Computers & Laptops

Samsung Galaxy Tab S Preview

Updated on: Jun 18, 2014

Samsung has picked up the gauntlet that Apple threw down with the new iPads. Is the fight going to shift to big screens?

Tablet makers of the world are now competing aggressively in terms of both specs and form-factors. The challenge now, is to produce a slimmer, lighter and more powerful tablet, with a stunning display panel. Apple dealt the first blow in this fight with the iPad Air, and the new iPad Mini.

But Samsung’s latest tablet, unveiled recently, is a direct challenge to Apple’s offerings. The Galaxy Tab S is now the flagship of the tablet range, taking the baton from the Pro series. The tablet blends new features, top-of-the-line hardware and software, all showed off by a stunning display. Business Line goes hands-on with the new range of tablets, to see if it indeed is a worthy opponent.

Visual treat

The tablet uses a Super AMOLED screen, with a 2560x1600 resolution. That makes the display a direct competitor to Apple’s Retina Display in its latest family of iPads.

The Tab S’ screen produces gorgeous, vibrant, deep colours, and contrast ratios are much better too. Sampling some of the Marvel comics the tablet had, whether it was inky blacks or deep reds, the visuals were something else altogether.

Reading up news sites or magazines was also easier on the eye with the white backgrounds bright and sharp. While we couldn’t really check it, the tablet’s adaptive display will adjust saturation and sharpness according to ambient light conditions and what you’re trying to access.

Design and build

Samsung has finally managed to trim down the new Galaxy Tab S to an ultra-portable form factor – all of 6.6 mm - and easy to hold with one hand. The smaller 8.4-inch tablet weighs a mere 294 grams and the larger 10.5 is 465 grams. The Tab S sports a dimpled ‘Band-aid’ back, in line with the Galaxy S5, and a thin outer rim, but the construction is plastic nonetheless. It also comes with a fingerprint scanner, a feature already seen in the S5.

While using the S5, we figured that this scanner is a very good security measure, and unlike Apple, Samsung has connected its biometrics to some third-party apps as well, such as PayPal.

Features and specs

Another Apple-esque feature on the Galaxy Tab S is the SideSync 3.0 and Remote PC, much like Continuity and Handoff (announced recently). It creates a replica of the phone on the tablet which can be used just as with the actual phone. So you get all your basic features such as making calls, syncing data and sharing stuff. However, the compatibility is limited to the Galaxy S5 as of now.

Samsung’s Papergarden debuts with this tablet, a magazine-viewing marketplace of sorts. Partnerships for content have been made with Condé Nast, National Geographic and Marvel Entertainment. Through Galaxy Gifts, Samsung has teamed up with several mobile and content service providers. These include the Economist, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, Bloomberg Businessweek, and the New York Times, Kindle for Samsung with a free book a month and so on.

The Galaxy Tab S runs on a Snapdragon 800 processor (which you get if you buy the LTE version) or an Exynos 5 octa-core, which uses two quad core processors running at 1.9GHz and 1.3 GHz. The processors are augmented by 3GB of RAM and a 16/32 GB of internal memory. The rear camera is 8MP and the front camera is 2MP. Android KitKat 4.4 is the operating system used for the tablets. Samsung claims a battery life of 11 hours on non-stop video playback for the Tab S, but we’ll get back on that after a thorough review. The tablets come with IR blasters, which can be used as universal remotes.

Verdict

The tablet is due to be launched in the US next month. The smaller screen model prices will start at $399 while the larger model’s prices begin at $499, for the WiFi only models. Prices and launch dates will vary with regions. The new Galaxy Tab S family makes its case quite clear – it’s got the iPads in the crosshairs. However, it remains to be seen how Samsung delivers on regular updates, and also what it offers as accessories. And, with the wearable gadget market heating up, we need to see how this fits into the whole ecosystem.

Published on March 13, 2018

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