More Android apps from dangerous Ztorg family sneak into Google Play

 

For the second time this month, Google has removed Android apps from its Google Play marketplace. Google did so after a security researcher found the apps contained code that laid the groundwork for attackers to take administrative “root” control of infected devices.

“Magic Browser,” as one app was called, was uploaded to Google’s official Android App bazaar on May 15 and gained more than 50,000 downloads by the time it was removed, Kaspersky Lab Senior Research Analyst Roman Unuchek said in a blog post published Tuesday. Magic Browser was disguised as a knock-off to the Chrome browser. The other app, “Noise Detector,” purported to measure the decibel level of sounds, and it had been downloaded more than 10,000 times. Both apps belong to a family of Android malware known as Ztorg, which has managed to sneak past Google’s automated malware checks almost 100 times since last September.

Most Ztorg apps are notable for their ability to use well-known exploits to root infected phones. This status allows the apps to have finer-grain control and makes them harder to be removed. Ztorg apps are also concerning for their large number of downloads. A Ztorg app known as Privacy Lock, for instance, received one million installations before Google removed it last month, while an infected Pokémon Go guide racked up 500,000 downloads before its removal in September.

Earlier this month, Google removed a game called colourblock after Kaspersky Lab’s Unuchek found it contained code dubbed DVmap that attempted to gain root. To evade detection by Google, DVmap developers initially uploaded a clean version of the game to Play and later updated it to add malicious functions. Unuchek has warned that the rooting processes used by malicious rooting apps can often harm the phones because the apps can overwrite crucial files and folders.

Magic Browser and Noise Detector didn’t actually root the phones, but the Ztorg digital fingerprints in both apps led Unuchek to theorize that the app developers were in the process of adding the capability to one or both of the apps gradually in an attempt to evade detection. In the meantime, the researcher said, the developers were using Magic Browser to either test or actively use malicious text-messaging functions. The app had the ability to send premium text messages to attacker-controlled numbers. To keep users in the dark, the app could also delete incoming texts and turn off the device sound.

“So I think that the authors are still testing this malware, because they use some techniques which can break the infected devices,” Unuchek wrote. “But they already have a lot of infected users on whom to test their methods. I hope that by uncovering this malware at such an early stage, we will be able to prevent a massive and dangerous attack when the attackers are ready to actively use their methods.”

Sony Xperia X, Xperia X Compact gets Android 7.1.1 Nougat and June security patch update

 

Sony starts rolling out the latest Android 7.1.1 Nougat for Xperia X and Xperia X Compact. Both the smartphones were originally announced with Android 6.0 Marshmallow, however, in November last year, Sony started pushing out Android 7.0 Nougat update for the handsets. And now with Android 7.1.1 Nougat OS onboard, both Xperia X and Xperia X Compact users will get a range of new features and updates.

Well, along with the Android 7.1.1 Nougat update, the Xperia X and Xperia X Compact  devices will also receive June Android security patch update. This is confirmed by Xperia blog. The blog post mentions, “Sony Mobile is rolling a new Nougat update for Xperia X and Xperia X Compact owners that moves them from Android 7.0 to 7.1.1.”Sony Xperia X

Also Read: Sony to focus on flagship Xperia phones, Xperia X and X Compact to be axed

Furthermore, according to Xperia Blog, the new Android Nougat update for Sony Xperia X and Xperia X Compact will come via a new build number 34.3.A.0.194. However, there is no mention if the software update will be rolled out globally, or only to select markets. With the new Android Nougat OS update, Sony will bring a number of features to both Sony Xperia X and Xperia X Compact device.

Picture Courtesy: Xperia Blog

App shortcut, support for circular app icons, fingerprint swipe down gesture, keyboard image insertion, night light, new emojis, split screen mode, quick notification, doze mode and a lot more feature will come to the Xperia devices with Android 7.1.1 Nougat update. Sony is probably rolling out the Nougat update eventually. While some users who have already received the software upgrade have complained about a few features being missing. One user said, “7.1.1’s best feature is app shortcuts and Xperia home doesn’t even support it”, while the another one said, “The Cons: After updating it, I found out that Sony doesn’t even provide the new clock widget for the lock screen! This is so called ‘their pathetic marketing”.

