261 of 273 people found the following review helpful
Color Name: Titanium Bronze
1. Gorgeous display.
2. Slim and light. Great portability.
3. Very fast, good performance.
4. Good battery life.
5. Fingerprint sensor.
6. Micro SD card support up to 128 GB.
1. The tablet comes with a lot of bloatware.
2. No S Pen support.
3. Camera is mediocre.
I have managed to get my hands into the Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4 for the last couple of weeks. I was very excited to give it a try when I saw the Samsung announcement. I have to say after a trying it out for some time I can honestly say I am impressed. Below I will give you my thoughts on the tablet.
1. By far the most compelling reason to buy this tablet is the display. It looks really amazing. It has top of the line resolution of 2560 x 1600 giving it 359 pixels per inch. But it is not the resolution that makes the display so unique but the Super AMOLED technology that creates bigger contrast in colors. Colors look saturated and slightly unrealistic but there is no denying they look great. At the end I think it is a matter of preference, if you like the display of the Samsung Galaxy S5 then you will certainly like the display of the tablet. You can tell Samsung made this particular tablet for content consumption. Everything from pictures, videos to magazines look very impressive.
During sunlight exposure the display has to be cranked up almost all the way up for you to read comfortably. I noticed that videos look better in direct sunlight that previous Samsung tablets I have used. I put my Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 (2012) model tablet side by side and it just pales in comparison.
2. This tablet is one of the thinnest and lightest tablets in the market. It is even lighter than the IPad Retina Mini and that is certainly saying a lot. In terms of weight it easily rivals 7 inch tablets. It weight the same as the Nexus 7 (2013). Keep in mind the Nexus 7 screen is only 7 inches as opposed the Tab S 8.4 inch display. I can easily hold the tablet one handed for extended periods of time. In terms of weight it is as close to the Amazon Kindle E-reader as I experienced. As far as the outside of the tablet is concerned it is made of the exact material and texture of the Samsung Galaxy S5. It is plastic but it has a soft, very comfortable dimple back that does not collect fingerprint. Not as nice looking as the IPad but a great improvement from previous generations. Besides that plastic back is what allows the tablet to keep the weight down.
3. The Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4 is considered a high end tablet and it has the specs to back it up. The Wifi model that I have been using has a Samsung made Exynos 5 Octa core processor. Four of the cores are running at 1.9 GHz and four cores running at 1.3 GHz. It also comes with 3 GB of RAM memory. What does this all mean? That it can handle just about everything you can throw at it and more. The processor in this tablet is designed for optimum performance. In my time using the tablet I have not discovered any slow down at all. Multitasking works incredible well. The only thing I did not like was the Samsung Keyboard. I personally do not use it because it tends to lag. Instead I installed the Google Keyboard. It performs much smoother. The rest of the interface however is fluid and smooth. Games open very fast and browser performance is better than ever. I have absolutely no complaints when it comes to performance.
4. The battery in the tablet has a capacity of 4900 mah. Samsung claims that the battery life is for 10 hours of web use. On a typical day after using it to catch up on morning news, listening to some music, a couple hours of Netflix and YouTube I still go to bed with around 40-50% battery. That is with the brightness at a little less than half. One day I was reading outside and decided to crank up the brightness all the way up. I lost about 20% in an hour. Games also tend to use the battery faster but that is to be expected. For normal everyday use you should have no problem getting through your day with it.
5. Android has a lot of different locking method for your devices. I feel that other than a long password the safest way to lock your device is by fingerprint. The fingerprint scanner in this tablet is the same model found on the Galaxy S5. You have to swipe your finger across it as opposed to the one in the IPhone 5S where you only have to place your finger and it unlocks itself. I found the fingerprint scanner to be more accurate than the one on the S5. You still have to be careful how you swipe the finger but it fails less often than on the Galaxy S5. You have the option of using several fingers to unlock the device that way more than one person has access to the tablet at all times.
6. The tablet supports Micro SD cards up to 128 GB in capacity. This is great because the tablet itself only comes with 16 GB of storage built in which is lacking in today’s world. I myself use a 64 GB card with the tablet and there I have been able to store over 10 movies, over 1000 songs and a few hundred family pictures. The Micro SD cards now a day are cheaper than ever and they provide so much flexibility. It is a real convenience and I am glad Samsung has decided to support its use for so long.
