Notebookcheck

Samsung Galaxy Tab Active Tablet Review

Daniel Schmidt, Tanja Hinum (translated by Liala Stieglitz), 02/24/2015

A bit of business. Samsung wants to participate more strongly in the business field with its Galaxy Tab Active. The tablet is not only dust and waterproof, but it also protected against drops. It might just be an interesting alternative for field workers with LTE and stylus inputting.

For the original German review, see here.

Samsung's Galaxy Tab Active is an 8-inch tablet that is primarily aimed at business customers. It is dust and waterproof, and it also allegedly withstands drops from a height of up to 1.2 meters with its so-called Protective Cover+. The tablet connects to the Internet via LTE, and the mid-range processor comes from Qualcomm. The RRP of 499 Euros (~$566) is relatively low for the tablet.

Sony's Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact bears a similar price tag, and it is also IP certified. However, it is not protected against drops. Categorical business devices, such as the Toughpads by Panasonic, are even more robust, but they are also considerably pricier.

Case

Corning Gorilla Glass protects the display.
Corning Gorilla Glass protects the display.
The battery can be removed.
The battery can be removed.

Samsung's Galaxy Tab Active is surprisingly slim and light for such a robust tablet. It is not even ten millimeters high and weighs just 395 grams. However, it has to be in the Protective Cover+ - a bumper made of thick rubber - to ensure the drop protection. The tablet's size then increases visibly, and it gains 101 grams. The Xperia Z3 Compact consumer tablet (6.4 mm, 271 grams) lives up to its name and presents itself significantly slimmer and lighter.

The build makes a good impression. The gaps are flush and virtually invisible. 24 small clips keep the back very firmly in place. However, this fastening produced a lot of noise in our twisting attempts because single parts are pressed out of their notch and cause an audible cracking noise. Thus, it is important to regularly check whether the back cover is tight because the Tab Active would no longer be waterproof. The IP67 certification specifies that the device is dust protected and waterproof as long as it is not submerged deeper than one meter and for at most 30 minutes in fresh water. The casing is completely made of plastic, and the micro-USB port does not have to be closed with a frustrating cover.

The entire back can be removed, allowing access to the exchangeable battery, micro-SD and micro-SIM slots. Both slots are stacked and are simple openings without eject mechanisms. The micro-SD card does not fit very tight and wobbles slightly in its slot.

Connectivity

The micro-SD port of Samsung's Galaxy Tab Active is used for both recharging the device and sharing data with computers. The port also supports OTG, making it possible to connect USB flash drives and external input devices.

The micro-SD card slot should support memory cards with a maximum capacity of 64 GB. The tablet can allegedly be used in temperatures ranging from -20 °C and +60 °C. Since we did not want to damage the device, we did not check these specifications. However, the specs should be regarded with suspicion since they are at the limits of the lithium-ion battery.

Upper edge: microphone
Upper edge: microphone
Left: docking port
Left: docking port
Lower edge: audio, micro USB, microphone
Lower edge: audio, micro USB, microphone
Right: power, volume
Right: power, volume
The stylus is inserted into the bumper's upper edge.
The stylus is inserted into the bumper's upper edge.
Left side with bumper
Left side with bumper
Lower edge with bumper
Lower edge with bumper
Right side with bumper
Right side with bumper

Software

Samsung relies on Google's Android 4.4.4 operating system in conjunction with its proprietary TouchWiz interface in the Galaxy Tab Active. Samsung KNOX 2.1 is to ensure more security and a better integration in the company's infrastructure. Besides that, the manufacturer only installs its own app store and a free version of Hancom office. Other third-party software is not preloaded.

Communication & GPS

Samsung's Galaxy Tab Active can fall back on a Wi-Fi module that supports the IEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n standards. Although that excludes the high-speed ac standard, both the 2.4 and 5.0 GHz bandwidths are available. The range is also really good. The attenuation fluctuated between -40 and -44 dBm in the immediate vicinity of the router (Fritz!Box 6360, 2.4 GHz). We measured -58 to -68 dBm approximately 20 meters away from the signal source. The tablet displayed a good connection quality, and Internet browsing was possible without noteworthy lags.

The Tab Active connects to the Internet via HSPA+ (max. 42 Mbps) or LTE Cat.4 on-the-go. Samsung includes a wide frequency coverage so that no problems should occur in foreign countries as long as it is not the Far East. NFC and Bluetooth 4.0 round off the communication equipment.

GPS Test: indoors
GPS Test: indoors
GPS Test: outdoors
GPS Test: outdoors

Samsung's Galaxy Tab Active uses GPS and Glonass for tracking. Localization is even possible indoors, but it needs a few minutes. We could not test the accuracy with the bike this time for health reasons and had to take the car instead. The review sample did a decent job, and its results are very close to those of the Garmin Edge 500. However, the accuracy has its limits as the drive through the traffic circle shows.

Samsung Galaxy Tab Active
Samsung Galaxy Tab Active
Samsung Galaxy Tab Active
Samsung Galaxy Tab Active
Samsung Galaxy Tab Active
Samsung Galaxy Tab Active
Garmin Edge 500
Garmin Edge 500
Garmin Edge 500
Garmin Edge 500
Garmin Edge 500
Garmin Edge 500

Cameras

The webcam in Samsung's Galaxy Tab Active has a resolution of 1.2 MP (1280x960 pixels, 4:3) and suffices for undemanding video telephony in good light conditions. Heavy noise soon evolves in low light.

The primary camera on the rear is not a pixel machine either with a maximum resolution of 3.1 MP (2048x1536 pixels, 4:3). Its main job is scanning compatible barcodes. The image quality is middling. The colors exhibit a light reddish cast, and the pictures always look a bit blurry. The image quality also decreases rapidly and heavy noise becomes visible in low-light conditions here. At least the LED flash can help in some situations. Videos can be recorded in the small HD resolution (720p, 1280x720 pixels, 16:9).

