Mobile Technology

Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 vs. Galaxy Tab S2

Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 vs. Gala...
How does the Galaxy Tab S3 tablet differ from its predecessor, the Galaxy Tab S2?
How does the Galaxy Tab S3 tablet differ from its predecessor, the Galaxy Tab S2?
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Battery
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Battery
Charging port
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Charging port
Colors
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Colors
Display resolution
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Display resolution
Display size
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Display size
Fingerprint sensor
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Fingerprint sensor
How does the Galaxy Tab S3 tablet differ from its predecessor, the Galaxy Tab S2?
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How does the Galaxy Tab S3 tablet differ from its predecessor, the Galaxy Tab S2?
Keyboard accessory
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Keyboard accessory
Split screen multi-tasking
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Split screen multi-tasking
Build materials
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Build materials
Camera megapixels
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Camera megapixels
Operating system
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Operating system
Starting price
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Starting price
Processor
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Processor
RAM
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RAM
Release
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Release
Dimensions
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Dimensions
Speakers
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Speakers
Built-in storage
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Built-in storage
Stylus included
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Stylus included
Weight
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Weight
HDR (high dynamic range)
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HDR (high dynamic range)
microSD
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microSD
View gallery - 23 images

Samsung's latest Android-running tablet, the Galaxy Tab S3, makes a few improvements on its predecessor, the Galaxy Tab S2. Here's how their specs and features compare.

Size

Dimensions
Dimensions

The two tablets have nearly identical dimensions. The newer S3 adds a little bit of thickness, but it's still quite thin at only 6 mm.

Weight

Weight
Weight

There are more noticeable differences in weight. The lightest Tab S3 is about 9-percent heavier than its S2 counterpart.

Build

Build materials
Build materials

Samsung has classed up the Tab S3 by using glass instead of plastic for the back panel.

Colors

Colors
Colors

Both tablets are available in black or silvery-white. The gold option was scrapped for the newer tablet.

Display size

Display size
Display size

Both tablets have 9.7-inch displays with 4:3 aspect ratios.

Display resolution

Display resolution
Display resolution

The two displays also have identical resolution.

HDR

HDR (high dynamic range)
HDR (high dynamic range)

The Tab S3's display supports HDR, or high dynamic range. It is capable of displaying a larger range of colors, which should make for more vivid visuals.

Speakers

Speakers
Speakers

The Tab S3 has also been improved to include four speakers instead of two. This should make for an better listening experience, especially as you hold the display in different orientations.

Fingerprint sensor

Fingerprint sensor
Fingerprint sensor

Both tablets can be unlocked with a tap of your finger.

Cellular connectivity

Split screen multi-tasking
Split screen multi-tasking

They're also both available in either Wi-Fi only or Wi-Fi+LTE models. The Tab S3, however, will get a cellular launch date at some point after the Wi-Fi-only model.

Keyboard accessory

Keyboard accessory
Keyboard accessory

The Tab S3 connects with its keyboard accessory in a more user-friendly way than the Tab S2. While the Tab S2 supported Bluetooth keyboards, Samsung's Tab S3 pogo keyboard cover (which snaps into place with pins) does not need charging. It it sold separately for $130.

Stylus

The Tab S3 is also bundled with a version of Samsung's S Pen stylus.

Charging/data port

Charging port
Charging port

The Tab S3 adheres to the newer USB-C standard, while the older edition has a microUSB charging port.

Processor

Processor
Processor

The Tab S2 was built with Samsung's own Exynos chip, but the Tab S3 uses a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor.

RAM

RAM
RAM

The newer tablet has an additional gigabyte of RAM.

Storage

Built-in storage
Built-in storage

The Tab S3 is only available in one 32 GB size, dropping the 64 GB option of the Tab S2.

MicroSD

microSD
microSD

But if you're concerned about space, both offer expandable storage via microSD. Samsung lists the Tab S3 as supporting cards up to 256 GB, and the Tab S2 at up to 128 GB.

Camera megapixels

Camera megapixels
Camera megapixels

If you're the type to use your tablet for photography, the Tab S3 takes sharper captures.

Battery

Battery
Battery

The Tab S3 has a slightly larger battery than its predecessor. Samsung estimates "up to 12 hours video" for both devices.

Software

Operating system
Operating system

The Tab S3 runs Android 7.0 Nougat with Samsung's TouchWiz UI on top. The older Tab S2 still runs Android 6.0 Marshmallow (also with TouchWiz), but it is expected to receive the Nougat update in the coming months.

Split screen multitasking

Fingerprint sensor
Fingerprint sensor

Both operating systems allow you to see two apps side by side for better multi-tasking. However, not all apps support split screens.

Release

Release
Release

The Galaxy Tab S3 was revealed earlier this month at the Mobile World Congress; it hits US shelves March 24. The Tab S2 was released back in August of 2015.

Starting price

Starting price
Starting price

The Tab S3 starts off $100 more expensive than its earlier generation did. If you decide to buy a Tab S2 at this point, make sure to shop around for a good deal. Discounts are easy to come by at this point.

To read more, check out our hands-on impressions of the Tab S3.

View gallery - 23 images
1 comment
Jeff Goldstein
I have and like a Samsung Tab 2 9.7 and am wondering if videos actually look better on S3 because it has HDR. Otherwise I can't see any reason for most people why they would be better off with an S3. Looking at street prices the S3 will probably be at least $250 more just for a little more speed. I always use external speakers or earphones when watching videos and have never used the cameras. Its easier to use the cameras on my Samsung Galaxy phone. I wonder if the extra weight of the S3 will be noticeable.