Samsung’s new Galaxy Tab S3 is an evolution of the world’s best Android tablet. There is no competitor in this space with a beautiful AMOLED screen, S Pen support, great AKG speakers and fast charge.And to be fair you expect that of a premium device and its price reflects that – A$949 for the Wi-Fi version and $1099 for LTE/Wi-Fi.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 model SMT825Y (LTE/Wi-Fi version)
It is good that Samsung includes the S Pen and makes the $189 Book cover/keyboard and option. After all, this is primarily a content consumption device and many will just want the tablet.
• Fast charger 9V/1.67A or 5V/2A
• USB-C to USB-A cable
• S Pen 4096 pressure levels (the same as used on the Windows 10 Galaxy Book)
It is black with a rear glass panel and front Gorilla Glass screen. But fire it up you will appreciate why the superb AMOLED screen high dynamic range (HDR10) is the only choice for premium mobile devices.
|Samsung Galaxy Tab S3|
Screen to body
|9.7 2048x 1536, 264ppi
72.7% slim side bezels
Vulkan Graphics and OpenGL ES 3.2
32GB (23 GB free at first use)
up to 256GB
|Camera front||5MP, f/2.2, 23mm, fixed focus|
|Camera rear||13MP, f/1.9, 27mm wide angle
Autofocus, LED Flash, 8x digital zoomAuto, Pro, HDR, food, hyper-lapse, panorama modes and various filter effects
|Wi-Fi AC, dual band, 2 x 2 MIMO
Cat 6 Option at purchase
86dB maximum low distortion
24-bit Hi-Res aptX DAC2 x Near fiedd and 2 x far field
Adaptive fast charge USB-C
Up to 12 hours
|Ports||1 USB-C 3.1 for charge and data|
|Dimensions||237.3 x 169.0 x 6.0mm|
Samsung Grace UX
|Security||4 x Fingerprint sensor
Password or Pin
Knox secure folder
|Inclusions in Box||S Pen stylus (Wacom developed)
|What’s missing||Keyboard optionalz
|Price||A$949 for 4/32GB Wi-Fi
$1099 for 4/32GB Wi-Fi and LTE
AMOLED is brilliant
The QXGA – 2048 x 1536 – comprises 3.2 million intelligent, self-illuminating, individually switchable pixels. Add Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 820 engine and it has the power to display High Dynamic Range (HDR10) streamed video content – a first for a tablet.
The 4:3 screen ratio (many tablets are 16:9) suits A4 paper size in portrait. It will screen cast in 16:9 to another device.
Crisp details, vibrant colours, pure blacks, and when you can get the content, the HDR difference of enhanced colour gamut, definition in shadows and highlights.
How does it sound?
Four AKG tuned speakers sound amazing. It is clear and will fill a 12m2 room with 86dB at very low distortion. They change orientation from left to right as you move or charge from portrait to landscape.
These speakers tend toward the mid-upper range but it adapts to the content – with vocals it is clear and with bass it is solid down to 100Hz.
There is basic EQ adjustment under Settings, Sound quality and Effects, that allow you to adjust from bass to treble and from instrumental to vocal. It has presets for surround sound, tube amp and concert hall. There is also an advanced EQ setting for total customisation. The inbuilt speakers have a range of 100Hz to 16kHz. Output via Bluetooth and 3.5mm audio was clean, 20Hz-20kHz.
How is the camera?
The f/1.9, 13MP (4:3) and 9.6MP (16:9) autofocus rear camera is surprisingly good for daylight use and has a flash to boost its low light use. But low light and digital zoom induce noise so use it sparingly.
Video is from UHD (3840 x 2160) down to VGA (640 x 480) with electronic image video stabilisation and various video effects kick in at HD or lower.
Sound recording comes from two mics on the “right” long side and it is too easy to put your hands over them in portrait mode while recording.