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Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 Review - The King Of Multimedia Tablets?

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Samsung Mobile recently introduced Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 here in the Philippines, a tablet that it had groomed to reign as the "king of multimedia tablets."
Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 review

Armed with features that provide for the ultimate "cinematic" entertainment experience, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 could sit on the throne as the best entertainment tablet in the Philippines, thus far.

For a week or we did both work and play activities using the Samsung Galaxy Tab S3.

Appointed to find out if this tablet could really be king of the tablet world, I used it to write, surf the internet, read eBooks, play games and of course watch my favorite shows on iFlix.

Although Samsung has very well placed the said tablet as a gamer's tablet the manufacturer included features that will allow for work-related tasks like typing, editing and even sketching.

The tablet has provisions for a keyboard. It also comes with a super pressure sensitive stylus pen. Two good features if you really are looking for a phone that can easily transition from work to play mode.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 Specs

Display: 9.7 Inch QXGA Super AMOLED 2048 x 1536 resolution at 264 ppi
CPU: 2.15 GHz 64 Bit Snapdragon 820 quad core processor
GPU: Adreno 530
RAM: 4 GB
ROM: 32 GB expandable via micro SD card slot up to 256 GB
Back Camera: 13 MP f/1.9 w/ AF and LED flash
Selfie Camera: 5 MP f/2.2
Battery: 6,000 mAh w/ Quick Charge
OS: Android 7.0 Nougat w/ TouchWiz UI
Connectivity: WiFi, 3G, LTE Cat 6, Bluetooth 4.2, GPS, A GPS, GLONASS
Others: Fingerprint sensor, USB Type C, S Pen, Harman Kardon quad speakers, Colors: black, silver
Sensors: Accelerometer, light, geo, proximity, gyroscope
Dimensions: 237.3 x 169 x 6 mm
Weight: 434 g
Price: PHP 37,990

Unboxing / Accessories

Although the unit we received for review did not come with the box, we expect the tablet to come with a USB Type C connector and a sim ejection tool.

Although earphones are not included in the package it has an S Pen stylus, replacement tips and a tip removal tool to make up for it.

Build Quality / Design

Mirror-like back
Mirror-like back

Samsung Galaxy Tab S3's beastly internals is contained in an all metal and glass body giving it a very premium feel.

It has a nice hand feel provided by its mirror-like finish and chamfered edges.

The power and volume buttons are placed within easy reach on it right side. Along with these buttons the dual purpose sim and SD card tray is positioned on the right side of the tablet.
Power button and volume rocker
Power button and volume rocker
Magnetic dock below
Magnetic dock below
Two speakers here
Two speakers here
Another set of two speakers, headphone jack slot, and USB Type C port
Another set of two speakers, headphone jack slot, and USB Type C port

On the left side of the tablet the magnetic dock for the after-sales keyboard can be found. The quad speakers are all strategically positioned on top and at the bottom of the tablet when held in portrait orientation.

The earphone port and USB Type C port for charging sit side by side at the bottom side of the tablet when on portrait orientation.

The home button which doubles a fingerprint scanner it super sensitive to quickly recognize fingerprint, making unlocking the screen quick and easy.

I have to point out that the USB type-c port is not placed right in the middle. I particularly found this weird.  But maybe I just go used to all my gadgets having their ports in the middle.

Display Quality

Superb viewing experience
Superb viewing experience

The Samsung Galaxy Tablet S3 is a multimedia tablet and it does its job quite well because it sports a Super AMOLED screen which gives deep blacks, super defined highlights and punchy colors.

If I must say this would have to be my favorite feature on this tablet. It gave me a really enjoyable viewing experience.

Another good point worth mentioning is that when viewing from any angle the display stays consistent. In terms of legibility under sunlight this tablet's auto brightness performs well. It also has 10 points of multitouch.


Audio Quality

Now moving on to another highlight of this tablet. I am excited to talk about its audio performance.

I love watching movies and shows on iFlix. Using the Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 elevated an already good experience to "the ultimate" experience.

Its monster quad speakers gives off enunciated sound. It is like having having a mini theater level viewing experience.

With the speakers placed around the body, the tablet produces impressive surround sound. However, the tablet can use some improvement with regard to the positioning of the speakers. When holding the tablet on landscape orientation your hands tend to cover the speakers and block off sound.

Used with earphones, the tablet's sound output remains crisp and clear. My expectation was surpassed because the bass response is still very impressive even with earphones thanks to its 3.5 mm headset jack found at the bottom of the device. 

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S3's 3.5 mm headset jack provides an upscale audio quality of 24 bit HiFi for the receivers. It also sounds great overall for headphones. Bassy, yet crisp and clear.

For someone who lives off creating multimedia content this tablet will be a good investment because its microphones works beyond expectation. Casual recordings, may it be voice or video,  deliver clear audio.


Battery Life

Armed with 6000 mAh this tablet can last for up to 18 hours. I left the tablet on my desk with apps open and WiFi on and it lasted for 4 days before I had to charge it.

Great battery performance!

When used with my usual daily tasks for both work and entertainment the battery life is somewhere in the neighborhood of 12 to 14 hours.

It also has a quick charge feature. Around 1 hour and 30 mins from 0 to 100 percent.


Camera

Camera interface
Camera interface

Samsung boasts one of the very best camera setup for on a tablet. It's equipped with a 13 MP f/1.9 w/ AF and LED flash that should perform decently even in lowlight.