Also Read: Sony Xperia XZ Premium 4K HDR phone with Motion Eye camera launched at Rs 59,990

Some users also said that with the new update, Sony brings New Smart Stamina Mode and Xperia Actions features on the Xperia devices.

Sony recently launched the Xperia XZ Premium with 4K HDR phone with Motion Eye camera. This premium smartphone is launched at Rs 59,990. Xperia XZ Premium is the follow-up to last year’s Xperia X Performance, and succeeds 2015’s Xperia Z5 Premium. The smartphone comes with 19-megapixel Motion Eye camera system on the rear which is further coupled with phase detection and laser autofocus features. The Xperia device sports a 5.5-inch IPS LCD display and runs on Android 7.1.1 Nougat-based Xperia UI. The device is further powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835 processor coupled with 4GB RAM and 64GB of internal storage, which is further expandable by up to 256GB via a microSD card and is backed by a 3,230mAh battery and supports Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 3.0.

 

The 10 best Android apps for Chromebooks

 

Running Android apps on Chromebooks is still a dream—a dream in extended beta, that is. After promising the feature earlier this year, Google has pushed out the release date.

While a select number of Chromebooks can access Google Play right out of the box, more adventurous Chromebook users will need to run the developer beta of Chrome OS to experience Android apps. After spending time with a number of Android apps that have become Chrome-friendly, I actually prefer some Android versions on Chrome over the web-based versions, as mobile apps can be refreshingly simple and uncluttered.chromebook chrome os

To get into the beta channel, go to your Chromebook’s Settings page and click About Chrome OS. Next, click Detailed build information, then click Change Channel. There, you can switch from the stable channel to the beta channel. You should steer clear of the developer channel, however, as that will definitely be unstable.

The 10 Android apps below represent how good it could be on Chrome once everything becomes official. Just remember, this is beta software, so tread carefully. If things go awry, you can always go back to stable channel or Powerwash your Chromebook and start over.

Microsoft Outlook

android apps chromebook outlook

Derek Walter/IDG

Sure, Gmail is great and all, but like many you might have an Office 365 email address assigned by your company. If that’s the case, you’ll want to grab the Microsoft Outlook Android application for your Chromebook. Unlike the web app, you can use Outlook to manage multiple accounts and access your messages offline. It even handles Gmail accounts if you want to use Outlook as your all-in-one email application.

Newton Mail

android apps chromebook newton mail

Derek Walter/IDG

Perhaps you want to extend the capabilities of your email app by connecting it to your favorite services. Newton Mail (formerly CloudMagic) has several built-in plugins for common services like Trello, Todoist, OneNote, and Salesforce. You can quickly zap emails over to those apps with just a couple of taps.

Newton Mail is clean and works well, but don’t get too attached unless you want to pay the $50-per-year fee for full access.

Xiaomi sold 1 million Redmi 4 phones in India in just 30 days

The Xiaomi Redmi 4-8608.php#redmi-4) has sold over 1 million units in India, the company just announced. It took 30 days, two weeks less than the Redmi Note 4 needed to reach the same milestone.

So, India now has a new record for fastest phone to reach a million sales. The Redmi 4 got to a solid start, selling a quarter of a million in the first 8 minutes of sale alone. It had to take a break after as Mi.com ran out of units, but availability issues have been cleared up now.

Congrats to the Xiaomi team! If you feel like joining the million Redmi fans, head to Mi.com and grab one – the Redmi 4 starts at CNY 7,000 (2GB+16GB) and goes up to the recently released CNY 11,000 (4GB+64GB).

 

Android Circuit: New Galaxy Note 8 Leaks, Massive Pixel 2 Screens, Microsoft’s Android Advances

Taking a look back at seven days of news and headlines across the world of Android, this week’s Android Circuit includes the latest details on the Galaxy Note hardware and pricing, new details on the Google Pixel 2 screens, the Nokia 6’s potential worldwide release, the OnePlus 5 being compared to its predecessor, the EU’s anti trust cast and the implications for Android, Microsoft’s latest Android advances, and why ten years of iPhone is still beaten by Android.

Android Circuit is here to remind you of a few of the many things that have happened around Android in the last week (and you can find the weekly Apple news digest here).

