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Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9 review

7.5/10 AVG.
RATING



7.5/10
Informr score
The Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9 currently has an Informr score of 7.5 out of 10. This score is based on our evaluation of 22 sources including reviews from users and the web's most trusted critics.

The "1-Minute" Review

After tinkering with the new Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9, one thing is clear: Samsung has really done its homework on the tablet market. The Tab 8.9 offers the same functionality and performance of its big brother, the Tab 10.1, but with a smaller display size (8.9 inches vs. 10.1 inches, of course) and lighter weight. Despite its smaller screen, the Tab 8.9 still has the same crisp, colorful 170 ppi display that has made the Tab 10.1 so popular. Both are a super slim 8.6 mm thick, which makes the Tab 8.9 both lighter and thinner than its closest non-Samsung competitor, the iPad 2.

The Galaxy Tab 8.9 is available with 16GB, 32GB or 64GB of storage; it also sports built-in WiFi and 3G, with added ability to support up to 4G. Android fans, rejoice: the Galaxy Tab 8.9 runs the Android 3.0 Honeycomb OS, which is beloved for its speed and responsiveness. The tablet also comes pre-loaded with access to the ever-growing Android Market and Amazon App Store, which gives users a choice of over 250,000 news, entertainment, business, reference and gaming apps.

Music lovers and snap-happy photographers will swoon over the Micro-SD card slot, which is a rare feature in the tablet market and allows for up to 32GB of extra storage of MP3s, pictures and video. Speaking of pictures, the Tab 8.9 sports both a front and rear camera (2 megapixels and 3 megapixels, respectively). Better yet, the rear-camera has a built-in flash and allows users to record video in high-definition. Samsung's Galaxy tablet also offers a great deal of flexibility. Unlike the iPad 2, it includes 2 USB ports to allow for a customizable, adaptable tablet experience.

All in all, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9 is a quick, versatile and portable tablet that effectively makes the most of its smaller display. It is one of the lightest and thinnest tablets available on the market and is one of the few tablets that can easily go head-to-head with the iPad.

Need to Know: Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9

1. This is ideal for those who value portability; its dimensions make it one of the lightest, slimmest tablets available. (The Good)

2. Despite its diminutive size, the 8.9-inch display betrays nothing in terms of definition or visibility. (The Good)

3. The number of apps in the Android Market is pitiful compared to the number of iPad-ready apps. (The Bad)

4. The Android OS can be a bit contrary at times; running multiple apps simultaneously may cause notable lagging. (The Bad)


Operating system
Android
Processor
1 GHz
Screen Size
8.9"
Camera
3+ MP


What the Critics Are Saying...


BitBitByte

All-in-all, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9 is a decent tablet. If you are looking for a size between the popular 10-11” tabs around and the smaller 7” variety, this is definitely something to take a look at. As I mentioned earlier, it felt great in my hands. I had no problem using it on the...

- Jordan Carpenter, BitBitByte
T3

So where does the Samsung 8.9 rank in the current hierarchy of tablets? Well, we’d say quite highly. It shares so many of the characteristics that made the Galaxy Tab 10.1 such an impressive device, but manages to condense it all into a smaller, more bag-friendly design. The screen is brilliant and...

- Michael Sawh, T3
Mobile Syrup

As far as Android tablets go, the Tab 8.9 is currently at the top of the heap. But comparing an Android tablet to the iPad is a completely different conversation than comparing an Android phone to the iPhone. In many ways, we are in a holding pattern: Android 4.0 has yet to be revealed for tablets,...

- Daniel Bader, Mobile Syrup
Ubergizmo

The Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9 is ta great addition to the Galaxy Tab lineup. The hardware packs an elegant and sleek design combined with great performance, in a thinner and lighter chassis than the Apple tablet. the smaller size (8.9 inch) can be great for road warriors who need to travel light.

