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Watch out iPad: Samsung Galaxy Tab S is here

Last updated on: August 08, 2014 21:58 IST

Watch out iPad: Samsung Galaxy Tab S is here

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Himanshu Juneja

Samsung has finally let out an iPad killer

Samsung always had the technological options at its disposal to launch a product to rattle the competition majorly. With the release of the Tab S, they seemed to have attempted just that.

A stellar looking tablet which doesn't cut corners, Samsung Galaxy Tab S is the latest offering from Samsung. This very impressive tablet deserves a closer look.

Specs:

  • OS: Android v4.4.2 (KitKat)
  • Display: Super AMOLED, 1600 x 2560 pixels
  • Processor: Quad-core 2.3 GHz Krait 400
  • RAM: 3 GB RAM
  • Camera: Primary: 8 MP, LED flash. Secondary: 2.1 MP
  • Memory: 16/32 GB, expandable upto 128GB
  • Battery: 4900 mAh Li-Ion (Non-removable)

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Image: Samsung Galaxy Tab S
Photographs: samsung.com

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Design and built

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As mentioned earlier, Samsung didn't want anything of the same old stuff with this tablet, and that of course means no plastic feel either.

This was a pleasant and a welcome variation from the old. The dimpled back gave a comfortable rubbery feel. Along with a metallic rim, a slim and light profile meant that there was no problem in gripping the tablet overall.

The right side of the tablet is where all the buttons are located, viz the Power button, and the volume rocker. The microSD card slot, as well as the microSIM slot too are located on the right side.

The tablet also carries the physical home button right below the screen. The button, just like with the Samsung Galaxy S5, acts like the finger print scanner as well. The home button is flanked by the two standard capacitive buttons on either side.

The MicroUSB and the charging port are located at the bottom.

A long delayed change in the positioning of the speakers is noticed with the Tab S. The speakers are placed on the top and bottom part of the tablet and not at the backside. This will mean that the user won't be covering the speakers when placed on a surface.

The landscape mode will provide more superior viewing/listening experience as the speakers will be taking a more conventional positioning in that orientation.

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Image: Samsung Galaxy Tab S
Photographs: samsung.com

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Display

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One cannot avoid praising the stunningly beautiful Super AMOLED display on this tablet. With a resolution of 1600 x 2560 pixels, the pixel density varies from ~359 ppi to 288 ppi depending upon the model.

The sharpness will be different in a relative sense, but in any case, the display looks utterly gorgeous.

Being an AMOLED variation, the colours come out saturated, and will translate to enhanced experience for the users. People who have been die-hard supporters of AMOLED displays will surely be thrilled from the word go.

The videos and the pictures came out to be crisp and vivid with their details. Being ably supported by the 3GB RAM and a Quad core processor only meant that the high resolution videos ran super smooth as well. Well placed speakers enhanced the overall experience.

The only gripe which can be mentioned is the screen being a bit too reflective. The deep black levels means that the user will get to see their own reflections at times. A matte finish screen protector might come to the rescue here.

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Image: Samsung Galaxy Tab S
Photographs: samsung.com
Tags: AMOLED , RAM

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OS and features

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Samsung has taken good care of the user interface right from the point of creating an account. Apart from enabling the user to create multiple accounts, there is the kid mode, as well as what can be termed as the privacy mode.

The latter allows the user to segregate the content which a user doesn't want to be shared with others, whereas the former can be used to provide the kids with education based games and tasks.

The fingerprint scanner in the home button couldn't have been better used. The scanner assists in letting the users access their accounts. In case the scanner botches up, there is the traditional password as well to get going.

The big screen means the multi window finds an apt home with the Tab S. The feature allows the user to work in two windows, pertaining to two different apps, at the same time. The multitasking on the big screen is not only a feature, but turns into an obvious luxury which ought to make the users feel the advantages of a big screen.

There is also the Magazine UX which comes onboard and is a nifty tool to get the updates in a tile based format. As the tile gets updated in real time, the users can get their updates for apps like inbox, social networking site feedback, favourite news bits, or updates for apps.

Samsung hasn't filled the Tab S with apps, but has provided some good and useful ones. Like the SideSync, which allows the calls from Samsung Galaxy S5 to be attended on the Tab S.

Another app is the Smart remote app which allows the users to control the TV, the set top box etc with the Tab itself. This should make to the favourite list of many users.

If one desires, they can download more apps via the second homescreen and there are some really good choices available, like Smart Switch, which allows for transfer of content from the old Android/iOS device. There is also the S Note, which one uses with an S pen, so this is another utility app which S Pen owners could go for.

There are other apps to be downloaded via the Galaxy Gift widget, which leads the users to the option of downloading the apps for free.

A good amount of these are time limited ones, making the users realise the worth of jumping on the Tab S bandwagon in time. A major attraction from these value added apps is the six month's subscription of premium Pocket app, one year's worth of Evernote Premium, six months of Real Player cloud, three months' worth of subscription from Marvel unlimited app and few apps for the choicest of news related feed etc.

All in all, Samsung has allowed the Tab S to remain bloat-free and handed the control over to the user in terms of what they want immediately from their set of offerings.

Samsung has packed the Tab S with truckloads of connectivity technology it seems. The tab comes with 3G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, NFC, GLONASS, LTE (some editions) connectivity options.

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Image: Samsung Galaxy Tab S
Photographs: samsung.com

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Camera

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Tablets are not well known for their camera prowess. Going by the superb performance of the Tab S so far, one would have expected some surprise by Samsung in this department, but that was not meant to be.

The camera results are overall goodish. The pictures taken even outdoors are not very impressive, but will do the job for sharing purposes on social networking websites.

Apart from the sub par quality, the camera module was slow in capturing shots. For best results, the subject needs to be close by, otherwise the details will be lost.

The front facing camera on the other hand is pretty impressive. This bodes well for the tablet sale as well, since many would want to use the tablet for chatting purposes or for taking selfies.

One can't help but feel that Samsung has been very intelligent in putting the features on this tablet.

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Image: Samsung Galaxy Tab S
Photographs: samsung.com
Tags: Samsung

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Battery

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The tablet comes with a non-removable Li-Ion 4900 mAh battery. Samsung claims 80hours of music playback, which is pretty good, but regarding the web browsing experience, it is a peculiar case here.

The tablet goes on for about six hours of battery backup in the normal mode. But when switched onto the Adaptive display, the same battery delivers slightly in excess of nine hours.

Strictly speaking based on performance, six and nine hours of backup doesn't really sound too bad, although the normal mode should have been atleast 7 hours and more.

Users will do well to keep the Adaptive display on as default.

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Image: Samsung Galaxy Tab S
Photographs: samsung.com
Tags: 1

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Verdict

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Even after the first glance itself, the Samsung Tab S comes across as a premium product. Using it only confirms that notion.

One can gauge the level of finesse simply by understanding that the tablet seems to be taking on the iPad and it certainly excels at the competition. Being lighter than the iPad Mini does count in its favour amongst other advantages.

Not only does the tablet provide ample finesse in construction, the tablet has powerful innards as well. One cannot ignore the benefits of the expndable memory here either.

The only drawback which might be here is the pricing. That said, this tablet is not meant for the budget buyer. One has to expect top of the line stuff somewhere from a capable manufacturer, and Samsung has delivered exactly that.


Image: Samsung Galaxy Tab S
Photographs: samsung.com

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