Everything you need to know about the new Galaxy Tab S3 - Product review

Published March 15th, 2017 - 03:02 GMT
Pricing details for Galaxy Tab S3 were not provided but rumors claim that it will retail for $800 when it is officially released. (AlBawaba)
Pricing details for Galaxy Tab S3 were not provided but rumors claim that it will retail for $800 when it is officially released. (AlBawaba)

The MWC 2017 trade show saw several of Samsung’s goods and even though the Galaxy S8 was not among the company’s premium products, it still had a host of things that were targeted to a wide range of consumers. From computing machines to tablets, Samsung was taking its sweet time releasing the successor of its Galaxy Tab S2 and it looks like all of that time and effort was used to take the things that made the company’s phones such a great product and apply them to Android-powered tablets.

Galaxy Tab S3 is such a tablet that has been fused with properties belonging to the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy Note7 and scaled to a massive size. Are you looking for a premium tablet down the road to help complement your workflow and entertainment side for the next couple of years? If yes, then here are several things you’d like to know about the glass and metal encased slate.

1. Its glass and metal shell is unlike you’ve seen anything before

You’ve seen ‘all-metal’ tablets and you’ve seen tablets with plastic housings, but looking at a glass and metal shell, it is completely new. While it is nothing new for smartphones, the glass and metal body will definitely upgrade the aesthetics of the Galaxy Tab S3, though there are several drawbacks of owning the tablet. First is that it becomes an enormous smudge magnet, but if you like to cover your expensive toys with cases, then you have nothing to worry about.

Secondly, the glass and metal body gives the Galaxy Tab S3 a lot of toughness as far as durability is involved. Knives and other household items are not going to put a mark on the glass part of the tablet, but if you drop it from a significant height, then it will not be any different than dropping a phone from the same height. When carrying around the Galaxy Tab S3, remember to carry around a sleeve or its case at the very least.

2. It does not support wireless charging and is not water-resistant either

Sadly, the level of protection that you’ve readily seen on Samsung’s flagship phones is nowhere to be found on the Galaxy Tab S3. Having a glass and metal body would mean that wireless induction between the tablet and a Qi wireless charger would have been possible, so it is quite interesting to note why Samsung did not bother to bring this convenient feature to the Galaxy Tab S3. Another thing you should be aware of is that the tablet does not have any ingress protection of any kind.

Not IP68, not IP67 and not even IP53 which only protects devices from dust and light showers so keep the premium tablet away from sources of water as much as possible. Samsung is not going to offer you a free replacement if it finds that the slate has been damaged because of this. If a customer is attempting to take advantage of Samsung by making up a completely different story, the company has also fitted water damage indicators to let it know that the Galaxy Tab S3 stopped working because water crept inside.

3. Quad-speaker tuned by AKG Acoustics = Upgraded media consumption experience

A quad-speaker setup on a tablet is always welcome with a premium tablet like the Galaxy Tab S3, so you can expect stellar audio quality, not only because of those four speakers, but also thanks to the existence of AKG Acoustics. Though Samsung has acquired HARMAN, you should still expect high-end audio quality. Now the question remains that even though the AKG Acoustics label is present at the rear side of the tablet, what can we actually find inside the slate when it is opened apart by teardown aficionados?

We have two guesses that we’d like to share with you. Either the tablet will actually have a speaker setup designed by AKG Acoustics or those speakers have an Equalizer interface present in the tablet that has been tuned by AKG Acoustics to deliver better sound. Sure, you will be able to change the Equalizer settings according to your liking, but we’d still recommend leaving them as it is in order to get a combination of clarity, reduced noise distortion, and adequate bass.

4. You only get one model – No 8-inch model included in this lineup

Where Samsung introduced two Galaxy Tab S2 models, the company has decided to come up with just a single screen version this time. The Galaxy Tab S3 measures in at 9.7 inches diagonally and features a Super AMOLED display with a 2048 x 1536 resolution. A larger screen will mean that you will have more room to move around your fingers, as well as handle the S Pen comfortably, which we will talk about shortly.

The larger display also means that you will have a larger battery in the mix and we’re talking about a 6,000mAh battery underneath the premium tablet. Samsung claims that you can get up to 12 hours of video playback, and if you are going to be running word processing applications, then you can get a lot of work done with that 6,000mAh cell.

5. You only get the S Pen accessory with the tablet but the keyboard accessory is better than the competition

You get the S Pen accessory along with your Galaxy Tab S3 purchase but you will have to purchase the keyboard accessory separately. Samsung has not announced pricing details of the keyboard accessory but according to hands-on videos, the keyboard has a decent amount of key travel, making it extremely responsive compared to the likes of the iPad Pro’s keyboard accessory. The higher key travel will also give you an advantage in typing faster since a better tactile feedback is necessary for accurate and faster typing.

The only drawback of these accessories is that unlike the Surface Pro 4, Galaxy Tab S3’s does not have a magnetic surface for you to comfortably attach the S Pen, so it can get misplaced quite easily. On the plus side, the keyboard accessory does not require any external battery to remain powered and takes advantage of the magnetic golden contacts to help secure itself to the tablet. The attached product is quite sturdy and it will take a great deal of force before you can pull the tablet and keyboard apart.

6. HDR video support right out of the box

Videos that support HDR will easily be able to play on the Galaxy Tab S3. Unfortunately, if you visit the company’s product page where the Galaxy Tab S3 has been listed, it will clearly state the following:

“HDR video playback is available only for videos streamed via the Amazon app.”

Naturally, more content such as movies and TV shows will have to support HDR in order for the tablet to deliver such playback. Still, it is great that such a feature exists and we hope to see more devices like this bring out support for HDR out of the box. Pricing details were not provided by Samsung but rumors claim that it will retail for $800 when it is officially released. An $800 tablet is not something that you would have lying around, not when you can spend the same amount of money and purchase a decently spec’d laptop, but it will be useful for a select few individuals. Do you think the Galaxy Tab S3 will help Samsung’s position in the market where Android tablets’ popularity have been overshadowed by 2-in-1’s?

By Muhammad Omer

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