Cheap and Samsung never go together, at least in the Indian market. The Korean company enjoys the perks of being a premium brand, next only to Apple, in the Indian mobile and tablet market.
While that has ensured that the Indian market remains profitable for Samsung, it has also opened up a large gap in the market at the lower end – indirectly spawning a number of Indian tablet and mobile brands such Micromax, Spice, Karbonn etc..
For example, for a long time, the cheapest Tablet from Samsung in India was priced at Rs 20,000 – about four times what an entry-level tablet in India would cost.
Even at Rs 20,000, you had to be content with a 7-inch tablet – the Galaxy Tab 3100 (called Tab 310 in India.) In addition, in terms of processor and graphics performance, the 7-inch Tab 2 was not really better than the chipset that powered the Indian brands – China’s Rockchip RK3066 paired with the Mali 400 graphics unit.
Worse, Samsung, which is known for its spellbinding displays, chose to fit the Tab 2 with less vibrant screens, leading critics to pan the tablets as possessing poor displays. The display resolution, at 0.6 megapixels, was also low.
On the other hand, Indian brands were offering models like the Videocon VT10 and the Spice Mi-1010 that had larger, 10-inch displays with better resolution – 1 million pixels – and in-plane switching for Rs 11,000-13,000.
Now, Samsung seems to have decided that even the Rs 13,000 market is worth fighting for and has introduced the 7-inch Wifi-only Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 300 (3000) in India priced in the Rs 13,700 range.
The model introduced earlier this week with very little fanfare, is notable only for the price. Otherwise, it is simply a non-3G version of the Tab 310 (3100), which has been available in the Indian market for more than six months.
The Galaxy Tab 300 was also announced the same time as its brother with 3G, but took almost 8 months more to reach India.
A review of its specifications reveals that it is powered by the rather low-powered TI OMAP 4430 processor and the slightly old PowerVR SGX540 graphics processor.
While they are old, the chips are not that bad when compared to the RK3066 and Mali 400 combo that most mid-range tablets in India come with.
Most mid range tablets in India score about 8,000-10,000 in Antutu benchmark tests. The Videocon V10, for example, is reported to score about 11,000 in the tests. Not surprisingly, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 300 scores poorly at about 7,200. The quad-core 10-inch Samsung Galaxy Note, which costs about Rs 37,000, scores 12,200 in the tests.
Of course, benchmark scores tell only part of the story. The tuning and overall design specifications that come with a branded tablet usually means that in actual usage, it is likely to outperform others even if its chips and processors are slightly less powerful.
But overall, the model is likely to appeal to those who yearn for the finish, reliability and polish of an international brand like Samsung (though even they may be slightly disappointed after getting the tablet in hand.) But for geeks and for those who don’t care for brands and image, Chinese-made Indian models offer more value for money, especially since quad-core tablets have started coming into the Indian market.