Image Comparison

Choose a scene and navigate within the first image. One click changes the position on touchscreens. One click on the zoomed-in image opens the original in a new window. The first image shows the scaled photograph of the test device.

Scene 1Scene 2Scene 3

Accessories

In addition to a modular power supply and the corresponding cord (10.6 watts, 5.2 volts, 2 amperes), Samsung's Galaxy Tab Active is shipped with the Protective Cover+ with an inserted, capacitive stylus.

There should be plenty of optional accessories to match the claim. However, nothing is listed in Samsung's online shop - not a cover or a docking station for using the touted Pogo pins. A fitting car holder would certainly also be useful. Some third-party manufacturers have that in their product lines.

Warranty

Samsung includes a 24-month warranty on its product, which can be extended up to three years with the Mobile Care Package that is to provide extensive service. Unfortunately, this is not yet available in Germany.

Input Devices & Controls

A capacitive stylus is inserted into the cover.
A capacitive stylus is inserted into the cover.

Samsung's Galaxy Tab Active has a capacitive touchscreen that supports up to ten fingers simultaneously. The accuracy is good, but two fingers are detected as one when they are placed directly beside each other on the screen. Gestures are implemented quickly. The surface's sleekness does not give reason for complaint. That, however, looks different when water is on the screen. The touchscreen remains to be extremely responsive - much to the user's chagrin.

The included stylus replaces the finger and is to enable inputting with gloves. It will be difficult to pull out the capacitive stylus from its opening with thick gloves. A touch-sensitive surface that makes it possible to input with gloves would have certainly been more appreciated. However, problems with Google's operating system would evolve because the displayed content is relatively small. One or more freely configurable buttons, like in the Toughpad JT-B1, would have been useful, and they would allow directly opening correspondingly optimized apps. The stylus is therefore a compromise. It is not an S Pen because the screen does not support digitizers.

However, the physical Android buttons below the screen are practical. Feeling them is always possible, and they have a decent pressure point. The power and volume button on the right are quite smooth-running and only have a short drop.

The virtual keyboard is identical with the ones in most of Samsung's mobile devices. Owners of such a product will not have to readjust. The keyboard is well designed and has an additional row of numbers. The automatic word suggestion appears above that when typing a text.

Portrait mode
Portrait mode
Landscape mode
Landscape mode

Display

The screen in the Tab Active has a resolution of 1280x800 pixels.
The screen in the Tab Active has a resolution of 1280x800 pixels.

Samsung's Galaxy Tab Active has an 8-inch screen with a resolution of 1280x800 pixels. That equals an aspect ratio of 16:10 and pixel density of approximately 189 ppi. The latter is not exceptionally high; our review sample is on par with devices such as LG's G Pad 8.0. Content is displayed sharp enough, but small texts can get a bit pixelated sometimes.

The maximum brightness of 463 cd/m² drops to 395 cd/m² in some places. That results in a mediocre brightness distribution. The slightly increased black level prevents the contrast ratio from achieving a top rate, but it is still decent. However, all contenders in the comparison field have a better contrast.

395
cd/m²
414
cd/m²
461
cd/m²
404
cd/m²
424
cd/m²
463
cd/m²
409
cd/m²
414
cd/m²
447
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 463 cd/m² Average: 425.7 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 85 %
Center on Battery: 424 cd/m²
Contrast: 606:1 (Black: 0.7 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 5.7 | 0.4-29.43 Ø6.2
ΔE Greyscale 5.76 | 0.64-98 Ø6.5
Gamma: 2.36
Samsung Galaxy Tab Active
Adreno 305, 400 MSM8926, 16 GB eMMC Flash
Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact
Adreno 330, 801 MSM8974AC, 16 GB eMMC Flash
Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4
Adreno 330, 800 MSM8974, 16 GB eMMC Flash
Panasonic Toughpad JT-B1
SGX540, OMAP 4460, 16 GB iNAND Flash
LG G Pad 8.0 V480
Adreno 305, 400 MSM8226, 16 GB eMMC Flash
Screen
9%
27%
-15%
2%
Brightness middle
424
531
25%
406
-4%
595
40%
333
-21%
Brightness
426
518
22%
406
-5%
561
32%
311
-27%
Brightness Distribution
85
91
7%
93
9%
77
-9%
85
0%
Black Level *
0.7
0.66
6%
0.47
33%
0.92
-31%
0.54
23%
Contrast
606
805
33%
864
43%
647
7%
617
2%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
5.7
6.29
-10%
3.43
40%
9.02
-58%
4.64
19%
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
5.76
7.04
-22%
1.51
74%
10.86
-89%
4.78
17%
Gamma
2.36 93%
2.78 79%
2.51 88%
2.41 91%
2.63 84%
CCT
7236 90%
8600 76%
6571 99%
12882 50%
6458 101%
Color Space (Percent of AdobeRGB 1998)
73.75

* ... smaller is better

The color accuracy is more secondary in these kinds of business devices. Samsung's Galaxy Active does not quite reflect that. The average DeltaE rates confirm that color shifts will be visible, but the review sample still presents better values than, for example, the Xperia Z3 Tablet CompactPanasonic's Toughpad treats this category traditionally. Its color and grayscale shifts are very visible.

