Samsung is now pushing a new update to its 2017 Galaxy Tab S3 and Tab A model tablets in the U.S., delivering OneUI and security enhancements. That's based on various reports from around the web, which indicate that both updates are arriving over-the-air now.
While that global update applied to both Wi-Fi and mobile data variants, this latest applies only to Wi-Fi models. For the Samsung Galaxy Tab S3, the update brings the firmware version number to T820XXU3CSH9. The South Korean tech giant's Galaxy Tab A (2017) will land at T380DXU3CSHC. The mobile variants will undoubtedly follow soon enough.
Users can check their firmware version and update by navigating to the Settings app on their device. Under the "Software Update" menu, the version will be displayed and an option will be available to download updates manually.
In some cases, the manual option can trigger a firmware download ahead of the standard over-the-air arrival.
Features with this Galaxy Tab update
Now, this isn't the first time that OneUI based on Android 9 Pie has been shipped to these tablets. The rollout to these tabs in other regions started last month.
Both updates weigh in at 1.28GB. That's largely because there are several major UX and UI changes. Among the biggest features is the inclusion of a Night Mode. The mode darkens elements of Samsung's new interface for easier reading.
Bixby also makes a return here in a more fully-featured iteration, alongside new emoji for messaging, and a changeup for device management tools. Namely, the latter is the Settings-based tool for managing battery, storage, and memory. That has been renamed to a more user-friendly "Device Care" from "Device Maintenance." For emoji, this is the Unicode 11.0 update, bringing more inclusive emoji across the board as well as new ones.
The most noticeable change won't be those but the OneUI interface itself. In the simplest terms, Samsung's OneUI moves interactive elements so that they're more easily accessed without stretching too much. Non-interactive elements take their place near the top of the UI.
The notable exception
There is at least one device from the list of tablets still on sale from Samsung that is missing here, however. That's the company's Galaxy Tab S2. The device offers an alternative to newer, more expensive models and it makes sense that Samsung would continue selling it. It is odd that the company does so without providing updates. Especially with consideration for the number of security fixes released in the interim.
Now every device being updated here is getting the newest security either. The U.S. Wi-Fi variant of Samsung's Galaxy Tab A from 2017 is only being moved forward to the June security patch. That means it's missing around two months' worth of critical and high-level severity fixes, as well as lesser patches. That's no less than three months behind if the newest September patch is included.
Similarly, Samsung has only updated the Galaxy Tab S3 to the August 2019 security patch level.
Security updates may or may not continue to arrive for these devices and the still-on-sale Galaxy Tab S2 hasn't received one. But this latest firmware update likely represents the last that either will receive in terms of new versions of Android.