When buying an Android tablet, there are many reasons to choose Samsung products. The company has a stellar history of making powerful, good-looking tablets that last many years and run smoothly, plus the customer service levels are excellent. So if you’re confused between the Samsung S2 vs S3 tablet, we have pitted these two gadgets against each other in our comparison today, so we can help you decide which one is a better buy!
Samsung S2 vs S3 Tablet
There’s good reason to be confused between the Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 and the Galaxy Tab S3 — they both come with Super AMOLED (Active Matrix Organic Light-Emitting Diodes) displays, they both have similar battery specs, and they’re both well-designed. While we will look closer at each feature later, let’s start with the pros and cons of both these tablets. Note that the Tab S2 also comes in an 8-inch model, but we chose the 9.7-inch one since it’s similar to the Tab S3.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S2
- Offers great value for money
- The super AMOLED display is very high quality
- Light, thin, and ideal for portability
- Microsoft Office apps come preloaded
- Runs on TouchWiz, which is an eyesore
- Cameras are unimpressive
- Battery life can’t match the competitor’s tablets
- Build quality could have been better, as the plastic body feels cheap
- Does not support S Pen, so if you need to use a stylus you will need to purchase a “dumb” stylus, which mimics the touch of your finger
Samsung Galaxy Tab S3
- Has an HDR-ready (high dynamic range) super AMOLED display
- Comes with an S Pen
- Good storage specs with the top model offering 128GB
- Has quad speakers
- Steep price
- The keyboard is expensive as well
- Photos shot on the cameras are not great
- The fingerprint reader is buggy
Those are the pros and cons for the Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 and the Tab S3. Time to compare the features of each tablet side by side:
|Model||Galaxy Tab S2||Galaxy Tab S3|
|Display||9.7 inchesSuper AMOLED1536 x 2048 pixels||9.7 inchesSuper AMOLED1536 x 2048 pixels|
|Chipset||Snapdragon 652||Snapdragon 820|
|Battery||5870mAh Li-Ion||6000 mAh Li-Po18W fast charging|
|Memory||32GB 3GB RAM,64GB 3GB RAM||32GB 4GB RAM,128GB 4GB|
|OS||TouchWiz T819NAndroid 6.0.1 (Marshmallow)||One UIAndroid 9.0 (Pie)|
|SD Card Support||Yes, eMMC 5.1||Yes, eMMC 5.1|
|Ports||Micro USB 2.0MHL TV-out||USB Type-C 3.1, Magnetic connector|
|Connectivity||Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band, Wi-Fi Direct, hotspot, ANT+||Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band, Wi-Fi Direct, hotspot, ANT+|
|SIM Support||Yes, Nano-SIM||Yes, Nano-SIM|
|Stylus||No||Yes,Comes with S Pen|
|Dimensions||9.34 x 6.65 x 0.22 inches||9.34 x 6.65 x 0.24 inches|
|Weight||13.72 oz||15.13 oz|
Here’s a video comparison of the Tab S2 with the Galaxy Tab S3:
Galaxy S2 vs Tab S3 Tablet: Features Face to Face
Now that you know the major differences between the tablets, let’s break it down further.
At a glance, you may not notice much of a difference between the Galaxy Tab S2 and the Galaxy Tab S3. But all that changes when you get a feel of the Tab S3. Compared to the plastic and rubber build materials used on the Tab S2, the glass and metal body of the Tab S3 feels much more premium. After all, it is directly competing with the iPad Pro. Both tablets have the rear camera centered, and both have the home button in the same position on the front.
The screen on both the Galaxy Tab S2 and the Galaxy Tab S3 are identical, except for one differentiating factor — the Tab S3’s display supports HDR10 content, which its older brother does not. Both tablets’ displays measure 9.7 inches across and are super AMOLED panels that offer a resolution of 1536 x 2048 pixels at a pixel density of 264ppi (pixels-per-inch). The bezels are pretty large on both tablets.
While the Galaxy Tab S2 packs a mono speaker on the short side at the bottom, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 comes with quad speakers that offer you a stereo experience. The cool part about the S3 is that the stereo imaging switches when you switch from portrait to landscape mode on your tablet, which we found to be quite clever on Samsung’s part. AKG has also tuned the speakers on the Tab S3 for optimum performance. 3.5mm ports are fast disappearing from tablets these days. Thankfully, both of these gadgets feature headphone jacks.
The Galaxy Tab S2 is equipped with a Snapdragon 652 chipset, while the Tab S3 features the much more powerful Snapdragon 820 SoC (system-on-chip). While Tab 2 is made in a 28nm process, the Tab S3 is manufactured in a 14nm process. If you’d like to know more about the relevance of ‘14nm’ here, watch this short 3:25 minute video about chipset manufacturing:
More on the hardware of the tablets — you get 32GB and 64GB storage variants of the Tab S2, whereas the Tab S3 comes in 64GB and 128GB versions. You have microSDXC slots in both tablets for memory cards, which allows you to add up to 256GB. Both of these tablets come with fingerprint sensors integrated into the home button. The fingerprint reader on the front feels much more intuitive compared to the side-mounted sensors that you find on tablets these days.
The Galaxy Tab S3 also features the superior USB Type-C port, compared to the micro USB port on the S2. The S2 comes with Bluetooth 4.1, while the Tab S3 inches ahead with its Bluetooth 4.2.
The Galaxy Tab S2 comes loaded with the TouchWiz skin over Android 5, upgradable to Android 6 (Marshmallow). This is the last tablet from Samsung to feature TouchWiz as a user interface. Tab S3 runs One UI, which offers a superior experience compared to Galaxy Tab S2. Samsung has already rolled out an Android Pie (version 9.0) software update for the Tab S3.