Grayscale (target color space: sRGB)
Grayscale (target color space: sRGB)
Color Management (target color space: sRGB)
Color Management (target color space: sRGB)
Saturation Sweeps (target color space: sRGB)
Saturation Sweeps (target color space: sRGB)
ColorChecker (target color space: sRGB)
ColorChecker (target color space: sRGB)

The outdoor suitability is important for a business tablet. However, the reflective surface and the not very convincing contrast ratio lead to a pale image even on cloudy days. It is even more difficult to recognize anything on the screen in direct sunlight.

The viewing-angle stability of the not closer specified TFT screen in Samsung's Galaxy Tab Active is really good. Color deviations do not evolve even in very flat viewing angles. Only the brightness decreases slightly. We did not ascertain ghosting although the glass has a visible distance to the display.

Viewing-angle stability: Samsung Galaxy Tab Active
Viewing-angle stability: Samsung Galaxy Tab Active

Performance

Samsung's Galaxy Tab Active is based on a Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 MSM8926 processor that is supported by 1.5 GB of working memory and can fall back on the Adreno 305 for graphics calculations. The system performance is decent, but minor stutters will be noticed occasionally. The system needs a moment to gather itself particularly when more performance-demanding apps are closed.

The mid-range SoC made a solid impression in the benchmarks. The quad-core CPU always provides the available performance reliably. Throttling was not noticed. LG's G Pad 8.0 based on the same SoC achieves slightly weaker scores in the benchmarks. The graphics performance is also on the expected level.

Geekbench 3
32 Bit Multi-Core Score (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy Tab Active
1142 Points ∼4%
Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact
2710 Points ∼9% +137%
Panasonic Toughpad JT-B1
796 Points ∼3% -30%
Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4
2782 Points ∼9% +144%
LG G Pad 8.0 V480
1047 Points ∼3% -8%
Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 10.1
1147 Points ∼4% 0%
Lenovo Yoga Tablet 10 HD+
1489 Points ∼5% +30%
32 Bit Single-Core Score (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy Tab Active
340 Points ∼7%
Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact
993 Points ∼21% +192%
Panasonic Toughpad JT-B1
427 Points ∼9% +26%
Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4
915 Points ∼19% +169%
LG G Pad 8.0 V480
326 Points ∼7% -4%
Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 10.1
343 Points ∼7% +1%
Lenovo Yoga Tablet 10 HD+
435 Points ∼9% +28%
Linpack Android / IOS
Multi Thread (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy Tab Active
221.347 MFLOPS ∼7%
Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact
799.368 MFLOPS ∼27% +261%
Panasonic Toughpad JT-B1
76.562 MFLOPS ∼3% -65%
Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4
664.042 MFLOPS ∼22% +200%
Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4
664.042 MFLOPS ∼22% +200%
LG G Pad 8.0 V480
236.891 MFLOPS ∼8% +7%
Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 10.1
225 MFLOPS ∼8% +2%
Lenovo Yoga Tablet 10 HD+
281 MFLOPS ∼10% +27%
Single Thread (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy Tab Active
71.591 MFLOPS ∼7%
Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact
403.045 MFLOPS ∼39% +463%
Panasonic Toughpad JT-B1
52.858 MFLOPS ∼5% -26%
Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4
379.336 MFLOPS ∼37% +430%
Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4
379.336 MFLOPS ∼37% +430%
LG G Pad 8.0 V480
84.086 MFLOPS ∼8% +17%
Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 10.1
81 MFLOPS ∼8% +13%
Lenovo Yoga Tablet 10 HD+
113 MFLOPS ∼11% +58%
AnTuTu v5 - Total Score (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy Tab Active
18774 Points ∼23%
Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact
41749 Points ∼52% +122%
LG G Pad 8.0 V480
17949 Points ∼22% -4%
Smartbench 2012
Gaming Index (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy Tab Active
3098 points ∼67%
Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact
4354 points ∼95% +41%
Panasonic Toughpad JT-B1
2253 points ∼49% -27%
LG G Pad 8.0 V480
2965 points ∼64% -4%
Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 10.1
2946 points ∼64% -5%
Lenovo Yoga Tablet 10 HD+
1651 points ∼36% -47%
Productivity Index (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy Tab Active
4839 points ∼26%
Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact
8430 points ∼45% +74%
Panasonic Toughpad JT-B1
3402 points ∼18% -30%
LG G Pad 8.0 V480
5117 points ∼27% +6%
Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 10.1
4859 points ∼26% 0%
Lenovo Yoga Tablet 10 HD+
6316 points ∼34% +31%
3DMark
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Physics (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy Tab Active
7763 Points ∼10%
Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact
13832 Points ∼18% +78%
Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4
15614 Points ∼20% +101%
LG G Pad 8.0 V480
7983 Points ∼10% +3%
Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 10.1
6568 Points ∼8% -15%
Lenovo Yoga Tablet 10 HD+
8880 Points ∼11% +14%
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Graphics Score (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy Tab Active
4166 Points ∼1%
Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact
19885 Points ∼4% +377%
Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4
15390 Points ∼3% +269%
LG G Pad 8.0 V480
4108 Points ∼1% -1%
Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 10.1
4110 Points ∼1% -1%
Lenovo Yoga Tablet 10 HD+
3528 Points ∼1% -15%
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Score (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy Tab Active
4644 Points ∼2%
Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact
18123 Points ∼9% +290%
Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4
15439 Points ∼7% +232%
LG G Pad 8.0 V480
4605 Points ∼2% -1%
Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 10.1
4485 Points ∼2% -3%
Lenovo Yoga Tablet 10 HD+
4074 Points ∼2% -12%
GFXBench 3.0
off screen Manhattan Offscreen OGL (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy Tab Active
1.6 fps ∼0%
Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact
11.6 fps ∼0% +625%
Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4
10.7 fps ∼0% +569%
Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4
10.7 fps ∼0% +569%
Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 10.1
1.6 fps ∼0% 0%
Lenovo Yoga Tablet 10 HD+
2 fps ∼0% +25%
on screen Manhattan Onscreen OGL (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy Tab Active
3.5 fps ∼0%
Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact
11.7 fps ∼0% +234%
Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4
5.8 fps ∼0% +66%
Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4
5.8 fps ∼0% +66%
LG G Pad 8.0 V480
3.8 fps ∼0% +9%
Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 10.1
3.5 fps ∼0% 0%
Lenovo Yoga Tablet 10 HD+
1.9 fps ∼0% -46%
GFXBench (DX / GLBenchmark) 2.7
1920x1080 T-Rex HD Offscreen C24Z16 (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy Tab Active
5.8 fps ∼0%
Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact
27.4 fps ∼0% +372%
Panasonic Toughpad JT-B1
1 fps ∼0% -83%
Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4
25.9 fps ∼0% +347%
Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4
25.9 fps ∼0% +347%
LG G Pad 8.0 V480
5.8 fps ∼0% 0%
Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 10.1
5.9 fps ∼0% +2%
Lenovo Yoga Tablet 10 HD+
5.6 fps ∼0% -3%
T-Rex HD Onscreen C24Z16 (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy Tab Active
10 fps ∼0%
Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact
27.6 fps ∼1% +176%
Panasonic Toughpad JT-B1
2.7 fps ∼0% -73%
Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4
17.1 fps ∼1% +71%
Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4
17.1 fps ∼1% +71%
LG G Pad 8.0 V480
10.3 fps ∼0% +3%
Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 10.1
10.1 fps ∼0% +1%
Lenovo Yoga Tablet 10 HD+
5.6 fps ∼0% -44%
Vellamo 3.x
Metal (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy Tab Active
804 Points ∼22%
Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact
1575 Points ∼42% +96%
LG G Pad 8.0 V480
800 Points ∼21% 0%
Multicore Beta (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy Tab Active
1005 Points ∼22%
Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact
1849 Points ∼41% +84%
LG G Pad 8.0 V480
1222 Points ∼27% +22%
BaseMark OS II
Graphics (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy Tab Active
355 Points ∼1%
Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact
2805 Points ∼10% +690%
LG G Pad 8.0 V480
412 Points ∼1% +16%
Memory (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy Tab Active
324 Points ∼5%
Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact
609 Points ∼10% +88%
LG G Pad 8.0 V480
558 Points ∼9% +72%
System (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy Tab Active
881 Points ∼5%
Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact
1432 Points ∼9% +63%
LG G Pad 8.0 V480
758 Points ∼5% -14%
Overall (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy Tab Active
496 Points ∼6%
Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact
1176 Points ∼14% +137%
LG G Pad 8.0 V480
558 Points ∼7% +13%

