Samsung Galaxy Tab S3: everything you need to know


Android tablets have felt like a dying breed lately, but Samsung isn’t ready to give up the fight, as it’s just announced the high-end Samsung Galaxy Tab S3.

This follow-up to the acclaimed Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 has a lot to live up to, but with significantly updated specs, an HDR screen, S Pen support and more it’s clear that Samsung’s not just phoning (or tableting) it in.

In fact, in many ways the Tab S3 looks positioned as a rival to the beastly iPad Pro. We’ve got all the key specs and features, plus the all-important release date, ready for your perusal below.

Cut to the chase

  • What is it? Samsung’s latest flagship Android tablet
  • When is it out? Arriving in UK stores on March 31
  • What will it cost? Expect it to start at around $499, £399, AU$599

Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 release date and price

  • Announced at MWC 2017 on February 26
  • Pre-order from March 17 in the UK, hitting UK stores on March 31

Samsung announced the Galaxy Tab S3 at its Mobile World Congress 2017 press conference, but you can’t buy it just yet.

In the UK it’s going up for pre-order on March 17, with an actual release date of March 31.

Samsung hasn’t confirmed when you’ll be able to buy the Galaxy Tab S3 in the US or Australia, but we’d imagine the dates would be similar – we’ll update this article once we know for sure.

Samsung hasn’t revealed the price of the Tab S3 either, but we’d expect it will cost at least $499, £399, AU$599, which is what the 9.7-inch Galaxy Tab S2 launched at.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 screen

  • A 9.7-inch 1536 x 2048 Super AMOLED display
  • Supports HDR content
  • Matches the iPad Pro 9.7 in size and resolution

The Tab S3’s screen has been a clear point of focus for Samsung, but the size and resolution haven’t changed, with the slate coming in at an iPad-matching 9.7 inches and 1536 x 2048, for a pixel density of 264 pixels per inch.

However, Samsung’s slate has a Super AMOLED display, for brighter, richer colors.

The main upgrade over the Tab S2 is that this time around the screen supports HDR content, which seems to be a trend at MWC, with the LG G6 doing the same. Coupled with support for 4K video at 60fps that could make this a very high-quality media player.

There’s not a huge amount of HDR content yet, but once there is this could really help the Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 stand out.

Another big change for this model is that unlike the Tab S2 there’s no 8.0-inch option, with the Tab S3 only coming in a 9.7-inch size.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 design

  • A metal and glass build
  • Similar size to Tab S2 but thicker and heavier

Samsung’s significantly upgraded the design for the Galaxy Tab S3, replacing the soft plastic back of the Tab S2 with a glass one, but retaining the metal frame, for an overall appearance that’s more like an oversized Samsung Galaxy S7.

The dimensions though are almost exactly the same as its predecessor, with both slates coming in at 237.3 x 169mm – though the Galaxy Tab S3 is slightly thicker at 6mm, and heavier at 429g.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 camera and battery

  • 13MP rear camera with autofocus
  • 5MP front-facing camera with LED flash
  • 6,000mAh battery with fast charging
  • Supposedly lasts through 12 hours of video on one charge

While cameras are never the highlight of a tablet, they’ve nonetheless been given some attention here, with Samsung packing a 13MP snapper into the back of the Galaxy Tab S3.

There’s nothing super exciting about it, but it does include an autofocus and can record 4K video at 30fps, while around the front there’s a 5MP snapper with an LED flash.

The battery is what you’re probably really here for, and that’s a 6,000mAh one which Samsung reckons can last for up to 12 hours of video playback. When it does come time to juice back up, the Tab S3 supports fast charging, so you shouldn’t be waiting too long, and it plugs in via USB Type-C, so no more getting the charger the wrong way up. 

Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 OS and power

  • Snapdragon 820 chipset and 4GB of RAM
  • Android 7.0 out of the box
  • Just 32GB of storage, but microSD support of 256GB

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 runs the latest major version of Android – Android 7.0, but of course it’s overlaid with Samsung’s own interface.

As for power, you’re getting a quad-core Snapdragon 820 chipset and 4GB of RAM, neither of which are quite cutting edge any more, but they still make for a high-end combination.

It also uses the Vulkan API to deliver more detailed graphics – though note that this is used by other high-end Android devices too, so it’s not unique to the Tab S3.

And you’ll have a respectable amount of space for all your apps and games. The Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 only comes in one size – 32GB, but it also has a microSD card slot with support for cards of up to 256GB.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 other features

  • Supports S Pen stylus and keyboards
  • Four stereo speakers tuned by AKG
  • Fingerprint scanner

Beyond the core specs the Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 is packed full of features, including support for Samsung’s S Pen stylus. This is the latest and greatest version of the stylus, with a smaller 0.7mm tip and increased pressure sensitivity.

It also works with S Pen features like Screen Off Memo, which lets you jot down notes without turning the screen on or launching an app.

The Tab S3 also supports keyboards using a pogo connection, so all that along with the screen specs make this remarkably similar to the iPad Pro 9.7.

And the similarities don’t end there, as the Galaxy Tab S3 also has four stereo speakers. These are tuned by AKG and promise distortion-free sounds. We’ll let you know how true that is when we’ve put the slate through a full review.

You’ll also find a fingerprint scanner on the Galaxy Tab S3, and the slate supports Samsung Flow, which can sync notifications between your tablet and Galaxy handset.

Plus, the Galaxy Tab S3 has Samsung’s Game Launcher, which adds tools to your games, such as the option to disable keys, so you won’t accidentally press them, and a Do Not Disturb mode, to keep you free of distractions.

  • MWC (Mobile World Congress) is the world’s largest exhibition for the mobile industry, stuffed full of the newest phones, tablets, wearables and more. TechRadar is reporting live from Barcelona all week to bring you the very latest from the show floor. Head to our dedicated MWC 2017 hub to see all the new releases, along with TechRadar’s world-class analysis and buying advice about your next phone.


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