Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 Review
Samsung Galaxy Tab S3
- Bright, vibrant display
- Long-lasting battery
- Includes the S-Pen stylus for free
- HDR-ready future-proofed screen
- Light and easy to carry around
- Beautiful, premium design
- Keyboard is a costly extra
- Tablet multitasking can't replace a laptop
- Camera is just so-so
Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 – The all-new versatile Tab S3.
For the first time, enjoy the sleekness of a smartphone with all the benefits of a tablet. The glossy glass back of the Galaxy Tab S3 provides a premium look that also feels premium in your hands.
When it comes to your viewing experience, the brighter the better. The Galaxy Tab S3’s screen provides bright and colorful images, and with HDR video playback capabilities, you’ll get a true-to-life view that pulls you into the content.
From games to movies, the Galaxy Tab S3 offers a quality visual experience. Inside the tablet is a Snapdragon 820 processor that sets a new standard for CPU and GPU performance. Plus, the Vulkan graphics take your gaming to a whole new world, while HDR video support makes the scene come alive.
The Galaxy Tab S3’s quad-speaker system has sound coming from each corner, automatically following the direction mode of the screen. So you’ll hear every note whether you hold it horizontal or vertical.
|Disclaimer||If you see any error or incomplete data, please Contact Us.|
|Dimensions||237.3 x 169 x 6 mm (9.34 x 6.65 x 0.24 in)|
|Weight||429 g (Wi-Fi)/ 434 g (LTE) (15.13 oz)|
|Display||Super AMOLED capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors|
|9.7 inches (~72.7% screen-to-body ratio)|
|1536 x 2048 pixels (~264 ppi pixel density)|
|OS||Android 7.0 (Nougat)|
|Chipset||Qualcomm MSM8996 Snapdragon 820|
|CPU||Quad-core (2x2.15 GHz Kryo & 2x1.6 GHz Kryo)|
|Card slot||microSD, up to 256 GB (dedicated slot)|
|Internal Memory||32 GB, 4 GB RAM|
|Primary Camera||13 MP, f/1.9, 27mm, autofocus, LED flash|
|Geo-tagging, touch focus, face detection, HDR, panorama|
|Secondary Camera||5 MP, f/2.2, 23mm, 1080p|
|Loudspeaker||Yes, with stereo speakers (4 speakers)|
|Speakers tuned by AKG/HARMAN|
|WLAN||Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band, Wi-Fi Direct, hotspot|
|Bluetooth||4.2, A2DP, LE|
|GPS||Yes, with A-GPS, GLONASS, BDS, GALILEO|
|USB||3.1, Type-C 1.0 reversible connector; magnetic connector|
|Sensors||Fingerprint (front-mounted), accelerometer, gyro, compass|
|Battery||Non-removable 6000 mAh battery|
Ultimately, the Tab S3 is a solid utility tablet that does nearly everything it promises. It provides a bright, vibrant display and booming audio for enjoyable binge watching or gaming, and a fluid S Pen experience that digital artists will appreciate. Its long-lasting battery is also a bonus. I don’t recommend getting the $130 keyboard or trying to use this tablet for any real work (in other words, writing a report or intensive multitasking), though.
Don’t think of the Tab S3 as a laptop replacement and you’ll find it a perfectly capable machine that’s largely inoffensive. Whether that’s worth $600 depends on how much you want a really nice screen and loud speakers.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 is the best Android tablet yet, and it’s built to last with 2-in-1 S Pen and keyboard capabilities, a beautiful HDR-ready screen and four bumping stereo speakers.
The iPad Pro has met its match when it comes to value. Samsung matches all of Apple’s major hardware features, and adds the S Pen stylus. You’ll have to pay extra for the keyboard case, but it’s at least cheaper than Apple’s keyboard attachment, and it wraps around the entire tablet. The microSD card slot puts Samsung over the top.
Value isn’t everything, though. It’s not a guaranteed universal recommendation; no Android tablet is at this price point. The iPad still has better software and large-scale app support. And while Android Nougat and TouchWiz have closed the gap, multitasking on a tablet isn’t enough for productivity pros who can opt for a slightly thicker laptop at around the same price.
It’s the best Android tablet today, but just be aware that its solid entertainment value leans more heavily on the tablet side of its 2-in-1 classification, at the expense of your productivity efforts.
The Galaxy Tab S3 is light and easy to carry around, and could be a fun travel companion or a way to get some work done. It’s much less expensive than a 10.5-inch iPad Pro with cellular data plus an Apple Pencil, but the iOS ecosystem is still more tablet-friendly. Plus, the usage experience is more polished overall with an iPad. You’ll be happy with the Galaxy Tab S3 if it’s a secondary or even tertiary device, and there are a number of people who can afford that kind of indulgence. If you don’t need a stylus, the non-Pro iPad (2017) could serve well too.
However, neither option is much good for productivity without a keyboard case, and spending even more money puts the Galaxy Tab S3 in the same territory as a lot of very capable Windows laptops. This is exactly the space that Microsoft and Qualcomm are targeting with the upcoming Snapdragon 835 platform for Windows 10, and such devices promise to eliminate Android’s biggest shortcomings while offering all its benefits. The Galaxy Tab S3 is therefore an extremely niche device, and its success rides almost completely on whether or not the S-Pen is useful to enough people.
If you have a spare £599 and want a tablet solely for getting the best video-watching experience around, then there isn’t a tablet better than the Samsung Tab S3. I could happily watch videos on the AMOLED HDR screen all day long. The included S Pen is great, too.
But it feels like Samsung is pushing the limits of Android on a tablet too far here. The software is unfinished and the multitasking capabilities are buggy and limited. I can forgive Android apps lacking the polish of their iOS counterparts when I’m paying £300 or less for a tablet, but when this is the same price as an iPad Pro, it’s harder to stomach.
