For fans of all-things Android, it's been a while between drinks on the quality tablet front. But Samsung is willing to bet consumers are more than ready to re-embrace the little green 'droid , announcing the launch of their latest Galaxy Tab S3.
Unlike its predecessor, this number's gone "a little bit fancy" featuring a premium all-glass look, quality feel, an included S Pen, and a 9.7-inch screen. As a result, reviewers like TechRadar are labelling it “easily the best Android tablet available right now”. That's after they get past its remarkable resemblance to an iPad.
But while many agree it’s a great little device, it also has them pondering who exactly is this tablet being marketed at? Well according to Samsung, it's the following:
HDR video capability - The big feature of the Tab S3 is HDR video playback capability with Samsung banking on the fact this will soon be widespread. At present HDR is only available for videos streamed via the Amazon app but the likelihood is that will change.
AMOLED display - The device also features Samsung's highly regarded AMOLED display for "bright and colourful" images. This technology is not new but has attracted widespread praise.
Speaker system - New to the lineup is four powerful speakers that automatically follow the direction mode of the screen. Samsung worked with AKG on the speaker system in a bid to provide crisp, clean audio from every corner of the device.
Battery life - These features combine make the S3 an ideal candidate for video streaming, and it can do that for up to 12 hours without revisiting the charger.
Cameras - On the media creation side of things, the front facing camera is 5MP while the rear is 13MP. It is also capable of video recording.
Vulcan Graphics - Samsung specifies the Tab S3 is geared to gaming. They note: "The Galaxy Game Launcher has been optimized for Galaxy Tab S3's screen, offering Power Saver mode and Mute Games and Ongoing Calls mode. Add in the exciting graphics of the Vulkan API capabilities and the myriad games available in the Galaxy Game Pack for non-stop fun."
Processor – The Tab S3 it packs the power of a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor which is billed as offering a “new standard in CPU and GPU performance”. If you’re into numbers, that's a CPU 18 times faster than the previous model, and a GPU that's three times faster.
The S Pen - The Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 is not all play and no work. Included in the package is a redesigned S Pen that is serious in its challenge of the Apple Pen. It is now larger than the previous Tab S stylus, offers more pressure points than an Apple Pen and doesn't require recharging. Oh and it's less likely to roll of your desk as it has a clip on one side.
Or in Samsung's words: "The new, redesigned S Pen feels and writes just like your favorite ballpoint, plus it doesn't need recharging. Measuring 9.4 mm in diameter, it ensures a stable, comfortable grip. And we've narrowed the tip to 0.7 mm, for the clearest, most natural handwriting yet”.
It is geared towards Samsung apps allowing users to... "Easily jot down important reminders, events, and more with Samsung Notes. Then let your creative side loose by sharing your latest masterpiece on PEN.UP or composing a tune by drawing in Soundcamp".
The keyboard - Samsung are also offering a dedicated keyboard (sold separately) that's been "optimised" for fewer typos. Costing what would convert to around AUD$170, it's not cheap but TechRadar notes it's worth the expense due to the automatic connection that doesn't require pairing. It also features a tidy case that protects the rear of the device and pen holder.
But does it fit the “versatility” bill?
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 isn't likely to come cheap. Although pricing and release date are yet to be confirmed in Australia, its current US price will convert to almost AUD$800. Add on the keyboard and you’re nigh on a grand.
And as Gizmodo notes: “While Google's mobile OS rules the budget roost, no one has really expressed a desire for a $1000 media consumption machine running little green 'droid brains".
While it may not be the device of choice for office professionals, the Tab S3 is likely to find a position as a great carry-on option for travel or a supplementary device to your other home computing hardware. It will work on the go when you need it including commercial applications like mobile point of sale or an information kiosk. On that note if that’s what you’re looking to do, then iLocks has the secure enclosures to suit.
Whether or not it’s a device for you will come down to a preference for Android and a willingness to fork out a fair bit to get it.