Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 7.0 review

Standing still means moving back in the 7-inch tablet race

Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 7.0
Samsung's fallen off the 7-inch pace

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The Google Play Store has really stretched its legs in recent times, offering a selection of apps that rivals Apple's iOS App Store and a browsing experience that is, for our money, a darned sight better.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 7.0 review

Pretty much all of the biggest apps are here. Instagram, Vine, Flipboard, Instapaper, Pocket - all major applications that are now available for Android. The Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 7.0 handles them all adequately.

What's more, the sheer number of apps on the Google Play Store - one million and counting - means that if an app is missing, or you don't particularly like a certain app, there's likely to be several alternatives to select from.

One lingering flaw with the Google Play Store is a relative lack of tablet-specific apps. Most are simply the smartphone versions crudely upscaled for larger screens, although Google has partially addressed this with a dedicated 'Tablet 101' section for highlighting tablet-friendly apps on the Google Play Store

As it happens, this isn't so much of an issue for the Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 7.0. It's low-res 7-inch display simply isn't big or sharp enough to really take advantage of traditional tablet apps, so in a curious way it's an excellent front for the Google Play Store.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 7.0 review

As with its media offerings, Samsung includes its own app store, Samsung Apps. It shouldn't have bothered, as it lags behind the Google Play Store in every regards - intuitiveness, accessibility, design, range and price.

At least here the Google Play Store is given its own home screen icon by default.

In terms of Samsung's own stock app offerings, it's a relatively bare bones effort by the Korean manufacturer's usual 'everything and the kitchen sink' standards. Not that this is a bad thing.

Highlights include a pretty standard note-taking app called Memo, a group sharing app called Group Play that allows you to share documents and music in real time with other Samsung device owners, and a fairly decent calendar app called S Planner.

We should also give some due to Samsung's own Gallery app, which pulls out shared and locally stored images alike in a nice, concise, branching grid view. There's also a nice - if slightly pointless - 3D thumbnail presentation view, though as noted already this seemed to stretch the Galaxy Tab 3's limited hardware to breaking point.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 7.0 review

Google's excellent app service extends to gaming. While it's not quite up to iOS standards just yet, Android is home to a massive range of top quality games.

For example, you can't get such recent iOS mega-hits as Plants vs. Zombies 2, Worms 3 or Kingdom Rush: Frontiers on Android at the time of writing, you do get such left-field critical hits as A Ride into the Mountains, Rymdkapsel and Sine Mora. A clear sign of progression.

Given our criticism of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 7.0's technical clout - or lack thereof - we're pleasantly surprised to report that it handles games quite well. As well as the aforementioned Rayman Jungle Run, we also ran Real Racing 3 without too much of a hitch.

That's the best of 2D and 3D respectively, both running smoothly on the Galaxy Tab 3. Of course, a large part of that has to be down to that low-res screen. The device's humble processor has far fewer pixels to push around the screen than the likes of the Nexus 7 range, so it doesn't need as much power to run at a decent rate.

You'll be able to run the latest games on the Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 7.0, then, but they won't look as good as they could do.