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Galaxy Tab III - 2014 Edition - Going Beyond a Test Drive

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Samsung Galaxy Tab III 2014 Edition

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You've seen reviews of the Samsung Galaxy Tab III 2014 Edition. Those are a quick spin around the block and can tell you if it's pretty. Here's one that goes in depth on the WiFi version and takes it on the Grand Tour.

The Good: It's tough. It takes drops on the head and the buttons take a beating without complaint. This little item has plenty of storage with the 3 GB as part of the base and the 32 GB that can come standard is more than enough if you add in the maximum 64 GB SD card and offload every app that you can.

The dual quad-core processor has no problem answering the call, but adjusting the settings to keep the CPU at maximum helps. Video playback is smooth in any format. Plenty of nice built in apps like the Polaris suite and a minimum of bloatware that can't be uninstalled. Bluetooth is a snap for pairing and the range is very good.

The Bad: There's the usual android stuff such as having to load extra apps to view some video types and there's a known problem with Samsung having a lag in response time. While the weight is minimal compared to earlier iterations, it will strain after a while. The front camera really isn't that great. The pictures are fine, but no one has been able to explain why the Samsung phones have much better imaging capability than their flagship tablet. Printing requires additional software, since that capability hasn't been standardized yet.

Battery life is nowhere near what's claimed if you use the screen, but hey, who really needs that pesky thing? If you just want to check e-mail a couple of times a day, you are set. Otherwise, bring a charger and a nice long cord. With luck you can get an 90-120 minutes of solid use with the screen on, but that's about it.

The Ugly: When will everyone switch over to matte screens? Glare and fingerprints are a serious annoyance, but there are some very good screen protectors out there pretty cheap. Unless you're a true minimalist a la Fred Sandback, get the black one model. The white is a real pain to keep clean. While most of the physical design works well, there is a tiny gap between the bezel and screen that traps a truly amazing amount of, well ... stuff.

The Dumb: Lastly, the micro USB port is on the bottom. When you put the tablet in a case, you can't charge without putting it in upside down and losing the rear camera capability. That would be fine if there was a good selection of usable docking stations, but unfortunately, there aren't many that can act as folio covers, so it's an either/or choice, which consumers never like. The port takes a strain from the weird angles required to charge the unit while in use, so that very well may be a long-term shortcoming.

Short version: The Samsung Galaxy Tab III 2014 Edition an has great capabilities for most everyday uses and at the leading edge of capability in it's class. You won't regret the purchase, even with the premium price.

Feel free to contact your reviewer via e-mail at lp@bravozulusolutions.com or on twitter @PayneLance.

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