Galaxy Note 8’s Massive Price Tag

Samsung’s Galaxy Note 8 looks set to be one of the most advanced smartphones on the planet when it is announced in August, But the technology is not going to come cheap and an unlocked version of the phablet is going to comfortably cost a four figure sum. Forbes’ Gordon Kelly reports:

Posting on VentureBeat, famed leaker Evan Blass (aka @evleaks) states that Samsung is currently informing partners that the model will be “its most expensive cellphone yet” and retail for €999 (over $1,100).

Blass claims says the pricing comes via “an individual briefed on the company’s plans” and his long (and highly accurate) track record means we should take this information seriously. The flipside to this huge price tag is Galaxy Note 8 owners look set to get a lot for their money.

 

More on the pricing here.

Note 8 Fingerprint Features On The Rear

Thanks to the various leaks of schematics and rendered images we have a very good idea on the design of the Note 8. That means the question over the fingerprint scanner has been quietly answered, because it can be seen on the rear of the design. Samsung’s shot at innovating with a screen-based fingerprint reader looks unlikely to happen this year:

As previously discussed here on Forbes, Samsung is having to back down from placing the fingerprint sensor under the screen of the upcoming phablet. If this had been achieved it would have given Samsung an impressive technological ‘first’. Unfortunately it has been reported that the part of the screen with the sensor was not able to be color-matched to the rest of the screen.

The Galaxy Note 8 will retain the expansive and dominant screen, but the requirements in the Android specifications for a fingerprint scanner mean that it has to go somewhere else. And Samsung’s answer appears to be ‘put it next to the camera on the rear of the device’.

My thoughts on the issue are here.

Pixel 2 Screens Revealed

As well as backing up the claims of an OLED screen, details from the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL supply lines confirm the physical screen of Google’s own 2017 handsets. I’ve taken a closer look at what this means for the smartphones:

The smaller Pixel 2 is expected to support a 4.97-inch screen, broadly similar to the 5-inch FHD panel used in 2016’s model. The larger Pixel 2 trumps the 5.5 inches of the Pixel XL with a 5.99-inch QHD screen. These screens are expected to be supplied by LG (reports Mario Tomás Serrafero for XDA Developers), while the handsets will again be manufactured for Google by HTC.

…Although three models were initially discussed, the Pixel 2 family looks to have settled on a ‘regular’ smartphone and a ‘phablet’ device to meet market expectations. It also allows the Pixel 2 line to draw a direct comparison to families such as the Android powered Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus, and presumably Apple’s update to the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus which should be announced in the weeks before the Pixel 2.

More details here on Forbes.

Nokia 6 Set For Worldwide Release

Launched into the Chinese market at the end of CES 2017, HMD Global’s first Nokia-branded smartphone appears set for a worldwide release next month. The mid-range handset could be ready to show up on Amazon, reports Paul Sawers:

The Nokia 6 will be made available exclusively through Amazon for $229 in “early July,” with only two color variants available at first — black and silver. It will also be made available in blue and copper later in the year.

There is nothing particularly standout about the device: It ships with Android Nougat and sports a Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 chipset, dual-SIM, 3GB of RAM, and 32GB of storage — expandable up to 128GB via the MicroSD slot. It also has a 5.5″ IPS LCD screen (full HD at 1920 x 1080), a 16MP rear-facing camera, 8MP front-shooter, and a 3,000 mAh battery.

OnePlus 5 Versus The OnePlus 3T

The recent launch of the OnePlus 5 (reviewed here) brings the Shenzhen-based manufacturer’s flagship handset into line with the current ‘top’ specs. That said, six months ago it refreshed its line-up with the launch of the OnePlus 3T. How much as changed since then? Gordon Kelly makes the comparisons, including the new dual camera at the rear:

With the relatively subtle changes to the OnePlus 5 display and design, it is up to the camera to provide the biggest upgrade from the OnePlus 3T and OnePlus 3:

* OnePlus 5 – Rear: 16 MP, f/1.7 aperture, 1.12 µm, EIS (gyro) and 20 MP, f/2.6, 1.0 µm 2x optical zoom, no OIS and dual-LED flash.
* OnePlus 3T – Rear: 16 MP, f/2.0, OIS, LED flash. Front: 16 MP, f/2.0, 1.0 µm pixel size, 1080p

Yes that’s a lot specifications. The upshot however is the OnePlus 5 can deliver 2x optical zoom (via a slight cheat) and combine both its rear camera to deliver a Portrait Mode (think heavy background bokeh to mimic the effect of a DSLR) similar to the iPhone 7 Plus.

