Apple and Samsung have been fighting for control of the tablet market for some time. But despite Samsung's best efforts, it has traditionally been Apple's iPad tablets that have ended up as each year's top-selling device.
Unperturbed by Apple's past successes Samsung has returned to the battleground in 2014, unveiling one of its highest-specced tiny tablets ever, the Galaxy Tab S 8.4.
Featuring an ultra-thin design and wealth of top-end hardware and software, the Galaxy Tab S has caught the eyes of many buyers, including us. But, to make good on its promise, the Galaxy Tab S will first have to overcome its key rival, the iPad Mini 2, which has become a benchmark in many buyers' eyes.
Galaxy Tab S: 213x126x6.6mm, 294g (WiFi)
iPad Mini 2: 200x135x7.5mm, 331g (WiFi)
In a move many have taken to be a clear swipe at Apple, Samsung designed the Galaxy Tab S to be as thin and light as possible. As a result the Galaxy Tab S is both thinner and lighter than the iPad Mini 2.
The Galaxy Tab S also has a radically different design to the all-metal iPad Mini 2, featuring aluminium sides and a perforated polycarbonate back. So despite being lighter and thinner, the Galaxy Tab S may not be as sturdy as the purely metal iPad.
Galaxy Tab S: 8.4in 2560x1600, 359ppi Super Amoled
iPad Mini 2: 7.9in 2048x1536, 326ppi Retina display
Apple has always claimed its Retina display technology is the best currently available. Traditionally, at least in the tablet market, there has been some truth to this claim and the iPads' Retina displays have always been superior to the screens on Android devices.
Samsung has worked to fix this on the Galaxy Tab S, loading it with its own Super Amoled screen technology. Super Amoled technology works 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.
Galaxy Tab S: Android 4.4 KitKat
iPad Mini 2: iOS 7
The Galaxy Tab S comes loaded with a customised version of Google's Android operating system (OS). In the past we've found Samsung's changes have sometimes been to the detriment of the OS and have made devices significantly less user-friendly than their iOS competitors. Hopefully this won't prove true with the Galaxy Tab S.
Galaxy Tab S: Exynos 5 Octa
iPad Mini 2: A7 plus M7 coprocessor
When it comes to performance, we've always found picking between iOS and Android handsets quite difficult. This is because iOS system requirements are significantly lower than Android and allow Apple devices to match or beat the performance of competing Google devices with higher on-paper specifications. Because of this we won't be able to know which tablet performs better until we thoroughly test the Galaxy Tab S.
Galaxy Tab S: 8MP rear, 2.1MP front
iPad Mini 2: 5MP iSight rear and 1.2MP FaceTime HD front
Cameras have always been one of the iPads' weakest points, and sadly this remains true on the iPad Mini 2. The basic 5MP rear camera is capable of at best average imaging quality, even when shooting in regular light. Given other Samsung tablets' superior cameras, we think the Galaxy Tab S will outperform the Apple iPad Mini 2 when it comes to imaging performance.
Galaxy Tab S: 16GB, 32GB, expandable via micro SD up to 128GB
iPad Mini 2: 16GB, 32GB, 64GB, 128GB
The iPad Mini 2 is available with more internal storage options. However, the Galaxy Tab S is the only one of the two that has the option to upgrade its storage.
Galaxy Tab S: 4,900mAh (11 hours)
iPad Mini 2: 10 hours
Samsung's 11-hour multimedia playback score means the Galaxy Tab S should last an hour longer than the iPad Mini 2, which is listed as offering 10 hours of life off one charge.
Galaxy Tab S: £329
iPad Mini 2: £319
Apple iPads have always carried a premium price tag and are generally significantly more expensive than their Android competitors. Interestingly, though, the iPad Mini 2 is cheaper than the Galaxy Tab S, with prices for the basic 16GB WiFi model starting at £319. Pricing for the equivalent Galaxy Tab S starts at £329.
On paper the Galaxy Tab S 8.4 is a very impressive machine and generally beats the Apple iPad Mini. We'll be excited to see if the tablet makes good on its early promise, so look out for our full review later this year.
By V3's Alastair Stevenson
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