Legend

 
Samsung Galaxy Tab Active Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 MSM8926, Qualcomm Adreno 305, 16 GB eMMC Flash
 
Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 MSM8974AC, Qualcomm Adreno 330, 16 GB eMMC Flash
 
Panasonic Toughpad JT-B1 Texas Instruments OMAP 4460, PowerVR SGX540, 16 GB iNAND Flash
 
Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4 Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 MSM8974, Qualcomm Adreno 330, 16 GB eMMC Flash
 
LG G Pad 8.0 V480 Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 MSM8226, Qualcomm Adreno 305, 16 GB eMMC Flash
 
Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 10.1 Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 MSM8226, Qualcomm Adreno 305, 16 GB SSD
 
Lenovo Yoga Tablet 10 HD+ Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 APQ8028, Qualcomm Adreno 305, 16 GB eMMC Flash

We checked the browser performance using the preloaded Google Chrome 40. Websites opened quite fast subjectively, but it cannot hold a candle to the Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact with a stronger SoC in the benchmarks. This speed difference is not only measurable, it is also noticed.

Octane V2 - Total Score (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy Tab Active
Adreno 305, 400 MSM8926, 16 GB eMMC Flash
1891 Points ∼4%
Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact
Adreno 330, 801 MSM8974AC, 16 GB eMMC Flash
4754 Points ∼10% +151%
Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4
Adreno 330, 800 MSM8974, 16 GB eMMC Flash
4065 Points ∼8% +115%
LG G Pad 8.0 V480
Adreno 305, 400 MSM8226, 16 GB eMMC Flash
1989 Points ∼4% +5%
Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 10.1
Adreno 305, 400 MSM8226, 16 GB SSD
1482 Points ∼3% -22%
Lenovo Yoga Tablet 10 HD+
Adreno 305, 400 APQ8028, 16 GB eMMC Flash
1759 Points ∼4% -7%
Vellamo 3.x - Browser (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy Tab Active
Adreno 305, 400 MSM8926, 16 GB eMMC Flash
1679 Points ∼22%
Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact
Adreno 330, 801 MSM8974AC, 16 GB eMMC Flash
3011 Points ∼40% +79%
LG G Pad 8.0 V480
Adreno 305, 400 MSM8226, 16 GB eMMC Flash
1644 Points ∼22% -2%
BaseMark OS II - Web (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy Tab Active
Adreno 305, 400 MSM8926, 16 GB eMMC Flash
595 Points ∼29%
Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact
Adreno 330, 801 MSM8974AC, 16 GB eMMC Flash
783 Points ∼38% +32%
LG G Pad 8.0 V480
Adreno 305, 400 MSM8226, 16 GB eMMC Flash
559 Points ∼27% -6%
WebXPRT 2013
Offline Notes (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy Tab Active
Adreno 305, 400 MSM8926, 16 GB eMMC Flash
3350.3 ms * ∼70%
Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact
Adreno 330, 801 MSM8974AC, 16 GB eMMC Flash
1498.6 ms * ∼31% +55%
Panasonic Toughpad JT-B1
SGX540, OMAP 4460, 16 GB iNAND Flash
1798.4 ms * ∼38% +46%
Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4
Adreno 330, 800 MSM8974, 16 GB eMMC Flash
1065.1 ms * ∼22% +68%
LG G Pad 8.0 V480
Adreno 305, 400 MSM8226, 16 GB eMMC Flash
2311.6 ms * ∼48% +31%
Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 10.1
Adreno 305, 400 MSM8226, 16 GB SSD
2500 ms * ∼52% +25%
Lenovo Yoga Tablet 10 HD+
Adreno 305, 400 APQ8028, 16 GB eMMC Flash
2450 ms * ∼51% +27%
Stocks Dashboard (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy Tab Active
Adreno 305, 400 MSM8926, 16 GB eMMC Flash
3040.9 ms * ∼81%
Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact
Adreno 330, 801 MSM8974AC, 16 GB eMMC Flash
1202.2 ms * ∼32% +60%
Panasonic Toughpad JT-B1
SGX540, OMAP 4460, 16 GB iNAND Flash
1787.1 ms * ∼48% +41%
Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4
Adreno 330, 800 MSM8974, 16 GB eMMC Flash
1077.1 ms * ∼29% +65%
LG G Pad 8.0 V480
Adreno 305, 400 MSM8226, 16 GB eMMC Flash
2368.2 ms * ∼63% +22%
Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 10.1