1. If you have ever used a Samsung Galaxy phone in the past you know they usually come with a lot of prepackaged apps. That is not the exception here. It comes with a TON of Samsung apps. The vast majority of them I have not even touched until this day.
2. One of the things that bummed me out a little bit about this tablet is that it doesn’t support the S pen. The S Pen is useful to take notes and to make drawings and it has been a staple of Samsung tablets over the last couple of years. I have a feeling they did not included because the S Pen might not be compatible with the Super AMOLED screen.
3. You can clearly tell that manufacturers just don’t place much emphasis on the camera for tablets. Even though the Galaxy Tab S is a premium tablet the camera looks more like one found in a mid-range phone. The camera on the back is 8 MP. That is above average for tablets but is not really anything that will impress you at this point. Photos in good sunlight came out fairly good. Indoors and at night the pictures looked grainy and you had to be really still for them not to get blurry. The same performance was seen during videos. The camera has no image stabilization therefore you have to have a very steady hand or else the video looks very shaky. I can’t really say I am going to be using it much. The front facing camera is 2.1 MP and it performs as well as you could hope for. It is all right for the occasional Skype call but nothing too spectacular. It is average.
Overall, do I recommend this tablet? I whole heartedly do, especially if you are looking to use it for entertainment and media consumption. The display is fantastic for movies, pictures and reading. The design of the tablet itself is very thin, light and comfortable to use. In terms of overall size and weight the tablet is rivaling the 7 inch models from last year. The exclusion of the S Pen makes this tablet not the best in terms of productivity. If you are looking for productivity on a tablet maybe the Samsung Note series might be a better option for you.
I hope this review was useful and I will be looking to update it in the coming weeks.
If you are still unsure whether to purchase this tablet go to a local retail store and see for yourself. Compare it side by side with other tablets once you take a look at the display and the overall aesthetic I promise you will be impressed.
435 of 466 people found the following review helpful
Color Name: Titanium BronzeVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
First Look: Hands on review
Rating 4.5 Stars (Excellent Tablet but not a perfect 5 star). Unfortunately there is no half rating with Amazon so I went with a 4
There is no question that Samsung has flooded the market with tablets in the past year. From low range to upper range. When the Tab Pro 8.4 came out a few months ago I knew that was the Android I have been waiting for. Of course had I known the Tab S was coming out I would have waited for this tablet. That takes nothing away from the Pro because it is an excellent tablet and I assume there will be further discounting. I broke up my review into sections so you can jump to a section faster.
The Tablet S comes from same design as the S5. The corners and edges are rounded. The back cover has the same dimple pattern and is plastic. Samsung has been criticized for the plastic; however, I like the design and believe the tablet will stand the test of time.
The screen is stunning. I love the screen on my Pro 8.4; however, with Samsung using the AMOLED screen with the same 2560x1600 resolution as the Tab Pro the colors just pop. The blacks are deep. Watching HD video on the Tablet S is a joy. Everything you may have read on the Internet about how beautiful the screen is true. Of course there is the downside, there are not many applications finely tuned to take advantage of the whole display. My assumption is this will change in the coming year or two as the better resolution is the norm on Android hardware. Looking forward to when you can watch Netflix in HD on this tablet, which should be coming soon according the launch Samsung did.
The Tab S Wifi comes with the 5420 octo-core Exynos 5 Octa chipset (quad-core 1.9 GHz Cortex A15 + quad-core 1.3 GHz Cortex A7 CPU). The Tab Pro 8.4 has the Qualcomm Snapdragon 800. The Tab S or Tab Pro have not had any issues with any app or video I have thrown at them.
Storage and Memory
While Samsung did announce that there will a 32GB version of the Tabs S, they have the 16GB at the writing of this review. While 16GB keeps the entry price of high end tablet lower it does leave you with a little over 10GB space, which is somewhat disappointing. The bloatware is typical with most manufacturers. Yes you can add up to a 128GB microsd card but unfortunately many applications do not allow you transfer to SD. The microSD is perfect for pictures, videos, and large documents.
The Tab S gained 1GB of ram over the Tab Pro. 3GB vs 2GB. The TAB S has no issue running the most demanding games or if you multitasking in split windows.
Boot up and restart times.
If you have any of the older Android tablet, you know how long it can take before you can start using the tablet. These are times I recorded for the Tab S to get to the login screen.
