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Why the Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 could be a flop

By presenting their new tablet at MWC 2017 in Barcelona, Samsung reminded users and other manufacturers that they still believe in the tablet market. The Galaxy Tab S3 is a top-range tablet which aims to rival the iPad Pro. A risky bet for the South Korean manufacturer as sales in this sector are in decline.

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In the absence of the new Galaxy S8, Samsung finally presented their new top-range tablet, the Galaxy Tab 3. Proof that the South Korean manufacturer wanted to leave their mark on the 2017 Mobile World Congress. However, it’s hard to be optimistic for the success of the new Samsung tablet. The Tab S3 is an attractive product, but perhaps it has arrived too late to the party.  

Improvements, no revolutions

We had to wait more than 18 months for Samsung to present a successor to the Galaxy Tab S2. Simply called ‘Tab S3’, the tablet is generally along the same lines as its predecessor. Unfortunately, contrary to what you would expect from all the anticipation surrounding its introduction, the tablet is quite traditional and doesn’t offer a design that could rival other tablets on the market - which is what it needed to do. It doesn’t have a curved or bezel-less display, but a simple 9.7-inch screen and a similar definition to the Tab S2 (1536 x 2048 pixels). Its weight has increased, but remains contained (429 g for the WiFi version and 434 g for the 4G version). This allows it to house a larger battery (6,000 mAh) which ensures better battery life for the tablet.

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The Tab S3 has an optional keyboard which turns out to be more practical in use. © AndroidPIT

Even though I have quite a mixed opinion of the Tab S3, I must admit that the tablet is elegant. The materials chosen to construct the Tab S3 are high quality, and the build quality is also better than some previous Samsung products. Its thinness (6 mm) also contributes to the tablet’s overall appearance and, on the whole, it exudes quality. Alas, I think that this isn’t enough to revitalize the half-mast tablet market, to attract new users or even to convince owners of the Tab S2 to buy the new version.

A tablet aimed more at pros

Although Samsung seems to still believe in tablets, the Tab S3 doesn’t stand out from the competition and seems to be aimed at a professional audience, even though the brand introduced the device as a tool for entertainment. The presence of Android Nougat 7.0 and HDR support can’t save it. This tablet will not generate any ‘WOW’ factor among users. It’s just one more tablet in the stores.

This tablet will not generate any ‘WOW’ factor among users

The Tab S3 is trying to follow the success of the Note series by including an S-Pen stylus which allows you to take notes and to draw with unlimited battery life as the device generates energy from contact with the tablet. The keyboard, however, will be sold separately. Another notable element that shows that Samsung have manufactured a good product is that it has paid attention to the audio quality. Following on from the Huawei Mediapad M3, they offer four loud speakers from H&K Tochter AKG, the Austrian sound specialist. Will this impress users? Probably not, because the price is the device’s biggest enemy and it won’t encourage anyone to give it a try.

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The stylus is one of the advantages that Samsung have implemented in their new tablet. However, there’s no room to store it and it can easily be lost. © AndroidPIT

A steep price

Exact price and availability for the Galaxy Tab S3 is yet to be confirmed in the US. In Europe, it will be sold at a price of €679 (about $716) for the WiFi version and €769 (about $811) for the 4G version. This is expensive for most users despite the quality that the tablet offers. What’s even worse is that its biggest competitor, the iPad Pro, is about the same price (without a stylus, yes, but that’s not a deciding factor for many users). And when you think of Apple’s popularity on the market and the strength of its ecosystem (optimized applications, exclusive content…), Samsung will have to compete by using rebates or marketing promotions to attract new customers.

Opinion by Pierre Vitré
The Galaxy Tab S3 is a good tablet. But, it has arrived too late to the party, with too high a price.
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What do you think of the Galaxy Tab S3? Can you see the new Samsung tablet having a bright future on the market?

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  • Two negatives on this the PRICE. I mean for this price you can get a laptop. The second and almost worse than the price and related to the price is ONLY 32GB of internal storage. This is just not acceptable for this price.

  • The only negative to this device is its price.., with that said i have ordered one and sold my s2. Samsung still has the best screen available in a tablet, micro sd slot, s-pen (included in price), usb c connector (usb 3.0 throughput and faster charging), they have also added nfc and increased the battery. Realistically, the only alternatives are the ipad pro with its reliance on itunes, lesser screen, higher price - much higher if you factor in the apple pen (and no micro sd expansion...) or a surface. I use a surface 3 pro for work but frankly would never consider using it as a consumption device. Too big, bulky and heavy. Not to mention there really isn't a decent epub reading app for windows (compared to marvin for ios or moon reader pro for android).

  • I'm reading this article on my Tab S2 9.7, which I've loved since the day it arrived. It was a great update/replacement for the Tab 3 7.0 (stolen). I looking forward to the Tab S3 and fast charging.

  • M Stuart 5 months ago Link to comment

    " It doesn’t have a curved or bezel-less display"

    That's what the tablet market needs, right? A distorted display or a tablet that you can't hold.