Adreno 305, 400 MSM8226, 16 GB SSD
2411 ms * ∼64% +21%
Lenovo Yoga Tablet 10 HD+
Adreno 305, 400 APQ8028, 16 GB eMMC Flash
1686 ms * ∼45% +45%
Face Detection (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy Tab Active
Adreno 305, 400 MSM8926, 16 GB eMMC Flash
3577.4 ms * ∼30%
Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact
Adreno 330, 801 MSM8974AC, 16 GB eMMC Flash
1766.3 ms * ∼15% +51%
Panasonic Toughpad JT-B1
SGX540, OMAP 4460, 16 GB iNAND Flash
3823.7 ms * ∼32% -7%
Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4
Adreno 330, 800 MSM8974, 16 GB eMMC Flash
1665.4 ms * ∼14% +53%
LG G Pad 8.0 V480
Adreno 305, 400 MSM8226, 16 GB eMMC Flash
4701.2 ms * ∼39% -31%
Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 10.1
Adreno 305, 400 MSM8226, 16 GB SSD
5617 ms * ∼46% -57%
Lenovo Yoga Tablet 10 HD+
Adreno 305, 400 APQ8028, 16 GB eMMC Flash
3810 ms * ∼31% -7%
Photo Effects (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy Tab Active
Adreno 305, 400 MSM8926, 16 GB eMMC Flash
1678.3 ms * ∼19%
Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact
Adreno 330, 801 MSM8974AC, 16 GB eMMC Flash
755.8 ms * ∼8% +55%
Panasonic Toughpad JT-B1
SGX540, OMAP 4460, 16 GB iNAND Flash
3042.6 ms * ∼34% -81%
Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4
Adreno 330, 800 MSM8974, 16 GB eMMC Flash
992.8 ms * ∼11% +41%
LG G Pad 8.0 V480
Adreno 305, 400 MSM8226, 16 GB eMMC Flash
1773.7 ms * ∼20% -6%
Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 10.1
Adreno 305, 400 MSM8226, 16 GB SSD
2613 ms * ∼29% -56%
Lenovo Yoga Tablet 10 HD+
Adreno 305, 400 APQ8028, 16 GB eMMC Flash
2044 ms * ∼23% -22%
Overall Score (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy Tab Active
Adreno 305, 400 MSM8926, 16 GB eMMC Flash
148 Points ∼7%
Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact
Adreno 330, 801 MSM8974AC, 16 GB eMMC Flash
334 Points ∼15% +126%
Panasonic Toughpad JT-B1
SGX540, OMAP 4460, 16 GB iNAND Flash
168 Points ∼7% +14%
Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4
Adreno 330, 800 MSM8974, 16 GB eMMC Flash
360 Points ∼16% +143%
LG G Pad 8.0 V480
Adreno 305, 400 MSM8226, 16 GB eMMC Flash
160 Points ∼7% +8%
Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 10.1
Adreno 305, 400 MSM8226, 16 GB SSD
135 Points ∼6% -9%
Lenovo Yoga Tablet 10 HD+
Adreno 305, 400 APQ8028, 16 GB eMMC Flash
174 Points ∼8% +18%
Mozilla Kraken 1.1 - Total Score (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy Tab Active
Adreno 305, 400 MSM8926, 16 GB eMMC Flash
17355.5 ms * ∼29%
Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact
Adreno 330, 801 MSM8974AC, 16 GB eMMC Flash
6963.2 ms * ∼12% +60%
Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4
Adreno 330, 800 MSM8974, 16 GB eMMC Flash
6954.9 ms * ∼12% +60%
LG G Pad 8.0 V480
Adreno 305, 400 MSM8226, 16 GB eMMC Flash
14907.4 ms * ∼25% +14%
Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 10.1
Adreno 305, 400 MSM8226, 16 GB SSD
15103.6 ms * ∼25% +13%
Sunspider - 1.0 Total Score (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy Tab Active
Adreno 305, 400 MSM8926, 16 GB eMMC Flash
2616.2 ms * ∼29%
Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact
Adreno 330, 801 MSM8974AC, 16 GB eMMC Flash
1054.8 ms * ∼12% +60%
Panasonic Toughpad JT-B1
SGX540, OMAP 4460, 16 GB iNAND Flash
1096.4 ms * ∼12% +58%
LG G Pad 8.0 V480
Adreno 305, 400 MSM8226, 16 GB eMMC Flash
1034.2 ms * ∼11% +60%
Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 10.1
Adreno 305, 400 MSM8226, 16 GB SSD
983.4 ms * ∼11% +62%
Lenovo Yoga Tablet 10 HD+
Adreno 305, 400 APQ8028, 16 GB eMMC Flash
957.5 ms * ∼10% +63%

* ... smaller is better

Samsung's Galaxy Tab Active has 16 GB of internal flash memory. Roughly 11.3 GB is available for use. The storage can be expanded via a micro-SD card if that is not enough. The slot accepts media with a capacity of 64 GB. Furthermore, the system supports App2SD, making it possible to move applications to the micro-SD card.