Read more on the two devices here.

OnePlus 5 (image: Ewan Spence)

Ewan Spence

OnePlus 5 (image: Ewan Spence)

The Impact On Android Of The EU Antitrust Case

While this week’s ruling from the European Union’s Antitrust Regulators does not have a direct impact on Android, the EU is in the process of looking at AdSense and Android.  The ruling points towards the EU’s attitudes to the Mountain View dominance.

The EU ruling is a warning shot for two on-going EU probes into Google’s Android mobile operating system and AdSense ad system, said Richard Windsor, an independent financial analyst who tracks competition among the biggest U.S. and Asian Internet and mobile players, including Google.

“If the European Union turns around and says Google can no longer bundle its Google Play app store as a default feature on many Android smartphones, this opens up the market to other handset makers to put their own software and services front and center on their phones,” he said.

Fortune has more details.

Microsoft Improves OneNote For Android

Microsoft continues to build up and improve its offerings for Android. This week saw a major update to its note-taking and digital scrapbooking application OneNote. As Sean Chan reports, the Android app has caught up with the other clients, as well as bringing in a web snipping tool:

Today, the company has started rolling out the enhanced design for the OneNote app to Android smartphones as well. The new and improved OneNote design offers a simplified navigation system and improves accessibility for users with assistive technology across all platforms, and that includes Android phones, too.

In addition to the improved design, Microsoft is also bringing the OneNote Web Clipper to Android. The app now integrates into the share system for browsers, which means you can now save entire web pages to OneNote just like you can on the desktop thanks to the OneNote Web Clipper.

More at MS Power User.

Microsoft advertises OneNote's cloud capability (image: Microsoft.com)

Microsoft PR

Microsoft advertises OneNote’s cloud capability (image: Microsoft.com)

And Finally…

In the week where every publication is remembering that it has been ten years since the first iPhone went on sale, Seth Fiegerman highlights that in terms of dominance, Android is far and ahead the more successful platform.

Apple created the modern smartphone as we know it, but Android went on to dominate the market through numerous partnerships with carriers and lower prices. In the first quarter of this year, a staggering 86% of smartphones sold worldwide ran on Android, according to data from Gartner.

What happened next? Read on at CNN.

Android Circuit rounds up the news from the Android world every weekend here on Forbes. Don’t forget to follow me so you don’t miss any coverage in the future, and of course read the sister column in Apple Loop! Last week’s Android Circuit can be found here, and if you have any news and links you’d like to see featured in Android Circuit, get in touch!

Follow me on Facebook. Find more of my work at ewanspence.co.uk, on Twitter, and Linked In. You should subscribe to my weekly newsletter of ‘Trivial Posts’.

 

Android 7.1.2-powered Xiaomi ‘riva’ spotted on Geekbench

A new Xiaomi smartphone – dubbed riva – has been spotted in a benchmark listing. The listing on Geekbench reveals the device is powered by an SoC with quad-core 1.40GHz processor, and has 3GB RAM.

Other thing worth noting is that the phone runs Android Nougat (latest version: 7.1.2). Sadly, and as is usually the case with Geekbench listings, nothing else was revealed. However, given that the device has started appearing in benchmarks

 

HTC ‘Ocean Life’ Mid-Range Phone With Edge Sense, Snapdragon 660 SoC Rumoured

 

HIGHLIGHTS

  • The smartphone has been tipped to pack a full-HD display
  • HTC Ocean Life is expected to run Android 7.1.1 Nougat out-of-the-box
  • The smartphone is expected to offer Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity

HTC recently launched its U11 smartphone with the company’s unique Edge Sense feature in India. While the U11 offers some really powerful specifications at a competitive price against other flagships, the company has reportedly started working on its sibling model with mid-range price segment in mind.