- Power on from a powered off state. 22 Seconds
- Restart - 28 seconds
- My Tab Pro recorded 24 seconds and 40 Seconds. To be fair on the restart, my Tab Pro already has more apps installed on it which may have impacted the restart time
The Tab S is stocked for the future. The Wifi card supports Gigabit Wifi. I do not have ac router so I cannot test the throughput. I will eventually upgrade my router once I do, I will test the throughput.
The Bluetooth is 4.0.
The Micro USB connector is only 2.0. USB 3.0 would have been nice and would have added to the premium tablet. I do not believe I will using the USB connection other than some bigger transfer from time to time. Normally I do wifi transfers.
GPS, The Tab S has GPS. if you plan to use the tablet as a navigation you will need to use an app that allows to have offline map capabilities. Of course if you have a mobile hotspot then you could get away with the need of offline maps
Wifi Direct - Allows to connect to other wifi direct devices. I have not tried printing or sending a video to the TV but I connected to my computer to transfer files
The bronze color of the tablet S is nice. I am not completely in love with the color but I know others will love the accent colors on the tablet
This tablet is thin. To give and idea on how thin the tablet is, I put the tablet on the table and stacked quarters next to the tablet. The thickness is equal to four quarters. There are two connectors on the back of the tablet that for the Samsung case to attach to. They look out of place if you do not have case on the tablet.
Size and Weight
The 8.4 S I believe is the perfect size for portability and usability. I can easily hold the tablet S with one hand and because it less than 1 pound you can hold it for a great length and not have fatigue.
Do not expect to replace your normal camera or even your phone camera with the camera on this tablet. While the back camera is 8MP, it does not perform well unless you have a large amount light. Yes you can use the built flash but it is too harsh and washes out the picture some. When you have the light the pictures come out good enough.
The front camera is 2.1MP. I ran a Skype session between my Tab Pro and Tab S. The video was smooth and clear with a good amount of light. In lower light the video is grainier but still smooth. Of course the network you are on will impact on how smooth the video will be.
The fingerprint reader is new to the tablet line. The Tab Pro 8.4 does not have a finger print reader, I realize how much I would like the fingerprint reader. I thought using a pattern was excellent for not having to type in a password / pin. Setup was easy, with 8 swipes of my finger my print was registered. You also need to setup a password for that just in case scenario. A major plus for me is that finger print reader integrates with Lastpass. If you are Lastpass Premium user you will appreciate being able to use your fingerprint for accessing websites. You still need to use your master password.
The battery in the Tab S is slightly bigger that the one in the Tab Pro. With the switch to the AMOLED screen Samsung was able to gain ~2 hours of battery life. My estimation is you will get ~8 hours of gaming time and ~10 hours of video time. With the Tab Pro I would get about ~8 hours of video time. If you set the brightness yourself and have it set too high the battery life will decrease
The auto-brightness is annoying at times because it dims for no reason.
During the idle state the battery barely even moves. The Tab S battery lost 1% after sitting in an idle state for 7 hours overnight. This will vary greatly based on how many applications were loaded into memory prior to the tablet going into the idle state. I loaded multiple applications be putting it into the idle state after 5 hours it lost 8%.
Other features SideSync / IR Blaster
If you already a Samsung Phone S4 / S5 etc then you can setup the Sidesync between the Tab S and your phone. It is a nice feature if you want leave your phone in another room and answer calls on the tablet. It is little odd seeing a simulation of your phone on the tablet but the feature does work. Not sure how much I will use it.
I do use the IR for change channels on the set top box. I can quickly go through the guide on the tablet and send the signal to change the channel. It always nice to have the extra remote when other remote decides to go missing.
Most of the extras are worthless because they are no more than a 3 month trial of the premium services that are offered by the companies. For example, you get 1TB bitcasa for 3 months after that you are on the hook for $10 a month. Some require you to give your credit card to activate the trial
When you install the Samsung Kindle app (not the regular kindle app) you get to choose a free book every month. The book selection is small (4 for June). The regular price of the books is 3 to 4 dollars
You get an addition 48GB of storage space from Dropbox once you have completed a few steps. The extra storage is for two years so have to be aware on how much space you are using. You have the option to automatically back up your photos to drop box.
I have already been using my Tab Pro to read email and do calendaring. The tablet also comes with the option to install Samsung Knox so you have sandbox area for work related activities separate from your personal area.
