Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 release date, news and rumors

Samsung's making another flagship slate

Update: A leaked Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 shot shows it alongside a keyboard and gives us a hint at when it might appear in stores.

Android tablets may feel like a dying breed but the latest rumors suggest Samsung hasn't given up on them just yet.

Samsung is set to make a follow-up to 2015's Galaxy Tab S2 with the – you guessed it – Galaxy Tab S3. We gave the Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 four stars, citing a lighter design, the 4:3 display ratio and improved TouchWiz software as the highlights.

It wasn't without issues though, as the spec upgrade was only small and we weren't all that impressed by the battery life. But the Galaxy Tab S2 is still in second place in our best tablets list - so if Samsung gives it some impressive upgrades for the Tab S3 it may be ready to take the top spot.

Cut to the chase

  • What is it? Samsung's latest flagship Android tablet
  • When is it out? Likely MWC 2017
  • What will it cost? Expect it to start at $399, £319, AU$499. It'll be more for higher storage versions.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 release date

Hottest leaks:

  • A February 26 announcement
  • Hitting stores on April 4

Samsung has announced its press conference for Mobile World Congress 2017 that seems to tease a new tablet announcement.

If this turns out to be true, we'll see the new slate on February 26 this year. It took Samsung over three months to release the Galaxy Tab S2 after it was announced in July 2015, so don't expect the Galaxy Tab S3 release date to be in the near future.

A recently leaked image included the date April 4, so that could be when the Tab S3 will arrive in stores.

The tablet has also received its official Bluetooth certification, and FCC (Federal Communications Commission - a US regulatory agency) certification, both of which suggest it's almost ready for launch.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 specs and rumors

Hottest leaks:

  • S Pen and keyboard accessories
  • A 9.6 or 9.7-inch 2048 x 1536 screen
  • No 8-inch version

There doesn't seem to be much agreement on what specs the Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 will have.

Some recent rumors, coming from Naver News, suggest it will have a 9.6-inch 2048 x 1536 display, which is the same resolution as but marginally smaller than the 9.7-inch Galaxy Tab S2.

The same source adds that we'll see a Snapdragon 820 chipset, 4GB of RAM, a 12MP camera, both Wi-Fi and LTE models, Android 7 Nougat and a thickness of just 5.6mm.

That thickness is the same as the Galaxy Tab S2, suggesting the Tab S3 could have a similar design, with a metal frame and plastic back. This seems likely, as the leaked image below looks almost identical to the Tab S2.

Credit: WinFuture

It shows black bezels around the screen, a Samsung logo above the display and a physical home button below, flanked by multitask and back keys, all of which is identical to the Tab S2.

The only real difference is the presence of an S Pen Stylus (which is rumored to be an optional accessory, with no cradle in the tablet to store it). Other differences according to the source will include the color scheme, with a new silver shade apparently launching alongside the black model.

The source of this image also largely matches the spec rumors above, saying that the Tab S3 will have a 9.7-inch 1536 x 2048 screen with a 4:3 aspect ratio, a Snapdragon 820 chip, 4GB of RAM, 32GB of storage, a 12MP rear camera and a 4.7MP front-facing one, and that it will launch in both Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi + LTE versions.

But we can't take a single image or source as fact, and our only other real look at the slate is a basic sketch on an FCC document.

Plus, an earlier leak out of China doesn't entirely line up, claiming that the Galaxy Tab S3 will have 4GB of RAM, a fingerprint scanner, USB Type-C, fast charging and an Exynos 7420 chipset.

It's the chipset bit that's at odds with the latest rumors, and while it's possible that Samsung will use different chipsets for different regions, as it has with the Galaxy S7, the Exynos 7420 isn't in any way an equivalent of the Snapdragon 820, as the 820 was a flagship 2016 chip, while the 7420 is from 2015.

And that's not the only conflicting leak. The earliest rumors suggest it'll boast an upper mid-range Snapdragon 652 chipset with 3GB of RAM, a 4,000mAh battery and 32GB of storage. While another rumor points toward the Galaxy Tab S3 coming with an 8MP rear camera and 2MP on the front for your selfies.

While we doubt it will have a mid-range spec, leaked benchmarks gave the tablet a multi-core score of 4,275, which is lower than the Galaxy S7, but still impressive.

Credit: Evan Blass

We've also now seen another image of the Tab S3, this time alongside a keyboard, which is likely to be another optional accessory, and which combined with the S Pen stylus could make it a serious iPad Pro competitor. 

The tablet has also received its official Bluetooth certification, so we can pretty much guarantee the tablet will come with the wireless tech on board. 

And although the rumors only mention one size, it's possible that the Tab S3 will launch in a roughly 8.0-inch variant too, as the Galaxy Tab S2 did, though one source claims it won't.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 price

The price of the Galaxy Tab S3 will come down to a lot of factors. The Galaxy Tab S2 cost $399, £319, AU$499 for the smallest storage size and 8-inch version of the tablet.

It was $499, £399, AU$599 for the 32GB 9.7-inch version of the tablet. We'd expect similar pricing this year, but there may be a few differences and it'll likely be even more if you go for a larger storage size model.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

James is Phones, Wearables and Tablets writer for TechRadar and covers all the big announcements from the best manufacturers making gadgets for your palms, wrists and face. Based in London, James is often testing out the latest and greatest phones, smartwatches, VR headsets and - when he can be motivated to go outside - fitness bands. Be sure to follow him on Twitter for all the latest from the mobile world.