Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 hands-on review

BARCELONA: SAMSUNG DISAPPOINTED EVERYONE by failing to launch a new flagship smartphone at Mobile World Congress (MWC) on Sunday. Instead, the firm unveiled a skip full of burnt-out Galaxy Note 7 devices that it said will be recycled into a life-size Transformers robot called Blaze. 

Joking! It did one better and announced an update to its premium Android tablet, the Galaxy Tab S3, the successor to last year’s Galaxy Tab S2. We got some hands-on time with the tablet at the company’s stand, so let us tell you all about it.

Design and build
We were initially shocked when we picked up the Galaxy Tab S3. “Wow, they’re still making these?” we thought, followed immediately by a second, perhaps more important question: “People are still buying them?”. 


Nevertheless, the Galaxy Tab S3 looks pretty smart for an Android tablet. It’s super thin and rather professional looking thanks to its neat matte black design on the back, build quality seems reasonable, and it feels comfortable to hold in one hand due to its lightweight. However, you’ll probably want to put it in a case given its all-glass design. 

As far as tablets go, the Galaxy Tab S3 is pretty standard looking, so we can’t say much more than that. 

Samsung’s latest tablet packs a 9.7in 2048×1536 Super AMOLED display that supports both 4K and HDR playback. As a result, we enjoyed prodding and poking at its high-quality rectangular face for a few minutes during our intimate hands-on experience. Video playback looks incredibly vibrant and detailed, and we can imagine the tablet will come in handy on a long haul flight, especially if you’re too cheap to choose an airline with a decent in-flight entertainment system.  


The Galaxy Tab S3 also comes bundled with an S Pen stylus. This meant that certain applications, such as S Note, are more enjoyable and precise to navigate than when you use your clumsy index finger.

Processor and operating system 
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 has plenty going for it in terms of internal specs. Its high-res screen is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor, Vulkan API graphics and 4GB RAM, and the tablet offers 32GB built-in storage, expandable by an additional 256GB via the onboard microSD slot. 

We found the device to be a very fast machine indeed. It opened applications almost instantly and in general dealt with any task we threw at it, hassle free. With specs like that, though, are you at all surprised? 

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 runs Android Nougat, naturally. However, be warned that the operating system has been heavily customised and Samsung has overlaid it with its UX interface.

Battery, storage and connectivity
The Galaxy Tab S3 packs a 6,000mAh battery with Fast Charging support, USB-C, support for 300Mbps LTE download speeds and a dual 13MP and 5MP camera set-up. 

We didn’t get a chance to battery burn the unit, but a spokesman – of course – told us the device should last “longer than most tablets” on one charge. However long that is, we will forever ponder.

First impressions
Overall, our first impressions of the Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 were positive. Featuring an impressive list of specs, a host of productivity and security applications and powerful processor, the device has the potential to be a popular Android power user tablet this year. 


However, those looking for something remotely different to your bog standard tablet will be sorely disappointed. 

The Galaxy Tab S3 will be available to preorder in WiFi-only and LTE models from 17 March, before it arrives on shelves on the 31st. But with Samsung remaining cagey on one key detail – the Galaxy Tab S3’s price – we’re going to have to reserve judgment until this is announced. A listing at John Lewis suggests the WiFi-only model will fetch £600, so if that’s true, it’s likely to work against it. µ

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