Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 8.0 review

Choosing a tablet from Samsung’s massive range is confusing. This is the brand new Galaxy Tab 4 8.0 4G & WiFi, which means it’s the fourth-generation Tab series with an 8in screen and has a SIM card slot for 4G (and 3G) data as well as Wi-Fi. Strangely enough, it’s also a phone and – if your hands are big enough and you can live with the unwanted attention from people who think you’re mad – you can use it just like a massively over-sized smartphone.

The 'phablet' is available in black or white, with or without the SIM card slot, and sits alongside the 7- and 10.1in versions of the Tab 4 which also come in Wi-Fi or 4G & Wi-Fi versions, providing more choice than any reasonable tablet purchaser needs. There are, of course, other phablets to add to your shortlist, such as the Asus Fonepad 7 LTE.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 8.0 review

The Tab 4 is aimed at the more price-conscious end of the market as opposed to the Tab S range, which is the flagship, iPad-rivalling series. It lacks the S-Pen of the Galaxy Note models, too, which are also more expensive.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 8.0 review: Design and build

Since you can still buy the previous model - the Galaxy Tab 3 8.0 - this adds yet more models into the mix and even more confusion since when you compare the specs side by side, they’re basically the same.

What differs is the design. The Tab 4 doesn’t have a faux-metal band around the edge, instead opting for a thin chrome-esque bezel with smaller rounded corners than the old model.

The rear camera is placed centrally instead of in the top-left corner, but there’s still no LED flash. Looking at the back still, there’s a single rear-facing speaker as before but the microUSB port is now on the bottom edge instead of the side.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 8.0 review

On the right-hand side are the power and volume buttons. Below these are two pop-out covers: one for the micro SIM card and one for a microSD card (up to 64GB is supported).

Either side of the physical home button are two touch-sensitive controls. These don’t light up – so you can’t find them in the dark - and are a pain when holding the tablet in landscape mode. For example, when watching a videos it’s all too easy for a wayward thumb to press one and go back or bring up the list of recent apps.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 8.0 review

There’s no metal in the casing so although build quality is good, the Tab 4 lacks a premium finish.

 Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 8.0 review: Screen

As a “budget” Android tablet, it’s no surprise to find a relatively low resolution of 1280x800 pixels. However, this means a very low density of 188ppi which makes text look fuzzier than on higher-resolution screens. Some people may not find this an issue, but if you’re used to a smartphone or previous tablet with a high-resolution screen, it could be a disappointment.

At least it’s a decent quality panel. Samsung doesn’t state which technology is used, but it appears to be the same screen used in the Tab 3. The main points to note are that colours are vivid and viewing angles and contrast are good. It’s also nice and bright, but as with all glossy, capacitive touchscreens, is too reflective to be of much use outdoors in bright conditions.

Next section: Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 8.0 review: Hardware and performance