As per well-known HTC tipster @LlabTooFeR, the upcoming mid-range smartphone from HTC has been codenamed ‘Ocean Life’ and comes with Edge Sense 9.0. For those unaware, Edge Sense feature allows users to perform certain tasks like launching apps or access certain functions by simply squeezing the handset from the sides. The sensors located on the side of the smartphone allow it to gather the input from users and the intensity with which each squeeze is registered is also customisable.HTC 'Ocean Life' Mid-Range Phone With Edge Sense, Snapdragon 660 SoC Rumoured

To recall, the HTC U11 was codenamed “Ocean” and as this phone seems to be a younger sibling to the flagship model, the information seems to be well in line.

Moving to the specifications on the HTC ‘Ocean Life’, the smartphone is said to run Android 7.1.1 Nougat out-of-the-box and pack a 5.2-inch full-HD (1080×1920 pixels) display. It is expected to be powered by a Snapdragon 660 SoC. In terms of optics, the mid-range smartphone has been tipped to come with a 16-megapixel primary rear camera and a 16-megapixel camera at front as well.

The HTC U11 Ocean Life is expected to house a 2600mAh battery and offer Bluetooth v5.0 connectivity as well. As the smartphone has been tipped to lack a 3.5mm headphone jack, it will come with the company’s HTC USonic earphones with USB Type-C cable.

As these are just rumoured specifications, we would advise our readers to take it with a pinch of salt and wait for official information from the company itself.

 

Huawei launches Honor 8 Pro in India

Huawei has finally launched the Honor 8 Pro in India, almost three months after its international launch. The phone is priced at INR 29,999 and will be available exclusively on Amazon India.

The Honor 8 Pro has a 5.7-inch QHD display, HiSilicon Kirin 960 processor, 6GB RAM, 128GB expandable storage, dual 12 megapixel rear cameras, 8 megapixel front camera, 4000mAh battery, and Android 7.0 with EMUI 5.1. The phone also comes inside a packaging that turns into a VR headset.

The phone will be available through an open sale on July 13, 12:00 AM. For Amazon Prime customers, the phone will be available starting July 10 at 6:00PM. There will also be offers on launch, including 0% EMI, 15% cashback for HDFC card holders, and 45GB 4G data from Vodafone for 5 months.

 

‘lephone W2’ smartphone at Rs 3,999 unveiled

 

New Delhi: Chinese smartphone maker lephone on Tuesday introduced an entry-level 4G/VoLTE budget smartphone `lephone W2` in India at Rs 3,999.

`lephone W2` runs on 1.3GHz quad core processor coupled with 1GB RAM and 8GB of in-built storage that can be further expanded upto 32GB via microSD card.

The device provides support for 22 regional languages.

 'lephone W2' smartphone at Rs 3,999 unveiled

“`Lephone W2` offers all the latest specifications and is arguably the best model in its class in the market,” said Vinod Pandit, Business Head, lephone Technology, in a statement.

The device comes with 2MP rear camera with LED flash and a VGA (equivalent to 0.3MP) front camera.

The device comes with a gravity sensor to augment gaming experiences and houses 4.5-inch FWVGA display to makes sure that images are not cropped while viewing.

 

Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 review: The best Android tablet you can buy

 

Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 review: It is a high-end tablet with a stunning display, and superior build quality.

A few years ago, tablets were looked as the next big thing in computing. I still remember how difficult it was to get the third-generation iPad. People were queuing up all day to get Apple’s swanky gadget. But tablets haven’t really made that huge dent on the laptop industry as large smartphones have been able to. In fact, the big screen smartphones have taken away the thunder of a lot of tablets. Despite this, Apple and Samsung have continued to release new models. Apple has recently updated its iPad Pro lineup and released an iPad Pro 10.5, while Samsung has a rival tablet to offer in the Galaxy Tab S3.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 is a high-end tablet with a stunning display, and superior build quality. But the Galaxy Tab S3 isn’t pitched as a mere tablet device. The idea is to support an optional keyboard so that you can quickly edit documents or send a presentation without any delay. The tablet also comes bundled with the S Pen like the Galaxy Note series to enhance productivity on a mobile device.

