Samsung Galaxy Tab S3
Most Stylish design, powerful stylus, superb Amoled screen, fingerprint sensor, sound and HDR compatibility …
Samsung has equipped its new Galaxy Tab S3 tablet with trendy options like HDR support and the S Pen. But without a keyboard delivered originally, it remains geared towards content consumption rather than productivity.
If we had to choose a tablet to watch videos until the end of our days, it would be the Galaxy Tab S3. With its sleek design, impressive screen and four speakers, it is truly an excellent nomadic home cinema system. It is also the first HDR-compatible tablet, even if you have to add several asterisks to this mention.
Indeed, HDR content is still far from being as widespread as HD content. But Samsung makes it a selling point against the competition of iPad Pro 9.7 , Microsoft Surface Pro 4 and Google Pixel C.
It includes the tablet with a new version of the pen S Pen that will delight all those who practice the taking of handwritten notes.
This option extends usage to productivity and creation beyond its leisure function. However, there are some missteps for this high-end Android tablet. In addition to the shortage of HDR-compatible content, the performance for video games is not up to what can be expected of a product at this price level.
Although it costs as much as an iPad Pro 9.7 or a Pixel C, the Tab S3 is lower performance level. But if you have a very clear and bright screen, a very good audio quality and an excellent stylus are essential, then the Samsung tablet is an ideal choice.
First-Rate Video Quality
It is with the video that the Tab S3 shines the most. The contents in HD are very clear, bright and rich in color. This excellent image quality is complemented by four speakers placed at each corner. They benefit from Harman Kardon’s audio technology and offer a particularly powerful and clear sound, but it is best to avoid turning up the volume.
According to Samsung, the tablet is equipped with a directional audio system that will change the distribution of effects according to the orientation of the screen so that the dialogues are always broadcast on the upper speakers. But we did not really notice any difference.
The Tab S claims the title of the first HDR compatible tablet, a technology that enhances the contrasts that owners of Ultra HD TV know well. But here it is, there is currently no native HDR content at Samsung or any way to find easily. Netflix does not intend to provide this benefit for the Tab S3.
In the end, as impressive as it is, the HDR argument does not make much sense for the moment. However, the 9.7 inch (2.048×1.536 pixels) Amoled display will give you one of the best visual qualities on a tablet.
A Design Close To The Galaxy S7
Most tablets are made of plastic or aluminum. The Galaxy Tab S3 is made of glass, like the Galaxy S7 smartphone. This unique finish is comfortable and pleasant to the touch thanks to its rounded aluminum edges. The Tab S3 is available in black or silver. We tested the silver version that did not expose too much fingerprints. But we too have seen the black model which is a real trace magnet.
A New S Pen
Like the Microsoft Surface Pro 4 , the Galaxy Tab S3 comes with a stylus and some spare mines. This is a new version of the S Pen that the Galaxy Note uses. With a single button and an oblong design to prevent it rolls when placed on a table, it is comfortable to take in hand and slides on the screen with the softness of a ballpoint pen. Another valuable asset, it does not need to be recharged or synchronized.
Software integration was also very well thought out. Just press the button and touch the screen (unlocked) with the mine to call up a customizable context menu that can be used with its favorite applications.
You can also take notes very easily when the screen is in standby by pressing the button and the screen together to open an input window. Personally, we did not expect to appreciate the S Pen at this point because we are not a fan of the concept. But its use is bluffing fluidity, whether for writing or coloring.
Admittedly, there is a time of adaptation to find the right level of pressure, but apart from that the handling is rather easy. The stylus-related software interface was more than adequate to cover all of our note-taking needs.
A Disappointing Keyboard
One of the most disappointing things with the Tab S3 is its keyboard case. Equipped with a magnetic fastening system similar to that of the iPad Pro 9.7 inches, it is unpleasant to use. The layout of the buttons (not backlit) is narrow, it does not automatically turn off the screen when you close the case and it happens to not answer even if it is properly connected.
Finally, his only asset is the sheath for the S Pen. We also encountered a virtual keyboard display bug once the physical keyboard was unplugged and we had to restart the tablet to solve the problem. Another defect, the tablet goes to sleep as soon as you disconnect the keyboard. Fortunately this accessory is sold separately. But those who really need a keyboard should consider other options.
For everyday use including note taking, e-mail viewing, surfing the web, HD video streaming and basic video games, the Tab S3 has been quite comfortable.
On the other hand, complex games such as NOVA 3: Near Orbit or Hearthstone were slow to load. But the graphics were beautiful and fluid.
As far as autonomy is concerned, it is rather very satisfactory. We did a video playback test in 720p HD and it held 12h and 4mn. If for the same price the iPad Pro 9.7 and Pixel C do not provide a stylus, their performance is at least up to their high-end status.
The Galaxy Tab S3 and its Oled / Four-speaker duo offer unparalleled comfort for watching videos on a tablet. Its stylus makes it a very effective note-taking tool. The HDR feature is a little superfluous at the moment, but it is promising for the future.
At equivalent prices, you can opt for a more productivity-oriented tablet. The iPad Pro 9.7 and Pixel C offer more efficient keyboards and are more efficient with video games. But if you want a very good tablet for watching videos first, then the Galaxy Tab S3 is our favorite model.