The storage speed is outstanding and outruns all contenders in the comparison field.

AndroBench 3-5
Random Write 4KB (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy Tab Active
Adreno 305, 400 MSM8926, 16 GB eMMC Flash
9.76 MB/s ∼6%
Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact
Adreno 330, 801 MSM8974AC, 16 GB eMMC Flash
1.53 MB/s ∼1% -84%
Panasonic Toughpad JT-B1
SGX540, OMAP 4460, 16 GB iNAND Flash
0.58 MB/s ∼0% -94%
Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4
Adreno 330, 800 MSM8974, 16 GB eMMC Flash
1.49 MB/s ∼1% -85%
LG G Pad 8.0 V480
Adreno 305, 400 MSM8226, 16 GB eMMC Flash
1.72 MB/s ∼1% -82%
Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 10.1
Adreno 305, 400 MSM8226, 16 GB SSD
1.83 MB/s ∼1% -81%
Lenovo Yoga Tablet 10 HD+
Adreno 305, 400 APQ8028, 16 GB eMMC Flash
0.8 MB/s ∼0% -92%
Random Read 4KB (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy Tab Active
Adreno 305, 400 MSM8926, 16 GB eMMC Flash
20.24 MB/s ∼12%
Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact
Adreno 330, 801 MSM8974AC, 16 GB eMMC Flash
10.75 MB/s ∼6% -47%
Panasonic Toughpad JT-B1
SGX540, OMAP 4460, 16 GB iNAND Flash
10.4 MB/s ∼6% -49%
Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4
Adreno 330, 800 MSM8974, 16 GB eMMC Flash
9.48 MB/s ∼5% -53%
LG G Pad 8.0 V480
Adreno 305, 400 MSM8226, 16 GB eMMC Flash
16.34 MB/s ∼9% -19%
Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 10.1
Adreno 305, 400 MSM8226, 16 GB SSD
14.77 MB/s ∼9% -27%
Lenovo Yoga Tablet 10 HD+
Adreno 305, 400 APQ8028, 16 GB eMMC Flash
13.73 MB/s ∼8% -32%
Sequential Write 256KB (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy Tab Active
Adreno 305, 400 MSM8926, 16 GB eMMC Flash
42.81 MB/s ∼17%
Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact
Adreno 330, 801 MSM8974AC, 16 GB eMMC Flash
21.79 MB/s ∼9% -49%
Panasonic Toughpad JT-B1
SGX540, OMAP 4460, 16 GB iNAND Flash
7.87 MB/s ∼3% -82%
Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4
Adreno 330, 800 MSM8974, 16 GB eMMC Flash
16.11 MB/s ∼7% -62%
LG G Pad 8.0 V480
Adreno 305, 400 MSM8226, 16 GB eMMC Flash
18.75 MB/s ∼8% -56%
Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 10.1
Adreno 305, 400 MSM8226, 16 GB SSD
16.71 MB/s ∼7% -61%
Lenovo Yoga Tablet 10 HD+
Adreno 305, 400 APQ8028, 16 GB eMMC Flash
16.13 MB/s ∼7% -62%
Sequential Read 256KB (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy Tab Active
Adreno 305, 400 MSM8926, 16 GB eMMC Flash
151.82 MB/s ∼17%
Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact
Adreno 330, 801 MSM8974AC, 16 GB eMMC Flash
136.1 MB/s ∼15% -10%
Panasonic Toughpad JT-B1
SGX540, OMAP 4460, 16 GB iNAND Flash
31.64 MB/s ∼4% -79%
Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4
Adreno 330, 800 MSM8974, 16 GB eMMC Flash
93.3 MB/s ∼10% -39%
LG G Pad 8.0 V480
Adreno 305, 400 MSM8226, 16 GB eMMC Flash
114.75 MB/s ∼13% -24%
Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 10.1
Adreno 305, 400 MSM8226, 16 GB SSD
117.77 MB/s ∼13% -22%
Lenovo Yoga Tablet 10 HD+
Adreno 305, 400 APQ8028, 16 GB eMMC Flash
97.64 MB/s ∼11% -36%

Games

Gaming will certainly not be the focus in Samsung's Galaxy Tab Active, but it is possible. Although the Adreno 305 is no longer one of the strongest graphics cards, it still provides enough power for all titles in the Play Store. More demanding games like Asphalt 8 display minor stutters even in medium settings but can still be played well especially since the touchscreen and sensors function well.

Asphalt 8
Asphalt 8
Lego Star Wars
Lego Star Wars

Emissions

All's well in the stress test.
All's well in the stress test.

Temperature

The surface temperatures of Samsung's Galaxy Tab Active reach a maximum idle of 33.5 °C, which is not even lukewarm. The temperatures only increase marginally to maximum 34 °C under permanent load. The G Pad 8.0 (max. 37.1 °C) gets a bit warmer, and the Toughpad JT-B1 even reaches up to 41.3 °C. However, all rates are within an uncritical range.

We performed a stress test on the review sample with the battery test of GFXBench 3.0. The T-Rex test is run thirty times in succession, and both the battery state and frame rates are recorded. The tablet did not exhibit any performance losses.

