Final Words

The Galaxy Tab S is easily the most compelling tablet family Samsung has ever released. The devices are incredibly thin, very light and boast displays that can be easily configured to be among the most accurate in the industry. In the Android tablet space it’s often a stretch charging $399 or $499, even for a flagship, given how good the Nexus line ends up being. With the Tab S, I think Samsung has something that’s worthy of a price premium over the more cost effective Android tablets.

The Galaxy Tab S, regardless of size, is easy to hold and has a screen that’s great to look at. These are two of the most important things to get right when building a tablet and the Tab S delivers on both.

The features around the edges are nice additions. The integrated fingerprint scanner works better on the tablet than it does on the phone, and is a decent time saver if you’ve got a long passcode. Having 2-stream 802.11ac support is nice as well, although the implementation isn’t as good as it is on the Galaxy S5. If you do have a Galaxy S5, having the ability to answer calls directly from your tablet is a neat feature.

The devices aren't perfect however. The Exynos 5420 SoC in both tablets is no longer class leading. CPU performance is reasonable but the GPU does seem to have issues keeping up with the high resolution display. If anything, Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 805 would probably have been a better fit for the tablets across the board. I suspect Exynos 5420 won out due to pricing, but as a result we end up with a tablet that has the dimensions and display of a flagship and an SoC that is simply good enough.

Battery life is either going to be amazing or below par depending on your usage model. If you spend a lot of time looking at web pages, you’ll find the high resolution AMOLED display to be a power liability. If however you mainly use your tablet to watch TV and movies, there’s literally no better option on the market today when it comes to battery life. Even the tiny 8.4-inch Galaxy Tab S managed to best all of the other tablets we’ve tested in video playback battery life, delivering over 15 hours on a single charge. Start browsing the web however and you’re looking at roughly half of that. It’s an interesting tradeoff for sure.

Overall the Galaxy Tab S feels like a solid reboot for Samsung’s tablet ambitions. The trick from here on out will be to continue to iterate the design without losing focus. A successor with a better SoC might be a good start. Perhaps Snapdragon 808/810 might be a good option next year, or an 805 based solution by the end of this year depending on how aggressive of a schedule Samsung sticks to for tablet releases going forward.

WiFi & Camera
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  • Laxaa - Tuesday, June 24, 2014 - link

    I guess we'll se a revamped model in october/november with 805. Reply
  • GC2:CS - Tuesday, June 24, 2014 - link

    No... We will see an entirely new tablet lineup called SAMSUNG GALAXY TAB F Reply
  • retrospooty - Tuesday, June 24, 2014 - link

    Then Tab F Pro - all priced too high. Reply
  • hkklife - Tuesday, June 24, 2014 - link

    And all will still continue to be gimped with the usual 16GB of internal storage (with 8.5GB available left to the user). It's 2014, not 2011. It's time 32GB became standard across the board no matter what. Also, I wouldn't pay these kinds of prices without having microUSB 3.0 connectivity (I am spoiled by my Note 3) AND wireless charging (to save the aforementioned port from overuse). I'm also slightly miffed by the use of an Exynos instead of a Snapdragon. Now, if they refresh these guys this fall with the latest version of Android, an 801/805, add USB 3.0 from the Tap/Note Pros AND double up the storage while holding the line on the the price then I might consider it! Reply
  • RobilarOCN - Wednesday, June 25, 2014 - link

    What does it matter how much storage is on board? For a Nexus 7 or an IPad it matters but Micro SD cards are dirt cheap... I picked up a 128GB for $110 for my Tab Pro. That is a grand total of 144 GB of storage(less OS and Apps) for just over $500. Compared to $800 for a Mini Retina with 128GB that's almost $300 cheaper. As mentioned the USB 3.0 is too thick to fit into this tablet. I have several devices that I have been charging and using for literally years without any overuse of the micro USB port so why worrry? Reply
  • basroil - Wednesday, June 25, 2014 - link

    Google got rid of saving to apps to SD cards, so it does matter to those that use large HD optimized apps Reply
  • retrospooty - Wednesday, June 25, 2014 - link

    Especially with all the bloatware Samsung puts in it... There will be like 8-9 gb space available for apps. Not good enough Samsung. Not for a $500 device. Reply
  • CanvasExtractor - Sunday, October 12, 2014 - link

    10.5GB available for a $400 device, lol. And remember all the bloatware Google Corporation requires, including but not limited to a social network, a chat app, an extra browser, their ad network, a gaming center, and llittle stores and proprietary apps for music, expensive movies, and even magazines.
    At least Samsung adds things like multi-window, grayscale mode for battery savings, 1% battery.
    Reply
  • rodolfcarver - Friday, October 03, 2014 - link

    Samsung Galaxy Tab S seems to be a choice, although I personally prefer getting one of the top models from Samsung (see http://www.consumertop.com/best-tablets/ for example), but that's just me. Some people might like this! Reply
  • sigmatau - Tuesday, June 24, 2014 - link

    I want to see what the they can do with an 808 or 810 that will be using a die shrink. That is what I am interested in for both phones and tablets. They really should be pushing these chips to be released by years end, not early next year. Oh well. Reply

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