If the rumor is true about Microsoft bring MS Office to the Android tablet then the Tab S will be perfect with high resolution.
Samsung has a clear winner with the Tabs S. I absolutely recommend this tablet anyore who waiting for a high end Android Tablet with expandable memory. The screen is worth premium price
Who this tablet may not be for.
- If you are heavily invested in the Apple ecosystem.
- Diehard Samsung Note users. If you are in love with the S pen and the capabilities it brings then you may want to wait to see what Samsung has up it sleeves for the future of the Note line
- Casual Internet surfer and video watcher. No need to spend the extra money when a lower price, lower end model will fill your needs.
- Always connected user. The LTE model will be out shortly after the release of the wifi models so wait little longer. The price will be higher and there is the data cost but that is exactly what you are looking for
- Users who want the 32GB model.
- Users who dislike bloatware. I would like to see Samsung bring out a Google Play edition of the Tab S. I do not see that happening anytime soon.
If you have any questions please ask in the comments I will try to answer them to the best of my ability.
My tablet experience
This has nothing to do directly with the Tab S other than my tablet history, so you can ignore this part if you have no interest but it may help if you have questions for comparison with what I own.
My first tablet was the 1st generation iPad. I have to give Apple credit for the innovation and to help drive industry to where it is today. I still own the iPad but it collects dust now. That is my only IOS product. (My wife did have the 1st gen iPhone) My first Android was an Acer A500, which I still own and use. I bought a Lenovo K1 for my daughter but it did not last. (I will never buy another Lenovo Tablet) Had a Samsung S2 phone which is now my oldest daughter's phone. My wife and I both have Galaxy S4 phones. We bought our daughters Kindle Fire 8.9 HD tablets (Kindles are great for kids) I really wanted a higher end tablet but passed on the Nexus 7 2013 because I wanted the option to expand the memory and a bigger screen. When the Tab Pro 8.4 was released I knew the Tab Pro was the tablet I was waiting for. As I mentioned earlier it is a bit disappointing that Samsung has basically replaced the Tab Pro 8.4 model the Tab S after a few months. I will get plenty of usage out both the Tab Pro 8.4 and Tab S 8.4
241 of 259 people found the following review helpful
Color Name: Titanium BronzeVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
If Samsung wants to convince someone who never owned a tablet to buy one, or someone who has been using iPad and wanted to upgrade, this tablet comes as close to the better choice as ever been. While I think it is hard for a long-time iOS user to switch to Android, the Samsung Galxy Tab S could be the one to switch or additional tablet device you want to get.
I will not attempt to evaluate Android 4.4 here, as there are more qualified people who can do that. If you are used to iOS operating system it is unlikely that you will switch platform because of the latest Android. If you are used to Android in your phones or other Android tablets, congratulation! You now have a tablet device choice that is far superior in term of physical features and technology than any currently in the market. The iPad Mini Retina (which I own) is in the same price range but doesn't even come close.
This tablet is a joy to use. Watching a high definition video on this tablet is a whole new amazing experience. Colors are richer and pictures are so sharp you could not believe it can get to that level. Playing the same video side by side with the iPad Mini retina or iPad 3 and you could tell the differences. The iPad 3 used to have the best screen in all tablets, but no longer. Next to Galaxy S, you would think it is almost dull and boring. I have heard of AMOLED , now I am totally convinced this is the new standard for tablet devices. Playing a video is as easy as clicking on the video file to play it after setting the default player the first time.
The Galaxy Tab S comes with only 16GB or 32 GB, but you can add an additional of 128GB of storage via a microSD slot on the side. There is not many 128GB microSD card available and still expensive, but with 64GB card, you could get to 80GB of total storage. Total cost: $440 versus $600 for a 64GB iPad mini retina and $699 for iPad Air. Adding a 128GB microSD card (around $120) is still cheaper than a 64GB version of either above iPads.
My Nexus 7 is only $220 but hardly belong in the same league. Nexus 7 has no rear camera, no storage expansion option and drained the battery so fast I have to charge it twice a day! A Nexus on full charge, leave in idle, would be dead in about 2 days. So on battery consumption, the Galaxy Tab S has about the same performance as the iPad's .
