While Samsung may have disappointed many by not unveiling its flagship Galaxy S8 smartphone at the ongoing MWC 2017, it did make some new announcements. Among them was the new Galaxy Tab S3, which as the name suggests, is the successor to 2015’s Galaxy Tab S2. With this new tablet, it is clear that Samsung is targeting the Apple iPad Pro 9.7-inch. I spent some time with the tablet at MWC 2017, and here are my first impressions.
Samsung has carried over design elements from its smartphones like the Galaxy S7 and the now-defunct Galaxy Note 7. In other words, the Galaxy Tab S3 sports a glass body held together with a metal frame. The tablet looks sleek and oozes premiumness, which shouldn’t come as a surprise. Our only grouch is that the surface of the tablet is very reflective, and is prone to fingerprint smudges.
The display on the Galaxy Tab S3 is one of the talking points, and in the short time I spent with the device it was clear why. The tablet comes with a 9.7-inch Super AMOLED display with QXGA (2048×1536 pixels) resolution. The display also supports HDR videos, which sort of makes it future-proof. As we have come to expect from AMOLED displays, colors are quite bright and blacks are deep. Unsurprisingly, the display on the Galaxy Tab S3 is no different, and it is a treat for the eyes.
Under the hood however, Samsung’s choice of chipset is a tad baffling to say at best. The Galaxy Tab S3 is powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 820 SoC, paired with 4GB of RAM. The chipset is no slouch, and in the short time I spent with the tablet, performance was a breeze. But there’s no hiding that it is an ageing chipset, and at MWC 2017 we have seen smartphones powered by Snapdragon 835 SoC. ALSO READ: Samsung Galaxy Book with Windows 10, S Pen support launched at MWC 2017: Specifications and features
Making sure everything ticks is a 6,000mAh battery that Samsung says is good enough to last up to 10 hours. Like Apple’s iPad Pro, the Galaxy Tab S3 too boasts four stereo speakers around the display. The speakers are tuned by AKG, and they also boast auto-rotate capabilities that detect the display orientation (landscape or portrait) and optimize the sound accordingly. Unfortunately in the loud environment at the expo, we couldn’t really put the speakers to the test.
Other talking points of the Galaxy Tab S3 are its accessories, which include a keyboard cover and an improved S Pen. The keyboard is exactly what you expect it to be, and it was quite comfortable to use for typing. It is in essence a nice companion accessory to have when you need to get some office-related work while on the move.
The S Pen however deserves a special mention. Samsung says the stylus has been improved and with a 4,096 level of sensitivity, the overall usage experience is very close to the pen-to-paper feel. In the short time I spent with the tablet, the S Pen did work really well. Like the Galaxy Note 7, you can start doodling on the tablet’s screen even when it is turned off. Like Samsung’s phablets, the Galaxy Tab S3 also supports Air Command, wherein you can access different actions (create a note, smart select, screen write and more) by hovering above the menu icon the screen.
In the short time I spent with the Galaxy Tab S3, it seems to be among the best tablets Samsung has developed so far. Android Nougat runs pretty smoothly, and proves that it is ready for the big-screened devices. My first impressions are positive, Apple’s iPad Pro 9.7-inch may finally have a worthy competitor. That said, we will reserve our final judgement till we have reviewed the tablet. In the meantime, all eyes will be on the pricing of the tablet, which needless to say will be high. Samsung is yet to reveal the pricing or availability details of the Galaxy Tab S3.
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