    Pure idiocy. It's obvious you tech bloggers only care about things looking pretty.

  • roger c. 5 months ago Link to comment

    I have been limping along with my old Nexus 10 waiting for the Tab3. Disappointed with it's specs and price. I will probably pick up a Tab2 at discounted pricing when the 3 is released.

  • ljhaye 5 months ago Link to comment

    I'm afraid the Tab S3 will be flop not because of Samsung but because of a Google. Google still has made the android tablets ecosystem a priority so we continue to see mediocre apps and a stale OS. With the surface pro and the iPad Pro dominating the 9.7"+ space it's become nearly impossible for any of the Android OEM's to gain traction in the space. Most of the Android OEM's and googles pixel have seemingly abandoned the space ceding it to both Microsoft ( via 2 in 1's) and Apple.

    The only reason Samsung continues to make their tablets is because their obsession to maintain hardware parity with Apple. When Apple stops making the iPad then so will Samsung.

    • If I ever want a fat, heavy, slow PC without a keyboard, I'll got for a Surface. Until then, I'll stick with a real tablet.

  • I'll be staying with my Tab s2 and good old Tab Pro which is still a great tablet years later.. Yes I have an iPad pro but its not rooted and doesn't have Dolby Atmos and Viper4Android so I don't use it much..

  • I can't speak for every Galaxy Tablet user, but when I upgraded from a Galaxy Note 10.1 to the Tab S2, one of the things I missed the most was the ability to use an s-pen with the tablet. For those who are used to using one from the Note series, it is more than just a stylus. Understandably that is a small faction of the overall market, but the addition of such a capability in this release is a strategy directly aimed at those former Note tablet users and current and future consumers of the Note phone series. Along with linking it to usability with other samsung devices beyond a focus on just tablets as the companies overall strategy.

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  • How can a high end tablet be launched with over a year old processor? SD820 was a nice 14 nm 2016 S7 processor.The 2017 released SD835 is smaller, faster, better I/O, and uses less energy in a 10 nm chip. New car with last years leftover engine.

    • Abbey A 5 months ago Link to comment

      You're absolutely right I say yes to ur view...Even in Africa here is cost of fortune to purchase..

    • It takes time to design a tablet, phone or computer around a new CPU. It would also bring the price up even more to build one around a new engine when the one from 2016 is still a significant upgrade from the one in the Tab S2.

    • Kyle Ong 5 months ago Link to comment

      my guess is that with the "death" of note 7...there was lots of 821 lying around....need to do something and thus tab s3

  • I still have the first galaxy tab S, and the ratio of 16:9 is the main factor for not having a change in my tablet array at home.

  • Mark
    • Admin
    5 months ago Link to comment

    If the tablet is aimed at the pros then they should not have released it with the 2 in one devices Galaxy Books running Windows. Also with the Surface Pro 5 coming out soon I would agree it is going to be a hard sale. I will be buying a new tablet but it will be a lower end one for my daughter, and I am waiting for the Surface Pro 5.

  • You are apparently not an artist. That stylus is a game changer for artists.

    • Brittany McGhee
      • Admin
      • Staff
      5 months ago Link to comment

      Thanks for your comment. Have you had experience with Samsung tablets as an artist? What did you think of them?

      • J S 5 months ago Link to comment

        I'm not the same person you asked, but I draw almost every day on a Note 10.1 2014 and I love it. Granted, I have it rooted and running nougat these days. I've also used a Note 8.0, 3, and 4, but I find the form factor of the 10.1 2014 to be much more conducive to more styles of art than the smaller devices. The S3 is the first thing that I've seen that actually seems like an upgrade.

        Apple is out of my price range. Last year, I gave into the hype that I needed to use windows if I wanted to be a serious artist, so I sold it and bought a the Ativ 700T1c, which is basically a Samsung version of the Surface Pro 1, but I couldn't stand Windows tablet mode. Most of the major Windows art programs still aren't really well optimized for touchscreen devices (lots of unforgiving small menus and buttons, requires extensive keyboard use to access tools), and the Windows apps (from their appstore) are generally awful in my experience.

        Within a few months I found myself buying another Note 10.1 2014 and appreciating it more than ever. There is some compromise with apps, but I switch between them to get the work done which I need to.

        Stylus apps I use extensively:

        Art: Infinite Painter (unstable, otherwise perfect), Artrage (for a natural media look), Infinite Design (vector), Adobe Draw (vector). I've bought others, but these do everything I need.

        Animation: Flipaclip (quite capable on its own), Rough Animator (very deep, but steep learning curve)

        Handwriting: Lecturenotes, MyScript Stylus, Squid

        With Windows 10 being so fragmented these days, I find myself preferring the android tablet experience overall. I do wish I had the increased pressure sensitivity of the newer Notes, though the 1028 levels of my tablet is more than adequate. I often use old, full-size tablet PC pens for comfort reasons anyway, and those only have 256 levels.

        All in all I think it is a really underrated setup for digital art. This new Tab S3 looks like an amazing upgrade to it. I would just hope to put it in a case that has a stylus loop.

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