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Review: 5 Top Features On Samsung’s Galaxy Tab Active3

The CRN Test Center finds a lot to like on the B2B tablet, including on the design, battery and special features for businesses.

Samsung’s latest rugged tablet for businesses, the Galaxy Tab Active3, doesn’t radically alter the formula that made the predecessor Tab Active2 a big winner for the device maker and solution providers.

But the Tab Active3--which runs Android and debuted in the U.S. last month--does feature a number of smart enhancements both for users and for IT administrators.

[Related: Samsung Launches The Galaxy XCover Pro, A Rugged Business-Focused Smartphone]

In our tryout at the CRN Test Center, we found welcome improvements around the display, battery and business features that should make this another popular model in the Tab Active series.

The Galaxy Tab Active3 is available in the U.S. starting at $489.99 for the Wi-Fi-only model and $589.99 for a model that supports LTE.

What follows are five top features to know about on Samsung’s Galaxy Tab Active3.

Rugged, User-Friendly Design

For the Galaxy Tab Active3, Samsung sticks with the same 8-inch form factor as the Tab Active2--which we think is a perfectly fine choice. The tablet offers a good amount of space for working but can still be held with one hand.

Crucially, the Tab Active3 also offers the familiar consumer-friendly design and user experience of the company’s non-B2B tablets. And that’s still while offering military-grade ruggedness, including protection against water, dust, extreme temperatures and drops (of up to 5 feet with the included case). The tablet also includes an improvement around shock absorption, according to Samsung.

Additionally, the included S Pen stylus is water and dust resistant, as well.

Sharper Display

While the display size remains the same at 8 inches, the display resolution on the Tab Active3 gets a welcome boost to 1,920 x 1,200--from resolution of 1,280 x 800 on the previous model.

We think the viewing experience is much improved with the new higher-res display, with sharper image quality paired with a high level of brightness--for a vibrant display that’s ideal for use in many work settings.

The new tablet also maintains one of the signature features of the Tab Active2--the ability to use it with most types of gloves (even while wet).

New Programmable Key

One of the most helpful new features for certain business users is the addition of a programmable key on the side of the Tab Active3--something that wasn’t included on the Tab Active2, but did appear on the higher-end Tab Active Pro tablet and Galaxy XCover Pro smartphone.

The key can be configured to open frequently used applications--such as an app for scanning barcodes or push-to-talk capabilities (including Microsoft Teams walkie talkie functionality).

Notably, users can actually program the key to open two separate applications--one that gets triggered with a short press and one with a longer press.

Battery Enhancements

Like on the Tab Active2, the Galaxy Tab Active3 includes a replaceable battery. But there are several major improvements related to the battery, as well.

Those include a larger battery—with a capacity of 5,050 mAh compared with 4,450 mAh on the previous model—and a new “no battery mode,” which lets you operate the tablet without a battery when it’s connected to a power source. As one solution provider executive told CRN, these enhancements in particular should help to enable new use cases in the market, such as for a fixed kiosk or for in-vehicle use.

For the battery life itself, our tryout found solid results. With the display brightness set to 50 percent, we were able to stream video from YouTube for 10 hours on a charge.

Special Business Features

Along with the improvements for users, Samsung is also making it simpler for businesses and IT administrators to manage their fleet of Tab Active3 devices. Rather than charging a separate fee for key mobile services--such as securing, deploying and managing devices for the workforce--Samsung is providing the services free of charge via the company’s Enterprise Edition package.

The Tab Active3, in fact, is the first U.S. tablet that is available out of the box with Samsung’s Enterprise Edition. The Enterprise Edition features a year of access to the Knox Suite, which provides tools for mobile enrollment, setup and endpoint management—as well as other benefits including five years worth of security and maintenance updates. Additionally, the Tab Active3 comes with a three-year lifecycle assurance, meaning that Samsung has committed to actively sell the tablet in the market for three years.

Meanwhile, the Tab Active3 also offers an upgrade around using DeX--Samsung’s feature that lets you pull up an Android desktop on an external screen that’s powered by your Galaxy device. Samsung has been continually updating and simplifying DeX since introducing it in 2017. With the Tab Active3, Samsung is now making it possible to use DeX wirelessly on a monitor or smart display--making it a much more convenient option for business users.

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