Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 LTE

By: Adam Łukowski

The price is the only flaw…

It is being said that the era of tablets is coming to an end, but apparently Samsung has a different opinion – and it proposes a novelty from the highest shelf: Galaxy Tab S3. This is an expensive tablet, but it is impressive in many ways.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S3
Samsung Galaxy Tab S3
photo: Adam Łukowski/GSMchoice.com

Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 has made a good impression on me, though due to its high price I did not believe in its success. However, it turned out that the new model is being sold better than its predecessor, Galaxy Tab S2.

The fact that the new model has beaten its predecessor when it comes to the number of ordered devices proves that it was met with a warm welcome from its buyers – at least those to whom it is addressed to.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 is not cheap, which makes this a device for more “serious” usages. This is not a device for a child, but rather for someone who is more experienced, more demanding, who knows what he or she expects and what is more – is willing to pay a lot for it.

Video review of Samsung Galaxy Tab S3
video: GSMchoice.com, via YouTube

And even though I still think that such a price for a tablet is too expensive – apparently, I am not the intended target of this device. Which does not mean that I used Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 without any pleasure.

On the contrary. It was a long time since I have used a tablet (I prefer using a big smartphone and an ultrabook) and the review of Galaxy Tab S3 was a pleasant change. If I had a need to own a tablet – I would have chosen it, because it is in fact a perfected, solid device.

Housing and stylization

We receive the tablet with a modest set of accessories. In the package we have a manual, USB-C cable and a charger. The box has something else – the clue of the show in the form of the S-Pen stylus. And it is this inconspicuous little thing that determines the usefulness of the new Samsung tablet. But first things first, for now let us focus on the housing of Galaxy Tab S3.

The body of the tablet is made out of the most popular, modern materials – metal and glass. Both the front and the back create a glass panel and everything is connected with a metal frame, which ensures an appropriate stiffness. The housing is slim and the glass panel adds to its elegance. The tablet is surprisingly light – and it lies in hands comfortably. Unfortunately, both the back and the front glass panel catches fingerprints easily.

On the edge of the tablet there are holes of speakers (four of them), the tray for a memory card (and the nanoSIM in the LTE version) and microphone’s holes, sockets and connectors for placing the tablet in a dedicated (and only available for extra price) keyboard. It only lacks one element – a place to attach the S-Pen stylus.

We can try attaching it to the magnet fields at the back of the tablet (they are used for attaching the cover-stand), but this solution is far from being perfect. Here we need to make a compromise. The stylus is almost as thick as the tablet itself. It is more comfortable – but because of that it cannot fit in the housing…

At the front of the tablet the display is the main attraction, under which there are characteristic and known from previous Samsung models system buttons. Two (back and menu) are sensor buttons, while “home” is a mechanical one and it hides a fingerprint scanner in itself. It works without any problems. Some may say that the display is surrounded by a wide bezel – but what is considered an unwanted element in a smartphone actually has sense in tablets – it allows holding the device comfortably.


The key element of the tablet is the display. In the case of Galaxy Tab S3 it is one of the main advantages of this construction. It has a QHD resolution and it is made in the Super AMOLED technology, enhanced with HDR, which wider use is still a distant future.

It makes Galaxy Tab a perfect device for viewing visual contents. It is difficult to have any complaints towards the image. The display is sharp, bright, with intensive, juicy colours, which – obviously – can be adjusted in the settings menu to one’s needs. I was satisfied the most with the high brightness of the display, which allows using the device even outside – and in very sunny days,


Along with the very good image, we have a very good – for a tablet – sound. It is generated by four speakers, signed by AKG. Do not expect that you will receive a quality comparable with decent columns – but – I will underline it once more – for a tablet, it is very good. Speakers are clear and have a lot of power, and what is more they adjust their sound to the placement of the tablet.

They play differently when it is placed vertically and differently when they are place horizontally in order to achieve effects as close to stereo as possible. However, you must be careful not to cover them with your hand – they are placed near corners of the housing. And if you prefer to listen to music in better quality there is Bluetooth 4.2 and a mini jack socket.


The possibility to use S-Pen stylus is as important as the image quality. It is bigger and handier than in Galaxy Note smartphone series, but it offers a full range of capabilities, including the Air Command function. There is a possibility to make notes directly on the screen, on screenshots or on images.

The manufacturer even took care about additional apps for drawing, the stylus has a special, dedicated menu with shortcuts. The option to enhance is interesting, just like translating – we just need to mark a text with a stylus and it will show a possible translation for the selected word.

