The biggest problem with Android tablets, sadly, is Android itself. Google’s mobile operating system hasn’t really been designed to take advantage of what modern tablets have to offer and so most tablets simply ran smartphone apps blown up. Consumers noticed and stopped buying Android tablets altogether and manufacturers stopped making them. Except for Samsung. So, now we have the Galaxy Tab S3.

The look and feel. Samsung’s rewritten its entire device design playbook and this newfound focus on design and premium materials is clearly present here.  We get an all-glass design that looks and feels luxurious and lavish. An immersive 9.7-inch Super AMOLED display with added HDR video playback for highly detailed video playback.

Under the hood. Samsung’s heaped the Galaxy Tab S3 with a proper Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor and Vulkan graphics. The Galaxy Tab S3 is 18 percent faster than its predecessor and with a GPU that’s 3x faster. I found the tablet to handle most tasks quickly and efficiently without lag or slowdown

Built for sound. Taking a page out of Apple’s iPad Pro, the Galaxy Tab S3’s got four speakers (it also connects to a keyboard case via a Smart Connector-like pogo plug). The quadrophonic surround sound is something you quickly appreciate while watching movies or streaming shows. Samsung’s also imbued the Galaxy Tab S3 with AKG’s technology for high quality sound, separation, and loudness.

Gaming Tab. Samsung has geared this Tab for gaming. The Galaxy Game Launcher has been optimized for Galaxy Tab S3’s screen, offering Power Saver mode, Game Broadcasting, 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. Too bad that there aren’t too many truly excellent tablet games on Android right now.

Productivity pretender. The Galaxy Tab S3 is targeting the “bring your own device” set that the iPad Pro has found great success with and as such can be combined with an SPen and a keyboard for getting serious work done, in principle.  Right now, you can run Office 365 apps and Google Docs as well as a handful of more specialized cloud applications but let’s not kid ourselves, you’re going to have to jump through hoops to get solid work done off this device, even with the expensive accessories. (Samsung is bringing in the pogo keyboard cover and book cover but will be sold separately).

VERDICT

Samsung fanboys and fangirls who are pining for a larger screen experience from their smartphones now have  a proper premium tablet that’s great for content consumption and which has inroad to productivity and gaming. The hardware is great and exciting. The big issue for the Tab S3 is going to be the software. If even Google has abandoned making Nexus tablets, it’s a tough sell to hope Samsung can succeed simply on hardware alone.

Specifications
Display 9.7” QXGA Super AMOLED (2048 x 1536 resolution)
Operating System  Android 7.0 Nougat
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 820
Memory 4GB RAM
Storage 32GB internal, expandable up to 256GB via microSD
Cameras 13MP f/1.9 rear, 5MP f/2.2 front
Audio 4 speakers
Connectivity & I/O Ports Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Wi-Fi Direct; Bluetooth; USB Type-C 3.1
Battery 6,000mAh
Dimensions & Weight 237.3 x 169 x 6mm, 429g (Wi-Fi) + 434g (LTE)
Price P37,990 (with free 3 months iflix subscription)
Test: Samsung Galaxy Tab S3
Form Factor9.7
Build Quality9.5
Ease of Use9.7
Performance9.7
Value for Money9.2
9.6Overall Score