The Galaxy Tab S3 a high-end Samsung tablet that aims to fit in as entertainment and productivity device. The Samsung’s answer to the Apple iPad Pro fuels the multimedia needs with excellent HDR AMOLED display and Quad speakers while hopes to cater productivity needs with S-Pen and back-cover keyboard (sold separately).
Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 Pros
- Premium design
- Bright and Vibrant display
- Quad speakers deliver good sound
- S-Pen performs well
- Cellular network supported
Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 Cons
- Not so great Camera
- Average multitasking
- Average battery life
- No slot to fit S Pen
- No 4G VoLTE
If the past couple of years are anything to go by, the Indian tablet market is invariably shrinking. The premium segment is dominated by iOS powered iPad’s. Various brands including the likes of Google and Microsoft attempted to rekindle the fire, not too much success, though. Samsung with its Galaxy Tabs has had some success which kept the South Korean brand interested in this device. The South Korean giant recently launched its Galaxy Tab S3 in India at Rs. 47,990 which will play its part as a high-end productivity slate.
Is the Galaxy Tab S3 really impressive enough that it could challenge Apple’s iPad Pro or is it good enough to serve as a Surface Pro 4 alternative? Over the past couple of weeks we have been using the Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 and here’s what we feel about it:
Samsung Tab S3 Specifications
|Model||Samsung Tab S3|
|Display||9.7-Inch, QXGA Display, 2048 x 1536|
|Processor||2.15GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 SoC|
|Internal Storage||32GB, 256GB MicroSD card support|
|Software||Android Nougat based TouchWiz UI|
|Primary Camera||13 Megapixel, PDAF, LED flash|
|Battery||6000 mAh with fast charging|
|Others||4G VoLTE, dual-band WiFi, NFC, Bluetooth 4.2, Fingerprint sensor (home button), USB Type-C|
Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 Design
Let’s start with the design and the build quality first. The Galaxy Tab S3 looks and feel premium from every corner. Despite powerful hardware under the hood along with 6000mAh battery, still it’s just 6mm thick and weighs 434grams (the weight is well distributed). It has a metallic frame and glass on the front and back. Looking from the front, one will notice a large display, followed by navigation buttons and fingerprint sensor embedded home button.
Rear end of the tablet is almost a clean slate. There is a primary camera, LED flash followed by Samsung and AKG logo. On the sides, it carries power button, volume rocker, microSD card slot, and pogo pins to connect accessories. It has 4 AKG tuned speakers – two speakers each on the top and bottom edge. The tab S3 certainly got looks to woo you over but its appeal requires constant wiping as the use of glass makes it a fingerprint magnet.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 Display
The 9.7-inch Super AMOLED display is more appeasing to eyes when turned on. It comes with 2048 x 1536 pixel resolution and is served with High Dynamic Range (HDR) support. Samsung arguably makes the best displays for the smartphone and it is once again evident from the Tab S3 display. It’s deep blacks, rich colors and excellent contrast levels make it’s a treat for consuming multimedia content.
Almost everything that I saw on the display at over a period of time made a positive impression on me. Having said that, a higher resolution option would have made it even more alluring. Viewing angles are great and sunlight legibility isn’t a concern for this display. Though the device comes with HDR video support, there is not much HDR streaming content available in India as of now. With a barrage of HDR supported smartphones and tablets making their way to India, we expect content streaming service provider Netflix and Amazon Prime Videos to start pushing more HDR content in India soon.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 Performance and Software
Hardware wise, the Galaxy Tab3 is as promising as the Galaxy S7. Inside, it boasts a couple of generations old quad-core Snapdragon 820 SoC with Adreno 530GPU which still has enough legs to drive a flagship device in 2017. 4GB RAM onboard ensures switching between multiple tasks is a smooth experience. Samsung is also pitching it to gaming enthusiasts, we have managed to run graphic intensive games without breaking a sweat.
Samsung added Vulkan Graphic API engine to ensure its gaming performance remains solid throughout the game play. We played graphics intensive games such as Assault 8 and Nova 3 both ran swiftly. With game launcher onboard, gaming enthusiasts can also record their gaming performance on the tab.
The Tab S3 boots up in Android 7.0 Nougat baked TouchWiz UI out-of-the-box. Over the year’s Samsung has certainly refined it. With S-pen on the board, Samsung has added Air command feature which previously we saw in Note series. For productivity, it comes loaded with Microsoft Office apps which come handy if you like to work on the go. Though it manages to give iPad Pro for a run for the money when it comes to hardware and OS part, it fell behind when it comes to playing store apps optimized for tablet size.
When It comes to S-pen Samsung has nailed it. If you have used Samsung Note series in the past, you know it has mastery in stylus. Instead of treating it as dumb-fancy accessory, Samsung has built its functionality at OS level and that’s the reason it functions so well. It can be used to navigate and play around, even navigation keys register its touch. We got accustomed to it in no time. It requires no charging or pairing. It proves really handy while jotting down notes or for idle doodling. It can be used to capture screenshots, cut out objects from images, and create GIFs from video by dragging a box over it.
However, lack of a slot for the stylus on the tablet means you need to be extra careful with it.
Samsung Tab S3 Camera
Tablets are not the most photography-friendly devices and the Galaxy Tab S3 is no different. Its camera is clearly not its strongest suit. Since it takes a lot of hardware from the Galaxy S7, it would have been ideal if they have taken its camera too. It packs a 13-megapixel rear camera with LED flash and a 5-megapixel selfie camera on the front. Like Samsung phones, you can’t trigger it by pressing the home button twice. Since most people won’t be comfortable shooting images around with a gigantic tab, Samsung perhaps didn’t have much motivation to invest in the camera in the first place.
Like most tablets, images captured from the Tab S3 failed to light up our eye. The images captured from rear camera in the ideal situations lacked were missing the wow factor. In fading light, image quality further took beating details as noise crept up, colors appear shaggy. Selfie camera performance too nothing to boast about.
Samsung Tab S3 Speaker and Battery
Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 features four speakers which are tuned by AKG for optimum performance. The onboard speakers are paired with the accelerometer to understand the orientation of the device so that it can adjust audio output accordingly. Speakers on the device are loud well optimized for media for entertainment purpose. Having said that, if you are in a mildly noisy environment, you will have to rely on earphones for better listening experience.
It packs a 6000mAh battery which also supports fast charging via USB Type-C port. My personal experience, with the battery, has been a mixed bag depending on the way I used it. When you keep video streaming and multitasking in check, it can easily hit one and a half day mark. However, as soon as start using resource-heavy apps, the battery depletes quickly.
Also Read: Best Smartphone With 8GB of RAM
Without a doubt, the Galaxy Tab S3 is a well-crafted slate that lives up to all the promises it makes. It’s sublime display and excellent speakers make it an excellent multimedia device. The new S Pen is a treat for consumers with an artistic inclination. It, however, makes the most sense with a keyboard cover that has to be bought separately, because only then can it truly live up to what you’d expect from a productivity slate. The Tab S3 will primarily appeal to professionals more comfortable with Android experience, perhaps those who travel a lot and don’t want to confine themselves to a small phone screen.