However, the question remains whether or not you need to invest in a tablet that’s going to cost Rs 47,990. Samsung may be bragging about the Galaxy Tab S3, but is it up to the job? I’ve tried to find the answer after testing the device for more than week, and here’s my verdict.Samsung Galaxy Tab S3, Galaxy Tab S3 review, Galaxy Tab S3 price in India, Galaxy Tab S3 Android tablet

Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 specifications 9.7-inch QXGA Super AMOLED (2048 x 1536) | Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 (quad-core, 1.5GHz + 1.6GHz) | 4GB RAM | 32GB storage| 13MP rear camera + 5MP front camera | 6000mAh | 4G LTE | Android 7.0 Nougat

Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 price in India Rs 47,990

Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 Design, display

Ever since Samsung introduced the Galaxy S6, the company’s emphasis on design and build quality has improved a lot. Pull the Galaxy Tab S3 out of the box and the first thing you might observe is its metal and glass unibody design. The Galaxy Tab S3 seems to be a bigger version of the Galaxy S7. It looks and feels premium in every sense. My review unit came in a silver colour, but the Galaxy Tab S3 is also available in Black.

The device has no sharp edges, and with rounded corners, it is easy to hold the tablet for an extended period of time. It measures 6mm in terms of thickness and weighs 434 grams, which means this has an advantage when it comes to portability.

But the glass back is not as durable as the aluminum, making the tablet more fragile. Also, the glass back is more prone to fingerprints and scratches. Which means you might end up cleaning the tablet several times a day. This is why you need to invest in a case the day you buy the Galaxy Tab S3.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S3, Galaxy Tab S3 review, Galaxy Tab S3 price in India, Galaxy Tab S3 Android tabletThere’s a dedicated port for the keyboard, which comes as an optional accessory.

Under the display is the home button which doubles as a fingerprint scanner. There are four speakers on board as well, which I will talk about later in the review. A 5-megapixel front-facing camera for video calls is placed on top of the screen, a power and volume button on the right side, and a dedicated port for the keyboard. Meanwhile, the headphone jack and the USB Type-C port are placed at the bottom of the tablet. The rear houses the Samsung logo and a 13-megapixel camera with LED Flash.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S3, Galaxy Tab S3 review, Galaxy Tab S3 price in India, Galaxy Tab S3 Android tabletThe rear houses the Samsung logo and a 13-megapixel camera with LED Flash.

Overall, I liked the Galaxy Tab S3 for its design, but it lacks a slot to hold the S Pen which will be crucial for the Pro user Samsung is targeting. This could be a big miss.

Samsung packs the Galaxy Tab S3 with a 9.7-inch QXGA (2048 x 1536) Super AMOLED display. No doubt, the tablet’s vibrant screen is also its biggest highlight in my opinion. The display is extra bright, colors are vibrant and vivid, and black is black. When viewing a 1080p trailer of Spider-Man: Homecoming on the Galaxy Tab S3, I could easily make out a range of colours which I otherwise don’t see on my iPad Air. If you watch a lot of movies or play games, the Galaxy Tab S3 might be the perfect option for you. Samsung has been touting the Tab S3’s HDR video playback capabilities, but unfortunately, Netflix doesn’t offer HDR playback on a mobile device.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 audio performance

Unlike most other tablets (barring Apple iPad Pros), Samsung has placed a total of four speakers, two at the top and two at the bottom on the Galaxy Tab S3. So essentially, no matter how you place the tablet, you’ll always end up getting good volumes. I do watch a lot of movies and shows, especially after I come back from office. Having four speakers on a mobile device is always an advantage. In theory, this placement should have resulted in a better audio performance too. But the quality of the sound, however, is not that impressive, even though Samsung worked with AKG (a premium audio brand by Harman Kardon) for an immersive audio experience.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 hardware, battery

On the hardware front the Tab S3 is powered by a quad-core Snapdragon 820 processor with Adreno 530 GPU , along with the 4G LTE connectivity. Even though the chipset isn’t new, in everyday use, the tablet was zippy and switched quickly between apps. The tablet also has 4GB RAM, which I think is good enough for an everyday use.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 has no trouble in running games, or streaming videos over the YouTube, thanks to 4GB RAM. However, I did notice that the tablet’s processing capabilities fell short when it comes to running high-quality games like the Batman: The Telltale Series. Sometimes I do wonder that the Samsung could have packed in more RAM for an added boost.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S3, Galaxy Tab S3 review, Galaxy Tab S3 price in India, Galaxy Tab S3 Android tabletOn the hardware front the Tab S3 is powered by a quad-core Snapdragon 820 processor with Adreno 530 GPU.

