- Bright, vivid display
- Sturdy, lightweight design
- microSD support
- S Pen included
- Limited internal storage options
- So-so camera
Taking aim at the iPad, Samsung’s latest tablet claims to offer the best of a laptop and tablet in one. But few Android tablets have yet to compete in the market against the iPad and with the bounty of affordable options out there, does a premium tablet make it worth the investment?
Reviews are rolling in for Samsung’s new flagship tablet and we’ve scoured them all to bring you this summary!
Let’s see what they’re saying…
If you’re expecting a larger version of Samsung’s Galaxy S8, the design of the Galaxy Tab S3 9.7 might disappoint. It sticks to the 7-series design aesthetic with chunky bezels and physical buttons along the bottom of the display.
That said, while reviewers weren’t hugely impressed by the design of the tablet, they loved its lightweight and how the glass back felt in their hands. Unfortunately, they also found that the glass back was horrible for fingerprints.
Heading around front, the reviews get better. The 9.7-inch 1536-by-2048 AMOLED screen impressed most reviewers. While the display is HDR-ready, reviewers had trouble sourcing HDR content. And the 4:3 screen ratio means you’ll be dealing with black bars when watching video.
However, this is balanced by ultra-rich colors and a display that looks good both in dim lighting or broad daylight. Pocket Lint summed up opinions well, saying, “... the point to take away from the S3's screen is that it's as good as any competitor. It's resolute, plenty bright and images really seem to pop from its surface.”
The design isn’t the only thing borrowed from a past release—the 2.15Ghz octa-core Snapdragon 820 processor is from last year’s flagship line as well. Fortunately, when paired with 4GB of RAM, no one complained about performance.
The tablet’s four speakers lead to high marks for gaming and media viewing while the included S Pen earned praise on the productivity front. While the tablet might not be a complete laptop replacement, reviews show it’s flexible.
Storage space is a mixed bag. While the tablet offers 32GB of storage, nearly 10GB is reserved for the system files. If you need more space, you'll need a microSD card.
The tablet runs Android 7.0 Nougat. Reviews on Samsung’s TouchWiz were mixed. While most felt it was simple enough to use, many questioned why they didn’t use their newer interface and found the duplicated apps frustrating.
If you’re hoping to use your tablet for video chat, the front-facing 7MP camera was a hit. However, the 13MP camera didn’t fare as well. Most reviewers had issues getting clear shots in anything other than bright daylight.
While many reviewers questioned the 6,000mAh battery included in the tablet, no one complained about battery life. TechRadar put it through its paces and said, “Samsung says the Tab S3 has enough juice for 12 hours of video playback, and that claim is just about backed up by our testing, with 30 minutes difference between what we saw and the official estimate.”
Overall, reviews are positive. While the tablet includes the updated S Pen, it doesn’t include a keyboard. So if you’re planning serious productivity work, expect to shell out more than the sticker price. However, outside of price, there was little to find fault with. TechRadar summarized thoughts well, saying, “It’s the best Android tablet today, but just be aware that its solid entertainment value leans more heavily on the tablet side of its 2-in-1 classification, at the expense of your productivity efforts.”
What the Critics Are Saying...
- What Hi-Fi
For all its faults, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 is probably the best Android tablet on the market at the moment. If you’re already deep in Google’s ecosystem and have the money to spend, then this is the tablet to go for. If not, you might want to consider the other options available.
- Ryan Whitwam, The Wirecutter
The Galaxy Tab S3 has an amazing Super AMOLED screen with HDR and an included active stylus. It's expensive, but this is the best Android tablet available.
- Alex Kidman, finder.com.au
The Galaxy Tab S3 is a great tablet for entertainment purposes and passable for productivity, but Apple's iPad Pro remains the pro tablet to buy if you're happy working with iOS.
- David Ferreira, The Gadgeteer
This is a worthy upgrade from the Galaxy S2 model and is hands-down the leading Android tablet out there. And that is not solely because most of the competitors (including Google) seemed to have left the market. On its own merit, the S3 is a great device. At $650 (what I paid new for the LTE version...
- Vigneshwar SR, Fone Arena
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 is indeed the best premium tablet in the Android platform as of now, giving a tough competition to its arch rival Apple’s iPad. This slate has an amazing build quality, good overall performance, decent camera and much improved S-Pen. But on the other side, its pricing...
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