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Samsung Galaxy Tab S: A Few Hiccups, But a Great Experience Overall


Our friends at Samsung don’t seem to be very good at sitting idle, which is why we find the company churning gadget after gadget into the market. This would cease to look like an overstatement once you consider its line of tablets being sold in the US. Until a few days ago, it was 14, but Samsung has raised the figure to 16 with the release of an 8.4-inch and 10.5-inch Galaxy Tab S. The tablet market may be pretty saturated, but the latest entrant sure has the right ingredients to create some ripples across it. Being a high-end purchase, it needed something extra to justify its price, which is close to that of Apple’s flagship tablets. So does it do that? Has Samsung targeted the right areas to create an experience that would truly differentiate it from its counterparts? Well, let’s find out.

It’s All about the Display

The screen is undoubtedly the most important part of a tablet. Samsung gets full points for correctly recognizing this and thus putting a great deal of focus on it for Galaxy Tab S. The effort has surely paid off, with the display being the main selling point of its latest offering. Both the models of the tablet feature a 1600 x 2560 Super AMOLED display, a technology that has definitely come a long way since its inception. Everything on the screen looks drop-dead gorgeous. The colors are bold, bright and accurate, while the viewing angles have been significantly increased. There is nothing to complain about the brightness and blacks either. Samsung sure has hit the nail right on its head with such a stupendous display.

More Plastic from Samsung

Okay, so Samsung has clearly developed a strong liking for plastic, and no matter what we say, it won’t part with it. So I guess that leaves us with no choice but to accept it as it is. That being said, Galaxy Tab S still has a classy look and feel to it. The front is nearly all screen, with the edges rimmed in shiny, metallic, and super-slim bezels. It also happens to be one of the thinnest and lightest tablets in the market, with the smaller model weighing 300 grams, while the larger model is 465 grams. As for the thinness, we saw it lying next to an iPad Air and were surprised to see Samsung taking the cake with ease. If you loved the design of Galaxy S5, then you’d undoubtedly develop similar affection for Galaxy Tab S, as it really looks like an over-grown version of Samsung’s flagship phone.

It’s Got the Muscle Alright

Galaxy Tab S is no pushover as far as performance is concerned. Under the hood, it’s got Samsung’s 1.9GHz octa-core Exynos processor along with 3GB of RAM. The result is a device that’s fast and capable of handling pretty much everything you throw at it. Opening too many memory-hogging apps in the background can take its toll on its responsiveness, though that is not something that’s encountered consistently. The tablet comes with a 7,900mAh battery that has enough juice in it to power it through two days of standard use. However, it turned out to be a mixed bag, good for watching movies but draining quickly while surfing or on standby.

Software is the Weak Link

To be fair, Galaxy Tab S’s software isn’t really that bad. However, it’s a bit disappointing to find that Samsung hasn’t really made any significant improvements on it, like doing away with bloatware. The tablet runs on Android 4.4 with Samsung’s TouchWiz UI. On the whole, it runs smoothly, though using two apps at a time with Multi Window made can result in a slight drop in performance at times. A new version of SideSync is the main highlight on the software front. Mirroring Galaxy S5 onto the screen, it allows the user to control their device through the tablet interface. To be honest, it’s hard to imagine why anyone would be doing that.

The Verdict

Samsung Galaxy Tab S is a new additional to the tablet market. It’s thin, light, fast, and features great display, which is enough to make it a strong contender for success. However, the software leaves plenty to be desired. On the whole, the device is good enough to give Apple’s flagship tablets a run for their money, at least for now. The device is ideal for those searching for a high-end Android experience. As for the value-conscious shopper, they may want to skip Galaxy Tab S and instead go for something like Nexus 7, which is less expensive, though that is at the expense of screen resolution and some other features.