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At $229 — $100 less than what Apple charges—the Samsung Galaxy Tab A7 is priced to knock the entry-level iPad (2020) off its perch as the top tablet. On top of that, it’s got thin bezels and facial recognition, two things that Apple reserves for pricier slates. But is the Tab A7 truly great?
If you prioritize battery life over everything else, the answer is yes. If you’ve been looking for the best Android tablet — one that isn’t overflowing with Amazon’s content, like the Amazon Fire HD 10 — again, this is the best cheap tablet for you. But if you want a fast tablet, and one with a bright screen, this Samsung Galaxy Tab A7 review will be crucial to show you why it doesn’t land higher on our best tablets list.
- Samsung Galaxy Tab A7 (32GB Silver) at Amazon for $239 (opens in new tab)
While the Galaxy Tab A7 makes a strong claim for the throne, its display doesn’t wow — and that’s a problem when a tablet is primarily a screen. So, let’s take a closer look at the Samsung Galaxy Tab A7.
Samsung Galaxy Tab A7 review: Price and availability
The Galaxy Tab A7 starts at $229 at Amazon (opens in new tab), but Samsung’s offering it for $154 (opens in new tab) right now, for savings of $75. I hope it stays that low, as that makes it compellingly close to the $150 Amazon Fire HD 10.
Want twice as much internal storage? Samsung charges $50 extra to go from 32GB to 64GB, though there is a microSD card for expandability as well, allowing you to add up to another terabyte. The company charges $49 for its Tab A7 Book Cover stand, which lets you prop it up with ease.
Samsung Galaxy Tab A7 review: Design
The Samsung Galaxy Tab A7 is a minimalist iPad, and I mean that in the best way possible. Samsung, unlike Apple, recognizes that even the entry-level tablet should have thin bezels and facial recognition, two things you don’t get from the standard iPad.
Available in the pictured and tested dark grey, as well as gold and silver, the Tab A7’s thin bezels practically fade into the background when you use it, and give you an all-screen vibe. Its aluminum shell feels sturdy, but there is a minor amount of give when you grip it.
Weighing 1.1 pounds and measuring 9.8 x 6.2 x 0.3 inches, the Galaxy Tab A7 is thinner than the Amazon Fire HD 10 (1.1 pounds, 10.3 x 6.3 x 0.4 inches) and similar to the Apple iPad (2020) (1.1 pounds, 9.8 x 6.8 x 0.3 inches).
The Tab A7 also gives you USB-C charging, which you also get with the Fire HD 10, but not with the Lightning port-based iPad. It’s also got the aforementioned microSD port for expanding local storage and a headphone jack, because not everyone has gone to Bluetooth yet. The pricier Galaxy Tab S7 doesn’t have a headphone jack, though.
Samsung Galaxy Tab A7 review: Display
The Galaxy Tab A7’s 10.4-inch 2000×1200-pixel produces decent color, which I noticed while watching an episode of the Sam The Cooking Guy on YouTube. The chef’s Nashville Hot-style chicken wings looked so tantalizing I started counting the minutes until dinner was ready.
Specifically, the reds and oranges of these wings popped off the screen, and a close up of the wings allowed me to see the red pepper flakes in the hot sauce that he slathered on top. Then again, the seasoning powder he applied didn’t look as sharp as I’d have liked.
That may be because the Tab A7 has slightly low pixel density of 224 pixels-per-inch, making it less sharp than the 264-ppi iPad 2020’s panel. The 224-ppi Fire HD 10 (10.1-inch, 1920×1200 pixels) has the same density.
According to our Klein K10-A colorimeter, the Galaxy Tab A7 produces 101.7% of the sRGB spectrum, a rating that sits between those of the Fire HD 10 (106%) and the iPad 2020 (97%).
The Galaxy Tab A7 emits up to 329.3 nits of brightness, which falls below both the Fire HD 10 (403 nits) and the even brighter iPad 2020 (484 nits).
That low brightness score may have played a role in why the Tab A7’s screen darkens a fair bit when viewed from 30 degrees to the left or right.
I noticed that the Tab A7’s display offered accurate input tracking as I navigated Android. Websites also scrolled smoothly on in Chrome, though the Samsung Internet browser app didn’t move as fluidly. (This may be more the fault of the software than the screen, though.)
Samsung Galaxy Tab A7 review: Audio
The Galaxy Tab A7 provides good sound for your next streaming experience. Listening to The Clipse’s “When The Last Time” on the tablet, I observed vocals and synths sound crisp and clear … up to about 80% volume. When I turned it up to max volume, the instrumental got a little crunchy and distorted.