Max. Load
 32.2 °C
90 F
27.2 °C
81 F
25.6 °C
78 F
 
 34 °C
93 F
28.1 °C
83 F
26 °C
79 F
 
 29.9 °C
86 F
27.3 °C
81 F
25.6 °C
78 F
 
Maximum: 34 °C = 93 F
Average: 28.4 °C = 83 F
25.1 °C
77 F
27.2 °C
81 F
32 °C
90 F
25.2 °C
77 F
27.5 °C
82 F
31.5 °C
89 F
25.6 °C
78 F
27.6 °C
82 F
29.9 °C
86 F
Maximum: 32 °C = 90 F
Average: 28 °C = 82 F
Power Supply (max.)  34.6 °C = 94 F | Room Temperature 20 °C = 68 F | Voltcraft IR-350
(+) The average temperature for the upper side under maximal load is 28.4 °C / 83 F, compared to the average of 30.8 °C / 87 F for the devices in the class Tablet.
(+) The maximum temperature on the upper side is 34 °C / 93 F, compared to the average of 34.8 °C / 95 F, ranging from 22.3 to 51.8 °C for the class Tablet.
(+) The bottom heats up to a maximum of 32 °C / 90 F, compared to the average of 34.4 °C / 94 F
(+) In idle usage, the average temperature for the upper side is 28.3 °C / 83 F, compared to the device average of 30.8 °C / 87 F.
The speaker is only middling.
The speaker is only middling.

Speaker

The rear-sided speaker of Samsung's Galaxy Tab Active only provides a middling quality. The trebles sound a bit subdued and there is virtually no bass. The performance will be enough for VoIP calls or a short video now and then. However, many sound wishes will remain unfulfilled in maximum volume.

Energy Management

Power Consumption

The power consumption of Samsung's Galaxy Tab Active is comparatively low. The manufacturer has done everything right here. The tablet consumes between 0.6 and 2.5 watts when idling. That climbs to a maximum of 4.3 watts during load. Panasonic's Toughpad (max. 8.9 watts) is noticeably more power-guzzling.

The included power supply with an output of 10.6 watts is thus very generously sized.

Power Consumption
Off / Standbydarklight 0 / 0.1 Watt
Idledarkmidlight 0.6 / 2.2 / 2.5 Watt
Load midlight 3.7 / 4.3 Watt
 color bar
Key: min: dark, med: mid, max: light        Voltcraft VC 940

Battery Runtime

The lithium-ion battery in Samsung's Galaxy Tab Active provides 4450 mAh. Both the minimum and the maximum runtimes are very good and are only outpaced by consumer tablets.

The best comparisons are achieved in tests using a screen brightness of 150 cd/m². All consumers except for the Wi-Fi connection are disabled in the Wi-Fi browsing test. A script that opens a new website every 40 seconds runs in the browser. The Tab Active lasted for almost fourteen-and-a-half hours and takes the first place in the comparison field. The time was a bit shorter when playing a Full HD video in a loop, and thus the Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact scores better here. All in all, the review sample should easily last a day with a battery charge.

Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
27h 20min
WiFi Surfing
14h 21min
Big Buck Bunny H.264 1080p
12h 51min
Load (maximum brightness)
5h 06min
Samsung Galaxy Tab Active
Adreno 305, 400 MSM8926, 16 GB eMMC Flash
Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4
Adreno 330, 800 MSM8974, 16 GB eMMC Flash
Panasonic Toughpad JT-B1
SGX540, OMAP 4460, 16 GB iNAND Flash
LG G Pad 8.0 V480
Adreno 305, 400 MSM8226, 16 GB eMMC Flash
Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact
Adreno 330, 801 MSM8974AC, 16 GB eMMC Flash
Battery Runtime
-25%
-40%
-3%
10%
Reader / Idle
1640
1250
-24%
899
-45%
1801
10%
2100
28%
H.264
771
729
-5%
871
13%
WiFi
861
702
-18%
492
-43%
653
-24%
841
-2%
Load
306
201
-34%
206
-33%
326
7%
310
1%

Verdict

In review: Samsung Galaxy Tab Active.
In review: Samsung Galaxy Tab Active.

Samsung has created a robust tablet with a great battery life and LTE. It could have gladly been a bit more for the business sector, though. We miss the touted Care Package and product-specific accessories for the Galaxy Tab Active here. The option of scanning NFC barcodes is a nice feature, but the device completely lacks the option of connecting a full-fledged barcode scanner.

The stylus is also a compromise that is to tide over the lack of programmable buttons since the tablet cannot be used with gloves. The touchscreen's sensitivity is not lowered in rain, which could lead to erroneous inputs. Additionally, the screen's legibility could be better outdoors.

Samsung's Galaxy Tab Active is not a mean machine like the Toughpads by Panasonic and is thus only conditionally recommendable for use in industry, workshops and logistics. It could prove a very useful piece of technology for field workers, though. Besides that, Samsung's product is significantly cheaper than a Toughpad.