- Eliane Fiolet , Ubergizmo
PhoneArena

Looking at AT&T’s selection of 4G LTE tablets, it’s obviously limited right now with only the Samsung GALAXY Tab 8.9 LTE and the HTC Jetstream. As much as we feel that its $479.99 on-contract ($629.99 outright) is still on the pricey side, since you’ll be tied down with it for 2 whole years, it’s fa...

- John V., PhoneArena


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Quick view

Screen Size
8.9"

The Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9's screen size is 8.9 inches with 1280 x 800 pixels resolution.

Processor
1 GHz

There is a Nvidia Tegra 2 Dual-core 1 GHz processor (CPU).

OS

The tablet runs on the Android 3.0 wth TouchWiz UX UI (Update Available: 4.0.4 Ice Cream Sand operating system (OS).

Camera
3+ MP
You can take photos or capture video with the tablet's onboard 3+ megapixel camera. There is also a secondary front facing camera with 2+ megapixels resolution.
Storage
16/32 GB

Internal memory is 16/32 GB. An external, MicroSD (up to 32 GB) expansion slot is available for increased storage capacity.

Battery
6100mAh

The tablet is powered by a Lithium Polymer (Li-Pol), 6100 mAh battery. Samsung's performance ratings are 35 days standby time, 10 hours Wi-Fi surfing.

Galaxy Tab 8.9 Specs

Overview
Release date October 2, 2011
Regions available USA, Canada
Networks
No cellular data
variations
SIM card No
Dual SIM No
Operating System Android 3.0 wth TouchWiz UX UI (Update Available: 4.0.4 Ice Cream Sand

Compare Android Tablets

Secondary OS No
Processor Nvidia Tegra 2 Dual-core 1 GHz
Internal Flash Memory 16/32 GB
RAM 1 GB
ROM No
GPS Type A-GPS
Digital compass Yes
Flightmode Yes
Hearing Aid Compatible No
TTY/TDD No
SAR Unknown
Languages English
Manufacturer Warranty 1 Year
Accessories Included AC Charger, Manual, Standard Battery
Power & battery
Type Lithium Polymer (Li-Pol)
Battery Capacity 6100 mAh
Removable Battery No
Wireless Charging No
Fast Charging No
Battery Charge Time 4 hours
Video Playback Time Up to: 8 hours
Internet Use (Wi-Fi) Up to: 10 hours
Internet Use (Celluar) Unknown
Reading Time No
Standby Time Up to: 35 days
Physical Characteristics
Material Plastic
Colors Black
Dimensions [H x W x D] 15.8 x 23.1 x 0.9 cm (6.2 x 9.1 x 0.4 in)
Weight 470 grams
Water Resistant / Waterproof Unknown
Rugged design No
IP Rating No
Display / Screen
Type Color
Technology LCD (TFT)
Colors 16.7 million
Resolution 1280 x 800 pixels
Pixel density Unknown
Size 8.9 inches
3D No
Sensors Ambient Light, Motion / Accelerometer, Gyroscope
Graphics Yes
Themes No
Backlit Illumination Yes
Zoom / Magnification Yes
Screen Orientation Lock Yes
Multi-Touch Yes
Fingerprint-Resistant Coating No
Additional Display Features CapacitiveTouchscreen
Input / Navigation
Touchscreen Yes
Sleep / Wake Key No
Home Key No
Mute Key No
Predictive Text Entry Swype
Physical keyboard No
Text-to-Speech Yes
Screen Reader No
Keypad/Screen Lock Yes
External Volume Control Yes
Fingerprint Sensor No
Call Management
Wi-Fi Calling No
Voice over LTE (VoLTE) No
Contact List Capacity Depends on system memory
Multiple Numbers Per Contact Email address, Other fields
Contact Groups Yes
Web / Email / Messaging
Web Browser Yes
Email Client Yes
Email Protocols POP3, IMAP, Microsoft Exchange
Additional Email Features Push Email
Messaging No
Connectivity
USB Yes
USB OTG Support No
Infrared No
Bluetooth 3.0
Bluetooth Profiles A2DP
Bluetooth Audio Codecs SBC
WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n
WiFi Encryption No
Mobile Hotspot No
WiMAX No
Memory Expansion Slot Yes
Expansion Slot Info MicroSD
PC Synchronization Yes
TV Out Yes
DLNA Support No
NFC No
Camera
Main Camera
Aperture
Unknown
Resolution
3+ megapixels
Dual lens
No
Zoom
Yes
Flash
Yes (LED)
Additional Main Camera Info
Auto focus
Video Recording Formats
3GP / 3GPP, H.264 / AVC, MPEG-4, DivX, XviD
Video Recording Parameters
HD (1280 x 720 pixels)
Front Camera
Resolution
2+ megapixels
Zoom
Additional Front Camera Info
No
Video Recording Parameters
Audio / Video
Audio Playback Yes
Audio Formats MP3, eAAC+, WAV, OGG
Radio No
Video Playback Yes
Video Playback Formats 3GP / 3GPP, H.264 / AVC, MPEG-4, DivX, XviD
Mobile TV No
Streaming Video Yes
External Speakers Stereo
Headset Jack 3.5mm
Custom Ringtones No
Vibration Alert No
Apps
To-Do / Task List Yes
Calendar Yes
World Clock Yes
Alarm Yes
Stop Watch No
Timer No
Calculator Yes
Currency Converter No
Document Viewer Yes
Viewable document types BMP, DOC, DOCX, GIF, JPG, PPT, PPTX, XLS
Weather Yes
Stocks Yes
Maps Yes
NotePad Yes
Voice Memos / Recorder Yes
Games Yes
Apps Yes
Included Software / Apps -
More
Additional comments Other Names (AKA): Samsung GT-P7310, Galaxy Tab 8.9 Wi-Fi

