Samsung Galaxy Tab A7 Lite Review: The Best Tablet for the Price This is an entry-level Android tablet that starts at just $129, and will have a low-end processor (likely an octacore Qualcomm Snapdragon 400), 2GB of RAM, 16GB of storage, a microSD card slot, and an 8MP rear camera. It’s most comparable to the Amazon Fire 7, but includes the 1.2MP front camera and Android 6.0 Marshmallow. The bezels on the front are significantly thicker, and the design of the back is more generic. Samsung includes a S-Pen stylus inaI the box, but it lacks the cool tricks you’d expect from one. The major plus here is the 10.4-inch screen, which isn’t quite as sharp as a 1080p iPad Mini 4 or the full HD Super AMOLED displays on the Surface Pro 4 or even the Lenovo Tab 4 10 Plus.
The Tab A7 is the same light weight as the Fire tablets and has the same grippy matte plastic back. It also looks a lot like an old iPhone, with the antenna line and Home button carved out of the back, and the flat matte sides of the Tab A7 framed in a long strip of matte plastic. It’s a lot sleeker and more refined than the Fire tablets, with a much more metallic appearance. It’s like a metallic iPhone 5S that was meant to be used in the bathroom instead of an office. The plastic base also feels more sturdy than the plastic of the other Fire tablets. Unlike the cheap plastic of the Fire tablets, the Tab A7’s plastic feet actually add a bit of heft. They’re stiff plastic, but the way the metal edges of the bezel add strength, they feel solid and worth the added weight.
While most of the tablets I’ve tested tend to be AMOLED displays, Samsung uses an IPS LCD panel instead, which isn’t quite as vibrant or sharp. It’s perfectly usable, however, and it gets decent daylight visibility. The Tab A7’s speakers are surprisingly impressive, particularly considering how small they are. Even if you’re close to the screen, you can clearly hear the dialogue and have a much better experience than you would with an iPad Mini’s speakers. The speakers are accompanied by Dolby Digital Plus sound processing, which adds some extra depth to what you’re watching. Software The Tab A7 runs a version of Android that’s essentially an iterative upgrade of the Nougat OS found on Samsung’s flagship phones.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab A7 excels at music as well as video. Using two bottom-firing speaker systems with large magnetic pads, it’s able to create stereo sound without the bulky satellite speakers used on most of the competition. The company does not include any software to add spatial awareness, however, so the headphones can be pushed too far from one speaker or other. For a lot of casual music fans that probably won’t be an issue, though for movies I found the drivers to sound too aggressively located, though the soundstage was still surprisingly immersive. I did find myself turning up the volume in the bass and mid-range to get the best out of the audio, however, which is a fairly common practice.
The Tab A7 is powerful, fast, and has enough battery to last me for multiple hours, but what really matters is that it lasts. After two days of Netflixing, reading, and web-browsing, I was only out of juice because I decided to be productive and download two games from the Google Play Store. This isn’t the kind of tablet I can keep playing all day, and the average Android game is best consumed on a PC or laptop — or even better, your phone — so I wasn’t surprised to only get nine hours of usage. Fortunately, the Tab A7 supports quick charging (12% in 30 minutes) and it will be enough to get me through a workday, and possibly a flight if I’m feeling daring.
Powered by Qualcomm’s 1.4 GHz Snapdragon 425 processor, the Tab A7 comes with 2 GB of RAM and 16 GB of internal storage. It’s enough for multitasking, but it lags behind the more powerful hardware in the competition when it comes to editing or video editing. If that’s your goal, you’ll want to look elsewhere. The good news is that Samsung includes a microSD card slot in the back so you can expand the storage to 256 GB. And even though the A7 isn’t sold with a keyboard, the included S Pen can give you more accuracy and flexibility when writing on the screen. It’s an excellent, easy-to-use stylus that comes with a holster and a tiny pen tip that pops out when you’re ready to write.
You should definitely take a look at the Tab A7. The issue is whether you can afford to pay less for a tablet. I think you can: the Tab A7 is about $100 less than the Fire 7 and that’s even cheaper than the Kindle Fire HD. But there are some caveats. The built-in stylus won’t always be there, you won’t be able to easily expand the storage, and you’ll need to pay Amazon’s full $119 price for the 2-year Amazon FreeTime Unlimited service, even if you already have a Prime subscription. That’s for content access on both the device and Amazon’s Fire TV Stick. If you don’t have Prime and don’t mind more ads and limited data access, you’ll save some money.