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.
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.
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.
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.
What do you think of the Galaxy Tab S3? Can you see the new Samsung tablet having a bright future on the market?