Samsung Tab A (2016)

The other day I was still excited about the Lenovo Yoga Book, which seemed just like what I had been looking for these past months. Alas, many reviews that have appeared around the Internet since that post quickly moved that particular gadget off my shopping list.

When Amazon significantly reduced the Samsung Tab A (2016), a 10.1-inch Android tablet, for a few seconds, a tablet which comes across like any of the later Samsung smartphones (Galaxy 5, 6 and 7), just bigger, I jumped on it because it had been the most cost-effective model on my list since it appeared a few months ago.

I had read about a hundred different reviews, as I am apt to do, and it quickly became clear that I could probably live with the shortcomings, of which there are some. The good outweighed the bad in regard to my intended usage of the tablet (videos, music, reading, general entertainment … and very little work-related stuff) and 12 hours later it landed on my doorstep (Amazon here in Germany has really sped things up for its Prime customers).

I am a happy camper and these past seven days it has proven itself capable and worthwhile enough for me to allow it to join the ever-growing ranks of more or less useful gadgetry around here.

On the positive side, it was a breeze to set up (if you already own a Samsung smartphone, you can ladle all of its contents onto a new Samsung device in a few minutes), the 19:10 screen format is great for videos (at 720p and 1080p), with crisp colors and decent blacks; the format is adequate (albeit a bit odd at times) for webpages and assorted digital publications and apps, it handles music formats as well as my S7 smartphone, the battery loads relatively fast, the memory expansion slot allows for a decent load of hefty multimedia files, there’s ample on-board memory for more tasking activities (graphically intensive games, I heard, might make it lose its breath a bit at times) and, altogether, it’s nice to look at.

On the negative side, we have speakers on one (short) side only, which negate any stereo effect in landscape mode (I don’t care, simply because I use headphones 99% of the time), soft keys on the opposite (short) side (which one is apt to press accidentally when in landscape mode), the screen mirrors and is a virtual magnet for grease, dust and dirt, and it definitely is on the heavier side.

The one thing I didn’t like (and hadn’t read about in any reviews), something which almost made me return it after a few hours was this: When watching a video in complete and utter darkness, which I often do late at night, the screen has too much of a silvery “shine” to it. It’s something I first noticed years ago with my Lenovo notebook and it’s the same scenario here, to a lesser degree. The TFT screen just can’t compare (in total darkness only) to the AMOLED screens I’m used to from other Samsung devices I own. Once I figured out that I just needed a different viewing angle to significantly reduce the problem, I decided to keep the tablet. It’s a minor problem I could easily circumvent and get used to.

Besides the last point, which some people might have problems with, the Samsung Galaxy Tab A (2016) is unbeatable in its price bracket. I paid way below 200 Euro for it (it has since moved to above 200 again … Amazon magic) and to be quite honest, for someone like me who started out with this stuff before Windows 3.0, it is absolutely amazing that a comparatively simple tablet like this one can pack such a wallop.

15 years ago I would have killed for a gadget like this one.
Today it (technologically) is actually below average when compared to much pricier tablets.

Sign o’ the times.

Posted by Volkher Hofmann

Volkher Hofmann (deus62) has been blogging on and off since the 1990s and is all that is left. He loves music, literature, drumming and, most of all, real life. He thinks the open web is much more important than social networks, closed-in ecosystems and other severely commercialized online endeavors.

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