The Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 is a 10.5-inch Android tablet designed for productivity. As usual, Samsung’s latest comes with a sleek design that is at the edge of tablet manufacturing techniques.
It has a Super-AMOLED (sAMOLED) 2560×1600/287 PPI display and is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor, the one that was inside 2017 high-end smartphones.
A digitizer pen is included in the box, and if it is anything like last year’s Galaxy Tab S3, it should be very comfortable to use. It was great for sketching and writing notes. In general, pens are more comfortable to use as the screen size increases.
The Tab S4 pushes the limits of productivity by adding Samsung Dex support (official Dex page), which is the ability to use apps in Windowed mode with or without an external monitor.
The Samsung Galaxy S and Note phones had this capability, but this is the Samsung tablet to come with it. If you are unfamiliar with Samsung Dex, I recommend looking at our Galaxy S8 review in which we go over Dex, or watch the video below.
Dex has evolved with the Galaxy S9, but the principle remains: turn an Android into a PC-like computer operating on a large display.
Over time, more developers have adapted their apps to work on PC-like monitor resolutions. For example, Microsoft Office feels very much like a PC app when running in Dex mode. The same is true for leading browsers, YouTube, VLC and more apps.
As usual, the connection with the monitor works over USB-C (USB-C to HDMI) via an adapter sold separately. When in Dex mode, the Tab S4 tablet can become a trackpad, or a sketch pad, a feature that was requested when Dex first appeared. If you want, it can also stay as a fully-functional Android tablet.
In classic tablet mode, Samsung seems to promote multimedia as the primary activity. The 16:10 display with narrower bezels is optimal for watching movies. That said, unlike laptops, tablets perform very well in Portrait mode, which is great for email apps or reading.
Talking about movies, there are four speakers (tuned by AKG) which can output Dolby Atmos sound. IF you’re unfamiliar with Dolby Atmos, it is a surround sound renderer. The same technology is used in movie theaters.
Since productivity is the central theme, perhaps we can close with the Samsung Flow app, which helps users manage and remotely control their Samsung phones from the tablet.
Flow lets you control your phone and copy files, and I generally use this functionality with phone chat apps that mainly install on one phone, such as Kakao or LINE (they have Windows versions too).
This is a significant upgrade from the Galaxy Tab S3. The screen has gone from 9.7” (2048×1536) to 10.5” (2560×1600), and we know that Snapdragon 835 is ~25% faster than the Tab S3’s Snapdragon 820.
The battery capacity has increased to 7300 mAh (from 6000 mAh) although Snapdragon 835 is much more power-efficient.
On August 10, the WiFi Galaxy Tab S4 (official page) will retail for $649.99. The LTE version has not been priced yet, but it will be available on Verizon, Sprint and “other major wireless providers” (aka T-Mobile?) on the same day.
US Cellular will get it “later in Q3 2018”. If you are ultra-mobile, this is the one you want. The experience is so much better than using your phone as a WiFi hotspot.
The Book Cover Keyboard will sell for $149.99, but there’s a 50% discount on it if you get it with the tablet. Note that the keyboard is physically connected to the tablet, so there isn’t any lag, or BT connection issues, or battery to charge.