Tablets are now as much a part of our lives as laptops, and desktops, and in some cases, they take over those roles. They can because tablets have much more power and versatility than ever. I recently had a chance to play with a new Samsung Galaxy Tab S3. Regular readers will know I’ve been an Apple user for much of the last 6-8 years so I’m finding it very interesting branching out to explore new brands and getting to know Android.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 – first look
The tablet is a very good sized 9.7″ device, though it does have a wide bezel all the way around the screen. I found that unusual right away, only because Samsung’s new Galaxy phones are basically all screen. Nonetheless, this screen is still large and vibrant. The tablet is impossibly thin with a nice rounded edge it feels good to hold in your hand and it’s not slippery. There’s also a physical home button on the face that doubles as a fingerprint scanner.
The device comes with a special pen that allows you to write on screen or otherwise control the tablet.
Though I didn’t get to sample this feature, you can also attach a magnetic keyboard to the Tab S3 to help provide an easier typing experience if you’re going to use it like a laptop.
Introducing the Samsung S-pen
The pen is relatively small and weighs next to nothing. Several smart pens I’ve tried before are fat, bulky, heavy, and make it very uncomfortable to write. The Samsung pen feels like your favourite pen; the one you want to grab for constantly when you need to take notes.
Using the pen to write on the screen is a surprisingly comfortable experience. If you’ve ever used a stylus on a glass screen before you know it feels kind of weird, but in this case the pen’s contact with the screen feels much more natural, almost as if you were putting pen to paper. None of that metal to glass scrape.
Amazingly, the pen never requires charging, I think that’s because the technology is built into the screen as opposed to the pen. So really it’s just acting as a stylus. The small 0.7 mm pen tip is very natural for writing. Unlike some other pens or styluses, you’re not blocking your view of the letters you’re forming behind the pen nib.
Turn handwriting into type or make notes with screen off
With the pen function you can write notes that are than digitized into typed format, you can draw pictures, edit videos, or even jot something down when the screen is locked. That ‘screen off memo’ function almost looks like chalk on a chalk board, and it’s a super handy and quick way to write yourself a memo.
Using handwriting to text feature
To use the handwriting-to-text feature, do a long press on the microphone button on the virtusal keyboard on screen this will bring up the bottom screen where you can hand write texts that will then be converted to tight text in the top screen
Using the Samsung Galaxy Tab S3
The home screen displays easy access to Weather information and time, as well as the typical Google search screen. There are numerous apps pre-installed on the device including Netflix, YouTube, and the full suite of Google apps. Anything else you need is as close as the Google Play store.
The tablet features a 9.7 inch QXGA SAMOLED display that’s HDR video compatible to give you great looking programs.
Here’s where we’ll learn a little something while we’re here; HDR or High Dynamic Range (in a nutshell) makes colours bolder by using light more realistically.
What is QXGA? What’s AMOLED?
Without going into too much detail, QXGA stands for Quantum Extended Graphics Array—it’s is a computer display mode that has enough pixels to offer fine details — more like print on paper, and it’s great for people that want to see all the details or multiple images — and for gaming. the downside is that it’s expensive.
Finally, since we’re playing professor, AMOLED (active-matrix organic light-emitting diode) is a display technology used in smartwatches, mobile devices, laptops, and TVs. You’ve heard of LED or OLED TVs — Light emitting diode — that’s just the the ultra thin film display technology that uses organic compounds to create the display.
Ok lesson over!
The all glass design is sleek and shiny, but at the same time it doesn’t feel too delicate. In the construction of glass and metal have been fused together though it doesn’t feel heavy or metallic
Typing on the tablet is quick and responsive. With some other tablets I’ve tried it almost feels like there’s a lag between the time you press the button and the time the action takes place. With this tablet it felt very instantaneous.
Galaxy Tab S3 has faster performance
The tablet has made some improvements on previous versions; it’s 18% faster than galaxy tab S2, and the graphics load three times faster than the S 2. You can thank the snapdragon 820 processor inside for that.
4 built in speakers in Samsung Galaxy Tab S3
There are four speakers on this tablet for much better audio performance. The speakers that play will automatically adjust to the orientation of the tablet, ensuring you’re always getting the best sound.
Galaxy Tab S3 made for gaming
These tablets are made for gaming too. Though gaming isn’t something I’m into, it’s worth mentioning here. “The Galaxy game launcher it has been optimized for Galaxy Tab S3’s screen, offering a power saver mode, game broadcasting, and mute games or ongoing calls mode,” according to Samsung.
How to use multi-function window or split screen
Conveniently the tablet also runs Android’s newest operating system, Nougat, which allows you to open two windows at the same time. The ‘multi-function window’ as it’s called is a bit weird to get used to using. When an app is open in full screen view, just press and hold the recents key, then select another app to open by tapping the double rectangle in the top right corner of the second app.
How to close multi function window
I was mystified about how to close the multifunction window. I thought I could do it by following the same procedure that I did to open it, but not so. You’ll need to grab the blue slider bar that splits the screen, and drag it up and right off the screen. The second window will wipe away.
Battery & charging
The S3 charges very quickly. You can get up to 12 hours of video playback with less downtime according to Samsung. The onboard battery is a 6000 mAh battery, which should last from 8-12 hours, depending on usage.
Tab S3 Camera
I’ve always found it awkward to use a camera on a tablet, though I’ve seen people doing it at national parks and the like. if you’re one of those people, you can look forward to a main camera resolution of thirteen megapixels while the front camera is five megapixels. A flash and auto focus are included.
Overall review – Samsung Galaxy Tab S3
Since my hands-on experience with Android devices has been limited, I felt like this as a whole new experience for me. I don’t have previous Tabs to compare to, so I’m coming at this as a completely new device.
Overall, I liked the tab S3. It’s light and easy to use and hold; it feels good in my hands. The screen is large and detailed, clear and vibrant.
The functions seemed fast and there was almost no lag.
I found some of the functions like using the handwriting to text or the multi window feature to be anything but intuitive. I had to go online and look up how to do some things. Perhaps that’s my lack of familiarity with Android, but my feeling about smartphones and devices is that you should be able to figure things out without research.
In short if you’re looking for an Android tablet that’s fast, sleek, sizeable and great looking, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 is a great pick.
Get a Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 for about $599 US and $799 CAD.