In the world of tablets, there is very little doubt that Apple’s iPad is the king. This is partly due to the Cupertino giant’s tightly integrated software and hardware approach, but mostly because the Android competition has fizzled out over the past couple of years. Samsung can be considered as the only major OEM that is making a dent in the tablet market with its high-end Tab S series. The budget tablet segment – under Rs 20,000 – is devoid of an iPad and makes for a ripe opportunity for Samsung to grab a solid foothold. The Galaxy Tab A7 is an attempt by the South Korean giant to reinvigorate a falling tablet market with an affordable device that can reach the masses. Priced starting at Rs 16,999, the Tab A7 tries to give stellar audio and visual experience while making some compromises. Let’s find out more about that in this review.
As far as tablets go, the Galaxy Tab A7 gives out a much classier vibe than what its price tag demands. A reasonably thin slab of glass and metal with a Space Grey finish and very little flex makes for a well-rounded device. Obviously being a huge 10-inch screen, the tablet requires two-handed usage although that is negated with the additional Tab A7 Book Cover accessory, which will prop the tablet upright on any flat surface. There is a single rear camera on the back that doesn’t sit flush with the chassis giving the tablet a slight wobble when placed on a table. The bottom and top sides of Tab A7 are flanked by a quad-speaker setup while the Type-C port and 3.5mm headphone jack are also present on the bottom. The button placement on the Tab A7 is going to favour usage in portrait orientation but even in landscape, your index finger should find the volume rocker and power buttons. While the size is rather huge, the device is not all that heavy and weighs in at about 450g making it lighter than some other tablets in the same price range. If you do get the LTE version of the device, on the bottom right you will find a slot for a SIM card + microSD slot but in the case of the WiFi-only version, you will only be getting the latter.
The humungous display is undoubtedly one of the biggest selling points of the Galaxy Tab A7. It has a 10.4-inch FHD+ WUXGA+ TFT panel with a 2,000 x 1,200 resolution and some decently thick bezels surrounding the screen. While the screen does not get the brightest at 350 nits, I would argue that it still manages to be legible even under a good amount of sunlight. Samsung, being best in the business of smartphone displays, has reason to put in one of the best panels on its tablet as well. Unlike the Tab S7’s (review) 120Hz refresh rate, the A7 supports the standard 60Hz, which can lead to slightly jerky scrolling and browsing if you are used to a higher refresh rate display. However, the lack of more frames being pushed is offset by the incredibly colour accurate panel that the Galaxy A7 has. While there are no internal customisation options available for changing the colour temperature and other settings, the built-in defaults alone are enough for top-notch viewing experience. All OTT content will scale to the entire area of the display so you won’t have to deal with giant black bars on all sides.
Samsung Galaxy Tab A7’s quad-speaker setup makes up the other half of the tablet’s media experience and I have to say that after listening to it, I seriously doubt I’ll need headphones. It’s not just that the Tab A7’s Dolby Atmos speaker setup is loud, but even at 100 per cent volume, there is no audible crackling or distortion in the sound. Now obviously, this isn’t an iPad Pro level setup but it is pretty close and considering this is a sub-Rs 20,000 tablet, it makes for a supreme listening experience for its price. There are a couple of EQ presets which are Auto, Movie, Music, and Voice, all of which can be found in the Dolby Atmos settings. There is, of course, the option to use the 3.5mm headphone jack for wired audio.
Inside the tablet is the Qualcomm Snapdragon 662 SoC which is paired with 3GB of RAM and a meagre 16GB of internal storage which can be expanded to 256GB using a microSD card. As expected, the low-powered chipset tanks the performance of the tablet and gives a jittery experience. Multiple apps can’t stay open in the background due to lack of RAM and switching between some of the heavy ones can take up to 2-3 seconds. There is also some discernible lag when scrolling on Facebook or Instagram. The camera quality on the Tab A7 is obviously not too great and nor should it be for a tablet of its price. Whether it is the front or the back camera, the most use you are going to get out of them is for video calling. Software-wise, you are getting the OneUI 2.0-based Android 10 experience on the Tab A7. While Android tablets have historically been known to be poorly optimised in the software department, in the case of the Tab A7, it seems that Samsung has done a reasonably good job to mould the UI for tablet needs. This includes things such as the ability to open multiple tabs in Chrome just like Windows or how the YouTube App can showcase related videos on the side when you are in Landscape orientation. There are of course your usual Samsung-centric features as well such Quick Share, DeX support and more.
The Galaxy Tab A7 packs a 7,000mAh battery that is quite impressive and lasts for a really long time considering it has to power a gigantic 10.5-inch display. During my tests, which kept the tablet at half brightness and half volume, I found that the device lasted for about 15 hours. I would peg the Tab A7 to be quite easily a near-two-day device when used moderately, which includes not subjecting the tablet to high-end gaming. Charging up the tablet with the 15W charger provided in the box can take up to 3 hours to completely charge.
The Galaxy Tab A7 delivers on two big aspects which are viewing and listening. To keep its price considerably low, there had to be some compromises in the form of a lower-performing chipset, less RAM and average camera sensors on the front and back. However, all things considered, the Tab A7, WiFi-only variant, is an amazing deal mostly due to the lack of competition in the segment.
Editor’s rating: 4 / 5
- Huge, colour accurate screen
- Excellent speakers
- Optimised software
- Performance is average
- Could have a better camera
- Needs more RAM