Samsung's been working hard to get a stronger foothold in the tablet market for some years now. Yet despite its best efforts, as noted by SAP global vice president of mobile strategy Bill Clark during an interview with V3, most companies are still favouring Apple's iPads over Samsung's Galaxies.
Aware of this Samsung has come out swinging with its latest flagship Galaxy Tab S 10.5 tablet, kitting it out with a number of top-end components and software features that on paper make it one of the most business-friendly Android devices ever made.
In a clear swipe at Apple, Samsung has designed the Galaxy Tab S to be thinner than the 7.5mm iPad Air at just 247x177x6.6mm. The Galaxy Tab S is also very light, with the WiFi model weighing 465g and the LTE model 467g.
The Galaxy Tab S sports a similar design to the Galaxy S5, coming with a slightly rubberised perforated back, metal sides and custom fingerprint scanner built into its physical home button.
If the scanner performs as well as that on the Galaxy S5's it will be a definite bonus to businesses, making it easier to secure data stored on the tablet should it be lost or stolen.
Samsung made a big deal about the 10.5in 2560x1600 Super Amoled touchscreen of the Galaxy Tab S, describing it as "industry leading" during the tablet's launch. Specifically, Samsung claimed the screen's 100,000:1 contrast ratio will let the Galaxy Tab S display deeper blacks and brighter whites than rival tablets.
Considering our past experience with Samsung's Super Amoled screens, this may well be true. Super Amoled is a custom version of the traditional Amoled screen technology. Basic Amoled technology is designed to let screens display deeper and richer blacks by electrically charging each individual pixel to generate colours, meaning it can create blacks simply by turning off the relevant pixels.
The downside of this is that the technology reduces battery life and increases the device's thickness as it requires manufacturers to place the capacitive layer - the component that senses touch - on top of the main display. Super Amoled fixes this by integrating the capacitive touchscreen layer directly into the display, reducing its thickness and making it more power efficient.
The Galaxy Tab S runs using a heavily customised version of Google's Android 4.4 KitKat mobile operating system. The custom skin added by Samsung radically reworks the operating system's user interface and adds a number of custom services and applications, including multi-window support, multitasking and a new software service that lets users answer incoming calls to their phone using the tablet.
The Galaxy Tab S also features Papergarden and Kindle for Samsung applications. Papergarden is a custom app designed for viewing digital content, while Kindle for Samsung lets Galaxy Tab S users download a free book each month.
While these additions sound good, in the past we've found Samsung to be rather heavy-handed with its software and can make its device UI feel a little cluttered. We'll only know if this is the case on the Galaxy Tab S when we get our hands on it and actually test it.
The Galaxy Tab S is powered by Samsung's own Exynos 5 octa-core processor and features 3GB RAM. This puts it on a par with Samsung's Galaxy Note Pro 12.2, which features the same specifications. This is no bad thing as in the past we've been impressed by the performance of Samsung's octa-core processors.
As an example, the Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 scored 32727 on the Antutu benchmark, putting it well above most other 10in tablets when it come to performance. In comparison, the Google Nexus 10 scored 13483 on the same test. If the Galaxy Tab S matches this it will be one of the fastest tablets available on its release in July.
Traditionally, camera technology is one area where tablets have lagged behind their smartphone siblings. This remains true on the Galaxy Tab S, which features basic 8MP rear and 2.1MP front cameras.
The Galaxy Tab S is powered by a 7,900mAh unit that Samsung claims will "let you enjoy hours of entertainment". We won't be able to know how good the Galaxy Tab S' battery is until we've thoroughly tested it.
The Galaxy Tab S will be available with 16GB or 32GB of internal storage. Both versions can have a further 128GB of space added via their microSD card slots.
Samsung is yet to disclose the Galaxy Tab S UK price, though in the US pricing for the 10.5in model starts at $499, putting it on a par with most other top-end 10in tablets.
On paper the Galaxy Tab S is a very impressive machine. Featuring a top-end Super Amoled display, powerful octa-core processor and wealth of custom software features, the Galaxy Tab S has the potential to be one of 2014's finest Android tablets. We'll be interested to see if the Galaxy Tab S makes good on its early promise when we put it through its paces for our full review later this year.
By V3's Alastair Stevenson
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