The Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 Is a High-End Android Tablet That Can Do Everything
With a powerful processor, a sharp Super AMOLED display, quad stereo speakers, an S Pen stylus, and an optional keyboard cover, Samsung's range-topping Android slate can work and play equally hard.
The Galaxy Tab S3 is Samsung's first high-end Android slate in well over a year. The newcomer will replace the Galaxy Tab S2, which debuted in the fall of 2015 on the top of the company's range of Android tablets.
Familiar-Looking, But Even Better-Crafted
Save for its all-new glass-covered back, the Galaxy Tab S3 features the same design language as the rest of Samsung's lineup of Android tablets. At a quick glance, it's easy to mistake the new model for another member of the product range.
However, coupled with the metal frame, the new finish on tablet's back gives the Galaxy Tab S3 a more upmarket feel than any other Android tablet by Samsung. It also brings the device's look and feel perfectly in line with the company's high-end Galaxy S family of smartphones.
The overall build quality of the tablet is excellent as expected from a device in its price range. There are two colors to choose from — black and silver. Both come with a matching S Pen.
Class-Leading Super AMOLED Display With HDR Support
Like all high-end mobile devices by Samsung, the Galaxy Tab S3 has a Super AMOLED display. The 9.7-inch unit has a crisp resolution of 2,048 by 1,536 pixels and 4:3 aspect ratio. It also offers support for HDR content.
Like all Samsung Super AMOLED displays, the screen of the Tab S3 delivers beautifully vibrant colors, coupled with infinite contrast levels. The viewing angles and the bright light visibility are also top-notch.
Support for HDR content makes the display future proof. The feature enhances the colors and contrast of the videos on display. Major streaming services, including Netflix, will begin offering HDR content for mobile devices this year.
Key Hardware Bits
Samsung has equipped the Galaxy Tab S3 with a high-end Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 chipset, coupled with 4GB of RAM. The setup is commonly found in a multitude of today's high-end smartphones, including the company's own Galaxy S7 lineup.
The tablet has 32GB of built-in storage, as well as a microSD card slot for easy expansion. A full set of wired and wireless connectivity features is also on board, including Bluetooth 4.2 and USB-C.
A quartet of speakers tuned by AKG complement the excellent display of the tablet. The main camera of the Tab S3 has a 13MP sensor capable of capturing 4K video. A 5MP camera is in charge of selfies and video calls.
The slate features a 6,000 mAh battery with Samsung's Fast Charge capability. Of course, the tablet also features a fingerprint sensor that's built into its home button.
The S Pen Detects 4,096 Levels of Pressure
The bundled S Pen stylus helps the Galaxy Tab S3 stand out among its competitors. A product of a collaboration between Samsung and Wacom, the accessory can detect a whopping 4,096 levels of pressure, so it feels incredibly intuitive and comfy to use.
The tech giant has streamlined most of the S Pen's capabilities into a single app called Samsung Notes. An Air Command widget for the S Pen includes handy translation and magnification tools, as well as the ability to add shortcuts to commonly used apps, among other features.
A fun feature of the S Pen is the ability it gives users to easily create GIF animations from any content that plays on the tablet's screen. There's even the option to tweak the quality of the GIFs for easy sharing.
Android Nougat with Samsung's Custom Interface
The Tab S3 runs Google's latest Android Nougat out of the box. The OS has been customized by Samsung to include the S Pen functionality, as well as Samsung's own user interface, among others. Users can also send and receive messages on the tablet from their compatible Samsung phone via a feature called Samsung Flow.
Of course, you can run Android apps side by side on the tablet. The feature is currently built into Android Nougat, but it's been a part of Samsung's custom UI for years.
Samsung has preloaded the slate with productivity apps by Microsoft, including Microsoft Word and Excel. A cool digital coloring book that's great for the S Pen is also on board.
Unsurprisingly, thanks to its powerful chipset, the Tab S3 delivers feels snappy and responsive on all occasions. Keeping multiple apps open and split-screen multitasking doesn’t slow the tablet either. Neither do premium video games with high-quality graphics.
The audio quality of the tablet's speakers is excellent. The AKG-tuned audio drivers deliver a powerful and distortion-free sonic experience, even at high volume. There's a dedicated section in the settings where you can tweak the sound experience to your liking.
According to Samsung, the Tab S3 can deliver up to 8 hours of web browsing and up to 12 hours of video playback on a battery charge. In real life, we found the tablet to deliver battery performance that's in line with the manufacturer's claim.
The optional keyboard cover has well-spaced keys, which deliver nice tactile feedback, though some users might find them a tad too small. In any case, the $130 accessory should be on the list of potential buyers who are looking to use the Galaxy Tab S3 as a productivity tool.
The Best Android Tablet You Can Buy
The Galaxy Tab S3 is handily the best Android tablet you can buy. The slate offers a blend of performance, productivity, and multimedia capabilities that others cannot match. Its S Pen stylus and the functionality it delivers are also unmatched by any Android rival.
Samsung's latest tablet is also a solid alternative to the Apple iPad Pro for users who are keen to stay within the Android ecosystem. Its $600 price tag matches that of the entry-level 9.7-inch iPad Pro with 32 GB of memory, though the expandable memory and the bundled S Pen stylus make it a slightly better value. (Apple charges additional $99 for its Pencil.)
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