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Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 hands-on

Samsung is back in the high-end tablet space with their latest offering. We find out what it has to offer, in this hands-on with the Samsung Galaxy Tab S3!

Published onFebruary 26, 2017

Samsung isn’t ready to show off the Galaxy S8 family to the world just yet, but that doesn’t mean they came empty handed to MWC 2017. Samsung is instead focusing on their tablet efforts this time around.

It’s been quite a long time since the company really dove into the higher-end of the tablet market, releasing lower-end products like the Galaxy Tab A most recently, but we finally have a true successor to the Galaxy Tab S2 that was released back in 2015. Since then, we’ve seen Apple really attack the market with its line of iPad Pro tablets, and it as about time that Samsung jumped back into the ring.

Armed with an updated design, along with the S-Pen we’ve grown accustomed to seeing in more “productivity” centric devices, Samsung intends to invigorate an Android tablet market that’s been dwindling in scope. Here is your first look, as we go hands on with the Samsung Galaxy Tab S3!

One of the first things you will notice when looking at the Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 is that it takes after Sammy’s premium design language seen with their flagship Android smartphones. You could easily say it’s a Galaxy S7 in tablet form, with it featuring a construction that combines a glass back with an all-metal frame.

There’s no denying the premium nature of the design, which helps when it boasts a skinny 6.0mm frame. Due to this, however, there’s a bit of fragility at stake here – so it’s something we’d be cautious about handling. Speaking of the glass construction, it certainly bounces light similarly to the Galaxy S7, but it’s also just as much of a fingerprint magnet.

Other notable changes to the design when compared to the Galaxy Tab S2 is that it features the newer USB 3.1 (Type-C) connection, higher resolution 13-megapixel camera with flash, larger 6,000 mAh battery (with fast charging technology), and there’s no longer those two holes in the back to attach a cover or keyboard. Instead, Samsung will offer case covers and a backlit keyboard, which will attach via a magnetic connection. Another thing to point out also is that there is only one model of the Galaxy Tab S3!

The Galaxy Tab S3 is sporting a 9.7-inch 2048 x 1536 (QXGA) Super AMOLED display. Never the one to disappoint, it’s detailed and offers all the exceptional qualities of the technology – like wide viewing angles, deep black color reproduction, and vivid colors. When it comes to watching videos, Samsung leverages a brand new HDR cinema-like mode that adjusts the contrast and color saturation accordingly to deliver a wider color gamut.

While it’s technically not the first time we’ve seen it in a Samsung tablet, it is the first time we’re seeing the S Pen making an appearance in this series. This new S-Pen, which doesn’t require any power source, offers 4,096 levels of pressure sensitivity. It has all the features of the S-Pen past, and much more of course. However, it’s a shame that there’s no slot to place the S Pen into when it’s not being used – so you’ll need to be extra mindful about it.

Powered by a quad-core 2.15 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 SoC with 4GB of RAM, we experienced all the buttery responses with Android 6.0 Marshmallow and Sammy’s usual TouchWiz-esque interface. You’d think they’d package a newer piece of silicone into this tablet, but the performance from what we’ve checked out suffices. That said, who knows if it’ll continue to be top-notch after several months of usage.

With Samsung being away from the high-end segment of the tablet market for some time to focus on other ventures in the Chromebook space, we kind of expected a little more out of the Galaxy Tab S3. Taking into consideration the vast time that has passed since its predecessor, more so after knowing what Apple has accomplished during the time, we were hoping to be captivated by something a bit more innovative.

So far, Samsung has kept hush about the tablet’s price and release, which will obviously play a key role in its visibility amongst consumers. Unlike its predecessors, the Tab S3 is competing in a totally different space – one that’s trying to establish an identity between the powerful Windows 10 convertibles out there, as well as the cheaper Chromebooks that have been running rampant of late.

Pricing will ultimately play a pivotal role in its success, as being above the $500 mark would mean competing against those Windows 10 tablet convertibles, which would offer more versatility in the long run with full Windows 10 software. Alternatively, it’ll also be going toe-to-toe with some sub-$500 Chromebooks out there, including Samsung’s own ARM-based Chromebook.

So there you have it for this quick look at the Samsung Galaxy Tab S3! Stay tuned with Android Authority to learn more about Samsung’s latest high-end tablet offering, and for more great coverage from MWC 2017!

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