Tablet screen choice overkill: Samsung's 7-inch Galaxy Tab 3 vs. 8-inch version

Tablet screen choice overkill: Samsung's 7-inch Galaxy Tab 3 vs. 8-inch version

Summary: How do you decide between the 8-inch perfect e-reader sized tablet and the 7-inch Galaxy Tab 3 one that slides into handbags easily? Here's how: You flip a coin.

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Samsung on Monday touted its Galaxy Tab 3 line and the ability to have a size for every technology buyer. The problem: It's not clear that the tablet buyer will really care about a 7-inch Galaxy Tab 3 and an 8-inch one.

galaxy3tab

The Galaxy Tab 3 family, available in the U.S. July 7, comes in three flavors---7 inch, 8 inch and 10.1 inch. I question that intermediate step in screen size. Is there a market of folks who really care about that extra inch of screen or is Samsung having trouble making a decision.

Samsung's strategy is to have screen sizes for everyone. The Galaxy S4 smartphone is huge. So Samsung now has a smaller version. From the phone to the TV, Samsung hits those sizes.

The issue here is that at some point, the screen as competitive advantage strategy will wear thin. Samsung noted that the "Galaxy Tab 3 portfolio has something for everyone." Perhaps Samsung is just throwing screens against the wall to see what sticks.

For its part, Samsung's marketers are already struggling with the distinction between the 7- and 8-inch screens. From Samsung's release:

The Galaxy Tab 3 7.0 is aimed at consumers who are in the market to purchase a portable tablet with all the features and reliability they need to stay connected throughout their daily activities. Built for portability, the Galaxy Tab 3 7.0 allows users to consume and manage content on-the-go. It is compact enough to easily slide into handbags or a jacket pocket so that consumers on-the-go will appreciate its compact size and lightweight design.

The premium Galaxy Tab 3 8.0 product is thin, lightweight, feature-packed and powerful, making it the ideal portable tablet for on-the-go performance. With Samsung’s built-in Reading Mode, the Tab 3 8.0 is the perfect e-reader-sized tablet.

So how do you decide between the 8-inch perfect e-reader sized tablet and the 7-inch Galaxy Tab 3 one that slides into handbags easily? Here's how: You flip a coin.

Topics: Tablets, Samsung, Bring Your Own Device

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34 comments
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  • Complaining about choices?

    Have we really come to the point that it is necessary to complain because companies give us a choice? A whole article to say flip a coin?
    I have a better option you can buy both ( they will still be cheaper than iPad/RT tablets ) and have them both deliver to someone and let them make the decision for you. Then you can feel good about not making the decision. There are plenty of people that will volunteer to be your decision engine.
    alex_darkness
    • I agree with alex on this issue!

      I have the 7 inch Galaxy Tab but when my wife is next to me with her ipad, i wish i had just a tad more screen!! Let the buyer choose!!!
      LawrenceHonable
    • I agree with alex on this issue!

      I have the 7 inch Galaxy Tab but when my wife is next to me with her ipad, i wish i had just a tad more screen!! Let the buyer choose!!!
      LawrenceHonable
    • I agree with alex on this issue!

      I have the 7 inch Galaxy Tab but when my wife is next to me with her ipad, i wish i had just a tad more screen!! Let the buyer choose!!!
      LawrenceHonable
    • I agree

      Samsung could also be offering both in order to determine the "sweet spot" for small sized tablets. It's possible they are trying to see which sells better and they plan to eliminate the less popular size in a future revision. More power to them. I'll take more choices over fewer any day.
      BillDem
      • So they're giving more choice...

        in order to take it away?
        msalzberg
  • I'm not sure having choice is a bad thing.

    Look at how this strategy has worked for Samsung with phones. They were making phones that were being criticized as "to big" to be anything but niche, but now they are top selling models in the world.

    At some level I agree with your point about why have two tablets so close together in screen size, but why not? Their biggest competition is selling at 7 inch and 8 inch sizes, so why ignore either of those markets by only offering one size?

    I'm not sure Samsungs pricing is in line with the specs of their tablets though.
    Emacho
    • It seems like a question of costs and profits in the end...

      I imagine it becomes a drain on profitability if you have to manage two separate form factors with separate components. Even more so when you're possibly not actually appealing to different market segments.... are they assuming that the people who bought 8 inch tablets would have gone elsewhere if only a 7 inch were available or vice versa?
      Jeremy Wilhelm
      • You are right

        Offering more product lines is going to hit margins, but does that outweight ignoring market segments?

        The two most popular selling tablet sizes are 7 inch and 8 inch. Does the increased cost to support two product lines outweight ignoring the competition and one of the two most popular tablets sizes?
        Emacho
      • If you're not sure what one will sell the most, make both

        and discard the under achieving one later on. The alternative is to choose one, and hope you chose wisely.
        William Farrel
  • Forgotten...