Available in 16gb, 32gb and 64gb models.
Related Links Manual (PDF)
Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9 Reviews
Where to buy Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9
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Critic Reviews


BitBitByte

Extremely comfortable to hold in your hands and battery life in no way dissapoints

from BitBitByte

All-in-all, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9 is a decent tablet. If you are looking for a size between the popular 10-11” tabs around and the smaller 7” variety, this is definitely something to take a look at. As I mentioned earlier, it felt great in my hands. I had no problem using it on the go, and didn’t feel like I could drop it at any moment. Respectable battery life, and decent app management, I enjoyed the time I spent with the device. I wasn’t a fan of the skinned over version of Android I was using. It felt clunky at times, creating a UI experience I wasn’t horribly fond of, but in app time was as smooth as I would expect....

More

All-in-all, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9 is a decent tablet. If you are looking for a size between the popular 10-11” tabs around and the smaller 7” variety, this is definitely something to take a look at. As I mentioned earlier, it felt great in my hands. I had no problem using it on the go, and didn’t feel like I could drop it at any moment. Respectable battery life, and decent app management, I enjoyed the time I spent with the device. I wasn’t a fan of the skinned over version of Android I was using. It felt clunky at times, creating a UI experience I wasn’t horribly fond of, but in app time was as smooth as I would expect.

At $399, I would recommend the Apple iPad 2 to be perfectly honest. With the “New iPad” being released, Apple dropped the price of the older generation, and if you were going to spend 400 bucks on a tablet, the iOS experience and unbeatable piece of hardware outweigh any Pros you might have. This doesn’t mean the Galaxy Tab isn’t a bad device, but I feel for the same price you might enjoy your purchase that much more.

Read full review

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T3

The Tab 8.9 is another fantastic Samsung tablet

from T3

So where does the Samsung 8.9 rank in the current hierarchy of tablets? Well, we’d say quite highly. It shares so many of the characteristics that made the Galaxy Tab 10.1 such an impressive device, but manages to condense it all into a smaller, more bag-friendly design. The screen is brilliant and ideal for reading and watching movies, while the Touchwiz overlay helps to separate it from many of the other Android 3.0 tablets currently on the market. We would have liked to have seen some USB or SD card support like the Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime but Samsung appears to be putting faith in its All Share platform and DLNA instead. Ultimately though, this is another fantastic Samsung tablet that surpasses its 10.1-inch compatriot and is a great alternative to the Apple iPad 2....

