Calling all Gamers and Movie Watchers... this is the BEST Android tablet on the market as I type. It is the multimedia lovers tablet! I'm going to cover many of the things you want to know so you can build a case whether this is worth your hard earned money.
-=The "Skinny" on Build Quality=-
We all know the debacle that was Galaxy Note 7. I loved this phone and was sad to see the recall run its course. I was refreshed to see this tablet. It screams premium from the moment you open the box. It is packaged like a high class item in a sleeve that protects against scratches. This tablet oozes sophistication, style, and class like the Note 7 did. It follows the same Samsung design language found in their post 2015 flagship phones. You will hold this and know you have a great tablet. It doesn't feel cheap and "plasticky" with its glass front and back. The metal rim is slightly curved like the S7edge and Note 7 were and surrounds a USB type C connector. It also brings S Pen functionality much like the Note 7. The SPen is solid and build to last. You could say this is a Note 7 without the awesome camera and iris scanner. This S Pen is eerily similar in size to a normal ball point pen and the tip is .07mm like what most of us write with (see photo for comparison). It feels solidly built and comfortable to use. The best comparison is last year's Galaxy S2 Tab but build with upgraded materials and software/hardware. A+ for Samsung here.
//CONS// This beautiful design is a fingerprint magnet and there is nowhere to put the SPen. So DON'T lose it or you can buy a case that has a place for it. The replacement cost is around $80 ouch!
This screen is gorgeous! It uses a 9.7" Super AMOLED display with resolution of 2048x1536. This means the pixel density is right there with that if other major competitors on the market at 264ppi. The screen supports HDR which makes this tablet future-proof. Details are crisp and colors are accurate (when not in "Adaptive" mode). This makes the screen ideal for web browsing, studying, reading and streaming HD content. You need a tablet to use outside? This tablet has a peak brightness output of 465 nits, ensuring that clarity isn’t compromised when it’s used outdoors under direct light. It's screen color reproduction is most accurate using the "basic" color mode which is accurate to the sRGB gamut.
//CONS// Not much is stated on what type of glass this is. I would expect Gorilla Glass is here somewhere, but it isn't clearly notated anywhere. Get a screen protector to be safe!
This is snappy quick like the processor it has. The Galaxy Tab S3 uses the same quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor with 4 GB of RAM found in the Note 7 and S7/edge. Before you get upset or disappointed, this is more than enough to handle anything you have to do on the tablet. It doesn't lag during applications. I wouldn't call this a laptop replacement, but it is definitely a nice tablet. Pro users will need to look elsewhere for something to replace the laptop.
I would say this is average. It has a 6,000 mAh cell that last anywhere from 6hr 45 mins to 8 hrs of heavy use. That encompasses It's enough to get through the day with heavy use but this is offset with the Quick Charge 3.0 technology. In my experience, I have fully recharged this tablet from 15% to 100% in roughly 1.5hrs to 1hr 45 mins. Now that is IMPRESSIVE! With light use, you may be able to charge every 2-3 days.
//CONS// I wish the battery lasted longer, but this is offset with the Quick Charge 3.0. Standby time is decent as well. You be the judge...
Camera's are decent. You get a front facing 5MP camera with an aperture of f/2.2. The rear shooter is 13MP with an aperture of f/1.9. These are NOT the awesome quality of photos we are used to with our cell phones so don't let the MPs fool you. They are however leaps and bounds over most other tablet cameras. In low light conditions it is average at best. The rear camera is capable of recording in 4K while the front camera only can record in 1080p. It has an LED flash on the back which is very nice.
//CONS// These cameras could be the high quality found in our cell phones these days, but I see they cut cost to make a profit. Nothing wrong with that. Besides who is actually using their tablet to take photos when we all have cell phones :) This is just me being tough on them. They aren't the best in low light.
