After spending at least 2 weeks with the Samsung Galaxy Tab A7 Lite, it’s become the device I reach for after work to relax. Carrying a price tag of RM699, it doesn’t boast fancy processors or graphics, but if you can forgive its low-res display in 2021, it’s a tablet that performs well for leisure purposes.
In general, you could refer to it as more of a lifestyle tablet than a mini laptop. Here’s why I personally like it, taking into consideration how it measures up against tablets from other brands in the same price range.
1. A device built purely for leisure
Most of us already have a laptop for work and a phone to stay connected. But some may appreciate a work-life separation where detaching yourself from emails and messages is preferred so you can wind down. Sure, you can turn off notifications, but muscle memory or a tendency to just check on some work apps still won’t give you true peace of mind.
The Tab A7 Lite can fill this device gap, as you can use it solely for gaming, entertainment, and reading since it’s not exactly designed for productivity. It doesn’t come with a stylus or an official keyboard book cover, so you’d likely find typing on the on-screen keyboard too tiring to do work with.
While the tab’s 4GB RAM struggles to bring you the best visuals when it comes to demanding games, it was able to run my current favourite open-world game, Sky: Children of the Light (Sky), just fine.
It even changed my former dislike for this genre of games, as its 8.7-inch screen gave me a more enjoyable, immersive experience compared to my phone’s small screen.
On the downside, you’d have to be content with the pixelated graphics running on the tab’s 1340 x 800 pixels and 179 PPI display. If you’re someone who prefers using tablets for e-readers, however, the lower display quality shouldn’t be a problem.
It doesn’t come with an in-built Game Mode like The Amazon Fire HD 8 (2020) model priced at RM519.99, which is ideal for those who want to play their game in peace with notifications suppressed. However, you’d have to use the browser modes for Google apps (including YouTube) on Amazon’s tab, which comes with a lower resolution of 1280 x 800 pixels as well.
2. Indulgent audio quality for movie binges
Though the low-res display of Samsung’s Tab A7 Lite let me down slightly, its great audio quality redeemed it in my eyes. Equipped with Dolby Atmos stereo speakers, the tab’s audio is loud enough to fill up a small room when you’re binging shows on Netflix.
I find this beneficial, as my ears tend to get fatigued after a long day of wearing earphones for virtual meetings.
Music also sounded crisp and clear on the tab. Though other reviewers have pointed out a lack of bass from its speakers, my taste in pop and musical theatre didn’t suffer too much as they’re genres that are heavy on vocals and treble.
The device has a 3.5mm headphone jack and can connect to Bluetooth earphones too, providing both options should you prefer one over the other. But, the tab doesn’t come with a set of headphones inside the box, which means you’ll need to get a separate pair if you don’t have one already.
Dolby Atmos seems to be a benefit only offered by Samsung and Lenovo devices, and the closest competitor we could find to the Tab A7 Lite’s audio quality is its older sibling, the Tab A7. However, that would cost you RM200 more at RM899.
For a Lenovo option, the latest tablet offering Dolby Atmos is the Lenovo Tab M7 Gen 3. It’s supposedly priced at RM499, but is currently unavailable for purchase.
3. Easily stored in your bag for outings
Because of how lightweight the Tab A7 Lite is at 366g, it’s not only comfortable to hold for long periods when gaming, but also easy to carry around in most bags without straining your shoulders.
It also has a 5,100mAh non-removable battery, which, on a full charge, is enough to get you by for up to 10 hours. So if you’re about to go somewhere and need to pass time while queueing, the Tab A7 Lite can be used to catch up on your pre-downloaded Netflix series.
Though the review unit I got was only wifi enabled, there was at least a micro-SD card slot that allowed me to download up to 1TB of shows to binge-watch, in addition to its 64GB storage.
It can be said that the closest device sporting an equivalent battery life, size, and slightly lighter weight (347g) would be Samsung’s 2019 Galaxy Tab A at RM599. As an older entry-level device, it only comes with 32GB storage and a micro-SD card slot that adds up to 128GB. Though it costs RM100 more, it’s clear that the Tab A7 Lite is a much better deal in this case.
Otherwise, for a similar external storage capacity, the Samsung Galaxy Tab A7 gives you up to 32GB of internal storage with an additional 1TB micro-SD.
4. It’s a family tablet
Though I’m no parent, I’ve babysat most of my cousins when they were toddlers, and I’ve learnt that screens are a godsend when you’re actually trying to focus on a task.
But then you also hear stories like that one of a kid in the Philippines who got 42 foodpanda riders to show up at her home from the app’s malfunction, and think that children shouldn’t be given such power.
Thankfully, parental restrictions can be enabled on the Tab A7 Lite via Samsung Kids. It sets up a separate child-friendly home screen protected by a pin where parents can monitor screen time, set playtime limits, and add apps from Galaxy Apps for Kids.
The Huawei MatePad T8 (RM559) also comes with its own versions of parental controls. It allows you to control and curate the tab’s usage including app, time, and content limits. You can also set which photos and videos your kids are allowed to see on the device.
But with Huawei’s tab unable to bring you Google apps from its US/China trade war, you’d have to download their APK versions which may open the device up to greater vulnerability.
There are many budget-friendly tablets on the market right now, but the Tab A7 Lite is a strong contender. If you’ve never used a tablet before, or you’re thinking of getting one for a beginner user, it’s a great entry-level tablet.
It has its shortcomings, such as the low-res display, but ultimately, how many hours in a day would you really be spending on a leisure tablet? For what it’s able to do, we’d say it’s well worth its price tag.
That being said, it’s important to understand what you want out of a tablet in the first place, and if the points I’ve highlighted above match your demands, the Tab A7 Lite may just be for you.