MWC 2017: Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 hands-on

Samsung at MWC 2017

GSMArena team, 24 February 2017.


Just as expected, the Samsung Galaxy S8 pair did not make their debut at MWC 2017. The Korean giant has a more lavish introduction planned soon. But, even while holding out on us, Samsung still brought quite a few goodies to introduce at the Barcelona venue. The Galaxy Tab S3 is definitely among the most exciting, as it has the potential to breathe new life into the company's stagnant tablet business.

Samsung has ditched the 8-inch variety this time around. This does make quite a lot of sense, considering the constant growth of display size in the handset realm. The Galaxy S8+ is currently believed to have a 6.2-inch panel. The Korean giant has been thinning out the tablet selection recently, gut there are still the 7-inch Galaxy Tab A 7.0 (2016) and 8-inch Galaxy Tab E 8.0, to saturate the lineup to some extent. Both are, however, quite lower end devices than the Tab S3.

Key features

  • Slim and slick body with a metal frame and glass back; No camera bump; Set of pogo pins and mounting holes on the left side for keyboard attachment; 169x237.3x6 mm; weighs 429 grams for the Wi-Fi and 435 for the LTE version
  • Spacious 9.7-inch, 1536 x 2048 pixels, Super AMOLED panel; 10-bit HDR support; Pretty bright and plenty sharp
  • Snapdragon MSM8996 Snapdragon 820 chipset (2x2.15 GHz Kryo & 2x1.6 GHz Kryo); Adreno 530; 4GB RAM
  • Four stereos speakers
  • S Pen stylus in the box for advanced productivity
  • Android 7.0 Nougat OS, with Samsung Grace UX on top
  • 13MP, f/1.9 main camera, with single LED flash; 5MP, f/2.2 selfie shooter
  • 32GB on-board storage; microSD card slot (dedicated)
  • microSD card slot (dedicated)
  • Dual-band Wi-Fi ac; Cat.6 LTE model also available; USB Type-C 3.1
  • Large 6,000 mAh battery

Main shortcomings

  • No holster or other convenient space to carry the S Pen
  • No IP68 rating

The Tab S3 is also the first flagship Samsung tablet to come along in quite some time. Both the previous generation Tab S2 models came equipped with a decent, but still mid-range Snapdragon 652 chipset. The same goes for the Galaxy Tab A 10.1 (2016) form last year, which put a big emphasis on power efficiency, through the Exynos 7870.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 9.7

The Tab S3 is a true flagship, equipped with a Snapdragon 820 and 4GB of RAM. You are getting the slower 2.15 GHz clock speed on the faster Kryo cluster, but the difference between it and the Snapdragon 821 really isn't that significant.

Reader comments

  • Stosh
  • 29 Jun 2023
  • Ygi

Agreed! Not to mention the new forced bloatware and data collection they agressively push in updates with no ability to choose and remove. I love the hardware, but the forced add ons, software connectivity failings and lack of local, included backup ...

  • Swithun
  • 23 May 2023
  • NuU

Agree, I been told updates are designed to take trade performance for speed.

  • Epdask
  • 15 May 2023
  • 0wq

Dont be fooled to accept updates. I don't do updates and my tablet is as fast as the very day I bought it. Not gonna be fooled by these security updates etc