If you like Samsung phones, you’ll feel at home with the company’s latest tablets. The Galaxy Tab S comes in eight and ten-inch versions. Both look and feel like giant Samsung Galaxy phones.
Samsung had plenty of Galaxy Tab S models on hand to show New Zealand journalists this morning at an event timed to coincide with the global launch streamed live from New York.
Two things are immediately obvious the moment you get your hands on a Galaxy Tab S. First, they are thinner and lighter than any other similar size tablets.
That’s a big deal. The displays are a bigger deal. Both models come with 2560 x 1600 resolution Super Amoled screens. They are exquisite showing videos and photographs in beautiful, vivid colour. Text displays beautifully too.
Not only are the screens gorgeous, they are smart. Samsung has technology that means the displays automatically adjust brightness and contrast based on what kind of material being displayed and on the viewing conditions.
My only quibble with the display is that Samsung uses the 9 by 16 wide-screen orientation which is fine and for watching movies, but forces you into doing everything in landscape orientation. The iPad’s 4 by 3 orientation means you are more likely to switch between portrait and landscape modes. I noticed with the Microsoft Surface range that widescreen tablets tend to get used more like ‘lite’ PCs than true tablets.
The iPad’s 4 by 3 orientation means you are more likely to switch between portrait and landscape modes. I noticed with the Microsoft Surface range that widescreen tablets tend to get used more like lite PCs than true tablets.
Software mixed bag
Samsung makes great hardware. It’s a pity the brand’s devices are let down by the Android operating system, which still feels like a work in progress. The good news is that Samsung does Android better than most other companies. The bad news is that it is still an Android device. I’d love to see hardware of this quality running iOS or Windows 8.
Many of the Android extra’s Samsung packs into its phones are also on the Galaxy Tab S. Indeed, there’s a lot more stuffed into this device. I find this overwhelming and counterproductive.
We’ve only recently escaped the era of shovelware where hardware makes pack rubbishy third-party apps and demonstration programs into their PCs. Now Samsung seems to be doing something similar with its phones and tablets.
There may be genuine value among the bundled software, but that’s not how it looks from outside Samsung’s bubble.
I zoned out during the presentation as one lame third-party content provider after another gushed about stuff hardly anyone will care about.
Interesting Galaxy Tab S touch
A Samsung executive demonstrated what may prove the most interesting software included with the Galaxy Tab S: SideSync 3. If you also have a Galaxy S5 smartphone, the tablet can recreate your phone screen on the tablet display. From there you can control the phone, move files between the two devices and, if you have a headset, answer incoming calls.
In some respects this echoes the Continuity feature Apple announced last week. My first impression is that SideSync is more limited in scope. However, I’ve not seen how the two work in the real world.
Either way it seems Samsung and Apple are tightening the integration between their devices. While that will help them sell more kit to existing customers, these moves promise sizeable productivity gains.
This is no longer on sale. Check out the review of the Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 instead.
NZ costs for the WiFi Version Standard:
- Galaxy Tab S 10.5 32 GB – $850
- Galaxy Tab S 10.5 16GB – $750
- Galaxy Tab S 8.5 16GB – $600