It comes equipped with auto, pro, panorama, hyperlapse, continuous shot, HDR, food and virtual shot. It also has grids for guides. Although it cannot shoot on burst mode it takes photos instantaneously without lapse. 


This tablet's focusing is snappy. The tab focuses quickly on desired subject after tapping on a subject while shooting for both video and photo.


Although the camera is not Samsung Galaxy Tab S3's strongest suit it is above average for a tablet.


The camera performs well.  When used in a well lit environment the picture comes out really sharp. Under low light photos come out quite grainy but the results are not really that bad.


Anyway, there is always post processing apps that can be used to adjust exposure and contrast. 


The back camera works well with sufficient light but quite poor with low light even if it has a brighter type of f/1.9 aperture lens.

The flash is pretty decent for a tablet with an effective range of three feet.


Rear Camera Samples

Daylight shot 1
Daylight shot 1
Well lit flat lay
Well lit flat lay
Cropped image
Cropped image
Yellowish indoor
Yellowish indoor
Lowlight sample
Lowlight sample

In front, its a equipped with a 5 MP f/2.2 camera sensor for selfies and groufies. It also has an adjustable beautify mode. 
Selfie camera
Selfie camera

The 5 MP f/2.2 selfie camera performs especially in well lit conditions.

Beauty Mode of shooting is always a welcome feature.  I particularly love its Beauty Mode. It automatically smoothens out the photo. The photos also look as its been shot under brighter light condition.


I am happy to say that this tablet's camera has fast shutter speed. If you are shooting a moving subject the shutter can keep up with continuous shots.


It has enough detail and decent saturation. But again, the cameras are not this tablet's highlight feature.


As for the results of the photos, when shot in lowlight pictures come out cartoonish and yellowish. It has no screen flash or dedicated flash.


Selfie Camera Samples

Cropped daylight selfie
Cropped daylight selfie
Indoor well lit selfie
Indoor well lit selfie
Groufie with friends featuring FTA
Indoor dim light selfie
Indoor dim light selfie

This tablet comes packed with surprises. I was thrilled to find out that this can shoot FHD, QHD and UHD quality at a speedy rate of 30 frames per second. As mentioned focus is quick to respond and stabilization is above par.

The front camera also has the ability to shoot HD videos but it is shakier compared to the rear cam.

Performance

High benchmark scores

During the two-week test run with this tablet I am pleases with its performance.  No lags and no suddenly closing apps.

Multitasking works smoothly even with many apps open.

So far,  based on Antutu Benchmark the Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 is highest scoring a whopping 141149. Meanwhile, Geekbench gave this tablet 1676 single-core score and 4014 multi-core score.
Nougat x TouchWiz
Nougat x TouchWiz

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 runs on Android 7.0 Nougat OS, the latest mobile OS of Google yet. For someone who uses a tablet or a phone to work Nougat's quick and efficient notification displays are good points. The new OS also has reply from notification feature, something to appreciate if you multitask a lot. Samsung's Nougat version of TouchWiz UI also updated emojis, a feature also worth mentioning.
With the S Pen

I love writing. I mean it. Literally writing using a pen and paper. Despite the fact that I write about gadgets that has features that can help you do away with using the humble pen I still carry a pen and a notebook with me everywhere I go.  

So, I was psyched to use the S Pen. It feels like using a real pen. With the tip's sensitive tip it is easy to control and strokes go very smoothly. The 9.4 mm diameter of the pen's torso makes the grip stable and comfortable. 


The tip is a sleek 0.7mm. According to Samsung 0.7mm is the best and most popular ballpoint. 


I particularly found writing using the S Pen almost effortless thanks to its 4096 pressure level. 


The redesigned S Pen does not need recharging.

An add on I loved about the S Pen is S Pen-specific apps that help jotting down notes easier. Notes and reminders jotted down using the stylus are automatically saved into Samsung Notes. 


For the more creative creature,  sketches and artworks can be shared on PEN.UP. Meanwhile, musical compositions can be composed by hand using Soundcamp.


The Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 is LTE capable, a feature not very common to tablets.

The tab's connectivity-WiFi, Bluetooth and LTE works efficiently, too. Most handheld gadget disconnects from hotspot or tether connections but this tablet stays connected even after a long period of inactivity.

Pros Impressive multimedia capabilities, cinematic viewing, fast processor, fast charging, long battery life, premium mirror-like design and feel, S Pen, aftersales keyboard
Cons - Expensive price point, possibility of losing S Pen, camera's lowlight shooting could use some improvement

Verdict

So, is the Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 worthy of the title "king of multimedia tablets"?

From someone who loves accessing multimedia content on different gadgets I think this tablet reigns king of multimedia tablets. Its super AMOLED display and and surround sound makes it the ultimate multimedia tablet.

However, at PHP 37990 I find this tablet expensive. I could just get a mobile phone that can do almost everything this tab can do at a cheaper price. 

But then again, we pay extra for some premium. The Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 is the Porsche of tablets. Just think of it that way.

Moving on,  I think the provision for a keyboard it a great plus. The keyboard can transform this "entertainment" tablet to a work tablet. 

We think that this tablet is perfect for gamers, artists and people who enjoy multimedia on their gadgets.

All in all the Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 reigns king of cinematic and multimedia tablets to date!

Build / Design - 3.75

Display - 4.75
Audio - 4.75
Battery - 4.75
Camera - 3.75
Performance - 4.25
Average - 4.33 / 5
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