The camera app in the Galaxy Tab S is far superior to one on the iPad. There are several modes to chose from, most interesting is Dual Camera. You could imprint the image of the front camera to one taken by rear camera! How cool is that?? Image quality is about the same, but of course they look gorgeous on another level when viewing on the Galaxy Tab S.
The Galaxy Tab S is thin and light. So thin that I constantly worry that I would drop it. There is no cover/case for it yet and I hope the future cases have cut-outs for the tablet's stereo speakers. They are located on the side of the tablet, I constantly cover them with my fingers!
I am sure Apple will come up with something clever, hopefully in the same price range to stay competitive. Right now, this table is the reigning king of all tablets due to it price range, features and most importantly, it gorgeous screen.
7/1/14 update: WiFi performance on the Galaxy Tab S is superb; I streamed the same Nextflix movie to the Galaxy and iPad's side by side and the Galaxy really shined. While the iPads continued to buffer and finally gave up and displayed the movie in standard resolution, the Galaxy played the movie in HD with no hick-ups. I guess I could run a speedtest to have better data,but based on this I am not sure I need anymore proof. If you use this tablet mainly for surfing the web, watching streamed movies or playing videos, this tablet is the one to get!!
73 of 81 people found the following review helpful
on August 1, 2014
Color Name: Titanium Bronze
I have updated this review to cover four months of usage. I purchased a Galaxy Tab S 8.4" tablet because I needed a tablet that was both lightweight and narrow enough to be able to cradle in one hand while using in portrait mode. I previously used an iPad 2. I own an iPhone 4s and a Dell XPS 12 laptop running Windows 8.1, which help inform my reaction to the Android tablet user experience.
In my view, the Tab S excels in form factor and in technical specs, but requires many compromises in uses of apps.
The strong points of the device are:
1. Form factor. The device is very lightweight, and easy for me to cradle in one hand. As other reviewers have noted, this is definitely one device for which you want to use a cover / case at all times. While the official Samsung cover is not intuitive to configure upon first use, it is quite clever. It securely snaps onto the tablet. It can be folded in various ways so as to not add bulk to the device when in use, and to allow multiple viewing angles. The cover complements the tablet's form factor well, and is a worthwhile additional purchase.
2. Display. The display is sharp and vibrant. It is excellent and seems to "pop" more than the display on the iPad Mini retina display. However, when held at certain angles in certain apps, such as Kindle, there is a bluish or pinkish tint to the display. When using a white background app, I never noted screen finger grease on either the iPhone 4s or iPad 2. I have noticed it on the Tab S.
3. Speed. This device is noticeably faster than the iPad 2, which is to be expected. I particularly notice a speed difference when downloading Google Drive files to the device, relative to downloading the same file on the iPad 2. I have read several user and professional reviews commenting on lags on opening apps and on other occasions. I have not found this to be a problem. I have occasionally noticed lags while using Chrome browser on various websites. The most noticeable seems to be playlists.net, and my suspicion is that the problem is more likely with the site's server, not the device.
4. The default Samsung keyboard. In my view, this keyboard is MUCH superior to the iOS keyboard. I love having numbers and letters visible at the same time, and the predictive text works very well. I do find it humorous how the predictive text suggests surnames when one types in a first name. When I typed "Nancy" in one e-mail, the suggestions were Pelosi and Drew. Quite a difference, there. I have not extensively used either the voice dictation or the SWYPE option, but what I have tried was satisfactory.
5. Expandable memory. The ability to flex your memory capacity by use of micro SD cards is certainly a cheaper, more flexible option than the iPad memory configuration / pricing model. I have installed a 64 gb memory card and am able to store my entire digital music collection without the iPad 2 compromises of which songs / albums / artists / playlists to download. Kit Kat is configured to prevent apps from being stored on the micro SD card. But documents, photos, videos and music files for most apps can be stored on the micro SD card. The limit of 16 gb of on-board memory has yet to be a major concern, but I do keep a watch on the number of apps I have on the tablet, and delete those I am not using.
6. Price point. Even after adding in the cost of either a 64 gb or 128gb micro SD card, the Tab S is significantly lower priced than the current iPad Mini retina display models with 64 gb or 128 gb of memory.
7. Ease of loading files. Using "MTP" protocol allows drag and drop transfer of files between the micro SD card and a PC. I find this somewhat easier to use than the process to load files onto an iPad.
Several elements of the user experience I would consider as neutral experiences - neither particularly positive nor particularly negative.
