In its never-ending quest to bring out gadgets to cover all possible screen sizes, price points and design styles, Samsung has announced a new, slimmer version of the Galaxy Tab 3 tablet. The new 7-inch slate is aimed squarely at the budget tablet shopper, putting it in competition with Tesco’s popular Hudl device, among others.
The original Galaxy Tab 3 is by no means a world-beater, but the Tab 3 Lite cuts the specs back even further: there’s a 1.2GHz dual-core CPU under the hood, 1GB of RAM and a display running at 1,024 x 600 pixels. The bezel is smaller than on the original Tab 3, though the 7-inch screen size is the same. You get a measly 8GB of internal storage (though you can pop in a memory card if you like). There’s a single 2-megapixel camera around the back, and the device comes with Android 4.2 Jellybean pre-installed (complete with Samsung’s usual collection of tweaks and add-ons). Black and white editions will be available to potential buyers.
Nothing to write home about then, but perhaps something cheap that might suit the kids (though there are enough tablets that fall into this bracket already). Engadget’s Jamie Rigg rightly points out that the new device doesn’t bring much to an already crowded market: “If Samsung hopes to sell these things en masse, anything but seriously cheap is going to put a stop to those plans,” he writes.
CNET’s Lance Whitney also reserved full judgement until the price is announced: “The full 8GB Galaxy Tab 3 retails for $200, so the Lite model will have to sell at a more appealing price to win over buyers,” Whitney says. His UK colleague Nick Hide wasn’t blown away by the specs on offer, describing the screen resolution as “abysmal” and the design “old fashioned looking”.
So what is the newly official Galaxy Tab 3 Lite up against? The Tesco Hudl is heavier, but has a much better display and a front-facing camera. It’s also faster, though a full comparison isn’t possible until Samsung lets us know just how much its latest piece of kit will cost. There’s also the Asus MemoPad HD, a similar bargain-basement 7-inch tablet that has a slightly better display and a slighter faster CPU. In terms of bang-for-buck, Google’s own Nexus 7 remains the best choice for Android slabs at this size — it’s not the cheapest option, though, which is why other companies have tried to muscle in.
It’s all down to the price as to whether this will be a budget option for users or a complete non-starter, then — some UK retailers have it listed for slightly less than the £119 Hudl, but stock hasn’t yet arrived so these prices may be estimates. If we hear officially from Samsung, we’ll update this post accordingly.