The Galaxy Tab S: A Stellar Tablet

With its latest Galaxy Tab, Samsung finally seems to have caught up with Apple in the high-end tablet game.

By Sadad Talhouni

When it comes to premium tablets, none have so far been able to match the iPad in terms of design, specs, and ease of use. But with the mightily impressive Galaxy Tab S, it looks like Samsung has finally produced a serious contender to the crown.

The Tab S has an Android Kitkat OS, powered by a Qualcom Snapdragon 800 chipset, a quad-core 2.3 GHz Krait 400 CPU, and a 3 GB RAM with 16 or 32 GB of storage that can be expanded up to 128 GB, with a microSD card. It comes in both 8.4 and 10-inch models, both of which are very slim, lightweight, and compact.

The Tab S is head and shoulders above its competitors in terms of screen quality. Its superb Super AMOLED capacitive touchscreen has 1600 x 2560 pixels and 359 ppi pixel density for the 8.4 inch, and 2560 x 1600 pixels with 288 ppi pixel density for the 10-inch screen. The display is nothing short of dazzling, and turns the Galaxy Tab S into the ultimate media viewing experience. Watching high quality videos never looked so good.

The Samsung tablet also truly shines in the battery department. Its non-removable 4900 mAh battery can last an entire day, and the tablet comes with a host of battery-saving features, our favorite being the ultra power-saving mode, which strips the software to the bare minimum and displays everything in grayscale, allowing the tablet to last for several days.

In true Samsung fashion, the tablet is stuffed with features and will come across like a giant Galaxy S5 to some. It has a fingerprint scanner, adjustable touch sensitivity, a host of connectivity features, and is extremely customizable. The split screen feature allows you to open apps side-by-side, which is brilliant for multitasking. The Tab S also comes with a new interface dubbed Magazine UX, which provides customizable news updates. While it can be useful, the feature ultimately feels unimaginative, and the fact that you can’t remove it is annoying.

The camera in the Tab S is nothing to write home about. While the 8 MP camera allows for 4K recording, the autofocus feature was slow and the picture quality left us wanting more. The 2.1 MP front view camera wasn’t any different, and it’s best to just use it for social media and quick snaps. The quality of the speakers isn’t top notch either, as sound reproduction lacked depth and richness, and their location at the top and bottom got them muffled when held in landscape view.

We were also quite disappointed with Samsung’s Touchwiz interface, which is usually quite smooth on its smartphones. On tablets, however, the interface lagged more often than we’d have liked, and didn’t feel as intuitive.

Overall, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S is a great tablet for media consumption. The stellar screen compensates for most of the tablet’s flaws, and while it’s overabundance of features might seem daunting, once they’re mastered you can truly get the most out of your device.