The SPen comes bundled with the purchase unlike other tablet competitors make you shell out another $80-$100 for that functionality. It is roughly the size of a standard gel roller ball point pen. It has a .07mm tip with 4096 levels of sensitivity and writes so smoothly. The stylus is compatible with a variety of apps, too, including Samsung's own S Note app, and Microsoft OneNote. And though I'm not much of an artist, I am a fervent note taker, and SPen felt just as natural to use as a BIC ballpoint pen to a piece of paper. Perhaps the SPen's only flaw in this particular case is that it doesn't physically attach to the Galaxy Tab S3. You will need a pencil pouch to keep tabs on the stylus, or you'll need to get into the habit of clipping it onto your shirt. Like the old days. There is a few milliseconds of lag between you writing on the screen and actually seeing what you write. Not a big deal but worth nothing for those who will draw on this. It has all the same SPen features that were found on the Note 7. For more info, google Air Command tutorials. Did I mention there is no battery to recharge or replace? This is great!
//CONS// Did I mention there isn't anywhere to put the pen?
The fingerprint sensor is also a welcomed addition to this. I found it to be very finicky if it isn't clean. Nothing like the speed and reliability of the one found on the S7 series or Note 7.
//CONS// In my experience, it takes a few times to get my fingerprint registered to unlock. I have tried to reregister my fingerprints to see if it helps, but only when the sensor is clean.
The speakers BOOM with sound since there are 4 of them tuned by AKG. They employ the accelerometer to change the orientation of the sound to match how the screen faces. They sound louder with clear mids and highs, but lack heavily in the lows and bass areas. This will NOT be something you stream music from, I recommend pairing it with an external Bluetooth speaker.
//CONS// Sounds like two cell phone quality speakers. Lacking in the low and bass departments. I recommend pairing with a Bluetooth speaker to make it a better experience.
The Galaxy Tab S3 is good enough that you could use it for working, gaming, reading, binge-watching, and almost everything else your little laptop can do. The only issue you might have getting used to multitasking on Android itself. Even with the Tab S3's native multi-window functionality, I'd much rather have the freedom of a laptop to spread out my work than be confined to a finicky task switcher. Also, there is no waterproofing which I would like to see, but I don't think there are any tablets that have this feature. Another huge gripe of mine is the fact there isn't a place to put the SPen. This means you can easily lose it.
I find it hard to justify the price point of $599. It is clearly trying to take on the standard for tablets -which I will not mention- but it is a worthy competitor. There are many accessories that can make this better. To date, there is a keyboard that doubles as a case for protection. It does not use a battery or Bluetooth which is a plus. It simply plugs in to the pogo connectors on the tablet. Overall this is a great tablet. If you are looking for a future proof tablet and are deeply integrated into the Android platform this is for you. If not, wait for the price to drop and catch it on the Black Friday sale or something.
This is a spec list for my people who want to nerd out directly off the Samsung website:
OS - Android 7.0
Processor - Snapdragon 820 Quad Core(2.15 GHz + 1.6 GHz Quad), Qualcomm APQ8096
Build Type - Wi-Fi
Size - Weight 0.95 lbs Dimensions (inches) 9.34" x 6.65" x 0.24"
Camera - Front 5MP f/2.2 // Back 13MP AF with LED Flash f/1.9
Digital Optical Zoom x4 (Digital)
Battery Type and Size - Li-Ion 6000mAh
Storage - 32 GB External Memory
Expandable with microSD™ capacity up to 256GB
USB Type-C (3.1)
Bluetooth Profiles - A2DP,AVRCP,DI,HFP,HID,HOGP,HSP,MAP,OPP,PAN,PBAP
Earjack - 3.5mm Stereo
Main Display Resolution
2048 x 1536 (QXGA)
Main Display Size
Main Display Technology
S Pen Compatible
Yes (Included in box)
Audio Streaming, Music Player
Audio Playing Format
Quad Speakers (DSL Type 1709 3.0t)
Video Streaming, Video Player
Video Playing Format
Sensor Types - Accelerometer,Fingerprint Sensor,Gyro Sensor,Geomagnetic Sensor,Hall Sensor,RGB Light Sensor
What's Included in Box?
Tab S3 9.7"
Quick Start Guide
USB Type-C cable