The last time we saw the S Pen, it was being jettisoned from shelves along with the Note 7. Fortunately, you can’t keep a good stylus down — Samsung is announcing the Galaxy Tab S3 at Mobile World Congress this weekend, and in addition to some helpful changes from the previous generation, it’s coming with support for the S Pen.
This is great news, mostly because the new S Pen features that were introduced on the Note 7 looked intriguing. It won’t be the same S Pen that was in the Note 7, which is a good thing — because it doesn’t have to fit into a phone, this S Pen is closer to the size of an actual pen, and is much more comfortable to hold. Some Note 7 features, like the ability to write notes while the screen is off and quick magnification, will return in the Tab S3.
Samsung is also giving their tablet a much more premium build this time around. The Tab S3 has a 6 mm thick metal frame with a glass back, and comes in black or white. That frame will contain a pretty nice 9.7″ 2048 x 1536 AMOLED display. Better yet, that display can handle HDR content — videos and games that have been produced with tech that improves color contrast scene by scene. Complementing the visuals will be solid audio — the Tab S3 has a quad-speaker system tuned by AKG.
The Tab S3 will run Android 7.0 on a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 SoC with 4 GB of RAM. The 820 is the chipset powering most 2016 flagship smartphones, and that’s good news for anyone interested in using the Tab S3 for games — the Adreno 530 GPU on that chipset supports the Vulkan API, which helps make sure video games and 3D videos use system resources efficiently. Most tablets we see don’t have support for Vulkan, so we can probably expect better gaming performance and battery life from the Tab S3. Samsung has a 6,000 mAh battery in use, and it will have fast charging. That battery will be charged using a USB Type-C 3.1 connection.
Having the 820 means that the tablet will work with LTE Cat 6 networks, meaning speeds up to 300 Mbps are theoretically possible (the reality is whatever your carrier can manage to give you). In this case, it also means Bluetooth 4.2, 802.11 ac Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi Direct. The latter is a short-range kind of Wi-Fi that allows for quick transfers between devices — that can mean transferring files or streaming video from the tablet to a TV, both of which can be done wirelessly. We’re also looking at 32 GB of storage (plus a microSD slot for cards up to 256 GB), a 13 MP rear camera with autofocus, and a 5 MP front camera with flash.
We don’t yet know how much the Galaxy Tab S3 will cost or when it will be available, but we’ll be sure to update this post once we have that information.