Featuring a great Super Amoled screen, solid performance and sleek design, the Galaxy Tab S is the best 10in Android tablet currently available.
Good screen, fast performance, good camera, great battery life
Touchwiz makes pointless user interface changes
Processor: Exynos 5 octa-core 1.9GHz + 1.3GHz
Display: 10.5in 2560x1600, 288ppi Super Amoled capacitive touchscreen
Storage: 16GB or 32GB upgradable via micro SD, 3GB RAM
Camera: 8MP rear, 2.1MP front
Connectivity: Bluetooth, WiFi, 3G, 4G
Operating system: Android 4.4 KitKat
While Samsung has enjoyed great success in the mobile space to date, the firm has failed to gain much ground in the tablet market. Despite work by numerous Android manufacturers, this area is still firmly controlled by Apple's iPad devices.
In the past there's been good reason for this, with iPads usually boasting industry-leading technologies and software services. Examples of this include Apple's third iPad, which debuted the firm's Retina display technology, and the current iPad Air, which has a thin and ultra-light chassis that is often viewed as the benchmark by which all other tablets are measured.
However, this year Samsung has worked hard to rectify the situation, releasing its most advanced tablet to date, the Galaxy Tab S. As well as featuring an even thinner and lighter design than the iPad Air, this also features a wealth of top-end internal components.
Design and build
The Galaxy Tab S looks like a blown-up version of Samsung's current Galaxy S5 smartphone and features the same perforated, slightly rubberised back and metallic sides. Aside from the size, the only notable design differences between the Galaxy Tab S and Galaxy S5 is the tablet's landscape button placement and fixed, as opposed to removable, backplate.
While some users may begrudge the use of polycarbonate, as opposed to metal, the Galaxy Tab S is well built and feels suitably top end. Throwing the Galaxy Tab S into our satchel and using it as our primary way to connect to the internet during a busy day galavanting around London, we found the tablet is pretty tough. Not only did our Galaxy Tab S survive an accidental encounter with our kitchen floor, chip and crack free, it also proved significantly more scratch proof than many competing top-end tablets.
The Galaxy Tab S is also very travel friendly. This is largely down to the Galaxy Tab S's ultra-thin 247x177x6.6mm measurements and feather-light 467g weight, which make the Galaxy Tab S 0.9mm thinner and 1g lighter than the Apple iPad Air.
Samsung made a lot of noise about the Galaxy Tab S's 10.5in 2560x1600, 288ppi Super Amoled capacitive touchscreen when it unveiled the tablet in June. Specifically, Samsung claimed the tablet's Super Amoled technology will make the screen one of the most vibrant ever seen on a tablet.
In the past we've been very impressed with the results of Samsung's Super Amoled technology. This works to help screens display deeper and richer blacks by electrically charging each individual pixel when generating colours, letting them create blacks simply by turning off the relevant pixels.
The downside of the technology is that it has traditionally required manufacturers to place the capacitive layer – the component that senses touch – on top of the main display. The extra layer increases the size of the screen and also reduces the device's battery life. Super Amoled fixes these issues by integrating the capacitive touchscreen layer directly into the display.
Colour and brightness levels on the Galaxy Tab S are among the highest we've ever seen and the tablet features excellent viewing angles. Our only issue with the display is that by featuring a ppi count below the 300 mark, the Galaxy Tab S isn't as crisp as some smaller 7-8in devices currently on the market. However, considering the lack of competing 10in tablets with screens breaking this density milestone, this small qualm is more than forgivable.
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