For those of us who rely on using an Android tablet for serious note-taking, it has been a sad last couple years. There hasn’t been a really good 10-inch Android tablet (or really even 8-inch tablet) with an active stylus since the Samsung Note 10.1 2014 edition. As much as I love my Note 2014, it’s stuck running Android 5.1.1, and is getting long in the tooth on some of its specs. Finally, Samsung has decided to do something about it. At MWC it announced the Samsung Galaxy Tab S3.
Good, although not stunning hardware specs
The S3 packs a fairly standard Qualcomm Snapdragon 820, with 4GB of RAM. For those who insist on taking photos with their tablet, the camera has been upgraded to a 13MP version that supports up to 4K video. Internal memory is somewhat limited at 32GB, but you can load the unit up with a microSD card up to 256GB. One big step up is the 6,000mAh battery, which should give it pretty impressive battery life. Its design isn’t getting rave reviews, but most large-screen tablet owners use a cover anyway. Another solid upgrade is support for HDR content on its 9.7-inch AMOLED screen — that’s getting great reviews from those who got hands on time with the unit at MWC.
For audio, the S3 provides a four-speaker system that rotates the sound as you move it. Assuming it works well, that should provide a more immersive experience for movie watching. For software, the S3 will ship with Android 7.0, and use Google’s multi-window mode in lieu of its own TouchWiz. Connectivity has moved forward as well, with the now-common USB-C connector replacing the older style. Samsung has also added a fingerprint reader, which is a nice touch.
S Pen gets an upgrade too
Designed to fit in a tiny space, the S Pen has never been a great stylus. With the S3, Samsung has opted for a larger version that doesn’t fit in the tablet itself. The added size makes for a better feel, and allows for the addition of an erase button. The new rubber tip should also provide a more natural feel. Samsung also showed off a keyboard case, although of necessity a keyboard for a tablet that size is cramped.
Price and availability
Unfortunately, Samsung hasn’t released details on price or specific availability for the US market. It will apparently be available at the end of March in the UK, so hopefully it will be in the US around the same time. If the price isn’t stratospheric, I’m looking forward to replacing my Note 10.1 2014 with one later this year.