More

So where does the Samsung 8.9 rank in the current hierarchy of tablets? Well, we’d say quite highly. It shares so many of the characteristics that made the Galaxy Tab 10.1 such an impressive device, but manages to condense it all into a smaller, more bag-friendly design. The screen is brilliant and ideal for reading and watching movies, while the Touchwiz overlay helps to separate it from many of the other Android 3.0 tablets currently on the market. We would have liked to have seen some USB or SD card support like the Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime but Samsung appears to be putting faith in its All Share platform and DLNA instead. Ultimately though, this is another fantastic Samsung tablet that surpasses its 10.1-inch compatriot and is a great alternative to the Apple iPad 2.

 

Read full review

Less

Mobile Syrup

One of the best Android tablets currently available in Canada, but high price and inconsistent performance makes for a cautious buying proposition

from Mobile Syrup

As far as Android tablets go, the Tab 8.9 is currently at the top of the heap. But comparing an Android tablet to the iPad is a completely different conversation than comparing an Android phone to the iPhone. In many ways, we are in a holding pattern: Android 4.0 has yet to be revealed for tablet...More

As far as Android tablets go, the Tab 8.9 is currently at the top of the heap. But comparing an Android tablet to the iPad is a completely different conversation than comparing an Android phone to the iPhone. In many ways, we are in a holding pattern: Android 4.0 has yet to be revealed for tablets, though what we’ve seen of it is far less of an overhaul than we’d hoped. It should bring a strong set of improvements — swipe to exit apps, better performance, more fonts — but it’s unlikely to be the equivalent leap that Android phones experienced going from Gingerbread to Ice Cream Sandwich.

Read full review

Less

Ubergizmo

Great for people who are on-the-go and want to travel light

from Ubergizmo

The Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9 is ta great addition to the Galaxy Tab lineup. The hardware packs an elegant and sleek design combined with great performance, in a thinner and lighter chassis than the Apple tablet. the smaller size (8.9 inch) can be great for road warriors who need to travel light.

Read full review

The Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9 is ta great addition to the Galaxy Tab lineup. The hardware packs an elegant and sleek design combined with great performance, in a thinner and lighter chassis than the Apple tablet. the smaller size (8.9 inch) can be great for road warriors who need to travel light.

Read full review

Less

PhoneArena

Has a sleek profile, lightweight feel, and solid construction

from PhoneArena

Looking at AT&T’s selection of 4G LTE tablets, it’s obviously limited right now with only the Samsung GALAXY Tab 8.9 LTE and the HTC Jetstream. As much as we feel that its $479.99 on-contract ($629.99 outright) is still on the pricey side, since you’ll be tied down with it for 2 whole years...More

Looking at AT&T’s selection of 4G LTE tablets, it’s obviously limited right now with only the Samsung GALAXY Tab 8.9 LTE and the HTC Jetstream. As much as we feel that its $479.99 on-contract ($629.99 outright) is still on the pricey side, since you’ll be tied down with it for 2 whole years, it’s far more tolerable than the outrageous $599.99 on-contract ($849.99) price associated with the HTC Jetstream. At the same time, this 4G LTE enabled version manages to maintain its good build quality, lightweight feel, and sleek profile.

Read full review

Less

TechCrunch

It is uniquely-sized, surprisingly responsive, and well-made

from TechCrunch

I believe that there is such a thing as tablet fatigue and that it set in once the run up to the Motorola Xoom left everyone panting at CES last year. We don’t review a lot of Android tablets simply because we find many of them derivative at best. However, I believe that this device does its be...More

I believe that there is such a thing as tablet fatigue and that it set in once the run up to the Motorola Xoom left everyone panting at CES last year. We don’t review a lot of Android tablets simply because we find many of them derivative at best. However, I believe that this device does its best to avoid the pitfall of fatigue. It is uniquely-sized, surprisingly responsive, and well-made. Purists will complain about the lack of removable storage and the overall pricing scheme because, if you’ll remember, this model comes bundled with a phone, the highly capable Galaxy S II.

