Samsung's new Android tablet is a super-rugged device for the outdoors
If you're after a quality Android tablet, then Samsung can usually offer what you need – but its new Galaxy Tab Active3 is something a little out of the ordinary, with extra ruggedness and features for computing on the go.
The gentle and delicate curves of the Galaxy Tab S series are replaced with a thick protective cover that meets the MIL-STD-810H military standard. Not only is the slate IP68 rated for waterproofing and dust protection – the norm for most Samsung gadgets – it's also able to survive drops on to solid surfaces from up to 1.5 meters (nearly 5 feet).
Like the standard Samsung tablets and the Galaxy Note 20, the Tab Active3 comes with an S Pen stylus, only this one is waterproof and clips neatly into the protective cover. In another nod to outdoor workers, the 8-inch, 1,920 x 1,200 pixel LCD display has been designed so it will work with gloves.
Also of note is that the Tab Active3 has a replaceable battery (with a capacity of 5,050 mAh), and that's definitely a rarity these days – it means you can swap in a spare if you're away from a power source for a long time. The tablet can even run without a battery. It's designed so a power cable can be attached directly to the device (for use in a permanent kiosk display, for example).
On the side we have a quick access Active Key that can be programmed in a variety of ways – to launch particular apps, for example, or to make emergency calls, or to enable the Push to Talk feature which turns the tablet into a walkie talkie (with the right app). Connectivity is good too, with support for NFC and the latest Wi-Fi 6 standard, and the option of an LTE version.
Besides all this extra protection and all the features for surviving the elements, the internal specs for the tablet are fairly ordinary. You get a Samsung Exynos 9810 processor under the hood, which is paired with 4 GB of RAM and either 64 GB or 128 GB of storage (that can be expanded by up to 1 TB with a microSD card, if needed).
The device measures 126.8 x 213.8 x 9.9 mm (4.9 x 8.4 x 0.4 in), with the Wi-Fi version tipping the scales at 426 g (15 oz) and the LTE model coming in at 429 g (15.1 oz). On the back there's a single 13-MP camera, with a 5-MP selfie camera on the front, should you need to take any pictures while you're out in the field (the processor and cameras are powerful enough to support the Google ARCore augmented reality standard, which should come in useful for construction and engineering apps).
We don't yet have confirmed pricing or availability details for the Samsung Galaxy Tab Active3 yet, though the tablet is expected to arrive in Europe and Asia first, before expanding into other markets.