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In review: Samsung Galaxy Tab Active. Review sample courtesy of Cyberport.de
In review: Samsung Galaxy Tab Active. Review sample courtesy of Cyberport.de

Specifications

Samsung Galaxy Tab Active (Galaxy Tab Series)
Graphics adapter
Qualcomm Adreno 305, Core: 450 MHz
Memory
1536 MB 
Display
8 inch 16:10, 1280 x 800 pixel, capacitive touchscreen, TFT, glossy: yes
Storage
16 GB eMMC Flash, 16 GB 
, 11.33 GB free
Connections
1 USB 2.0, Card Reader: micro-SD max. 64 GB (SD, SDHC, SDXC), Sensors: accelerometer, proximity sensor, ambient light sensor, and orientation sensor, GPS, Glonass, Ant+, Wifi-Direct, NFC, OTG
Networking
802.11a/b/g/n (a/b/g/n), Bluetooth 4.0, GSM/GPRS/EDGE (850, 900, 1800 and 1900 MHz), UMTS/HSPA+ (850, 900, 1900 and 2100 MHz), LTE (800, 850, 900, 1800, 2100 and 2600 MHz), head-SAR: 0.084 W/kg, body-SAR: 0.839 W/kg
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 9.75 x 213.1 x 126.2 ( = 0.38 x 8.39 x 4.97 in)
Battery
17 Wh Lithium-Ion, 3.8 volts, 4450 mAh, Talk time 3G (according to manufacturer): 31 h
Operating System
Android 4.4 KitKat
Camera
Webcam: 1.2 MP, primary camera: 3.1 MP
Additional features
Speakers: mono speaker, Keyboard: virtual, rubber bumper, modular power supply, USB cable, Samsung Knox, 24 Months Warranty
Weight
393 g ( = 13.86 oz / 0.87 pounds), Power Supply: 56 g ( = 1.98 oz / 0.12 pounds)
Price
499 Euro

 

The 8-inch screen has a resolution of 1280x800 pixels.
The 8-inch screen has a resolution of 1280x800 pixels.
After every boot, the user is told to press the back firmly.
After every boot, the user is told to press the back firmly.
A C-stylus is included.
A C-stylus is included.
The physical Android buttons are known from other Active devices.
The physical Android buttons are known from other Active devices.
The webcam is sufficient for video calls.
The webcam is sufficient for video calls.
The tablet is completely made of plastic.
The tablet is completely made of plastic.
The cameras are not convincing.
The cameras are not convincing.
The power supply provides plenty of power.
The power supply provides plenty of power.
11.33 GB is available for use.
11.33 GB is available for use.
The tablet is shipped with Android 4.4.4.
The tablet is shipped with Android 4.4.4.
CPU-Z
CPU-Z
CPU-Z
CPU-Z
CPU-Z
CPU-Z
Geekbench 3
Geekbench 3
GFXBench 3.0
GFXBench 3.0
3DMark
3DMark
Browsermark 2.1
Browsermark 2.1
Peacekeeper
Peacekeeper
Vellamo 3.1
Vellamo 3.1
PCMark for Android
PCMark for Android
Google V8 Ver. 7
Google V8 Ver. 7
Octane 2.0
Octane 2.0
Basemark OS II
Basemark OS II
AnTuTu v5.6
AnTuTu v5.6
AndroBench 3
AndroBench 3
Basemark X 1.1 (High Quality)
Basemark X 1.1 (High Quality)
SunSpider
SunSpider

Similar Devices

Devices from a different Manufacturer and/or with a different CPU

LG G Pad 8.0 V480 Tablet Review
Adreno 305, Snapdragon 400 MSM8226

Devices with the same GPU

LG G Pad 10.1 V700 Tablet Review
Adreno 305, Snapdragon 400 APQ8026, 10.1", 0.512 kg

Devices with Same Screen Size and/or Weight

Samsung Galaxy Tab A 10.5 (SM-T590N) Tablet Review
Adreno 506, Snapdragon 450, 10.5", 0.531 kg
Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 Tablet Review
Adreno 540, Snapdragon 835, 10.5", 0.482 kg
Samsung Galaxy Tab Active 2 Tablet Review
Mali-T830 MP2, Exynos 7870 Octa, 8", 0.512 kg
Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 Tablet Review
Adreno 530, Snapdragon 820 MSM8996, 9.7", 0.434 kg
Samsung Galaxy Tab A 10.1 (2016) Tablet Review
Mali-T830 MP2, Exynos 7870 Octa, 10.1", 0.525 kg

Links

  • Tips for buying a notebook - notebookCHECK Purchase Advisory

  • Find the right notebook - notebookCHECK Hardware Guide

  • Display resolution comparison - DPI (grain size) of displays

  • Our test criteria
  • Manufacturer's information

Compare Prices

Pros

+IP67 certified
+Withstands drops from a height of 1.2 meters
+Decent build
+Outstanding battery life
+LTE
+Expandable storage
+App2SD support
+Removable battery
 

Cons

-Screen a bit pale outdoors
-Poor cameras
-Product-specific accessories not yet available
-Relatively heavy with bumper

Shortcut

What we like

Despite its robust qualities, the tablet has a compact exterior and even provides a very good battery life.

What we'd like to see

The touted Care package and accessories is not yet available (in Germany). That extremely restricts the functional utilization.

What surprises us

Samsung offers the Tab Active as a cross-branch business solution. However, some key features are missing for use in industry, stores and logistics, such as the option of connecting a barcode scanner.

The competition

Panasonic sets the standards for genuine industrial tablets with its Toughpads. However, they are relatively expensive. Other tablets such as the LG G Pad 8.0, Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact or Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4 could also prove to be exciting alternatives.

Rating

Samsung Galaxy Tab Active - 02/20/2015 v4(old)
Daniel Schmidt

Chassis
83%
Keyboard
74 / 80 → 93%
Pointing Device
87%
Connectivity
45 / 65 → 69%
Weight
82 / 40-88 → 88%
Battery
95%
Display
82%
Games Performance
53 / 68 → 78%
Application Performance
20 / 76 → 26%
Temperature
92%
Noise
100%
Audio
44 / 91 → 48%
Camera
50 / 85 → 59%
Average
70%
82%
Tablet - Weighted Average
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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Archive of our own reviews > Samsung Galaxy Tab Active Tablet Review
Daniel Schmidt, 2015-02-24 (Update: 2015-02-25)