To many a tablet is an entertainment device and to many it is a work station. The Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 tablet features a 9.7 inches (24.64 cm) touchscreen for your daily needs and runs Android v6.0 (Marshmallow) operating system to quickly open apps and games. The device is powered by a Octa core (1.8 GHz, Quad core, Cortex A72 + 1.4 GHz, Quad core, Cortex A53) processor paired with 3 GB GB of RAM to further enhance the user’s experience. It also has a 4000 mAh battery.
EW DELHI: Android-based tablets aren’t really setting the world alight and there have been several reports about its dwindling sales and demand. If brands haven’t already pulled the plug on Android-based tablets, then they are in the process of doing so – and for rather valid reasons. These devices are bulky, boast of large screens, aren’t powerful enough, and above all, we won’t call them portable. Not to forget, newer palm-sized smartphones deliver better performance and are the preferred choice for customers.
If there’s one brand which is undeterred by the above-mentioned factors, then it is Samsung which remains bullish in the tablet category with its Galaxy Tab S series. The company recently took the wraps off its Galaxy Tab S3, one its newest tablets in India at Rs 47,990.
Like every other Android tablet available in the market, the Galaxy Tab S3’s basic aim stays the same – making you more productive and being your perfect entertainment companion. With the Galaxy Tab S3, Samsung, however has a concerted effort in enhancing the experience from all corners. Read our review to know how.
Design and display
Given the ‘new’ and elegant design of the Galaxy Tab S3, Samsung can take a lot of pride in it. The device is thin, a build profile that also lends a good grip. A metal and glass body ensures that it can be held in one hand for long durations. Also, the same build composition makes it durable to some extent.
While we did find the device slim and impressive, what we think could receive some flak is its glass back panel, which is a fingerprint magnet. Our black colour variant, although looked graceful, but picked up smudges even at the slightest touch. It, however, keeps the overall design portfolio stable across the Samsung flagship smartphones and tablets. All four sides sport a brushed metal look adding to its visual appeal.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 has a tactile home button with embedded fingerprint sensor below the display, along with back and multi-window buttons on either side. The nano-SIM card slot and the microSD card slot are on the right side along with the volume buttons and power buttons. At the bottom, you get a USB Type-C port and a 3.5mm headphone jack. The anomaly here is that both seem bit off placed as they are asymmetrical with the rest of the design. It is worth adding that the Galaxy Tab S3 is a bit thicker than the Tab S2 but retains the same height and length.
While all tablets aim to improve your multimedia experience, the Galaxy Tab S3 tries a bit harder as it delivers one of the perfect display and sound combination. The tablet has four speakers, two on top left and right corners, and two at the bottom left and right corners. Even if you are holding the tablet in a landscape mode, blocking two speakers, the other two will give the required output. All four AKG Tuned speakers together deliver clear audio and a stereo sound effect. They are loud and even at high bass level deliver low distortion. Add to this, the large display and you have a device which is an entertainment house.
Samsung is known for its saturated and vibrant Super AMOLED displays and it has used the same in its Galaxy Tab S3. The colour range is vivid and are more popped up due to deeper blacks and increased contrast ratio. This works perfectly with the tablet’s 9.7-inch QXGA (2048×1536 pixels) resolution panel, delivering a crisp visual experience. The screen size and resolution stays the same as the Galaxy S2 but is surely an improvement over the predecessor. What could also come as a feast for your eyes is the device’s HDR video playback capability on select streaming apps. Not only the vibrant screen adds to the movie watching experience but also makes games more engaging. There’s a Game Launcher as well that makes it easy to access the games in the tab.
Last year, Samsung brought its Galaxy Tab S2 in the market with an Exynos processor. Things this time around are different. The Galaxy Tab S3 rocks the Qualcomm Snapdragon 820, the flagship mobile processor of last year. It could have been a major caveat in the tablet’s fluid performance, surprisingly the Galaxy Tab S3 doesn’t suffer a hangover from the previous generation processor. Jumping between apps, editing documents, photos and everything else that you tap on in your day-to-day life performs fast without any glitches. The apps open without any hiccups and the device handles graphic-intensive apps without any snags.
On the user interface front, don’t expect any ground-breaking changes in the Tab S3 as it runs the same Samsung UI overlaid on the Android 7.0 Nougat OS version. Those who have been using Samsung smartphones will be comfortable using the tablet and will find everything slightly blown-up as compared to what they’ve seen on the Galaxy handsets. Samsung, over the years, has really worked hard on the UI front, making it productive and feature rich.
While the essence of the user interface revolves around ‘Entertainment’ factor, a part of it also makes you feel productive. The Tab S3, no doubt, could prove to be your best companion when it comes to streaming videos. However, occasionally you can also pull it out at coffee shops, edit documents, send emails or browse a presentation. This is largely possible because of the detachable keyboard that connects with the tablet using POGO pins. These pins are placed on the left side of the Galaxy Tab S3.
What could further enhance productivity is the new Samsung S Pen. With the S Pen you can do a lot more in a lot less time than what is possible using your fingers. Taking screenshots, accessing apps, writing notes, quickly capturing a part of the screen, editing and sharing it with friends are a few things possible using the new S-Pen. The stylus has been improved as it now measures 9.4mm in diameter, has a better grip and a narrower tip at 0.7mm. It also has 4,096 pressure sensor level, making it one of the most accurate and sensitive styluses around. More than writing there is a chance that you might end up testing your drawing skills with the pen on the Galaxy Tab S3.
The tablet comes with 32GB inbuilt storage, of which it reserves a massive 13.6GB for the system. This leaves users with around 19GB for storing apps and other content. Thankfully, Samsung has managed to include a microSD card slot here as well so space crunch might not be an issue.
Camera has never been a strong suit in tablets, irrespective of the platform. The Galaxy Tab S3 here makes no bold claims as the results are just about satisfactory. It uses a 13MP rear autofocus camera that should cater to the needs of those who like to click casually, without taking the intricate details into account. The 13MP rear camera sensor comes with f/1.9 aperture, which makes it snappy and a decent performer in low light situations.
However, the overall camera experience might not be the best. Most of the times the resulting images may appear a little too soft, taking out the crispness and it’s hard to believe as the company’s Galaxy smartphones are one of the most appreciated cameras.
On the brighter side, you do get a few shooting modes such as Continuous Shot, HDR, Panorama, Pro, Hyperlapse and Virtual Shot. The user interface is minimal with one tap access to the device’s gallery and swipe gestures to access modes and filters. Furthermore, the Galaxy Tab S3 can capture videos in UHD (3840×2160 pixels) resolution as well.
The front-facing 5MP camera is also quick to capture shots as it has f/2.2 aperture. The low-light shots are decent but nothing great. Here too, you get modes like Wide Selfie, Virtual Shot and more. It is decent enough to let you perform video calling tasks.
The battery –one of the deal clinchers in a tablet –is not disappointing. We used the Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 heavily for about 9 hours, editing documents, streaming videos and playing games before we had to plug it back. The tablet has a 6000mAh battery, which is ample enough to handle heavy apps and a saturated QHD display. Samsung claims the tab can deliver up to 12 hours of battery life on video playback. The fast charging tech simply acts like a cherry on top.
Extending the tablet’s battery is also possible using two battery saver modes – Mid and Max. Both the options cut certain features, background apps and screen brightness to make the Tab S3 run for extra hours.