Alongside its smartphones Galaxy A3, A5 and A7, Samsung has incorporated its “A” series the Galaxy Tab A, a tablet available in 8 and 9.7 inches.

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Visual: no aluminum

While aluminum should be part of the DNA of the “A” series, the Galaxy Tab A must do without.  We are here on a terminal offering 100% plastic. The white edge has a thin rim chromed plastic around the front, while the black version is covered with a smoked black varnish. If the quality is at the rendezvous, we regret a rather plain design.

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  • The front panel sports a 9.7-inch screen. Samsung topped the logo in chrome letters, light sensor and front camera. Below the screen, there is the key “Home” expensive mechanical and Samsung both sensor buttons “multitasking” and “Back”. Note that these are not backlit. The back of the device houses a photo sensor surrounded by a chrome trim. Instead of the presence of the logo, there is Samsung printed in black.

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  • If on the upper edge of the tablet nothing is found, the bottom edge houses a 3.5 jack, a micro USB port and two speakers protected by a chrome grille. The left side is free of any button while on the right we find a microphone input, the power button, the volume +/- button and two doors hiding the SIM slots (micro size) and micro SD.

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  • With a weight of 453 grams on the scale, the “Galaxy Tab A” LTE is 16 grams heavier than iPad Air 2 (437 grams).
  • In the end, even if the Galaxy Tab A must settle for a building “all plastic”, the quality of plastics and assembly make me say that it is rather nice on a tablet to take over (at plural because you will need your right hand and your sinister to use it.

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  • Dimensions: 242.5 x 166.8 mm long x 7.5 mm wide mm
  • Weight: 453 grams

Image and sound: could do better

Let us not prolong the suspense any longer, the screen of the Samsung Galaxy Tab A. Indeed, this tablet has a 9.7-inch TFT screen with a resolution (of another age) 1024 x 768 pixels, which gives us a modest 132ppp density. If colors (16 million) and contrast are good, the picture is quite pixelated.  The screen is 4: 3, video playback you will see a black band above and below the image. Note that the screen is highly prone to glare. Regarding the sound from the two speakers, it is quite powerful but tends to saturate when pushing the volume up.  For the 3.5 jack, no complaints.

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  • Display: 9.7-inch (TFT) with 1024 x 768 pixels with 132ppp density.

Performance: average but adequate

The Samsung Galaxy Tab A is not equipped with a large processor or a hyper powerful GPU.

Here we have a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 clocked at 1.2GHz, accompanied by an Adreno 306 and 2GB of RAM.  A small configuration but has the merit to be able to run most 3D games and even large applications. Video playback is fluid, as well as navigating the menus and the Internet. In terms of storage memory, 16GB initially claimed by the builder will turn into about 11,5Go the first ignition of the tablet.  Fortunately, a micro SD slot will increase this 128GB of memory.

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  • Processor: Quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 clocked at 1.2GHz
  • RAM: 2GB
  • GPU: Adreno 306

Connectivity: 4G and more

Connectivity is certainly THE highlight of the South Korean tablet. First, we have as it should be all the connectivity that one is entitled to expect of a tablet in 2015: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.1 (A2DP), a 3.5 jack, a micro USB 2.0 (OTG), a micro SD slot (card not included), GPS, etc.  The most interesting are that the Samsung Galaxy Tab A has a SIM slot only. Not only will you have access to 2G, 3G + and 4G LTE. This will allow you not only to have a data connection to the mobile Web but also be able to call anywhere in the world and surf the net anywhere in the UAE.

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Obviously, to use the phone features you will need to do the hands-free with a headset or using a Bluetooth device. Indeed, this “very connected” tablet is a quad-band GSM and has all the best 3G- and 4G. The fussiest regret the lack of NFC, but who really uses this function?

Operating system: sleek TouchWiz

As always with the South Korean manufacturers, there is an Android OS, here version 5.0.2 Lollipop.  And of course, the manufacturer has applied its TouchWiz overlay home. The result is nice.  We leave here the aspect of “special effects in overdose” from previous versions of TouchWiz to find a beautiful and decent system. The register of applications and functions provided by the brand are:

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  • Galaxy Apps: a kind of selection that can also be found on the Play Store, and a focus on applications to download from Samsung.
  • S Planner: agenda / Samsung release schedule.
  • A multi-window mode that allows you to perform two tasks simultaneously.
  • An energy saving mode.
  • Briefing: a news feed and social networks.
  • Compatible with Microsoft Office applications.

Good battery life

We quickly pass on the MP3 player and video appearance because this tablet is a good media player.  And if necessary, the right applications are legion on the Play Store. Ditto for surfing the Internet or sending / consulting emails, because here too there is a good tablet able to go on the Web, WiFi or even 3G / 4G. As for 3D games, the performance of the Galaxy Tab “A” being quite acceptable, it can run most 3D games as well as all major applications.

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Picture side, the back 5-megapixel sensor with autofocus (but no flash LED) provides snapshots “acceptable”, but this is not the first tablet function. But we should add a front camera of 2 megapixels that will make Skype. Indeed, a YouTube video of 60 minutes (all switched connections, its 50% to 50% brightness) will have consumed only 6% of the energy in the battery. It’s a feat! As part of a “normal” use, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 4G to take more than 2 days before needing to be recharged.

  • Device back picture: 5 megapixels
  • Battery: Non-removable 6000 mAh.

Conclusion: 

This Samsung Galaxy Tab A is rather an entry level tablet. Here we see any design, but with exemplary assembly quality. To really be part of the family “A” would have required that this tablet is enhanced with a touch of aluminum. It has a display with beautiful colors and good viewing angles and especially was full connectivity coupled with excellent battery life. But it lacks that touch of aluminum awaited!

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  • Goodies: Autonomy, complete connectivity.
  • Cons: Screen resolution.