Samsung Galaxy Tab A8 unveiled with specs that can't match Apple's iPad 2021

Samsung Galaxy Tab A8
(Image credit: Samsung)

The Samsung Galaxy Tab A8 was officially unveiled this week, and while it appears well-equipped to be a decent Android tablet, the specs suggest it will have a hard time competing with top-tier devices like the Apple iPad (2021).

Of course, that may not be Samsung's goal for the Galaxy Tab A8. After all, its predecessor was a compelling mid-range tablet that undercut the entry-level iPad by roughly $100. Maybe it couldn't compete with the iPad in terms of power, but in our Samsung Galaxy Tab A7 review we called it one of the best Android tablets on the market thanks to its excellent battery life, pure Android interface and affordable price.

However, we were disappointed by the A7's dim screen and lackluster performance. The cheaper, smaller Samsung Galaxy Tab A7 Lite the company released earlier in 2021 also failed to impress, though it's a decent Android tablet for not a lot of money.

Now Samsung has shown us what to expect from the Galaxy Tab A8, and while it seems like a modest improvement over the A7, it still appears anemic in comparison to Apple's entry-level tablets. But if you're in the market for a new Android tablet, the Galaxy Tab A8 may be just the device for your needs.

Samsung Galaxy Tab A8 specs

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Samsung Galaxy Tab A8 specs
Display10.5-inch TFT display (1920 x 1200 pixels)
Processor2GHz octacore processor
RAM3 - 4 GB
Memory32GB internal storage (3GB RAM model), 64-128GB internal storage (4GB RAM model)
Cameras8MP AF (rear), 5MP (front)
PortsUSB-C 2.0, microSD, 3.5mm headphone jack
ConnectivityWi-Fi 5, Wi-Fi Direct, Bluetooth 5, LTE (optional)
Size9.72 x 6.37 x 0.27 inches
Weight1.12 pounds

Samsung Galaxy Tab A8 pricing and availability

Samsung hasn't yet confirmed much in the way of hard details regarding the Galaxy Tab A8's pricing and availability. 

The company says it will be available for purchase via Samsung's website in Europe by late December 2021, and in the U.S. starting January 2022. No pricing details have yet been announced for either the Wi-Fi or LTE models, but the company has gone so far as to confirm it will be available in your choice of Silver, Gray, or a new Pink Gold color.

Samsung Galaxy Tab A8 design

The Samsung Galaxy Tab A8 is roughly the same size and weight as its predecessor, which is a good thing. It seems the company has done little to alter the winning design of the A7, as the A8 appears to have a similar oblong design with reasonably thin black bezels surrounding the display (Samsung claims it has an 80% screen-to-body ratio).

Samsung Galaxy Tab A8

(Image credit: Samsung)

Inside is a four-speaker array that supports Dolby Atmos, which should make for decent sound quality. We definitely appreciated the speakers on the older A7, though they could get a bit distorted when turned up above 80% volume.

Samsung Galaxy Tab A8 display

The Samsung Galaxy Tab A8 will be roughly the same size as its predecessor, but the screen is slightly larger: 10.5 inches, vs. the 10.4-inch display on last year's Galaxy Tab A7.

However, the new model will have a slightly lower resolution than the A7. The new Samsung Galaxy Tab A8's screen will have a resolution of 1,920 x 1,200 pixels, whereas the old A7 has 2,000 x 1,200 pixels. It's a very small change that likely won't make a difference to the viewing experience, but we'll have to get one in for testing to see for ourselves.

Samsung Galaxy Tab A8 performance

Pricing isn't the only detail Samsung is keeping under wraps for now. The company has also decided to not (yet) officially confirm what processor will be in the Galaxy Tab A8, noting only that it will be a 2GHz octacore chip.

However, there's decent reason to believe it could be the Unisoc Tiger T618, an octacore SoC (system on a chip) with speeds that top out at 2GHz. That's what was tipped to power the tablet when the Samsung Galaxy Tab A8 specs leaked earlier this year, and so far nearly everything in that leak has proven accurate. 

Whatever ends up inside the Tab A8, it will almost certainly be more powerful than the Qualcomm SM6115 SoC that powered the old A7. However, it's unlikely to offer much competition against the A13 Bionic chip powering Apple's 2021 iPad.

Samsung Galaxy Tab A8

(Image credit: Samsung)

The new Samsung Galaxy Tab A8 will be available with either 3GB or 4GB of RAM. The 3GB entry-level model is limited to just 32GB of storage, while the 4GB model can be configured with either 64GB or 128GB of space. Apple's iPad, by comparison, offers 64GB of storage to start and tops out at 256GB — but of course, the iPad doesn't offer a microSD port like the Galaxy Tab A8 does, and you can use that to slot in an external memory card of up to 1TB in size.

Samsung Galaxy Tab A8 cameras

The new Samsung Galaxy Tab A8 will sport a 5MP front camera and an 8MP rear camera, which is roughly the same camera setup (at least, in terms of megapixels) as the one on its predecessor. And that's kind of a letdown, because in our Samsung Galaxy Tab A7 review we outlined our disappointment with its camera array. They work well enough for the price, but we found it hard to take great pictures with them. 

Samsung Galaxy Tab A8

(Image credit: Samsung)

We hope to have better results taking photos with the Galaxy Tab A8, which will also include a new Screen Recorder feature aimed at making it easier to record your screen when you're, say, presenting something important on a call or pulling off a cool play in a game.

The Tab A8 will also support facial recognition, a neat feature we appreciated in its predecessor because it's a premium security feature that even Apple's iPad doesn't offer. 

Samsung Galaxy Tab A8 battery

Last year's Galaxy Tab A7 lasted over 13 hours in our lab battery test, which tasks the tablet with ceaselessly browsing the web over Wi-Fi with its display set to a specific brightness level. A total of 13+ hours is excellent battery life for a tablet, and one of the A7's best features, so we're hopeful the Galaxy Tab A8 can match or exceed that when we get one in for testing next year.

Samsung has yet to make any official battery life claims about the new A8, saying only that it will have a 7,040mAh battery that supports fast charging via Samsung's 15W Adaptive Fast Charger — which appears to be sold separately, unfortunately.

Samsung Galaxy Tab A8 outlook

The Samsung Galaxy Tab A8 appears to be an iterative but worthwhile upgrade over its predecessor, packing slightly better components into a chassis that's roughly the same size and design as last year's Tab A7.

That's not necessarily a bad thing: the Samsung Galaxy Tab A7 is a solid all-round Android tablet with decent performance and outstanding battery life, plus it offers a reasonably pure version of Android, and all for more than $100 less than the cheapest iPad.

The Samsung Galaxy Tab A8 looks likely to offer the same value. If it's priced in roughly the same range as its $229 predecessor, the A8 could be a great mid-range tablet for Android fans in 2022. That value only grows if you already own other Galaxy devices, such as the Samsung Galaxy Book Pro 360 or rumored Samsung Galaxy S22, as Samsung does a good job of ensuring data can easily be shared among Galaxy devices.

Of course, we'll have to wait until we get one in for testing to tell you exactly how the Samsung Galaxy Tab A8 stacks up against the competition. Stay tuned!

Alex Wawro
Senior Editor Computing

Alex Wawro is a lifelong tech and games enthusiast with more than a decade of experience covering both for outlets like Game Developer, Black Hat, and PC World magazine. A lifelong PC builder, he currently serves as a senior editor at Tom's Guide covering all things computing, from laptops and desktops to keyboards and mice.