Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9 review: Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9


Samsung's TouchWiz optimizations allow you to run widgets, such as a calculator, on top of any open Honeycomb app.

Hardware features
When Samsung decided to shrink down the Tab 10.1 to this smaller size, the company did so seemingly without compromising any of the features. You get the same 1GHz dual-core Nvidia Tegra 2 processor, the same vibrant PLS screen quality with excellent viewing angles, same Bluetooth 2.1, 802.11 Wi-Fi a/b/g/n, same GPS, and same front (2-megapixel) and rear (3-megapixel) cameras. Same, same, same.

Unfortunately, all the annoyances of the Tab 10.1 carried over, as well. For example, there's the lack of microSD memory expansion. You still have to use Samsung's adapter to recharge the internal battery. There's no HDMI output (although an adapter can remedy this).

And while we're being picky, it's worth noting that the Tab with its plastic construction (as thin and light as it may be) still doesn't feel as nice as an iPad 2, which can be had for just $30 more.

Tested spec Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9 Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 Sony S Tablet Apple iPad 2
Maximum brightness 372 cd/m2 336 cd/m2 393 cd/m2 432 cd/m2
Default brightness 181 cd/m2 336 cd/m2 160 cd/m2 176 cd/m2
Maximum black level 0.38 cd/m2 0.30 cd/m2 0.47 cd/m2 0.46 cd/m2
Default black level 0.15 cd/m2 0.30 cd/m2 0.19 cd/m2 0.19 cd/m2
Default contrast ratio 1,206:1 1,120:1 842:1 926:1
Contrast ratio (max brightness) 979:1 1,120:1 836:1 939:1

Performance
Just like the Tab 10.1, the Tab 8.9 has an impressive screen. You get the same 1,280x800-pixel resolution packed into a smaller space, so the pixel density is very smooth.

The quality of the rear camera is great, though not as stunning as the camera on the recently reviewed Sony Tablet S. Web speed on the Tab 8.9 is just as zippy as on its big brother, and it should be noted that Adobe Flash 10.2 comes preinstalled (take that, iPad).

Here are our official CNET Labs-tested battery life results. More tablet testing results can be found here.

Video battery life (in hours)
Samsung Galaxy 8.9 8.3

Final thoughts
The Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9 is a slightly shrunken version of the Tab 10.1--pure and simple. What's not immediately obvious until you hold it in your hands is that this smaller size changes, and in many ways eases, the experience of using a Honeycomb tablet. It's a subtle difference, sure, but if you've found other tablets unwieldy, yet worry that 7-inch tablets are too constrained, the Tab 8.9 may be the tablet you've been Goldilocksing for.

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Where to Buy See All

Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9 (16GB)

Part Number: GT-P7310/M16 Released: Oct. 2, 2011
MSRP: $469.00 Low Price: $399.00 See all prices

Quick Specifications See All

  • Release date Oct. 2, 2011
  • Wireless Connectivity Wi-Fi
  • Weight 447 g
  • Type Android 3.1 Honeycomb
  • Operating System Android 3.1 (Honeycomb)
  • Storage 16 GB
About The Author

Donald Bell has spent more than five years as a CNET senior editor, reviewing everything from MP3 players to the first three generations of the Apple iPad. He currently devotes his time to producing How To content for CNET, as well as weekly episodes of CNET's Top 5 video series.