With just 3GB of RAM, an average processor, and the bloated TouchWiz UI, the Tab S2 definitely struggles to come anywhere near the Tab S3 in terms of performance. Gaming is much better on the Tab S3, and so is running multiple apps and switching between them. If you were planning to play modern games on these tablets, you might find that the S2 can barely run them, while the Tab S3 may just pull it off.
Both tablets support MHL (mobile high definition) cables, though, so you can easily hook up your tablet to your TV if you purchase an MHL adapter. To know more about mirroring your Samsung Tab on your television unit, check out this guide we wrote on connecting tablets to your TV.
While the cameras on the Galaxy Tab S2 and Tab S3 were probably impressive when they were released (2015 and 2017, respectively), their successors have left them in the dust. While the S2 comes with an 8MP rear camera and a 2.1MP front camera for video calls and selfies, the Tab S3 has a 13MP rear snapper that is marginally better than the S2. On the front, the Tab S3 beats the S2 again as you get a 5MP selfie snapper. In both tablets, the photo results are noisy, and the cameras don’t perform very well unless there is plenty of light, and even then, it’s average at best.
Accessories / Peripherals
The Tab S2 does not come with support for S Pen, but you could get a dumb stylus or something like a Sonar Pen, as people have had luck using these devices as a stylus. Thankfully, the Tab S3 not only supports the S-Pen, but you also get one with the device, and it fits nicely into a compartment on the back of the device. The Galaxy Tab S3 also packs an 18W fast charger in the box. The Samsung Galaxy Tab S3’s keyboard (costs extra and is expensive) neatly attaches to the side of the Tab S3 thanks to six Pogo pins.
Since the Tab S3 features One UI compared to the TouchWiz interface on the Tab S2, the software experience is much more superior on the Tab S3. The icons look better, settings are much more intuitively arranged, and the software is light and responsive during use. Note that TouchWiz on the Tab S2 peaks at Android Marshmallow (6.0.1), whereas you get Android Pie (version 9.0) on the Tab S3.
The updated operating system on the Tab S3 means that you can access Samsung software goodies like Samsung Smart Switch, Smart View, Samsung One UI Home, Samsung Notes, Air Command, and Samsung Flow.
Both of these tablets offer decent battery life, but the great thing about the Galaxy Tab S3 is that you get an 18W fast charger with it, which means less time to get your tablet fully juiced up. The Galaxy Tab S2 comes with a 5870mAh Li-Ion battery, which is not as good as the 6000mAh Li-Po cell inside the Tab S3. Still, battery life is not something you will be complaining about, regardless of which tablet you choose.
We use a ton of storage on the devices we use — not only have apps gotten more bloated, but the amount of data they download and the storage used by browsers, photos, music, etc., have all gotten significantly higher. This is another reason to consider the S3 over the Tab S2, as it is available in a 4GB RAM 128GB storage option. In comparison, the best memory specs you can get on a Tab S2 is 3GB of RAM paired with 64GB of memory. You can still get by if you keep transferring data to your SD card. This is also possible on the Tab S3.
Also Read: Best Samsung tablets!
Samsung S2 vs S3 Tablet: Quality and Reliability
Samsung is known for providing excellent service levels to its customers regardless of the products you buy. Whether repair, replacement, or troubleshooting, you can put your mind at ease when you buy Samsung tablets.
Samsung offers a 1-year standard warranty with both the Galaxy Tab S2 and Tab S3 — this covers the tablet, the battery, and accessories. Samsung has ceased production of the Tab S2, so you may not be able to purchase an extended warranty, but your 1-year standard warranty will be honored. You can still get extended warranty support for the Galaxy Tab S3.
Samsung’s customer care teams are prompt and courteous. Regardless of the issue you are facing, the team will help you resolve it unless your device is completely unsalvageable. The company will still inform you about possible repairs and how to get them done. You can enter your tablet model on the Samsung Tablet support page and follow the on-screen instructions.
If you have to choose between the Galaxy Tab S2 and the Tab S3, it’s pretty obvious that you should go for the Tab S3. Here are the most evident reasons — better chipset, stylus compatibility, superior software, better build materials, better cameras, and the Tab S3 is two years younger than the Tab S2. The Tab S3 will also work better if you have other Samsung products, like a Samsung phone or a Samsung printer. Which reminds us, please read our article on printing wirelessly from a Samsung tablet!
If you’re looking for a ‘beater’ tablet to watch movies on or browse the web occasionally, then both the tablets do a great job, as the displays on these devices are stellar. As long as you don’t expect to game or get work done, either of these tablets is a good buy.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 (3GB 32GB): $170.00 USD
Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 (4GB 32GB): $199.95 USD
While both of the tablets in our Samsung S2 vs S3 tablet are great, we would choose the Galaxy Tab S3 for overall value for money. Using an S Pen is one of the best parts of owning a Samsung tablet, and the slight price bump is worth it. Additionally, the fact that it runs on One UI and not TouchWiz makes a huge difference as well. Given how old they both are, it might be incredibly tough to find working models of the Tab S2 and the Tab S3.
If you want an affordable basic tablet where it will primarily serve a single function, like watching videos or as a screen in your car, then go for the Tab S2.
If you want a dependable tablet with sufficient storage that can be used as a primary device for entertainment, then the Galaxy Tab S3 would be a better choice.
That said, you’re probably better off buying a newer Samsung tablet, though, maybe something from the last couple of years — you will get software support for longer, and the hardware will be more capable and future-proof. What did you think of our comparison? Hit us up in the comments and let us know!