1. Preloaded apps. I read a lot of reviews where users complain about the amount of preloaded apps and / or the Samsung Touch Wiz interface. While I would prefer the ability to uninstall many of the preloaded apps, this option doesn't exist in the iPad universe, either. I begrudgingly admit that having a choice between a Samsung app, a Google app and a third party app is often a good thing. For instance, S Note seems superior for note taking than Papyrus or Google Keep, and easier to learn than One Note. The Samsung Calendar works better for me than the Google Calendar app. On the other hand, the G-Mail app fits my needs better than the default Samsung e-mail app (although I think the recent update of the G-Mail app layout was a step backwards). The Hancom office apps seem to play better with other apps than Google Sheets or Docs, however, the process to update these apps seems to be a real nuisance, with infrequent use. I did find the Magazine tab of the Touch Wiz interface useless and I have deleted it. I am still struggling to understand what value is added by widgets. The split screen idea (viewing two apps at once) is a good idea. We need more apps to work in split screen mode; as it is, the split screen option is mostly a novelty.
2. Music. In my view, the iOS / iTunes music app is the gold standard. However, doubleTwist, which bills itself as "iTunes for Android" is a workable alternative, and the in app purchase AirSync option allows one to keep iTunes playlists in sync with an Android device without resorting to cable connections. Google Play Music has a beautiful interface, but I have found it painful to keep iTunes playlists synced to Google Play Music, so I have avoided using this app. One plus is the Milk Music app / service, if you can get beyond the silly name. Milk offers Samsung account holders ad-free, cost-free music streaming. Milk is powered by Slacker and operates much like a non-subscription Slacker service, except it is ad-free.
Negatives for me center around apps and battery life. While many of the standard apps are available, and the experience is not such that I plan to return the tablet, there are compromises. Here are the major ones.
1. The most serious shortcoming is that apps don't exist at all, or are not compatible with the device. Examples of apps that cannot be loaded onto the Tab S 8.4" model include American Express, ESPN Sports Center, ESPN College Football, and Hilton Honors. Amazon Instant Video and Penultimate do not appear to exist at all in the Android universe.
2. The next most serious shortcoming is the variable usability of apps designed for phones. The Google Play App store indicates very clearly if the app is designed for phones. However, any app that is designed for phones and not marked as incompatible with the device can be installed on the Tab S. The good news is that the screen is stretched, not zoomed, as is done for iOS apps not optimized for the iPad. This results in a much better appearance, but with the trade-off of generally very tiny top and bottom menu bars on the screen. The downside is the uncertain usability. The playlists.net app is essentially unusable on the Tab S. The NCAA sports app doesn't appear to render images well, although it renders text well. The Fox Sports app leaves too much white space. The Outlook.com app is designed for a phone size screen, but works OK on the Tab S, and it is nice to have a useful app in the Android OS that doesn't exist in iOS.
3. Functionality is often lacking in Android version of apps relative to iOS versions. It is frustrating to open a familiar app only to find a significantly different interface and capability than on the iOS app version. The best example in my experience to date is the MLB At Bat app. The functionality / feature set varies - no link to stats, for instance, and the MLB TV on screen scoreboard / stats optionality for the desktop and iPad apps is missing on the Android app.
4. Battery life is just plain disappointing. I am now down to getting 5 to 6 hours at best on a full charge, with my primary usage being web browsing, checking e-mail, and e-book reading. In my view, this is an entirely unacceptable level of performance.
5. It seems to take about one minute after powering on the device to get a Wi-Fi connection.
6. The settings and configuration choices are not as intuitive as in iOS. Samsung's overlays do not help.
52 of 58 people found the following review helpful
on October 20, 2014
Color Name: Titanium BronzeVerified Purchase
I had high hopes considering the great reviews however I will be returning mine to Amazon today. I have two primary issues, 1. This thing tripps over itself and it doesn't make sense. I'm sure its all the bloatware that can't be disabled. It crashes and studders doing even simple tasks. 2. Disgustingly poor batter life. I thought perhaps I was doing something wrong like too many background apps however after a clean wipe and only installing the minimum it still can't make it through the day. It was fully charged at noon today, sat at my desk unused till around 4pm and now it just died around 6:15pm. I was only reading homework assignments. In my book there's simply no excuse for this level of poor battery life. I've attached two screenshots, look how fast the batter drops while doing nothing.
