Samsung Galaxy Tab S Review
The latest installment to the Samsung Galaxy Tab line doesn’t offer any extreme innovations, but it does offer a few hefty upgrades that will help the device standout in an overcrowded Android market. Samsung’s newest tablet is the Galaxy Tab S, and the company is offering customers two choices, the smaller 8.4-inch model starting at $399 and the larger 10.5-inch model starting at $499.
The top feature for the this tablet is also one of the first dazzling spectacles that you will notice out of the box, the Super AMOLED screen. The screen offers a 2560 x 1600 resolution at 287 ppi, and while HD videos from Netflix or Hulu looked amazing, downloaded movies and rented videos that weren’t streamed were truly brilliant on each device. New custom-software helps control the variable color settings from video-to-video or from app-to-app, and this time Samsung has done an amazing job at calibrating the spectrums and adjustments on the fly, allowing the screen to really make all of the media-content I tested ‘pop’.
If you have had a souring experience with early AMOLED display units in the past, The Galaxy Tab S is worth giving the technology another testing, even just to see how far the tech has come since you left off. There are secondary benefits to offering customers an AMOLED screen, and all of them are present on this device. The tech allows for a thinner tablet, and this option is even thinner than an iPad, and it is much easier on battery-consumption. Samsung states that the average-use battery consumption lands at about 9hrs, and during my testing I found that to be true. Of course all of this depends on your use, but overall the battery was a strong choice for the tablet. If you use it mostly for checking emails, browsing the internet, or social-media; you can easily stretch that time out to almost two-days.
The OS chosen for the device was Android 4.4 ‘KitKat’ and coupled with the 3GB RAM and 16GB ROM internal memory, all of the app-switching and multitasking I could throw at the device was smooth and uninterrupted. That multitasking and the ability to run more than one app at once on the same screen is really one of the breakthrough additions for Windows 8 and Android devices. If you find yourself enjoying the feature on a current device, your experience running the same apps on this tablet should be enjoyable.
Once again one of my biggest complaints is the bloated software and refusal to upgrade most of Samsung’s aging UI. Nothing about the software or the user-interface on this tablet really screams ‘efficient’ or even ‘intuitive’. If you are coming from a Samsung device then it should be second nature as you navigate through the home screen, or flip through your notifications, but if you are new to the UI it may take some time to find your bearings.
The ‘trick’ of SideSynch didn’t really come in handy in any of my testing. If you are unfamiliar with the new software it allows the tablet to mirror your Samsung Galaxy phone, allowing you access to your device when it may be out of reach. It’s reinventing the wheel at its finest I feel, while other companies are striving for better cloud-sync options (Windows 8 I feel is doing a pretty terrific job of late in the OS synching department) Samsung is just letting you mirror a device that is probably just a foot away from you to begin with.
The trouble that I feel the Samsung Galaxy Tab S will run into with consumers is that they most-likely already have a tablet. The technology running these tablets is moving faster than the innovations that the technology is designed to power. Most tablets are used as second-screens, social-media updates and email-checkers and we still have our phones that can do all of that anyway. This ultimately means that our tablets and phones can still do just about everything we need them to do at this point, and besides a new screen, the Samsung Galaxy S isn’t bringing anything new to the table.
The screen on the Galaxy Tab S is wonderful don’t get me wrong, and it offers a lightweight and efficient device for all of your mobile needs, but I’m not sure if people would consider that enough for a full upgrade. At $399 dollars the 8.4″ option fit better in my hand while I was watching movies, but the 10.5″ model did offer a lot more landscape to work on. In either case at full-retail, I wouldn’t be upgrading until better features and a streamlined UI was announced from the company.
If you are new to the tablet market, (buying your first tablet, or updating from an extremely outdated option) then the Galaxy Tab S should be on your comparison list. Like I said earlier, many of us simply use our tablets as a second-screen, and choosing one of the best displays on the market for that purpose isn’t such a bad idea.