Samsung Galaxy Tab S Review

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Lowest price Product: Samsung Galaxy Tab A 8-Inch Tablet (Wi-Fi)(16 GB, Smoky Titanium) - $188.97
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Price history for Samsung Galaxy Tab A 8-Inch Tablet (Wi-Fi)(16 GB, Smoky Titanium)
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  • $188.97 - September 13, 2017
  • $167.99 - March 30, 2017
Since: March 30, 2017
  • Highest Price: $188.97 - September 13, 2017
  • Lowest Price: $167.99 - March 30, 2017
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“A great option for people looking beyond the iPad”

Ever since Apple came out with the first iPad, hardware manufacturers all around the world have been churning out devices to grab a big share of the tablet market. Samsung is one of Apple’s biggest rivals in this segment, and heats things up with the introduction of the Galaxy Tab S 10.5.

Overall, the tab looks just like its earlier version, which isn’t really a great thing. It is too plastic-y and follows a similar design to that of the Galaxy S5. This doesn’t give the device a premium feel, which doesn’t help it compete better with the likes of the Apple iPad Air and the Sony Xperia Z2 on looks alone.

The tablet weighs around 465g and is just 6.6mm thick at its thinnest point, which is very impressive. It is very easy to hold as well, and you won’t experience any discomfort even after extended use. Just like the Galaxy S5, there is a biometric sensor on the home button which is slightly awkward to use because of the larger size of the device.

In its bid to challenge the iPad Air, Samsung has created a tablet that is thinner and lighter. It is just 6.6mm thick and weighs around 467g. The body contains stereo speakers, a microSD slot, an IR blaster and a microUSB slot along with the usual array of buttons.

Price

The price of the Tab S 10.5 depends largely on the storage space you choose. It is priced well, considering the features on offer. It is slightly cheaper some of its close competitors like the Xperia Z2, but does not have the high-end feel of the Z2.

Operating System

Android KitKat 4.4 is the operating system of choice on the Tab S 10.5. It is a solid OS which is easy to use and performs well. If you want the latest version of Android, don’t worry. Samsung has started out the Lollipop 5.0 update already, and it can be downloaded OTA.

So What Do We Know So Far?
It looks like the Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5 is a solid device which should provide great competition to the iPad Air. Even though the build quality and design have nothing to write home about, it is easy to hold and the Android OS is a breeze to use. Considering the features on offer and the large screen size, it can’t be deemed expensive either.

Performance

The Galaxy Tab S 10.5 has the same octa-core Exynos 5 chip found in the Galaxy Note 10.1 2014. It is basically a combination of two quad-core chips – one working at 1.9GHz and the other at 1.3GHz – with only one of them active at a given time. The more powerful CPU is dedicated to heavy duty tasks while the smaller one is for routine jobs. This peculiar setup is designed to improve battery life without compromising on power. Graphics is handled by an Adreno 330 GPU.

Even though the configuration promises great power delivery, performance can be a bit erratic. System-intensive tasks like rendering detailed games are handled with aplomb. Need for Speed: Most Wanted performed smoothly and there was no framing or jittering. The Multi-Window feature also worked well. But, when it comes to the little things, there were some problems. For example, apps loaded only after a slight delay and the onscreen keyboard wasn’t quick to pop up.

I’m not saying that the performance is bad. Not at all. But, considering the specs, it could have been better. The LTE version will come with a Snapdragon 800 SoC and might have better performance.

Additional Features

  • 3GB RAM
  • LTE available
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac
  • Fingerprint Scanner
  • Accelerometer, Compass, Gyroscope

Display

The Galaxy Tab S 10.5 has one of the most gorgeous displays you can find on a tablet. The 2560×1600 Super AMOLED panel has a pixel density of 287ppi and is much sharper and clearer than the Retina displays in the Apple iPad Air 2 and the Mini 3. Colors can be a look a bit oversaturated, but still remain extremely vibrant. The screen also has a built-in RGB sensor which alters color balance according to your surroundings.

Camera

On the rear, the Galaxy Tab S 10.5 has an 8MP shooter which is pretty decent. It focuses quickly and color reproduction is good as well. It also packs special modes like HDR, Panorama and Dual camera. You can also adjust the flash settings, metering mode, ISO, etc. The 2.1MP front camera is clear and great for video calling.

Battery Life

According to Samsung, the Tab S 10.5 lasts for around 12 hours of continuous video because of its large 7,900mAh battery. In our tests, it lasted for 12 hrs.22 mins, which is better than advertised. With the brightness turned to a lower setting, it could have lasted even longer. For more juice, there is a power-saving mode with turns the screen black-and-white and disables many apps – recommended in case of an emergency.

Final Thoughts

PROS:
  • Brilliant display
  • Great battery life
  • Light and thin
CONS:
  • Performance could be better
  • Unimpressive design
  • Erratic biometric scanner

At the end of the day, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5 is a great little device which ticks most boxes. The brilliant screen and long battery life makes it one of the best Android tablets available now.

7 Total Score
Very Good!

Display
8.5
Performance
7.5
Camera
8
Battery Life
7.5
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