Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 and Galaxy Book hands-on at MWC 2017

by Myriam Joire on February 27, 2017

Today at Mobile World Congress 2017 in Barcelona, Samsung unveiled a trio of tablets — the 9.7-inch Galaxy Tab S3 running Android 6.0, and the Galaxy Book running WIndows 10, available in two sizes (10.6 and 12 inches).

The Tab S3 is definitely the company’s flagship tablet, with a gorgeous 2048 x 1536-pixel 9.7-inch AMOLED screen capable of displaying HDR content. It’s just 6mm thick and made of machined aluminum and glass (front and back) for a premium look and feel. Samsung developed a new S Pen with angle detection for more control, and incorporated four AKG-tuned speakers that automatically switch sides when the device is rotated between portrait and landscape orientation.

Under the hood, the Tab S3 features last year’s quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor with 4GB of RAM and 32GB of built-in storage (plus microSD expansion up to 256GB). There’s also WiFi ac (2×2 MIMO) and optional LTE (Cat 6) on board. A 13-megapixel AF camera with flash and an 8MP selfie shooter complete the package. The sealed 6000mAh battery supports fast charging via a USB Type-C connector. A keyboard cover with independent chicklet keys is available alongside the new S Pen.

Overall, the Tab S3 is a sexy tablet, but at 429g it’s still a bit heavier than is comfortable for one-handed use. The glass back is attractive but definitely shows fingerprints. While pricing and availability are still up in the air, Samsung’s positioning the device as a worthy competitor to the 9.7-inch iPad Pro. If there’s any misstep here, it’s the lack of Nougat at launch — after all, Android 7.0 is already 6 months old.

As for the two Book tablets, they’re made of machined aluminum and glass (front only) with a plastic antenna window, and definitely don’t look or feel quite as refined as the Tab S3. The 12-inch version is pretty interesting, though, because it includes two USB Type-C ports and is able to drive two external 4k monitors simultaneously, all while being charged. Both models support the new S Pen and offer high-quality keyboard covers with laptop-like keys and a trackpad. As such, Samsung bills these devices as two-in-ones.

The 10.6-inch Book packs a 1920 x 1080-pixel IPS panel and Intel’s 7th gen dual-core Core m3 CPU alongside 4GB of RAM, with either 64 or 128GB of flash (augmented by microSD cards up to 256GB). It features WiFi ac (2×2 MIMO) and optional LTE (Cat 6), but lacks a rear shooter (the front-facing camera is 5MP). Battery life is rated at 10 hours (30.4W) and the single USB Type-C port enables fast charging. All this is housed in a somewhat thick 8.9mm body that weighs 640g.

As for the 12-inch Book, it comes with a beautiful 2160 x 1440-pixel AMOLED display and Intel’s dual-core Core i5 CPU with either 4GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD, or 8GB RAM and a 256GB SSD. Either way, storage is expandable with microSD cards up to 256GB. There’s a 13MP autofocus camera in the back and a 5MP shooter in front, and just like it’s smaller sibling, it supports WiFi ac (2×2 MIMO) and optional LTE (Cat 6). Samsung promises 10.5 hours of battery life (39W) with fast charging via either of the two USB Type-C connectors. At 7.4mm, it’s also thinner than the smaller model, and it weighs 754g.

Prices and shipping dates are still a mystery for the two Book tablets, and it’s unclear if the keyboard cover and new S Pen are included with the devices, so stay tuned for more details.