Read full review

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SlashGear

It’s the same great Samsung tablet you saw with the original Galaxy Tab 10.1

from SlashGear

Samsung appears to be trying for every single size device here in the smart mobile world, with 10.1-inches, 8.9, 7.7, 7, 5.3, 5, 4.65, 4.52, 4.5, 4.3, and the list goes on and on. No matter what you want, Samsung has you covered in AT LEAST the display size department. The Galaxy Tab 8.9 is the n...More

Samsung appears to be trying for every single size device here in the smart mobile world, with 10.1-inches, 8.9, 7.7, 7, 5.3, 5, 4.65, 4.52, 4.5, 4.3, and the list goes on and on. No matter what you want, Samsung has you covered in AT LEAST the display size department. The Galaxy Tab 8.9 is the nicest size I’ve seen for playing games – not too big, not too small, but I must admit I’ve not personally held the 7.7 in my hands yet, so we’ll see how that ads up when it does.

Read full review

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PC Magazine

The Galaxy Tab 8.9 is better than its larger sibling, delivering the same Android tablet performance in a more compact package with a lower price

from PC Magazine

The Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9 is really just a tweak of the existing 10.1-inch Tab, but that tweak makes it a bit more appealing. It's a little more portable and a little less expensive, without losing a pixel of screen resolution, a hertz of processor speed, or a byte of storage. That said, we have...More

The Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9 is really just a tweak of the existing 10.1-inch Tab, but that tweak makes it a bit more appealing. It's a little more portable and a little less expensive, without losing a pixel of screen resolution, a hertz of processor speed, or a byte of storage. That said, we have the same problem with this tablet that we do with most high-end Android tablets this size: It's going up directly against the iPad, which has far more apps and a stronger ecosystem. Seven-inch Android 3.2 tablets at least have the benefits of being more portable and having phone apps look decent in zoomed mode. But it's hard to argue why the masses, when presented with this device and an iPad, should pick the Tab 8.9. If you're not an Apple fan, though, and you want the thinnest Android tablet you can get, the Tab 8.9 is a solid choice.

Read full review

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Macnn

Many customers may be turned off by the price

from Macnn

When Samsung first introduced the Tab 8.9, we questioned why the company would attempt to fill the gap between seven- and ten-inch tablets. After using the new tablet, however, we found the intermediate size to be preferable over the smaller and larger forms. The Tab 8.9 appears to offer all of the benefits of the Tab 10.1, without shrinking to a size that detracts from the tablet experience....

More

When Samsung first introduced the Tab 8.9, we questioned why the company would attempt to fill the gap between seven- and ten-inch tablets. After using the new tablet, however, we found the intermediate size to be preferable over the smaller and larger forms. The Tab 8.9 appears to offer all of the benefits of the Tab 10.1, without shrinking to a size that detracts from the tablet experience.

Although we preferred the Tab 8.9 over the rest of Samsung's tablet lineup, many customers may be turned off by the price.

Read full review

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Engadget

A little lighter and a little cheaper than the 10.1, but it's also a little bit better

from Engadget

The Galaxy Tab 8.9 exists in a gadget niche so small we weren't convinced it needed to exist. Despite that, the thing fills it admirably well. Given the choice between taking along this guy or its bigger sibling we'd almost universally take the 8.9. The loss in screen size is barely noticeable si...More

The Galaxy Tab 8.9 exists in a gadget niche so small we weren't convinced it needed to exist. Despite that, the thing fills it admirably well. Given the choice between taking along this guy or its bigger sibling we'd almost universally take the 8.9. The loss in screen size is barely noticeable since the resolution is kept the same but the difference in handheld usability is tangible.

Read full review

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