Samsung Galaxy Tab S – A brute of a tablet contained in the body of a beauty queen
Samsung have a massive range of tablets out on the market right now and the previous top dog for them was the Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4 and while the Galaxy Tab S 8.4 is not a major change in hardware it certainly is an evolution in one. The new Tab S will be priced roughly around the €399 mark which means it will be too expensive for those looking for a budget tablet but if you are looking for a powerful tablet for you or the kids and money is no object then this is a great one.
The Tab S thankfully ditches the faux leather that the previous Tab Pro featured and the Tab S is far nicer looking and nicer to hold too on account of this. I nor many others liked the faux leather and stitched look and the Tab S goes for the simple dimpled texture on its rear. Our white review model features a beautiful 8.4 inch screen surrounded by an almost gold faux metal trim. Feeling fantastically light in the hand at only 294 grams the Tab S is a pleasure to hold for extended periods of time, it feels grippy and the weight distribution is even through out
On the rear of the Tab S is the 8MP lens and a single LED flash and just a heads up, the camera is good. Also on the back are two accessory connectors on either side, these are used to connect cases and with these you simply click the cases in, not quite a nice as magnetic connectors but they work perfect. On the right hand side of the Tab S are the power and volume rockers along with a microSD card slot and an IR blaster. On the bottom is the 3.5mm headphone jack and microUSB port along with one of the speakers with the second on placed on the top of the device.
Front of house is the front facing 2.1MP camera and ambient light sensor along with the usual Samsung menu keys.
The Galaxy Tab S comes equipped with a finger print scanner which is operated by swiping a registered finger down from the bottom of the screen over the menu button, for the most part this works perfectly but if you do it too quickly or not centred enough then it will fail. The finger print login is a nice addition which works really well with multiple profiles, this is indeed an ideal coffee table tablet for all the family, just swipe in and you are in your profile.
The Tab S also features Samsung’s own Kids Mode which parents can set up and then add games and apps to. A real nice feature is the play limit which can be set up on a per child basis so that younger kids get shorter play times compared to older kids. It is very well done and is light years ahead of other 3rd party kids zone apps such as Zoodles for example.
Multi-Window is also another great feature as you will see in my video review, you can have split screens with different apps open in different halves of the screen, you can then switch between, very useful for working on something and having a reference open too.
Display & Audio
The display on the Samsung Tab S is fantastic, simple as that, being an AMOLED screen the contrast is brilliant and blacks are super black. The resolution is 2560 X 1600 which means a PPI of 353 or there about, and while not as high as top end smartphones, in this form factor it is stunning. Watching movies on this screen is a joy thanks to those super black blacks, you will waste many an hour watching video on this I assure you. Viewing angles are very good and you should not have any problems using the Tab S out doors either, one tip however is to turn off the adaptive display, the screen colours look much better without it.
The Tab S features two speakers which do appear to produce a decent stereo effect and while the sound is nothing amazing it is very good none the less. The placement of the speakers is also very sensible as you will not be inclined to cover them with your hands.
The Tab S is running an Octa-Core Exynos 5 chipset with 4 ARM Cortex A15 chips clocked at 1.9GHz and 4 A7 chips clocked at 1.3GHz meaning that this is one of the most powerful tablets on the market. As was the case however with past Galaxy Tab devices there is still an element of jerkiness when navigating around the screen, it is not annoying and is certainly far less than past editions, but it is noticeable all the same.
Using AnTuTu the Tab S scores a very good 37127 mark and you will have no problem running any games on this device, Real Racing 3 runs super smooth. The Tab S is running Android 4.4 but as is the norm with Samsung they have overlaid their TouchWiz UI which depending on your view is a good thing or a bad thing. For me in this case its good, the Magazine theme they have in place is very Windows with re-sizeable tiles to boot.
Camera & Battery
I am always pretty tough on tablets that come with a camera and that is mainly because most are usually rubbish but Samsung have done a great job with the 8MP sensor on the Tab S and pictures come out very well. One feature of the rear camera is the LED flash which is still uncommon in most tablets meaning that with the Tab S at least you should be able to get a half decent shot indoors in poor conditions. Thanks also the the slightly smaller size of the Tab S you wont look quite so silly if you take a snap at a party or out in public.
The battery on the Tab S is a 4900mAh unit and you should see a good 10 or 12 hours of heavy use. Thanks also to the AMOLED screen the Tab S can avail of Samsung’s brilliant Ultra Power Saving mode which means the screen turns to black and white and processors are turned down. This can add literally days to your battery life, with only 5 % and UPS mode enabled our unit stayed alive for 4 days with no use.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4 is not a cheap tablet, but it is a brilliant tablet, period. If you want a performer with an amazing screen then look no further, sure Samsung’s TouchWiz will not be to everyone’s taste but this is a brute of a tablet contained in the body of a beauty queen.
If you can afford it then go out and buy this now.
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