As the saying goes, good things come to those who wait. The Samsung Tab S2 was introduced at the end of 2015 and now, only 18 months later, comes the release of the Samsung Tab S3. Could this be the tablet which finally hits the iPad on the head? Here are our first impressions of latest release from the South Korean manufacturer.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 release date and price
Samsung has unveiled the Galaxy Tab S3 almost 18 months after the Tab S2 was released in September 2015. Again, the tablet comes in variants either with or without a SIM card slot for independent LTE connection. The capacitive S-Pen is also included in the price for the first time ever, but the keyboard will only be free for those who pre-order the tablet. The keyboard will come at an extra charge. Exact price and availability for the US to be confirmed, though it will be available in Europe in the coming weeks for 679 and 769 Euros.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 design and build quality
The design of the Galaxy Tab S3 is virtually unchanged compared to the Galaxy Tab S2, measuring in at 9.7-inches. The new tablet continues to stick to the iPad 4:3 ratio format. This proves to be equally practical in landscape-format and portrait-format applications. The frame is made of metal and the rest of the housing is made of glass. It's important to note that the tablet is not waterproof.
The home button is still mechanical, not capacitative. The fingerprint sensor is still located here. The Galaxy Tab S3 finally combines all the key strengths of the Samsung tablets: both the S-Pen and the Bluetooth keyboard are included in the overall package. This means you can use it as a graphics tablet with 2,048 printable levels or as a digital notepad, as well as converting into a small netbook. Thanks to the new software adjustments, which I will discuss later, the tablet is great at handling multitasking.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 display
Why try to improve on what is already perfect? The high-resolution display has been retained and includes 2,048 x 1,536 pixels to 9.7-inches means 264 ppi. Super AMOLED stands for maximum contrast and crisp colors. The 4:3 format provides for black bars at the top and bottom when watching movies. In portrait display format, however, it is an eBook page.
The tab S-Pen is attached to the Tab S3. If you choose to use this, you can adjust the sensitivity of the contact response on the tablet. The Wacom stylus itself supports 4,096 pressure stages. In the drawing app, calligraphy is possible and complex drawings worked rather well in our hands-on.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 software
Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 comes equipped with Android 7.0 Nougat with the Grace UX software interface. Since it runs Nougat, core features such as multi-window mode have, of course, been added. The former was already available in previous Samsung tablets, but this has now been optimized. So we can now expect a better user experience, but we'll have to wait for a more detailed review of the Tab S3 before we know any more on that.
Samsung has placed Samsung Flow on this tablet. You can easily share your LTE connection with your computer, if you have also installed Flow on it. SMS and other notifications are then also displayed on the PC. In addition, you can unlock Windows 10 with the fingerprint reader on your tablet. This is all theoretical, of course, because it remains to be tested.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 performance
The hardware that has been installed on the Galaxy Tab S3 promises to provide a level of performance akin to that of the Galaxy S7. The former was regarded as an ideal device for gamers, as it supported graphically rich games well and did not heat up to a critical level. The Tab S3 is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 quad core processor ticking at 2.15 and 1.6 GHz.
Therefore, it makes complete sense that Samsung continues to appeal to the gamers out there as the S3 comes with both the game mode and Game Explorer pre-installed. These optimizations improve the gaming experience by suppressing notifications and providing additional features such as screen recording and simultaneous recording with the Selfie Cam, which makes the Tab S3 the ideal "Let's Play" tablet.
As for RAM, the tablet will have 4 GB. The Tab S3 will have 32 GB of internal storage, expandable up to 256 GB via microSD.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 audio
The purchase of Harman & Kardon bears fruit with the S3 Tab. The four built-in loudspeakers of the H & K subsidiary AKG ensure full sound, which sounded reasonably good in our hands-on. If you rotate the screen, the stereo distribution of the speakers follows accordingly. In our full review, we will want to play our own audio with it and see how the AKG speakers in the Tab S3 really beat.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 camera
Even if the camera is not one of the main arguments for buying a tablet, Samsung has installed pretty good hardware to the photo enthusiasts out there. At the rear, there is now a 12 MP camera instead of the 8 MP one included in the Tab S2. The shutter opens again with f / 1.9. In front of us looks a 4.7 megapixel camera, which enables Skype calls in Full HD.
Whether the cameras are actually suitable for simple snapshots inside or outdoors, or if video calls are possible even in difficult light conditions, we will find out when we do a more comprehensive review of the tablet in the near future.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 battery
The Tab S3 includes a 6,000 mAh battery, which should be able to withstand 12 hours of heavy use and can be recharged quickly thanks to Adaptive Fast Charge and USB Type-C connection. For us to really determine how the Tab S3 really performs it should, ideally, be submitted to a minimum test period of one week. We'll come back with that soon.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 technical specifications
Thanks to the inclusion of some key features, especially Samsung's decision to (finally!) include the S-Pen and the reworked software, the Tab S3 promises to become the well-deserved but also expected upgrade to the Tab S2. The better speakers mean it might be the ideal device for watching a movie in bed. When we get a chance to undertake a more detailed test we'll be able to get a better idea on the S-Pen functions and how well the Tab S3 works as a netbook replacement for everyday use.
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