Hands on: Samsung Galaxy Tab S

By Pat Pilcher

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Samsung GALAXY Tab S.
Samsung GALAXY Tab S.

With one of the biggest selling smartphones in the market Samsung have turned their attention to tablets. At an event in New York, they announced two flavours of what they've branded as the Galaxy Tab S. One is an 8.4" model, the other is 10.5". The 8.4" model weighed in at a mere 300 grams (which isn't much more than a typical smartphone).

Look and Feel

Looks-wise the Tab S resembles a smooshed out Galaxy S5. They also feature similar innards. This includes the Exynos 5 Octa chipset, Android 4.4 KitKat (coated with a liberal dollop of TouchWiz) plus the same fingerprint scanner as on the S5. Rounding things out is a microSD card slot for up to 128GB of storage expansion.

Display

The killer feature is without a doubt the Tab S's screen. Samsung made a lot of fuss about the screen at the Tab S's launch and in use it wasn't hard to see why it is such a big deal.

The display uses Super AMOLED technology which means colours are vivid and contrast levels are anything up to 1000x that of LCD.

This translates to blacks being as deep as the night and whites that are crisp and fresh. The effect of AMOLED on the Tab S's screen is stunning at a resolution of 2560 x 1600.

Samsung also talked up what they called 'adaptive display technology'. This tweaks the display based on environmental light levels via sensors built into the tablet's bezel.

In Use

In use the Tab S also felt pretty responsive. HD video played with no noticeable lags (it also looked gorgeous on the AMOLED screen). The tablet's 8MP rear camera fired up and focused with no slowdowns or delays. Testing out Ashphalt 8 also felt dangerously addictive, as the Tab S's bigger screen lent it a real arcade feel. Gameplay was also buttery smooth.

Perhaps the first thing that strikes you when seeing the Galaxy Tab S for the first time is just how thin it is. I was skeptical when Samsung said it was roughly the thickness of 5 credit cards stacked atop of each other - but here's the thing, it is. Add in a non-slip finish on its back and both models feel really nice in the hand - expensive drop tests are also less likely to happen. They're light enough that discomfort with extended use is also unlikely.

Samsung's SideSync also impressed. It allows the Tab S to link up with a Galaxy S5 using Wi-Fi Direct to display an on-screen replica of the phone. This makes taking calls drop-dead intuitive. Transferring files to or from a Tab S and a Galaxy S5 is a simple matter of dragging and dropping.

Verdict

Samsung win brownie points for crafting such a light and attractive tablet. Support for storage expansion also impresses as does the Tab S's stunning AMOLED display. Competition in the tablet market is finally heating up and that is always going to be a good thing.

- NZ Herald

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