It’s surprising to see that the Samsung is not offering the choice of different storage configurations for the Tab S3. The tablet only comes with the 32GB standard storage, which you’ll quickly fill up if you’re downloading movies or lots of apps. However, there is a microSD card slot for memory expansion. I’d have ignored this, had the tablet cost Rs 10,000. A tablet like the Galaxy Tab S3 should have come with more storage, especially since the company has been talking a lot about the tablet’s multimedia prowess.

A long battery life is needed, if you intend to use the tablet as your go-to device. In case of the Tab S3, it features a 6,000mAh battery, which the company claims should last up to 12 hours on a single charge. In my testing, it lasted somewhere around 9 hours over Wi-Fi. Gaming will surely shorten the average battery life, but I mostly used the tablet to watch videos, edit documents, scroll through Facebook, browse the web, and streaming music. On the other hand, recharging the battery is extremely fast. I was able to recharge the battery in an hour from 0 to 100 per cent.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 camera performance

Samsung Galaxy Tab S3’s 13-megapixel camera on the back captured colorful and detailed shots in a natural light. However, the performance dips in low light conditions. A 5-megapixel front shooter looks okay for video calls, which I think should be your purpose.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S3, Galaxy Tab S3 review, Galaxy Tab S3 price in India, Galaxy Tab S3 Android tabletSample shot from Samsung Galaxy Tab S3. (Image resized for web).Samsung Galaxy Tab S3, Galaxy Tab S3 review, Galaxy Tab S3 price in India, Galaxy Tab S3 Android tabletSample shot from Samsung Galaxy Tab S3. (Image resized for web).

Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 software, S Pen

I have a mixed feeling whether Android is the right choice or not for a tablet device. Android works so well on a smartphone, but the same cannot be said on tablets. The Galaxy Tab S3 can handle everything because it’s being promoted as entertainment device. But when it comes to productivity, Android isn’t the best option I can think of.

The Galaxy Tab S3 runs Android 7.0 Nougat with Samsung’s UI over the top. The software experience largely replicates what you get on the Galaxy S8 or any Samsung Galaxy smartphone for that matter. Logically, the user interface should have been tailored for a 9.7-inch screen, but unfortunately, it always reminds me that I’m using a smartphone.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S3, Galaxy Tab S3 review, Galaxy Tab S3 price in India, Galaxy Tab S3 Android tabletThe tablet also comes bundled with the S Pen like the Galaxy Note series to enhance productivity on a mobile device.

And that’s where the problem starts. I wish Google had more apps optimised for tablets beyond a few. In fact, many of of these apps simply look like a blown-up offering of the phone version.

Apple have been facing the same problem in the past , but iPad owners will find the iOS 11 to be a significant upgrade. Although iOS 11 is a continuation of iOS 10 than an all-new version, it does introduce some noteworthy changes that can expand what your iPad can achieve. In case of Samsung, this doesn’t apply because Google controls the software, the South Korean company is just a hardware partner.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S3, Galaxy Tab S3 review, Galaxy Tab S3 price in India, Galaxy Tab S3 Android tabletThe S Pen has been one of the favourite features of the Galaxy Tab S3. And I’m glad it comes bundled in the box this time.

The S Pen has been one of the favourite features of the Galaxy Tab S3. And I’m glad it comes bundled in the box this time. The S Pen has a diameter of just 9.4 mm, while the pen tip measures only 0.7 mm, which makes handwriting feel natural. It supports 4,096 pressure sensitivity levels. Thankfully, Samsung has made a slew of apps which takes advantage of the S Pen capabilities.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 verdict

The Galaxy Tab S3 is no doubt a great entertainment device. It get many things right, especially when it comes to consuming content. For example, the 9.7-inch display is simply the best I’ve ever seen on a tablet. I also really like the implementation of the S Pen; and yes, it comes in the box, so you won’t have to pay extra to get it. The overall performance and the quality of sound from the quad speakers is okay, if not the best.

In my opinion, Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 is the best Android tablet you can buy right now. Clearly, the company’s intent is to make an iPad Pro rival, not a Surface Pro 4 competitor. That distinction should be remembered when you consider the Galaxy Tab S3.