A while back I came into possession of a Samsung Galaxy Tab 3. Normally I use it for watching movies or listening to podcasts while I commute to my office each morning (I take the train, it’s the more civilized way to travel…), but yesterday I was faced with spending 13 hours in a freezing hockey rink while my son took part in a tournament so I decided to see how the Tablet held up if I used it for more than about an hour (the length of my train ride).
We arrived at the rink at 8am. The first game was scheduled for 8:30, so we got his gear on and I went up to take my place in the stands with my cup of rink coffee (any hockey parents reading this will understand how amazing rink coffee is at 8am on a cold bench). I’ve mentally calculated that, ideally, my tablet is able to entertain me for about 7 hours through the day. That number is based on there being 3 games to watch (each game runs about 45 minutes – it’s an atom league, not the NHL), a team lunch to attend, and getting him into and out of his gear for each game.
The first problem I run into is storage space. The my Galaxy Tab 3 7″ tablet has, in theory, 8 gigs of onboard storage. But, even though I don’t have many apps, I can only really use about 5 gigs of that space. That’s still a lot of space, sure, but it shrinks pretty quickly once you start to load a few movies or larger podcasts on there. In my attempt to load enough on the tablet to keep me occupied while my son plays Minecraft on his iPad with his buddies, I’ve filled my Galaxy to the point where a little warning comes up on the status bar telling me that my drive space is low and that some programs will not function. But wait, I still have 300 megs free. That seems to me to be a bit of a waste, I already have almost 3 gigs I can’t touch because of the preloaded and non-removable apps and operating system and now you tell me that there are a few hundred megs I can’t use because the tablet needs them to operate too? Why not just advertise it as a 5 gig tablet? Honestly in advertising would be a welcome change.
Now, full disclosure, the tablet does have an expansion slop for a microSD card, so I could go buy one and have plenty of room. But it’s the principle of the thing. I have a 6 gig tablet that I can only use 3.5 gigs of and that does not impress me.
What did impress me though was the battery life on this little tablet. I used it for about five and a half hours yesterday and, having left the house with a full charge, I came home with 42% remaining. Most of the time was spent streaming Top Gear (UK, of course) on my Netflix account (bless the person who decided to put WiFi in the arena), so to only go through a little over half of my battery did a lot to convince me to let Samsung have some slack for the lack on on-board storage.
It’s fairly cheap too, as far as tablets go. Looking on Kijiji for my area here in Toronto, I see a few dozen gently used or new 7″ models like mine ranging from $110 – $140. The 10″ model which has 16 gigs of onboard memory (of which you can probably use about 13) seems to be running anywhere from $160 for used up to $220 for new. So, for a hundred dollars less than a comparable iPad mini, which seems to start out new at about $225, you can pick up a decent little tablet for commuting or keeping your mind off of how cold you are at the rink.
Now, The Galaxy Tab 3 is not the newest model or the fastest model or the largest model, but it does do a decent job at providing a light entertainment platform that has a battery that will last as long as you need it to. Plus, with the money you save by picking a Galaxy Tab up instead of the iPad, you can afford to go get a microSD card to make up for the lack on onboard storage.