- Wi-Fi concerns
- Sluggish UI
- Disappointing speaker quality
The Galaxy Tab A 8.4 is a new budget tablet from Samsung. It claims to offer the high-end features and performance at an affordable price, bringing a touch of refinement to the budget tablet market. How does it compare to similarly priced tablets and did Samsung make the right compromises to cut prices?
The Tab A 8.4 is thin and light with a plastic body, glossy black front, and matte grey backplate. The speakers are placed on the bottom and there’s a MicroSD slot on one side. It’s not all that different from other modern tablets, but the two-tone design and sturdy feel in the hand puts it a bit above most cheap plastic tablets.
The screen is 8.4 inches and supports 1080p content -- something many 8-inch Android tablets don’t do. Reviewers stated that its screen is sharper than a lot of budget tablets which impressed them and made watching media a pleasure.
PC Magazine says, “This mostly pays off when reading comics or magazines, or watching videos. Cheaper 8-inch tablets often can't display a full 1080p video frame, while this one can.”
Somehow, the performance for the tablet was both average and lackluster at the same time. Reviewers said that while media and other basic applications worked as hoped that the user interface had issues with lag and stuttering, taking a second or two to respond to prompts.
Software & Storage
The Galaxy Tab A 8.4 ships with an older version of Android (9.0) which reviewers didn’t understand for a major brand in 2020. It comes with 32GB of storage out of the box and a MicroSD slot option.
Slash Gear says, “Samsung has opted to use Android 9.0, rather than the newer Android 10, and that seems a missed opportunity. There’s no word on when – or even if – Samsung will remedy that with a software update.”
The cameras were said to be a bit more elevated than most budget tablets but still not the caliber of some smartphones.
When using Zoom reviewers said the selfie cam responded well to lighting changes and detail without too much trouble with blurring or grainy video. The front-facing camera also performed well in low light which cannot be said for other tablets of the same price range.
The battery life for the Galaxy Tab A 8.4 is stated to have 10 hours worth usage on a charge. However, reviewers tested this claim and said it was more like 7 hours -- especially with video -- and that 10 hours will probably only happen when limiting usage to simple web browsing.
Reviewers found the listening experience on the tablet very disappointing. The speakers performed fine in terms of spoken word but when it came to music it was tinny and flat or hard to hear.
Specs at a Glance
- Plastic chassis
- LCD (TFT) display
- 1.8 GHz Octa-core Samsung Exynos 7904 processor
- 3GB of RAM
- Android 9
- 32GB of storage with MicroSD option
- Rear-facing 8MP camera with a 5MP selfie cam
- 5,000 mAh battery
This tablet seems a mix of good and bad for the price. Reviewers had some issues with Wi-Fi connectivity. But it’s also one of the only tablets in this price point that offers LTE connectivity. Its screen is sharper than most in this price range, but the user interface is slow and unresponsive at times. It’s great for media, but poor for gaming or creating.
PC magazine’s final thoughts were, “The Galaxy Tab A 8.4 satisfies e-reading, video, and basic gaming needs for less than the iPad mini...as long as you're willing to put up with truly bad 2.4GHz Wi-Fi performance. If all you're looking for is the most basic color e-reader and video player, you can pay a lot less.”
Tom’s Guide says, “Like it's Tab A predecessors, it's clear the Galaxy Tab A 8.4 exists in the budget tablet category. Still, the cheapest iPad with cellular capabilities you can buy new costs [less] so Samsung managed to undercut Apple's cellular tablet to a considerable extent. If you want an affordable tablet with that you get [sic] you online on-the-go, it could be worth checking out.”
Slash Gear states, “Samsung has added a low-cost Android tablet to its line-up, and the biggest surprise with the Galaxy Tab A 8.4 (2020) is that it comes with baked-in LTE. The new slate creeps in at [a lower price] and while it might not compete directly with a new iPad Pro, it’s a whole lot cheaper than Apple’s most affordable cellular models.”
Prices (Where to Buy)
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