The fashionable and future-forward Galaxy Tab S3 provides an excellent, unparalleled experience for watching your favorite TV shows and movies on the go, thanks to its OLED screen and excellent quad speakers. With its S-Pen stylus in tow, it can also work as a high-end digital notepad. The much-touted HDR video support is little more than a marketing bullet point for now, but holds future promise.
For the same price, you may choose to invest in a different tablet with more productivity potential. The iPad Pro 9.7 and Pixel C both offer better keyboard accessories and snappier gaming performance. Not everyone wants or needs a tablet for typing or gaming, though. If you want a great tablet primarily for watching video, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 is my new favorite.
The Galaxy Tab S3 marks a crossroad for Samsung, since the tablet landscape has shifted significantly over the last few years. When you also look at what it has to compete against nowadays, it can potentially be overlooked – due to the kind of value it brings to the table with its cost. Apple’s iPad Pro is still widely regarded as the king in the tablet market, but Samsung manages to undercut its rival with the Tab S3’s starting price of $600 with 32 GB of internal storage, which of course can be supplemented with a microSD card. And that price includes the S Pen! Whereas with the iPad Pro, it’s an additional $100 for the Apple Pencil. So when it comes to price, Samsung definitely has the advantage.
Besides the iPad Pro, the Tab S3 also has to worry about the numerous sub-$500 Android tablets that on the surface offers the same superficial functions as any other Android tablet. Sure, the specs look really nice with the Tab S3, which is arguably a differentiator that makes it appeal more for those who are into productivity and gaming, but it’s really tough to totally disregard these inexpensive Android tablets – moreso when the core experience is no different.
And then there are other things like Windows 10 tablets and Chromebooks. With the latter, many of them come in at a lower price, including Samsung’s own recent offerings. Additionally, many Chromebooks can download Android apps via the Google Play Store – so it’s no longer something exclusive to Android tablets. Spending more money on the other hand, you can get a full blown Windows 10 tablet, which would offer more versatility in terms of productivity.
Until Android gets a proper treatment and focus on tablet-optimized apps, the Tab S3 is going to remain as a media consuming tablet first and foremost. You can enhance the Tab S3’s arsenal by purchasing the $129.99 Pogo keyboard, but at a total cost of $730, it still teeters near premium Windows 10 tablets territory. Portability is an absolute asset to the Tab S3, but it’s going to be tough convincing consumers to choose it over other options until it can be used 100% as a tablet, with real tablet optimized apps.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 should not be viewed as a permanent replacement for your laptop or PC, but it has all the makings of a great working tool. When I write at the AndroidPIT Offices, I use a desktop running Windows 10 Pro; at home, I use a MacBook Pro, but I’ve never thought about replacing any of these devices with a tablet.
However, over the past 10 days or so, I found myself using the Tab S3 in a whole range of different situations, so much so that I had absolutely no problem editing this review using only this tablet. I participated in meetings, edited articles, edited a series of images that I had been keeping in my Dropbox waiting to be published, so the Galaxy Tab S3 is a great tool to tackle your everyday tasks.
However, there is still a huge vacuum in the application ecosystem optimized for use on Android tablets. While Google does not encourage the creation and adaptation of software for this type of gadget, the experience with your tablet platform will never be a matched to what you can have if you opt for an iPad. Taking this into consideration, the Galaxy Tab S3 is a near perfect work tool.
Based on the services offered by the Tizen platform for the SmartWatch Gear S3 and what we have in the new Android Wear 2.0 on the LG Watch Style, for example, Samsung delivers a much better experience with its OS for wearables than Google. So it’s inevitable to think that if Tab S3 was to have included Tizen, it would probably be a much better tablet.
Samsung has a share of blame here, as it should also encourage developers to invest in tablet apps, especially to encourage the sale of top-end models such as Tab S3. After all, a tablet should not be a bigger smartphone, but a device with its own attributes, right?
No other Android tablet has the Galaxy Tab S3’s specs. But no other Android tablet (except for the occasional Sony slate) has the Galaxy Tab S3’s price. At $599.99 (or $729.99 with the keyboard), the Tab S3 competes with not only the iPad Pro, but with Windows detachables like the Lenovo Miix 510 and the Acer Switch Alpha 12, and that’s where it runs into trouble.
The Tab S3 makes a great media consumption, sketching, and note-taking device. For pure media consumption, though, you might as well go for the Asus Zenpad 3S 10 or the new iPad and save yourself $200 or more. For true productivity, meanwhile, Android still feels weak and crippled compared with the full Windows versions of apps like Adobe Photoshop, Microsoft Office, and even web browsers that include Flash and Java. The iPad Pro faces the same dilemma.
So, I’ll repeat: You’re here for the S Pen (or even better, the S Pencil). The Galaxy Tab S3 is ready to capture your ideas, bubbling over in script or image. For media consumption, go with a less expensive pick. For true productivity, get Windows.
Samsung’s Galaxy Tab S3 LTE is a very good tablet, which does not rely on modern high-end hardware across the board (as with the Apple iPad 2017), but the overall package is very compelling.
Besides a great display with HDR support, good speakers, improved battery runtimes and S Pen support, the Wi-Fi module in particular is very fast. The integrated Snapdragon 820 is certainly not the latest SoC from Qualcomm, but the performance is still very good. Only the small and slow eMMC storage is not a good fit for a premium multimedia tablet. Samsung has not included very good cameras either, so there is no real premium feeling.
We really like the S Pen support though. It is shipped with every Tab S3 and leaves an excellent impression. 770 Euros (~$839) is still a lot of money for a tablet, and there are not many reasons to switch if you already own a Galaxy Tab S2 9.7 and can do without the pen.