It was love at first sight. The sleek lines, the light weight, the smooth black surface and the brilliant screen. The Samsung Galaxy Tab S3
(Rs 47,990) had bowled me over the first time I set sights on it. But did it mean a whole new world? Was I ready to let go of all my old ties? I wasn’t sure.
Let’s rewind a bit. I’ve used my fourth generation iPad with a keyboard case as my primary device for travel the past few years. With time, it has kept up with the knocks and scratches and I’d been thinking of retiring it. But it’s difficult to get out of such a relationship; there’s the added cost of a host of peripherals. I’ve been eyeing the latest iPad for some time and have been impressed with its performance; but I haven’t been able to switch because of the love for my old iPad and my inability to get hold of a keyboard cover as good as the one I have. Then Samsung sent in the Tab S3 for review. And I was impressed.
The Super AMOLED 9.7-inch screen, like the Galaxy S8 and S8+, supports HDR and is future ready. I spent nearly a day just watching videos on the brilliant screen; a pity it’s a bit reflective. The sound output is quite nice, though don’t expect a home theatre-like immersive experience. Due to the placement of the speakers, you wouldn’t normally muffle the sound in landscape mode. But the glass back is a fingerprint magnet.
Gaming is another aspect I loved on the bigger screen and I spent a lot of time playing my favourite, Asphalt 8: Airborne on the device, with it not heating up. Samsung’s optimised game mode ensured I had a good experience; that said, the S8 and S8+ feature zippier processors. The Tab S3 supports expandable memory and LTE, and I was able to make calls using a Reliance Jio connection without any hassles.
The S Pen doesn’t fail to impress, though I’m no artist. I liked the fact it doesn’t roll off a table. Under the supervision of my wife, I tried sketching something and was impressed by the fact that like a real pencil, based on the pressure one applies, the S Pen distinguishes between if you’re drawing bold lines or shading something.
But this tablet
isn’t just an entertainment and sketching device; it should also be able to double up as your office device on the go. This is where Android
falls behind. While multi-tasking is possible, it is nowhere as seamless as it is on my iPad; also, often, Android
apps are not optimised to use the bigger screen of the tablet.
In fact, while many people aren’t fans of Samsung’s somewhat bloated UI, the company’s apps were the only ones which made full use of the big screen. I wish other Android
developers optimise their apps for tablets as well, like they do for the iPad.
I didn’t have access to the optional keyboard accessory and so wasn’t able to test it. I guess it’ll be the same cramped experience I’ve got used to on my old iPad. That said, Microsoft Word works brilliantly on tablets, even without a keyboard attachment.
The 13-megapixel (MP) back camera and the 5MP front camera are okay but no great shakes. They’re good for video chats.