Today Samsung Electronics America announced two new tablets that are coming to market in the United States. Samsung's new Galaxy Tab A tablets come in 8.0" and 9.7" sizes, and Samsung is marketing them as tablets that are well suited for keeping in touch with friends and family. The specs of both tablets are laid out in the chart below.

  Samsung Galaxy Tab A 8.0" Samsung Galaxy Tab A 9.7"
SoC Snapdragon 410 (APQ8016) 4x 1.2GHz Cortex A53,
400MHz Adreno 306 GPU
RAM/NAND 16/32GB NAND + MicroSDXC, 1.5GB RAM
Display 8.0" 1024x768 PLS LCD 9.7" 1024x768 PLS LCD
Dimensions 208.4 x 137.9 x 7.5mm, 313g 242.5 x 166.8 x 7.5mm, 449g
Camera 5MP Rear Facing, 2MP Front Facing
Battery 4200 mAh (15.96 Whr) 6000 mAh (22.8 Whr)
OS Android 5.0 Lollipop
Connectivity 802.11 a/b/g/n + BT 4.0, microUSB2.0

Both tablets have very similar specifications. They are both distinctly mid-range tablets, with Qualcomm's Snapdragon 410 at their heart, 1.5GB of RAM, and a 1024x768 PLS display. They're really only differentiated by the size of their displays, and subsequently their dimensions and battery capacity. I think it may be difficult for Samsung to charge a price premium for the 9.7" model when it doesn't have any improvements to display resolution or internal hardware over the 8.0" model.

What makes these new tablets stand out from Samsung's previous tablet offerings are their sizes and their design. Both tablets have a 4:3 aspect ratio, which is a significant departure from the 16:10 tablets that Samsung has produced in the past. Both tablets also have a full metal chassis, which will be an enormous improvement over the plastic construction of Samsung's other tablets. I am very interested to see what Samsung can do with this type of design on a high end tablet with flagship specifications.

Update: This article previously stated that he Galaxy Tab A tablets have a metal chassis. According to Samsung this is not actually the case.

Both Galaxy Tab A models are available for preorder now, and they'll begin to ship on May 1st in the United States. Both models are available in white, titanium, and blue finishes. The 8.0" model costs at $229, while the 9.7" model costs $299. There will also be a version of the 9.7" model with Samsung's S-pen included for $349. Through Samsung's new app partnership with Microsoft, the new tablets will come with Microsoft's Office for Android applications preinstalled, and buyers will receive 100GB of OneDrive storage for two years.

Source: Samsung via Businesswire

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  • R. Hunt - Tuesday, April 21, 2015 - link

    Because there's a new Tab S2 coming out in a few weeks that will have Amoled and 2048x1536. This Tab A is completely forgettable. Reply
  • Drumsticks - Monday, April 20, 2015 - link

    Google launched a 1920x1200 7" tablet IN 2013. I think it might even have 2GB of RAM. Holy cow. Reply
  • kaidenshi - Monday, April 20, 2015 - link

    Yes, I have one and I paid the same price for it as the smaller of the Samsung tablets above. It boggles the mind. Reply
  • Impulses - Monday, April 20, 2015 - link

    I'm still rocking my N7 too, but it was kind of an aberration value-wise. Nothing's gotten close since, NV Shield would probably be the modern equivalent and it's still $300 last I checked...

    Then again, the N9 was often for sale at $350 on Amazon, which really puts the larger Samsung to shame even despite QC quirks. I think the N4/5/7 completely skewed value for a few gens tho.
    Reply
  • Impulses - Monday, April 20, 2015 - link

    All that being said, ASUS probably has a MemoPad that poses a much better value than this... That res for $300 is just ghastly. Reply
  • Speedfriend - Tuesday, April 21, 2015 - link

    I have the Asus Memopad 176, which I paid $75 after trading in my 2012 Nexus 7. It is ridiculously good for the price, perfect for in my jacket pocket for watching movies on the subway. I am very impressed with the battery life from the Intel chip. I will never buy another iPad as this offers 90% of the quality for 25% of the price. Reply
  • FITCamaro - Tuesday, April 21, 2015 - link

    Why would anyone buy this versus a Nexus 7? Reply
  • Kutark - Tuesday, April 21, 2015 - link

    Yep, i got to the resolution and immediately wrote it off. No way id ever buy a tablet with that low of a resolution. 1080p is a minimum IMO Reply
  • UtilityMax - Friday, April 24, 2015 - link

    Minimum for what? I own a Galaxy Tab S 10.5, which probably has the best tablet screen on the market right now, and I honestly can't tell any difference between the same 720p and 1080p video. For text, the resolution may make a difference, but I still can't imagine resolutions above 1080p making a difference on a tablet screen. And on 8inch screens, the higher resolution is even less effective. Reply
  • UtilityMax - Friday, April 24, 2015 - link

    Realistically speaking, 720p or 768p is all you need on a tablet. With screen this small, video quality between 720p and 1080p is effectively indistinguishable. You may notice a barely visible improvement in picture clarity when reading text in ebooks and web content when switching to a higher resolution, but it's not a huge deal. On the other hand, the higher resolution screen will tax the GPU/CPU performance more heavily and punish the battery life. In my opinion 1080p is probably a sweet spot for tablets. Anything higher than 1080p is certainly superfluous IMHO. Reply

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