Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 Review: Premium Android Productivity And Entertainment
Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 - Camera And Battery Life
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 has two cameras: a 5 megapixel F2.2 front-facing camera and a 13 megapixel F1.9 rear-facing camera. Because of the size of the Galaxy Tab S3, it’s a bit awkward (as is any 9.7-inch tablet) for taking photos. For video calls and the like, the front-facing 5 megapixel camera should be more than adequate.
The rear-facing camera features eight shooting modes you can access by swiping right while in the camera app. These shooting modes include Auto, Pro, Panorama, Hyperlapse, Continuous shot, HDR (Rich tone), Food, and Virtual shot. The camera app also offers nine different effects you can apply to your photos. The effect options are: No effect, Deep, Pastel, Monogram, Film, Retro, Sunrise, Gold, and Nostalgia. You can see a preview of each effect and select one by swiping to the left while in the camera app.
When using the front-facing camera, you can take selfies easily by holding your hand out with your palm facing the camera. You’ll know the camera senses your palm when it forms a box around it and then begins a counter. After a few seconds, the camera will capture your picture - a nice, convenient little feature. Front-facing camera modes include Selfie, Wide Selfie, Continuous shot, and Virtual shot. The front-facing camera also has nine effect options including No effect, Dawn, Calm, Rose, Evergreen, Grayscale, Everyday, Riddle, and Sweet.
Overall, we were pleased with the color output from our sample images, in both indoor and outdoor settings, that represented various lighting conditions. In especially difficult lighting conditions, such as bright sunlight with shadows, the camera occasionally struggled a bit with the focus of foreground and background objects; keep in mind a situation with such mixed lighting can be hard for any device camera other than a decent DSLR. In many of our test shots, we were satisfied with the level of detail the Galaxy Tab S3’s camera captured. The majority of our images captured true to life colors and textures that were in focus. The selfie capture mode using your palm works well and makes it much easier to take a selfie while holding the Galaxy Tab S3.
We also appreciate Samsung’s inclusion of various effects and shooting modes. Although options may seem a bit limited compared to some high-end smartphones, they are a nice addition nonetheless.
To determine how the Galaxy Tab S3 compares to other tablets with respect to battery life, we ran the tablet through two battery benchmarks you can find on the Google Play store -- AnTuTu Tester's Battery benchmark and PCMark for Android's Work 2.0 Battery Life test. We'd caution these tests are designed to better understand what a moderate to heavy, "always-on" usage model might look like in terms of battery life, rather than a mainstream, light-duty off/on mixed usage.
The AnTuTu battery test sets the display brightness to maximum and cranks up workloads for the processor, graphics core, memory and storage subsystems. It then runs through a number of real-world scripted workloads, including web browsing, gaming, and video playback, in an effort to drain the battery as quickly as possible.
AnTuTu's test really stresses devices and their battery subsystems as well as the underlying processor platform's power management technologies. In this test case, the Galaxy Tab S3 outlasted all of the other tablets we have for comparison.
Futuremark's PCMark for Android Work 2.0 Battery test takes workloads from the benchmark itself (image and video editing, email and web browsing) and scripts them in a loop that runs until battery levels drop below 20 percent. This test is much more real-world in terms of its setup, because we calibrate display brightness on all devices to 200 Lux and the test then locks that display brightness in for the duration. As a result, with only Wi-Fi and cell radios on (Bluetooth and NFC were off, with DND mode turned on), we're able to see how long a device will last, timed to the minute as it runs down from 100 percent to 20 percent remaining battery life.
Because the PCMark battery test is relatively new for us, we don’t have other tablets to use for comparison. Given the size difference between the display found on the Galaxy Tab S3 and Samsung’s top-rated Galaxy S8 and S8+ smartphones, we’re not surprised that the Galaxy Tab S3 didn’t last for as long. Even so, the Galaxy Tab S3 lasted for 6 hours and 47 minutes in this test. For the average user, we can easily see the Galaxy Tab S3 lasting for a full day of on and off usage, perhaps even a few days without needing to charge. Of course, battery life will vary depending on your own particular usage model.