Sam­sung Galaxy Tab S3

£599 inc VAT from

Android Advisor - - Contents - Chris Martin

The tablet mar­ket may have pe­tered-out some­what but Sam­sung hasn’t give up on it, even if it seems the likes of Sony, HTC and Google have. The Korean firm’s lat­est of­fer­ing is the Galaxy Tab S3.


If you were hop­ing for a price of around £399, then we have bad news. The Galaxy Tab S3 is even more ex­pen­sive than the iPad Pro at £599. That’s a heft amount for a tablet, although it’s worth point­ing out that Sam­sung in­cludes the new S Pen sty­lus in the box. If you want the 4G LTE model it will set you back £669.


The Korean tech giant has be­come a mas­ter of de­sign and build with its Galaxy prod­ucts (and oth­ers), form­ing a dis­tinct style emerg­ing since the Galaxy S6. This de­sign lan­guage has now made its way across a num­ber of prod­ucts and the Galaxy Tab S3 is no ex­cep­tion.

For starters, it’s as­ton­ish­ingly thin at just 6mm. Although this is ac­tu­ally a tiny bit thicker than the Tab S2 (and it’s also heav­ier at 429g) it’s still im­pres­sive (bet­ter than the iPad Pro on both counts still) and can be, we think, at­trib­uted to some of the in­no­va­tions found in the de­vice. It feels more premium than its pre­de­ces­sor too, but it does look a lit­tle odd with the USB port off-cen­tre. This is made slightly bet­ter by the head­phone port be­ing the other side of the home but­ton.

Although it feels premium be­cause of the sleek com­bi­na­tion of glass and metal. The back be­ing glass makes the Tab S3 a slip­pery cus­tomer, so you can’t put it on some­thing that isn’t flat with­out fear of it slid­ing off.

You’ll prob­a­bly keep it in a cover most of the time, though, as the tablet has Pogo metal con­tacts (be­low) to eas­ily con­nect to the key­board case. You can get the of­fi­cial Book Cover for £32 (, while the Key­board Cover is avail­able for £119 (

Un­like Sam­sung’s Galaxy S7 the Tab S3 isn’t wa­ter­proof, so you’ll have to look to Sony for that on a tablet (not that the firm has any­thing new so far this year on that front).

As you’d ex­pect it has USB-C and also four speak­ers much like the iPad Pro.

The tablet has a home but­ton once again, as per the launch event in­vi­ta­tion hint, and this con­tains a fin­ger­print scan­ner. The usual nav­i­ga­tion but­tons sit ei­ther side.

It’s avail­able in black or sil­ver, both of which are at­trac­tive, though the lat­ter model hides fin­ger­prints slightly, just like with a car.


New tablets, es­pe­cially high-end de­vices, are a rare thing these days. Ap­ple is one of the only com­pa­nies reg­u­larly re­leas­ing new mod­els. How­ever, the iPad Pro has some new com­pe­ti­tion from the Tab S3.


Mov­ing on from a sim­i­lar de­sign, the Tab S3 ce­ments it­self as an iPad Pro ri­val with its 9.7in screen that has a 4:3 as­pect ra­tio. It’s still got a 2048x1536 res­o­lu­tion and Su­per AMOLED dis­play tech­nol­ogy but now sup­ports high dy­namic range (HDR). We’re re­ally im­pressed with the su­perbly de­tailed screen which has bags of colour

and bright­ness. The HDR sup­port means bet­ter colours and con­trast, in the­ory, but it’s worth point­ing out that only se­lected ti­tles on Ama­zon Prime Video and Net­flix of­fer this and at the time of writ­ing, the re­spec­tive mobile apps don’t sup­port HDR.

While the screen is im­pres­sive in specs, it’s let down a lit­tle be­cause the tablet is a lit­tle too re­flec­tive to be great in all con­di­tions. It’s also worth not­ing that there’s no equiv­a­lent to the iPad Pro’s True Tone dis­play which al­ters colour tem­per­a­ture for a more com­fort­able ex­pe­ri­ence. All you can do is op­tion­ally switch on the blue light fil­ter.


Core specs start off with the de­cent with a Qual­comm Snap­dragon 820 pro­ces­sor. Even though we’d like to see the newer 835 model, the quad-core chip (dual 2.15GHz Kryo and dual 1.6GHz Kryo) is still up to the job.

You can see the bench­mark re­sults be­low and op­po­site, com­pared to the iPad Pro. Although the num­bers aren’t as im­pres­sive as Ap­ple’s of­fer­ing, the per­for­mance of Sam­sung’s tablet is still im­pres­sively

smooth. It’s ca­pa­ble of run­ning in­ten­sive apps and of­fer the abil­ity to use two side-by-side with Multi-Win­dow.

