Whereas we have misplaced track of what number of tablets the South Korean tech big has launched over the past yr, the Tab S impressed us at its New York launch, the place we had a quick look at it under the showroom lights.
Now, after spending a number of weeks residing with it, we’re able to deliver our definitive judgement on Samsung’s flagship tablet. And the good news is that it’d effectively be the perfect Android slate we have ever seen.
SUPER-SLIM AND PREMIUM(ISH)
The Galaxy Tab S echoes the Galaxy S5’s design, with a perforated plastic again which is out there in Titanium Bronze or Dazzling White.
Whereas the S5 has been criticised for its much less-than-premium construct, the Tab S is one thing of a special beast. You may nonetheless get just a few creaks and a little bit of flex for those who twist it laborious sufficient however resist the urge to do this and it’s each bit as sturdy because it must be.
It’s additionally extremely snug to carry within the hands, due to its 6.6mm thin body and featherlight weight, whereas the again provides reassuring grip with out feeling rubbery. Even the faux brushed-metal banding which surrounds the body does a good job of fooling each fingers and eyes.
No, it would not match the build quality of the iPad Air or Xperia Tablet Z2, nevertheless it’s a stable step ahead nonetheless.
In any other case, the re’s not lots to put in writing house about. The edges of the Tab S are house to the microSD and SIM slots, though the latter is simply current within the 4G LTE variations, and Samsung has unsurprisingly caught to its regular capacitive buttons for ‘current apps’ and ‘again’.
The se flank the physical home button, which additionally offers the Galaxy Tab S fingerprint-scanning powers; a primary for a Samsung Tablet. As much as three fingers per person are supported, and a number of users can go browsing with a fast swipe of a finger, in addition to paying for objects on-line with PayPal.
The re are two round rear click on locks, known as ‘Easy Clickers’ on the rear, they usually’re Samsung’s reply to magnetic covers. Whereas snapping on covers is just a little fiddly, it does supply a stronger connection than a magnet alone.
A JAW-DROPPING SCREEN
The Tab S has the world’s first 2560 x 1600 Super AMOLED tablet display, and it is almost sharp sufficient to slice lemons.
The S makes use of an Adaptive Show mode which automatically adjusts to your surroundings. Purists will discover the default colors over-saturated, however change the show settings to Fundamental and they change into way more sensible whereas still remaining eye-wateringly punchy.
It might additionally robotically modify to environmental lighting circumstances, tweaking its white steadiness as obligatory for the ambient gentle. So, when you’re in a espresso store with heat yellow gentle for instance, the Tab S will compensate by making use of a cooler, bluer white tone. The demo above reveals the distinction between the white ranges below heat and funky lighting conditions.
The Tab S’ AMOLED show additionally provides one other benefit over LCD counterparts: higher readability in daylight. That is really a tablet that you should use on the seaside.
In a direct comparability with the Retina Show of the iPad Air, it’s mighty shut. The Tab S’ true blacks serve up higher distinction and due to this fact extra element with regards to nonetheless pictures. The iPad Air’s whites nonetheless, are purer, and it reveals up a smidgen extra element in movies, when you look carefully sufficient.
The Tab S wins on dimension nonetheless, and its side ratio is best suited than its Apple rival’s for motion pictures, with black bars changing into much less of a problem.
Total, Samsung has offered the Tab S with probably the greatest tablet screens we have ever laid eyes on, and for that, it needs to be applauded.
A POWERFUL ENGINE, WITH A FEW STUTTERS
On paper the Galaxy Tab S has loads of energy. Its Exynos 5 Octa-core processor and 3GB of RAM ought to deal with 3D video games with ease. And so they do. Regardless of having to push all these further pixels, 3D video games akin to Asphalt 8 pose no downside for the Tab S’ silicon.
It is disappointing then, to see the occasional stutter and lag in relation to UI transitions and opening apps. Particularly, we observed constant delays in scrolling by means of magazines in Samsung’s new PaperGarden app.
On condition that gaming poses no issues, this could be down to software-optimisation points – but it’s disappointing nonetheless. Hopefully a software replace will get issues running as smoothly as they need to, because it’s by no means severe enough to show a major downside.
A DECENT CAMERA, IF YOU INSIST ON USING IT
The one justifiable excuse for utilizing your tablet as camera is that if your smartphone’s lost/dead/stolen and there isn’t any camera inside a 3-mile radius. Within the unlikely occasion that you end up in such a predicament, the Tab S will do an excellent job.