You can get a little extra “oomph” out of the Tab A7’s speakers, though. In Settings, under Sound, tap “Sound quality and effects,” and you’ll unlock the Dolby Atmos setting, which bolsters the presence of audio even when not playing Dolby Atmos-branded content.
Samsung Galaxy Tab A7 review: Performance
The Qualcomm Snapdragon 662 (SM6115) processor and 3GB of RAM inside the Tab A7 provide enough speed for everyday activity, but you’ll catch its limits without even trying — like when I jumped in and out of Gmail, Spotify and YouTube, for example. When I split my screen between a 1080p YouTube video and a half dozen Chrome tabs, I noticed a delay when I tapped between tabs.
The Geekbench 5 general performance benchmark gave the Tab A7 a lowly score of 1,405. That pales in comparison to the 2,685 from the iPad (A12 Bionic). We couldn’t even get Geekbench 5 to run on the Fire HD 10.
I could see the A7’s modest processor in action when I played the racing game Asphalt 9: Legends. Even during the introductory race, where the system does nearly all of the work for you, I noticed a visual stutter and clipping that was annoying at best. The Fire HD 10 also chugged a bit.
Samsung Galaxy Tab A7 review: Battery life
The Galaxy Tab A7 packs a ton of battery life. It lasted 13 hours and 13 minutes (which almost feels unlucky, to type out) on the Tom’s Guide battery test (web surfing over Wi-Fi at 150 nits of brightness).
That’s 32 minutes shy of the Fire HD 10’s epic time of 13 hours and 45 minutes, but 16 minutes better than the time from the iPad 2020 (12:57).
Samsung Galaxy Tab A7 review: Security
The Galaxy Tab A7 gets personal security right where others fail. The camera inside the top bezel of the tablet provides facial recognition, something you don’t see in tablets this affordable. Even the iPad, which is $100 more expensive, only has Touch ID fingerprint recognition, which feels quaint in comparison to facial recognition. The Fire HD 10 doesn’t offer any biometric security solution.
Setting facial recognition up was quick and simple, and while it felt slightly slow to register my face to unlock the tablet, I prefer this over a fingerprint method, as it feels more effortless.
That being said, it’s not the 3D facial recognition that you can use for payments on iPhones and other devices, but at this price, we’re neither surprised nor disappointed.
Samsung Galaxy Tab A7 review: Cameras
The Galaxy Tab S7’s 8-megapixel rear camera and 5MP front camera sound sharp on paper, but I had a hard time getting good results out of them.
Images taken with selfie camera looked too soft at first, before I realized that the default settings were adjusting for Smoothness, Tone, Jawline and Eyes (tap the wand icon, tap Face and tap the Face On button to disable). My skin still looked too bright and washed out, even after I fixed that. Photos of a wooden coaster on a wooden chair didn’t look that sharp either.
Samsung Galaxy Tab A7 review: Software
Outside of Apple’s walled garden, the world of affordable Android tablets has needed a competitor like the Galaxy Tab A7. This tablet runs on pure Android, unlike the Fire HD 10, which runs on Fire OS, a fork of Android. This means you can use all of Google’s apps, so you get real Gmail and YouTube, rather than primitive outdated versions of each.
The other big differences between real-deal Android tablets and Amazon’s Fire slates are in their interface. Buy a Fire tablet and you’re signing up for a fire hose of Amazon content to be sprayed at you, via practically every single screen. That’s especially true for the lock screen, which has ads on it unless you pay $15 to remove them — Amazon used to call these “special offers,” but has since seemingly realized that an ad is an ad is an ad, no matter what you name it.
Pure Android tablets like the Tab A7 and iPads are at a more even pace when it comes to apps, though there’s a general consensus that developers put more effort into making iPad apps work.
Samsung Galaxy Tab A7 review: Verdict
I’ve wanted Samsung to field a tablet like the Galaxy Tab A7 for years. Apple’s dominance in the tablet world has made the iPad the de-facto choice, and that’s been boring, to say the least. The Tab A7 is priced at $100 less than the iPad but has a seriously strong set of features, including facial recognition (which the iPad lacks).
More importantly, though, I applaud the Galaxy Tab A7 for its epic battery life and thin bezels, which gives it the endurance and smaller footprint that one looks for in a tablet. If only its screen were a bit brighter and its processor more capable, it could possibly have kicked the iPad off the top of the mountain.
Yes, you could save $70 with the $149 Fire HD 10, but you’d be trading away a ton of apps and biometric security. And those who want the faster speeds and brighter screen of the iPad know that they’ll be spending $100 more to get there. So, for those looking for the ultimate Android tablet, this Samsung Galaxy Tab A7 review has shown you every reason why it’s more than worthy of your consideration.