Just as Samsung has flooded the zone with several Galaxy S4variants to battle the iPhone, a trio of new Galaxy Tab 3 tablets has arrived to give tablet shoppers multiple iPad alternatives. Available in 7-inch, 8-inch and 10.1-inch models and starting at $199, the new Galaxy Tab 3 go on sale July 7th, with pre-orders starting July 25th.
Samsung designed all three Galaxy Tab 3s to look like Galaxy S4, complete with a physical home button beneath the screen flanked by two capacitive buttons. You can take your pick from white or a dark gold brown. In addition, each Galaxy Tab 3 comes with an IR blaster and WatchOn software, which turns these tablets into TV remotes.
To sweeten the deal, Samsung will bundle a bunch of freebies with each Tab, including a $10 Google Play voucher, two years of Dropbox with 50GB of cloud storage, one year of Boingo hotspot service and three months of Hulus Plus. Here's a quick look at the three new tablets and what you get for your money.
Galaxy Tab 3 7.0 ($199)
The new Galaxy Tab 3 7.0 is the most affordable Samsung tablet yet. For $199, shoppers get a 7-inch display and a 10.5-ounce design that's compact enough to fit in a jacket pocket. A 1.2-GHz Marvell PXA 986 processor and 1GB RAM run Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, and there's 8GB of storage on board (expandable to 64GB via microSD). There's a 3-MP camera in back and 1.3-MP shooter up front.
However, this slate's specs trail similarly priced tablets, and even one that cost $50 less. The Tab 3 7.0's display has a relatively low resolution of 1024 x 600 pixels, while the $149 HiSense Sero 7 Pro and $199 Kindle Fire HD and Nexus 7 offer 1280 x 800 HD screens. Plus, the Sero 7 Pro and Nexus 7 have faster quad-core processors.
It will be up to Samsung to convince buyers that remote control functionality and other value-added services make the Tab 3 7.0 worth the price.
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Galaxy Tab 3 8.0 ($299)
Priced $30 less than the iPad mini, the Galaxy Tab 3 8.0 offers Samsung's Multi-Window feature, which lets users run two apps side by side on the 8-inch 1280 x 800-pixel screen. Samsung says 20 apps support this feature. So, for example, you can check your email while you watch YouTube videos or edit a Word doc via Polaris Office while you check Facebook.
Measuring just .3 inches thick and weighing 11.1 ounces, Samsung says the Galaxy Tab 3 8.0 is the ideal e-Reader size tablet. This device packs a faster 1.5-GHz dual-core Exynos 4212 processor, 1.5 GB of RAM and 16GB of storage, as well as the newer Android 4.2 Jelly Bean software. Add in a 5-MP camera in back and 1.3-MP sensor up front and you have what looks like a compelling mid-range tablet.
Galaxy Tab 3 10.1 ($399)
Designed to be your go-to living room companion, the Galaxy Tab 3 10.1 offers a larger 10-inch display. This is also the first tablet in Samsung's lineup to feature an Intel processor. A 1.6-GHz dual-core Intel Atom Z2560 CPU promises zippy multitasking performance along with long battery life.
The Tab 3 10.1 weighs a mere 1.1 pounds, which is much lighter than the iPad (1.4 pounds), but the Samsung is also made of plastic while Apple uses aluminum. Other features include a 1280 x 800-pixel screen, 3-MP and 1.3-MP cameras and 16GB of expandable memory. Just keep in mind that the Galaxy Note 10.1 with its quad-core processor and S Pen costs only $50 more.
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The three new Galaxy Note 3 tablets definitely offer a lot of choice to tablet shoppers. But is it too much? When you add the Galaxy Note 8.0 and 10.1, Samsung now offers five tablets to Apple's two iPad options. So far this more is more approach has worked with phones, and Samsung garnered an impressive 17.9 percent share of the tablet market in Q1. Meanwhile, Apple's share has fallen from 58.1 to 39.6 percent.
Stay tuned for our full reviews of all three new Galaxy Tab 3s to see how they stack up to the iPad as well as the Android competition.