Stor­age and con­nec­tiv­ity

When it comes to mem­ory and stor­age, the Tab S3 has a com­bi­na­tion of 4GB of RAM and 32GB of stor­age. You can al­ways add up to 256GB more if needed via the mi­croSD card slot. It also comes with Blue­tooth 4.2, GPS, 11ac du­al­band Wi-Fi with 2x2 MIMO and op­tional LTE Cat 6. There’s no fea­tures such as NFC or an in­frared sen­sor here.

What there is, once again, is a fin­ger­print scan­ner that sits tra­di­tion­ally on the front with ca­pac­i­tive but­tons ei­ther side for nav­i­ga­tion. The sen­sor is fast and re­li­able as you would hope and can be used to un­lock the de­vice, ver­ify your Sam­sung ac­count in­stead of a pass­word and sign into web­sites.


The Tab S3 comes with a 13Mp rear cam­era and a 5Mp front cam­era. Even though the rear cam­era has an LED flash and an f/1.9 aper­ture, the re­sults are noth­ing spe­cial. You could, if you’re happy to shoot with a large tablet, post rea­son­able qual­ity con­tent on so­cial media but you wouldn’t want to use it for any­thing more se­ri­ous.

The front cam­era is dis­tinctly av­er­age and will serve as way to video call and the like. How­ever, its place­ment means hold­ing the tablet nat­u­rally means you’re not quite framed right in the pic­ture.

Bat­tery life

In­side is a 6,000mAh bat­tery that’s about twice the size of a typ­i­cal smart­phone. How­ever, that’s a fair chunk smaller

than the 9,240mAh found on the Google Pixel C. That said, we’re pretty im­pressed with the bat­tery life on of­fer here. The Tab S3 will al­most give you the ad­ver­tised 12 hours of video play­back and holds the charge very well on standby.

As men­tioned, the tablet charges via the USB-C port and although there’s no wire­less charg­ing, the sup­plied fast charger will get you to 100 per­cent in around two and a half hours which is pretty good.

S Pen

An­other key fea­ture is the in­clu­sion of a new S Pen. The re­fined sty­lus has a smaller 0.7mm tip and im­proved

pres­sure sen­si­tiv­ity – four times that of the Ap­ple Pen­cil. This re­viewer is no artist but it seems de­cent, although we did ac­ci­den­tally push the but­ton on the side a few times. The pre­in­stalled Pen.Up app is a sort of so­cial net­work­ing app for artists and you can cre­ate var­i­ous things in Notes, but there are bet­ter apps out there.

You also get the usual Air Com­mand menu for do­ing things like creat­ing note, smart se­lect, screen write, trans­late, mag­nify, and more.

An­noy­ingly, like the iPad Pro, there’s nowhere to keep the S Pen. It doesn’t at­tach to or slide into the tablet.


While the Galaxy Book tablets run on Win­dows 10, the Galaxy Tab S3 comes with An­droid 7.0 Nougat. That’s great, but An­droid still doesn’t trans­late to tablets as well as iOS. Gen­er­ally, apps on the plat­form aren’t op­ti­mized for larger screens so can look a bit rub­bish on the 9.7in dis­play here. There’s more sub­tle things like icons not look­ing their best, too.

Ev­ery­thing is pretty smooth and sim­ple with pre­in­stalled apps from, as usual, Google, Mi­crosoft and Sam­sung it­self. These in­clude Sam­sung Flow, which al­lows you to wire­lessly tether com­pat­i­ble de­vices to trans­fer doc­u­ments and sync mes­sages.

It’s easy to do what you want with the soft­ware in terms of apps or even a dif­fer­ent launcher (if you don’t want Brief­ing next to the home­screen, for ex­am­ple), but you can’t change ev­ery­thing.

For ex­am­ple, Multi Win­dow is a handy fea­ture but it doesn’t al­ways run nicely, re­quir­ing you to tap on one to bring it to life. That’s es­pe­cially an­noy­ing if it’s a mes­sen­ger app and you’re not get­ting new mes­sages through while us­ing the other app.


There’s no doubt that the Sam­sung Galaxy Tab S3 is the best An­droid tablet to be launched in years. If you’re look­ing for a high-end de­vice to ri­val the iPad Pro run­ning Google’s soft­ware then this is it. How­ever, it’s not with­out down­sides. The price will be too high for many and doesn’t in­clude the Key­board Cover, the soft­ware isn’t the best for a tablet and that glass back isn’t the best choice for mul­ti­ple rea­sons.

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