG Galaxy M52 5G (8+128) 8917 3999 25995 47051 41690 40990
SAMSUNG Galaxy A03 (3+32) 5469 2681 12174 14245 21653 9240
SAMSUNG Galaxy Tab A8 performance comparison

Gaming and entertainment

Not much is known about the Unisoc chipsets, so we did not know what to expect when it came to gaming performance.

We were pleased to see that it is quite capable of running most AAA mobile games at 30 FPS on High graphics settings. For a smooth 60 FPS you may need to drop down to medium, though most games are still playable at high or even maximum if you don’t mind the occasional frame drop.

While it can surely game, streaming video is where the Galaxy Tab A8 should shine. However, we found it to fall short in some respects. Those quad speakers are quite substantial, but it lacks bass. No worries, we can always connect a headset – Bluetooth or wired, no issues – the 3.5mm audio jack is still alive and kicking on the Galaxy Tab A8.

That TFT screen could be better, though. If the screen were smaller we probably would not be complaining, but at 10.5 inches, its limitations become more evident. We would take IPS – heck, even PLS TFT would have been better than this.

It is a bright screen though, we give it that. Because of the screen’s poor viewing angles, low contrast ratio, and high reflectivity, we found it best to kick the brightness up by a few notches, looking at the screen directly from the front.

Photography and video

No one really gets a tablet for its camera, and that still holds true until today with the Galaxy Tab A8. Its rear camera packs a single 8MP sensor, while a 5MP camera faces front for those video calls.

The results are okay … ish. As long as you don’t mind blown out highlights, the lack of vibrancy, or the fact that you’ll be lugging this chonky thing around to take photos videos then sure, go nuts.

It would have been nice for the front camera come with LED flash for those video calls.

Galaxy Tab A8 – front camera sample video

Galaxy Tab A8 – rear camera sample video

Hit play to watch the sample videos.

Battery life and fast charging

A 7,040 mAh battery module powers the Tab A8, good enough to give us at least 9 hours of screen on time. According to our usage records, we average around 45 hours and 16 minutes of combined use which is at least two full days.

It takes at least 4 hours to fill it up at 15W which is not really “fast charging” anymore: this isn’t 2018, but it’s better than nothing. We’ll take it.

Verdict

There’s not a lot of competition among Android tablets, but SAMSUNG really could have done better here. As it stands, the Galaxy Tab A8 doesn’t offer much improvement over its predecessor, the Galaxy Tab A7 which bears similar specs.

Perhaps it’s a strategic decision since the 10.4-inch Galaxy Tab A7 was never officially released in the Philippines. At the very least, the Tab A8 could have at least gotten a better screen.

Performance and access to the SAMSUNG ecosystem is currently its biggest edge, and we’d like to see more value or at least a better screen in the future. Putting an IPS panel on the Galaxy Tab A9 would be a good starting point.


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