Ratings in depth

Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 8.0 review

Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 8.0 review

Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 8.0 review

Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 8.0 review

Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 8.0 review

Samsung hasn't been afraid to try different sizes of Galaxy Tab with 7.9-inch and 8.9-inch Tabs both figuring in the last few years. However, it has now introduced the Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 8.0, the golden child of the Galaxy Tab range.

The Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.0 has undoubtedly been given the most love in this trio of third-gen slates, and it's the sleekest and best looking of the Tab 3 range, putting the Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 7.0's bloated build to shame.

It runs Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean, which is of course daubed with Samsung's own TouchWiz interface that's become synonymous with the Galaxy brand.

With the battleground of the 10-inch tablet largely abandoned to Apple – aside from the excellent Sony Xperia Tablet Z – things have got extremely competitive in the seven and eight-inch range. While Apple is still strong here with the iPad mini, the lack of a Retina display and high price-tag means there's an opportunity to make an impression.

Samsung has decimated the size of the bezels to make a considerable saving in bulk over the equivalently sized Note 8.0. It's impressive how different two eight-inch devices can be, and while it's impossible to hold the Note 8.0 without gripping the bezel, we had no problem wrapping our hand around the Tab 3 8.0 and holding it in one hand.

Galaxy Tab 3 8.0
Sleek and nicely designed

The Galaxy Note 3 8.0 also falls short in terms of build quality. HTC has shown that you can use quality materials and keep prices down, but it seems Samsung still hasn't got the message.

While many of the software innovations have followed on from the Galaxy S4, so has the plasticky design on the back. It's perplexing why Samsung has decided to blindly use this material again when build quality is the biggest bugbear of the Galaxy range.

Galaxy Tab 3 8.0
The back is the typical Galaxy plastic

Again, the new Nexus 7 wins out here again. While it's still made of plastic, it feels more solid than the Tab 3 range, and scores a secondary punch by weighing in 50g lighter.

We could excuse the Galaxy Tab 3 8.0's plasticky build if it was saving a dramatic amount of weight, but this simply isn't the case. The Tab 3 tipped the scales at exactly the same weight as the iPad mini, but given the latter has a discernibly superior build, this isn't really a victory.

Google has made its play with the new Nexus 7 (2013) which is available for £199/$229 (around AU$240), and Samsung's 7-inch tablet can be picked up for £179/$179 (around AU$190). However, the Galaxy Tab 3 8.0 is available for a whopping £280/$279 (around AU$295), – more than the iPad Mini.

So can this all-new Galaxy Tab 3 score a direct hit on the iPad? Could this be the tablet to capture our imaginations and do for tablets what the Samsung Galaxy S2 did for phones? Or will it be another lacklustre slate with no genuine reason to fork out?