It has an 8MP sensor and takes actually reasonably spectacular shots, with sharp particulars and correct colors – in nicely-lit situations, that’s. Low-gentle photographs are unsurprisingly grainy, however flicking on the flash nonetheless manages to select up element on shut tags.
Even the macro shots are impressive: the Tab S can focus at ludicrously shut vary whereas retaining element. Spectacular stuff for a tablet, then, however simply to make it clear – we’re not endorsing your use of it as a camera. It’s not right.
PACKED WITH SAMSUNG EXTRAS
As you may expect, the Tab S is closely skinned with Samsung’s TouchWiz interface and full of software program extras.
Thankfully, Samsung’s blessed its newest slate with the same up to date TouchWiz skin as that on the Galaxy S5, which implies much less brilliant, cartoony, garish colors, and prettier, flatter icons. It is a particular step in the correct path, although HTC’s Sense 6.0 and Sony’s minimalist Xperia pores and skin still stay supreme.
Samsung’s Journal UX additionally returns, and though you may be annoyed to listen to which you could’t change it off, we slightly prefer it. It’s actually helpful, serving up information in clipboard-powered panels that will likely be immediately acquainted to followers of the Flipboard app.
By way of software program tweaks, the a lot-beloved Multi Window characteristic makes a triumphant return, letting you run two apps aspect-by-facet for some genuinely helpful multi-tasking. It’s actually helpful for duties corresponding to copying addresses straight from Chrome and looking out them up in Maps, and you will find loads of makes use of for it when you keep in mind it is an possibility.
Now you can additionally drag content material immediately from one window to a different, saving the trouble of copying and pasting content material manually, which is one other bonus.
One other (doubtlessly) helpful characteristic is SideSync 3.0, which is an app that mirrors your Galaxy smartphone in a digital on-display screen counterpart on the Tab S.
You should utilize it to switch information between your phone and tablet, however we predict the flexibility to make and obtain calls straight from the linked Tab S is the large win right here, particularly in case your phone is charging in one other room whilst you’re enjoying round on the tablet itself.
FINGER LICKIN’ GOOD
Just like the Galaxy S5, the Tab S’ home button doubles as a fingerprint scanner. The scanner on the Tab S is less complicated to make use of, as a result of we’re already holding it in two fingers, so there isn’t any hazard of it crash touchdown – an issue we confronted with the S5.
We’re pleased to report that our fingerprints had been precisely recognised 9 occasions out of ten, though we might nonetheless desire a easy press of the button, iPhone 5s-type, versus having to swipe throughout it.
The Tab S additionally helps a number of profiles, with every consumer having their very own media and apps fenced off from different profiles. Every profile might be accessed with a safe fingerprint swipe – however somewhat annoyingly, you need to manually choose your profile from the lock display earlier than swiping.
We anticipated the Tab S to routinely unlock into whichever profile is related to the fingerprint used, and whereas selecting the proper profile earlier than swiping solely takes just a few seconds, it will be good if it was a extra seamless expertise.
STAMINA IN SPADES
The Galaxy Tab S’ 7900mAh battery could be very spectacular certainly. It conked out after a marathon 12 hours and 18 minutes in our video rundown take a look at, which includes looping a video with Wi-Fi on and all e mail accounts set to sync.
With common use it will final you two days simply, and it is good figuring out that you do not have to worry about finding out emergency fees when you’re out and about.
Samsung has blessed the Galaxy Tab with top-of-the-line tablet screens we have ever laid eyes on. It is gorgeous. Razor-sharp, vibrant, with pure blacks, it is a murals that is a pleasure to behold.
Whereas its plastic design continues to be simply bested by the aluminium iPad, its skinny, light-weight physique and grippy, dimpled rear are nice to carry, and it is nonetheless a good-looking slice of tech.
Even its camera (which resides close to the underside of the tablet precedence record) is spectacular, taking detailed snaps with correct colors.
Throw in its unbelievable stamina, and you possibly can arguably name it the proper tablet. Properly virtually.
The tablet app choice on Apple’s App retailer continues to be far superior to the choices on the Play Store.
Efficiency niggles additionally spoil issues a bit, though fortunately gaming is not affected. If Samsung irons these out in future iterations, continues to trim down its UI, and throws every part right into a metallic physique, then it might very properly have an iPad Air-killer on its palms.
For those who’re on the lookout for a big Android tablet proper now, although, then there is not any higher choice. Properly achieved, Samsung. Properly completed.