The precision of the stylus is really good. I cannot draw but I have seen the device in the hands of a skilled graphic designer. The effect was impressive and I am sure that Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 can come in handy to all draftsmen, especially for a spontaneous work in the field. The stylus recognizes over 4 thousands pressure levels and it recognizes the angle under which it is being held.

The functionality of the tablet can be enhanced by buying a keyboard, which is at the same time a cover and it is equipped with a holder for the stylus. Unfortunately, I did not have the opportunity to test it besides the demonstration at the MWC, so I am not able to categorize the comfort of using this accessory. I will remind that you can only but it separately. The keyboard is being held in place magnetically and it uses connectors, so it does not require Bluetooth.


Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 uses Android 7.0 Nougat with the Grace UX interface. The new interface, in comparison with the predecessor – besides a change in looks – has received a new, simpler settings menu and a shortcuts panel with the possibility of editing and arranging them.

Maybe adding shortcuts or uninstalling apps is a bit too complicated (with a pop-up sub-menu), but we can get used to this solution. Of course there is a possibility to work on a divided display and minimizing apps to a floating window, there is a Flipboard news aggregate or a secure folder for storing “confidential” files and apps.

There is of course a set of apps from Google and Microsoft. We have everything that we need for work… In the interface there is Samsung Flow apps, which makes exchanging files with a phone easier, and it allows, for example, reading messages from the smartphone on the tablet.

Of course in the LTE version the tablet can work separately as a phone, though in this case it is worth using a Bluetooth speaker for making calls in a more discreet way. The quality of the sound gives no reasons to complain. Texting – due to a larger display – is very comfortable.

Efficiency and battery

The tablet specification’s, which covers a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 CPU and 4GB of RAM ensures a smooth, able work of the device. The tablet does a great job with processing graphics, it allows running even the most demanding games. In the software there is a game mode and a browser that groups games in a separate folder.

I did not notice any lags or freezes in the work of the device, so I assume that even the most demanding user, who uses a few apps at the same time, will not be disappointed.

There should be more than enough space for data. The internal memory can store slightly more than 23GB, but we can always enhance it with a microSD card – of up to 256GB. However, I would not be offended if the internal memory had been bigger…

The battery does not disappoint either. It has a 6000 mAh capacity and it offers at least 10 hours of work. Watching a full-length movie with a full display brightness means a loss of around 20% of battery, but the lifespan can be easily prolonged by decreasing the intensity of the brightness. Charging the battery from 0% takes around 2.5-3 hours.

Photography and video

Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 stands above the competition with its photographic capabilities. Usually tablets receive average cameras, but the one in Tab S3 surprises us positively.

Its 5-megapixel front camera and 13-megapixel back camera takes pretty good photos. Of course this is not the level of flagship smartphones (especially in weaker lighting), but I do not expect more from a tablet. The quality of photos taken with Galaxy Tab S3 are similar to those offered by medium priced smartphones.

This is not a device dedicated to photography – but should it be needed we will not complain about the quality of photos. The same goes with videos – we can even record in 4K and the quality of the material is not far from those recorded with phones – though sometimes we can see some noises and slight lags.

Sample videos from Galaxy Tab S3
video: GSMchoice.com, via YouTube

The camera received an interface similar to the one in Galaxy S8. Using gestures we can switch between the front and the back camera, swiping the finger left opens a tray for photography modes, while swiping right – colours filters. The hole is easy and comfortable in usage.


As I have mentioned earlier, Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 is not a cheap tablet, so it is difficult to mark it as the “first choice model”. Without a doubt this is one of the best tablets on the market and if you really need something light for entertainment and drawing – it is worth considering buying it. Galaxy Tab S3 will not fully substitute a laptop, but it is much lighter and handier.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 has a great display, it is ready for the (supposedly) incoming invasion of HDR materials, it takes decent (though not ideal) photos and videos, and what is more, it has speakers that distinguish it from the competition. The stylus will please mainly graphic designers, but its efficiency will please everyone – even gamers.

It is a pity that despite the high price, we need to pay for the keyboard separately, the lack of place for storing the stylus is bothersome as well. But I will commend changes in the interface and the nice efficiency of the battery. Advantages outweigh disadvantages – but I am not convinced if they fully justify the price. The market’s reaction shows that they do – and, well – maybe I simply do not need a tablet…?

Advantages and disadvantages


  • high brightness of the display
  • good quality of the image
  • decent speakers
  • S-Pen stylus support
  • light weight
  • looks good


  • you need to pay separately for the keyboard
  • no place for stylus
  • glass gets dirty easily
  • o waterproofness
  • high price

Source: GSMchoice.com; viewed: 4734 times.


By: Adam Łukowski

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