Samsung's cheap new Galaxy Tab A tablets wrap mediocre specs in elegant build quality

galaxy tab a
Credit: Samsung

Samsung is bringing its newfound taste for better-looking products to its latest budget-friendly tablet.

The company recently unveiled the Galaxy Tab A line, which will be available on May 1. While these slates sport rather mediocre specs, they’re wrapped in an elegant, metal chassis. 

It follows the company’s trend of moving away from its reputation for making cheap, plastic products. The Galaxy Note 4 also uses metal and a studier back, while the Galaxy S6 was Samsung’s first smartphone with a glass, non-removable back.

The specs aren’t great, shipping with a 1.2GHz Snapdragon 410 processor, 2GB of RAM, and 16GB of internal storage, which you can bump up to 128GB with a microSD card. The screen resolution is 1024x768, which may feel disappointing if you you’ve been staring at a quad-HD phone all day. It also runs Android Lollipop 5.0 and has many of Samsung’s customizations, such as split-screen multitasking and a kid-friendly mode.

The model with an 8-inch screen will cost $229, with a 9.7-inch version starting at $299. You can get them in white, “smoky titanium” or “smoky blue.” If you want an S-Pen included with the larger model, the price jumps to $349, and pen-equipped models won’t be available until May 21.

The devices will ship with Microsoft Office for Android and an offer 100GB of free OneDrive storage for two years. If any of this is tempting, you can pre-order one from Samsung now.

Why this matters: Samsung is showing that it’s learned that good product design matters, even among devices that aren’t built for the high end. These devices have potential for beating competitors in this price range, as tablets that sell for $300 or less are often unimpressive in the looks department.

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