    I think we've forgotten the days when we had CRTs... I remember inch sizes of 13, 14, 15, 17, 19... long before we were spoiled by 23" LCD setting on our desks... And it wasn't just one manufacturer putting out all these sizes... EVERYONE did... and with little price difference between sizes sometimes... With tablets... sometimes it's not how big the screen is.. sometimes it's about the overall size... One might by a 7" tablet to fit it in a pocket on a gym bag... while 8" might fit well in a purse or laptop bag... and 10" might be in a briefcase... it's about convenience and choice as opposed to what one size fits all... because different users have different needs.
    Adam Wood
    • CRT sizes

      The different CRT sizes existed because of the different production lines. Initial production was (if I am not wrong) around 10", then 13-14" then 14-15" etc. There were of course specialized higher quality/cost displays at 19/21" but the mainstream production was just one "normal" and one "premium" size. More or less dictated by the existing production lines.

      We saw something like this with LCD displays in the beginning and somehow it still continues.

      It is about the same with tablet screens. For mass market devices, most manufacturers will go with the size that is commodity and can be produced at lowest cost with highest yield. At one point, that might be more than one size. It is also possible that one (or both) of the sizes actually is a surplus of parts produced for an other party...
      danbi
    • Screen size TV, computer, tablet, laptop....

      I agree.
      My first post got hit with a possible spam alert, [Your comment contains words or phrases associated with spam and will not appear on the site until it has been checked by a moderator.] so I am writing it again to hit the spam filters again. As said many times before, an editor like we used to have would be great.
      I am correcting spacing and misspelled words due to my poor typing. Why do we need 19, 22, 25 etc TV screens? The market is full of varying screen sizes. Buy what fits your needs/desires. I have two 19 in screens on my computer at home and here at work.
      Let the market decide which is best in any category, what fits for one situation doesn't always fit someone else's. If that is all we have to write about, then just go find something better. The author must have had a deadline to meet and said to himself: oh, this looks like a controversy I can stir up and write about. I admit I did read this post, but really it is not for someone writing an article to decide what is best, let the company marketers, the buying public, etc. decide what fits.
      I haven't looked at the specs as some of the other commenters have done, if there is a difference in capabilities, there is a difference and not just a duplicate with a different screen size.
      The second time, I tried to post this it came up with some file from ZDNet that wasn't recognized, having to do with MIME asking me to save it or find a program to open it.. I will try a third time here after closing and reopening the page.
      dhays
  • I just read the specs..

    The 8" has a faster processor, more on board storage and more RAM plus it comes with JB 4.2 rather than 4.1. And a higher resolution screen. So if you need to make a decision it's fairly easy. For an extra $100 you get a better tablet. Why not just one size with the top specs? Who knows what goes through the minds of those making the decisions.
    Romas27
    • Exactly

      One has to wonder, why they have different OS versions, when both are released at the same time under the same brand name... go figure.

      It seems those are actually different products...
      danbi
      • Different cpu and hardware needs different builds

        One team probably had existing code to work with designed for their hardware, while the other had to start from scratch (so why not use the latest version of Android). It could be any number of other scenarios.

        Part of the issue with using Android.
        Emacho
  • Don't flip a coin; measure your hands.

    For mini-tablets, holding it in one hand in portrait mode is an important interaction mode, but a larger screen is generally more desirable (until it starts getting too big for your hypothetical handbag or jacket pocket). The size of screen you want is going to depend on how big your hands are, and the more options the better. Having an incremental screen size every inch (or even half-inch) is going to let you pick the size you find most comfortable. No coin flipping necessary!
    Shane Dielschneider
  • more than just screen size

    The 7" isn't just about being smaller. It also has lower specs. It's the budget option. The 8" is called premium for a reason. The specs are all higher (not just screen size alone). Did you bother reading the specs before writing this article?
    pjhenry1216
  • Ridiculous

    "The problem: It's not clear that the tablet buyer will really care about a 7-inch Galaxy Tab 3 and an 8-inch one."

    So whats the problem? The consumer will still buy one. You act like having a choice will send consumers running out to buy an ipad mini.

    Samsung has given consumers choices and is dominating the phone market and gaining fast in the tablet market.
    candide08
  • Pick the one that works as a phone and provides the readability you need.

    I have the Samsung 7.7 inch Gt-P6800 International Tablet/Phone and I have used the Samsung 7.0 Plus GT-P3100 International Tablet/Phone.

    Both fit in a pocket. Both make phone calls using a SIM card. Both are great for web search. Both can have 16 Gigs of memory and then can add a 32 Gig SD card.

    The Gt-P6800 is better for reading or viewing pictures simply because it has higher screen resolution. That is important to me since I also use mine as my retail sales portfolio as part of my business.
    CutRightSharpening