MWC 2017: Hands-on with the Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 and Windows 10-powered Galaxy Book

Samsung's latest Android tablet looks to take on Apple's iPad, while its Galaxy Book takes on Microsoft's Surface Pro.
Written by Jason Cipriani, Contributing Writer

While Apple's iPad lineup is struggling to grow, Samsung's premium tablet lineup is doing just that, which is why the company on Sunday announced a premium tablet and two all-in-one PCs.

I had a chance to briefly use both devices before the announcement. Below are my first impressions, specs, and other details about the devices.

Galaxy Tab S3


Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 with S-Pen.

Image: Samsung

The Galaxy Tab S3 is powered by Android 7.0 and now comes with an S-pen for jotting notes and sketching on the screen. Samsung also announced a new keyboard for the Tab S3, available as an additional purchase.

Specifications of the Galaxy Tab S3:

  • Dimensions: 237.3 x 169.0 x 6.0mm
  • Display: 9.7-inch Super AMOLED (2048x1536) w/HDR playback support
  • Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 820
  • Storage: 32 GB with microSD support up to 256GB
  • Memory: 4GB
  • Camera: 13-megapixel and 5-megapixel front-facing
  • Video: 4K UDH at 30fps
  • Ports: USB Type-C
  • Fingerprint: Yes
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 4.2, LTE optional, GPS
  • Battery: 6,000mAh w/Fast Charging
  • Operating System: Android 7.0 Nougat
  • Samsung Services: Samsung S-Pen, Samsung Air Command, Samsung Flow, Samsung Smart Switch

With Android 7.0 installed on the Tab S3, Samsung adopted Google's multi-window mode, and quick app switching, in lieu of the company's previous TouchWiz solution. That's not to say the Tab S3 runs stock Android; from the moment the Tab S3 it's apparent this is a Samsung device, with the more refined look (as seen on the S7 running Android 7.0 Nougat, as well as the Note 7 from last year).

Samsung Cloud, a backup and storage solution we first saw on the defunct Galaxy Note 7, makes its way to the Tab S3 as well.

Galaxy Book


Samsung Galaxy Book 12

Image: Samsung

Samsung also announced a pair of Windows 10-powered Galaxy Books as a direct competitor to Microsoft's Surface Pro all-in-one lineup.

There are two variations of the Galaxy Book, with the main differences found in processor and screen size.

Specifications of the Galaxy Book models:

Galaxy Book 10.6 Galaxy Book 12
Dimensions 261.2 x 179.1 x 8.9mm 291.3 x 199.8 x 7.4mm
Display 10.6-inch TFT FHD (1920x1280) 12-inch Super AMOLED FHD (2160x1440)
Processor 7th Gen Intel Core m3 processor, Dual Core 2.6GHz 7th Gen Intel Core i5 processor, Dual Core 3.1GHz
Storage 64GB or 128GB eMMC with microSD support up to 256GB 128GB SSD or 256GB SSD with microSD support up to 256GB
Memory 4GB 4GB or 8GB
Camera 5-megapixel front-facing 13-megapixel, with 5-megapixel front-facing
Video Full HD (1920x1080) at 30fps Full HD (1920x1080) at 30fps
Ports USB Type-C, microSD 2x USB Type-C, microSD
Connectivity Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 4.2, LTE optional, GPS Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 4.2, LTE optional, GPS
Battery 30.4W w/Fast Charging 39.04W w/Fast Charging
Operating System Windows 10 Windows 10
Samsung Services Samsung Notes, Air Command, Samsung Flow Samsung Notes, Air Command, Samsung Flow

Taking design queues from the Tab S3, the Galaxy Book has an all-metal housing and a premium feel. It's heavier than I expected, but it's not too heavy to act as a travel tablet/laptop replacement.

Samsung is including a keyboard and S-Pen with each Galaxy Book.

S-Pen goes big

The S-Pen on both the Tab S3 and Galaxy Book is bigger than the S-Pen users are accustomed to using with the Note smartphone line. It's roughly the same size as a standard pen or pencil.

Samsung expects users to use the S-Pen on a bigger screen for lengthy notes and sketch sessions, and wanted users to feel comfortable while using it.

I tested the S-Pen on both tablets and found it to be responsive and feel naturally to hold and use. The added touch of having Air Command features, even on a Windows 10 device, making it easy to quickly jot notes or annotate screenshots is something I find intriguing and useful.

For those who love animated images, or GIFs, you'll be happy to hear both the Tab S3 and Galaxy Book offer a quick GIF creation tool with the S-Pen.

Pogo connector

All of the tablets Samsung announced on Sunday feature a Pogo connector for use with an external keyboard. Through this connector the keyboard accessory gains power and connectivity, meaning the keyboards themselves are free of a battery or Bluetooth radios. In turn, the size and weight of the keyboards are reduced.

The keyboard for the Galaxy Book also features a trackpad, but unfortunately, I didn't get to thoroughly test it. The keyboard itself offered little key travel, and was spacious. For someone who is coming over from a Surface Pro or Apple keyboard, it seemed like using Samsung's keyboard would be a natural transition.

Release details

Samsung didn't announce exact pricing for the Tab S3, but it would make sense for it to be priced around the same $500 price point as the Tab S2 here in the US. Availability is also a mystery at time of writing.

Samsung has yet to announce pricing and availability dates for the Galaxy Book.

CNET Video: Samsung Galaxy Tab S3

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