With prices starting at just 230 dollars, the Samsung Galaxy Tab A7 might become the most popular Android tablet of the year. Compared to its predecessor, it has a faster processor, a new display, four speakers, and up-to-date software. But it is lacking most premium features. In this review, you learn everything you need to know about the Galaxy Tab A7.
Display: A New 10.4-Inch Screen
While the last couple of Galaxy Tab A tablets had a 10.1-inch screen, the Galaxy Tab A7 from 2020 is the first one with a 10.4-inch TFT display. I’m not sure if it’s an IPS panel but viewing angles are okay and colors look fine. It has a resolution of 2000 x 1200 pixels which means that the screen is not as sharp as of a Galaxy Tab S7, but certainly sharp enough.
Overall, I think it’s a pretty good screen for this price class. It’s similar in quality to last year’s Galaxy Tab A 10.1 T510. But when holding them side by side, you can see that the new one is a tiny bit bigger.
I compared it to the Galaxy Tab S6 Lite too, which is a bit pricier mid-range tablet with an S Pen and it has a 10.4-inch display as well. But while the resolution and sharpness are the same, the S6 Lite is a bit brighter. I also noticed that in direct comparison, the A7 looks a bit blueish.
Read: The Best 10-Inch Tablets
The screen is fully laminated, by the way, and since the tablet has a Widevine Level 1, you can watch Netflix and other streaming services with HD resolution.
This tablet is pretty well suited for watching movies in general because it has four speakers – two on both shorter sides. I think that’s fantastic because one of my few complaints with its predecessor was that it had two speakers on the same side only. But this time, you can hear a stereo separation.
Compared to pricier tablets like the iPad Pro and Galaxy Tab S6 Lite, especially the bass is not as strong and it doesn’t sound as pleasing. But for an inexpensive tablet, the sound is good.
Stylus Support: No S Pen
The Galaxy Tab A7 does not support the S Pen. So, I can’t recommend it if you want to write down handwritten notes. Yes, you could get a generic stylus for capacitive screens which are fine for little children that just want to draw a bit for fun. But compared to an active pen, they’re terrible and if you’re an artist or want to write down notes, you’ll be disappointed.
This shouldn’t be a surprise because no tablet in this price range supports an active pen, I’m not blaming Samsung at all. But people asked me hundreds of times which pen I could recommend for the predecessor. And the answer is: There is none and I did try several different kinds of pens.
Hardware & Performance
The Samsung Galaxy Tab A7 ships with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 662 processor that is supported by 3GB of RAM and a 32GB or 64GB internal storage. LTE 4G is an option too.
I like that we’re getting 3GB of RAM now, because last year, a tablet like this had 2GB only. But I wish Samsung would offer more storage options. I’ve gotten the 32GB version because it was the only one available at the beginning. And when you want to install lots of games, you’ll run out of space fast. A 128GB option would be nice because you can’t install apps or games onto a microSD here.
On paper, the performance is fantastic. In benchmarks like Geekbench 4 and 5 it usually is on a similar level as the pricier Galaxy Tab S6 Lite. And it’s much faster than the Galaxy Tab A 10.1 from last year. The graphics performance in benchmarks like 3D Mark and the Geekbench 4 Compute test is much better too. But for some reason, it fails in the Geekbench 5 Compute test.
I also wanted to render a video in Adobe Premiere Rush but once I try, an error message pops up and it fails.
Now, real-life performance is very good for this price class. You can play PUBG Mobile with balanced graphics and it performs very well. But you can’t select HD graphics, which is a bummer. On a positive note, I was able to play Call Of Duty with graphics set to very high and it runs smoothly.
Other games like Mortal Kombat, Car X Highway, and Badland Brawl run fantastic too. So, basically, you’ll be able to play almost every game on here. Not always with the highest settings, but most games should run.
Most, but not all. I tried to install Fortnite and even though there’s an error message that this tablet is not supported, it does run. The performance is kind of acceptable with graphics set to medium and good with the lowest graphics. But I was never able to finish a match because it continues to crash. And sometimes, on bad days, it runs with 1 FPS.
That’s not a huge surprise because Fortnite is very demanding. In fact, I was surprised that I was able to install it on such a cheap tablet. But due to the crashes, it’s not fun, of course.
Normal apps like Google Chrome, Netflix, Gmail, Microsoft Office, YouTube, and Samsung Notes perform very well. The performance of standard tasks like office work and surfing the web is good. Sure, it’s not as fast as a premium device. The Galaxy Tab S7 or an iPad Pro is much, much faster. But I think it’s fast enough – especially for this price range.
