The first true iPad competitor.
When Apple’s iPad was initially introduced, it was met with criticism and ridicule. That was 2010. Fast forward to 2014 and tablets have become a norm in most households today, even replacing the laptop. Other companies quickly followed, seeing the potential market for tablets.
One of Apple’s main rivals, Samsung, have also started making their own line of tablets based on the Android operating system from Google. They went far as to make multiple variations of each tablet, from entry-level ones to the highly premium ones that also come in multiple screen sizes. But despite their best efforts, Samsung couldn’t compete with Apple’s iPad, which was made even more preferable thanks to the ecosystem Apple has created in terms of apps and other content.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S maybe the first time that the company has something to compete with the iPad. From the design to the performance, the Galaxy Tab S looks like the company’s best tablet. It comes in two sizes, 8.4-inches and 10.5-inches. We will be reviewing the 10.5-inch (Wi-Fi) variant in this review.
Design and Specifications
Upon closer look on the Samsung Galaxy Tab S, it is clear that the company is getting serious on the design front. The 10.5-inch tablet is just about the same size as the iPad Air and at 465 grams, it’s incredibly light as well.
The rear of the Samsung Galaxy Tab S resembles the dimpled interface of the Galaxy S5 and if you own the smartphone, this tablet is the perfect companion. Buttons and ports are nicely placed around the tablet and you wouldn’t even notice that it is there. The overall construction and built of the Samsung Galaxy Tab S is excellent, and the premium feel makes a more desirable tablet.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S is powered by a Samsung’s own Exynos 5 Octa-core processor along with 3 GB of RAM and 16 GB of storage (32 GB is also available). The storage can of course be expanded using the microSD card slot, which can support up to 128 GB cards.
All basic connectivity options are present, including Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. The front part of the tablet houses the front facing 2.1 megapixel camera along with an 8 megapixel one at the back that also includes a flash. Buttons are kept to a minimum, with the home button as the only mechanical part of the tablet.
It also houses a fingerprint scanner which is the same one found on the Galaxy S5 and the Galaxy Note 4. It can be used to unlock your smartphone, and can even be utilized to make other parts of the smartphone private, such as the Photo Gallery. It would require you though to swipe your entire finger on the sensor which be cumbersome at times, as opposed to the iPhone’s Touch ID feature that would only need you to well, touch the scanner.
The best thing about the Samsung Galaxy Tab S maybe its screen. At 10.5 inches, it supports a whopping 2560 x 1600 pixels with a 288 ppi pixel density. The QHD Super AMOLED screen is one of the best I have ever seen – colors pop out without being oversaturated. And even the demo 2K video that comes with the tablet makes it look like you are looking at the real thing. No kidding. This is absolutely one of the best screens I have ever seen on a tablet. You really have to see it to believe it.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S comes with Android 4.4.2 KitKat and of course, comes pre-installed with TouchWiz, Samsung’s own custom interface made for all its Android devices. Aside from the fancier animations and customizations, TouchWiz also includes various features that would aid you in getting the most out of your tablet. Some of these include a split screen view and SideSync, in which you can easily control your smartphone screen on the tablet and even answer phone calls from your tablet. This maybe Samsung’s answer to iOS 8’s Continuity feature. It’s a fun feature nevertheless, but it is only compatible with the Galaxy S5 at the moment.
The octa-core CPU and massive RAM allowed the Samsung Galaxy Tab S to perform optimally with each task. From launching apps to watching videos, the tablet performed flawlessly. There is a tiny bit of lag here and there, but it is mostly due to TouchWiz and doesn’t affect the overall performance of the tablet.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S also comes with a massive 7900 mAh battery that should give you about 12 hours of battery life – and it certainly did not disappoint. I went to use at 6 am after a full charge and by the time got home at 4pm there’s about 38 percent left on the battery and that was under normal usage with Wi-Fi turned on. Much like the Galaxy S5, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S also uses an Ultra Power Saving Mode that should stretch your battery life to an even longer time.
For 2,099 AED (2,599 for the LTE version), the Samsung Galaxy Tab S boasts one of the best designs I have seen on an Android tablet. Its combination of sleek design and performance make it a top competitor to Apple’s iPad. This is definitely one of my favorite Android tablets. Highly recommended.