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Samsung Galaxy Tab A8

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It’s arguably difficult to get excited about an Android tablet… unless you’ve tried one of the really inexpensive ones. Samsung’s Galaxy tablets are superbly unexciting. They just do tablet things, and they don’t crash, glitch or develop experimental tendencies while they’re about it.

While all Android tablets run the Android operating system… they’d be lying rather egregiously were they to do otherwise… not all of them run it particularly well. Inexpensive Android devices are avatars of frustration, and are often at their best propping up wobbly furniture. Samsung’s tablets are exemplary, and the Tab A8 is easily among the nicest of such devices to be had.

It costs substantially more than its numerous competitors with unpronounceable names, but it seriously rocks.

The Galaxy A8 is available with your choice of 32, 64 or 128 gigabytes of memory – we chose a 64-gigabyte tablet. It features a bright 10½-inch, 1920 by 1200-pixel liquid crystal display that would be difficult to improve upon. Its driven by a Mali G52 MP2 graphics processor. It has a USB-C data and charging port, and its 7040 amp-hour lithium-ion battery charges unexpectedly quickly. The tablet ships with a standard Samsung power block to charge it.

The Galaxy A8’s battery life is substantially predicated on what you ask it to do, and how bright you make its display. Ours proved to be good for several hours.

The processor in the Galaxy A8 is a Unisoc Tiger T618, with eight cores, running at two gigahertz. It has four gigabytes of RAM.

The four speakers in the Galaxy A8 are driven by Dolby Atmos surround sound. This seems like a degree of overkill for a tablet, but the sound they produce is shockingly rich and clear.

It weighs just over half a kilogram, or a bit more than a pound.

The Galaxy A8 includes an eight-megapixel primary camera, and a five-megapixel camera facing its user… which makes video chatting on Messenger and Instagram fairly epic. The picture quality of its primary camera is acceptable for a tablet – it won’t fool anyone into believing you’ve used a DSLR. It also shoots respectable video.

It can communicate with the rest of civilization over WiFi 802.11 a, b, g, n and ac.

Our Galaxy A8 arrived with Android 11, which promptly upgraded itself to Android 13.

Perhaps the most salient aspects of the Galaxy A8 are its agreeably simple initial setup, and the ease with which the configuration of an earlier Galaxy tablet can be transferred to it. The wizard-like introduction to the tablet could be successfully mastered by most cats and some liberal politicians. Samsung’s proprietary configuration manager allows the settings, documents and to some extent the apps of any other Galaxy to be ported through a cloud or moved on a micro SD card. We chose the latter. It was effortless.

We were pleased to encounter a minimum of bloatware on our new tablet. It does come with a number of Samsung applications, some of which… like its dedicated web browser… seem a bit redundant. Most users will probably want to install Chrome or Firefox. As nearly as we’ve been able to determine, all the pre-loaded apps can be uninstalled if you decide you don’t want them.

In ages past, some pre-installed tablet software proved decidedly reluctant to be exorcised from the tablets upon which they arrived.

The Galaxy Tab A8 comes in several colors, all but one of which were out of stock when we bought ours. This said, we enveloped it in a tablet protector immediately upon unpacking it, so ours is the color we wanted. We hasten to add that one of the available colors is described as “pink gold,” which we felt was at its best when it’s out of stock.

The packaging for the Galaxy Tab A8 mentions a quick start document included with it. It was entirely absent from ours. We subsequently downloaded the PDF version of it, and felt decidedly less slighted. It points out the location of the power switch, the charging port, the camera and the volume control, and it includes terse directions to find the tablet’s on-line help. Most of it consists of legal disclaimers. We had the Galaxy Tab A8 ready to rock without it.

The most enjoyable aspect of using the Galaxy A8 is that you’ll quickly forget all its features and specifications. It works flawlessly, and once you have it set up, you can largely ignore what its operating system and hardware are up to. This is the nicest tablet we’ve used, and it’s easily worth what it cost.