Simple multitasking works fine. It’s possible to have YouTube running on one side and Chrome on the other, without any major hiccups. You can even open a third app in a pop-up window above these two. And, as long as you’re not using very demanding apps, it’ll work fine. Too heavy multitasking is not possible, though, because the Samsung DeX desktop mode is not even supported.
Design & Built
I think the Samsung Galaxy Tab A7 looks quite nice with its slim, black screen bezels and its mostly metal body which is just 7mm thin. It weighs 476g which is okay too. You can get it in gray, silver, and gold.
Not everything is metal. There’s a plastic part for the antennas and for whatever reason there’s a weird cutout for the headphone jack which doesn’t look nice. But besides that, it almost feels as high-end as pricier devices do.
On the sides, we get a power button, volume controls, a headphone jack, and a microSD card slot. I wasn’t able to install apps onto a microSD but you can store other files, of course. Between two of those four speakers sits a USB C port. It’s a USB 2.0 connector which means you can attach lots of accessories including hard drives and SSDs, but external monitors are not supported.
On the back, the tablet features an 8-megapixel camera that takes okay photos and videos. Nothing outstanding, but fine. I like the 5-megapixel front-facing camera a bit more. The quality is okay only. But for times like these, it’s nice to see the webcam is placed in the middle and not on the sides when holding the tablet in landscape view. That’s great for video chats.
If you want, you can use that webcam to unlock the Tab A7 using facial recognition. That works fine in good light but not at all in the dark. And, since there’s no additional depth sensor, it’s not as secure. But since there’s no fingerprint scanner, it’s the only option if you don’t want to type in a PIN or password every time. To activate the screen, you can just double-tap it, which works great together with facial recognition.
Software: Android 10
Samsung is shipping the Galaxy Tab A7 running Android 10 and OneUI in version 2.5 out of the box. In the past, the Galaxy Tab A tablets usually have gotten two major updates. So, unless Samsung changes anything, it should get Android 11 and 12 in the future. But since I don’t speak for Samsung, I can’t promise anything.
With OneUI, the interface is customized quite a bit compared to vanilla Android. But I like it because it does not look as overloaded as it used to in the past. In fact, the interface looks clean and quite snappy. And the extra features that Samsung puts in can be very useful, at least for the most part.
It’s nice that you can open apps in free-floating windows, for instance. Even without a stylus, Samsung Notes is a very useful note-taking app that works great on here. And I also like that the search of OneUI can also search Netflix and Spotify.
There are lots of other features you can check out in the settings like a blue light filter, a dark mode, and even a kid’s mode that’s called Samsung Kids.
Some features that Samsung’s premium devices are famous for are missing though. There’s no Samsung DeX desktop mode, the Air Commands for the stylus is missing, and there’s no dock that you can pull out from the side like is supported on the Tab S7.
When streaming an HD video on YouTube at maximum brightness, the battery lasts 7.5 hours. And when looping an HD video locally at medium brightness, it can last up to 11.5 hours.
Samsung Galaxy Tab A7 Review: Final Verdict
So, that’s the end of my Samsung Galaxy Tab A7 review. Can I recommend it? Yes, of course, I can. I think the Samsung Galaxy Tab A7 is a fantastic value, just as the predecessor has been last year. Sure, it’s not perfect, and many premium features like fingerprint scanners, Samsung DeX, or official keyboard docks are missing. But for a price tag of just 230 dollars, we do get a good performance, a decent screen, up-to-date software, and even four speakers.
Again, if you’re expecting a premium device, you’ll be disappointed, of course. But I think you’ll be happy with it if you’re looking for an inexpensive tablet for surfing the web and watching YouTube and Netflix. Most games run fine too and I think it also is a decent tablet for video chats.
Let’s check out some alternatives.
If you’re willing to spend a bit more money and want an active pen, you should check out the Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite. The performance is very similar but the screen is a bit brighter and the S Pen is included and works fantastic.
The Apple iPad 8 is an interesting alternative too. Sure, it’s more expensive, but its performance is much better. If you’re looking for a gaming tablet, that one is the best overall value. But if you factor in the Apple Pencil and the official keyboard, it gets much pricier, so it’s not a budget option.
Now, if you want to save some money, you can check out the Amazon Fire HD 10. Its screen is quite similar and the performance is weaker but fine for some gaming. Depending on the deals you can find, you can probably save about 50 dollars or more but you’ll have to install the Google Play Store yourself.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab A 10.1 T510 from last year continues to be a decent tablet too, of course. If you own that one, it probably makes no sense to upgrade this year. And if you can find a good deal, I still think it can be a good choice. But from now on, I think the Galaxy Tab A7 is the best value when you’re looking for a budget tablet.
- Very affordable
- Fast processor
- Android 10
- Four speakers
- Decent screen
- No fingerprint scanner
- Active pen not supported
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