22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on July 10, 2014
Color Name: Titanium Bronze
I bought this tab on a whim. I went to BB to trade in an old tablet in exchange for a $50 gift card. At the same time they were offering another $50 coupon towards the galaxy tab s. I figured that was a good deal. What the heck.
The tablet is feather light, and very thin. I like the plastic back very much and am not paranoid about it getting scratched up the way I am with my iPad Air. The plan for now is to use a screen protector on it without a case and see how that works out. I'm really tired of putting my phones and tablets in cases that ruin their svelteness and design. On the other hand there are some excellent cases out there for the tab s that allow you to set it upright so I might be inclined eventually.
I mentioned that I had an iPad Air and I do love it but I also have always preferred Android phones to iPhones. I think it is friggin ridiculous the number of hoops I have to jump through to get music, videos and other media onto my iPad. I ADORE that with this Android tablet I can load up the sd card with almost any format of music or video and it works out of the box. That rocks!
But my enthusiasm for the tab s is tempered somewhat. While I dislike iTunes, I think iBooks is fantastic (as is garageband, but that's another story). I have not been able to find any Android e-readers that come close to the smooth operation and beautiful design of iBooks. It's really disappointing. Even the kindle app isn't as sexy as the iOS one is. Why don't these e-readers for Android perform animations like page turning well? That might sound like a petty complaint but the animated page turn allows you to peek back at the previous page to remind you of what you just read, or to preview ahead. In a ebook it's impossible to thumb backwards and forwards multiple pages the way you might with a real book, so this limited maneuverability is important for me. I don't get why android e-readers don't do it. UPDATE: I have tinkered more with Moon Reader +, FB reader, and others, and have discovered more functions and customizations. They might be adequate. But they just plain do not look as good as iBooks or Kindle of for iOS.
It seems to me a lot of apps for android still haven't been successfully modified to fit the tablet design. A lot of them look stretched out or only fill up half the screen. You never see that half-baked crap on iPad apps. Even going to google news defaults to a mobile setting that just lists the items on the screen without any design or thoughtful layout (yes I know you can go to the desktop version).
I've had samsung phones in the past and got really tired of touch wiz. All that bloat, all that lag. I have an lg g2 phone now and its skin is so much less invasive than samsung's and frankly the features are more useful. (For example, when I copy text, I have several "clipboards" where text is stored and I can choose among them--why isn't that universal?) Getting the tab s reminded me of just how imposing and "thick" touch wiz can be. I like some of the features and customizations, but I wish others like "S Voice" would just go away. I could similarly do without the "Paper" magazine reader. How nice would it be to just have a google play edition of this tablet?
One exception, I tried out the samsung Milk music app and it's great! It is similar to iTunes radio or Pandora, in that you create a "station" based on an artist and they try to guess what you will like....that part seemed ok but what was really great was that it was commercial free! For how long, though, one wonders....The sound quality from the tab s was decent. I could listen to music on it for an extended time with no problem but headphones would better. I used the Rocket music app to browse through my collection and it the sound was good and the display of the album art was fantastic.
Also I have never used the multi-window function other than to play around with it but I think Samsung has got that pretty much down. It looks promising for say, watching espn watch on half the screen and chatting with a friend on the other half.
Other observations, I think the fingerprint sensor works GREAT, maybe because I was expecting it not to. I didn't think that was going to be a feature I cared about but it really is a convenient way to unlock the device. Not sure I'll use it all the time but I'll be traveling internationally next week and will certainly have it on the whole time. Only caveat about the fingerprint sensor: the tab s begs to be used in landscape mode but you have to hold it vertically to effectuate the fingerprint swipe. No big deal though.
The camera, meh. UPDATE: yes the camera is still meh, but there is a very cool function where you can voice-activate the camera or video recorder by saying "capture" or "record video." That is handy for sure for selfies or the videos I often make of myself performing music.
A tip about lag: all samsung devices have a lag when you press the home button below the screen. That's because it is waiting to see if you press it a second time to activate S-voice. You can go into the settings of s-voice and get rid of that double-button activation and voilà, the lag is gone.
It's certainly nice to have an sd card slot, but the file managing features leave a lot to be desired. In only 24 hours I have grown extremely frustrated trying to use the "my files" app to navigate through the sd card. Sometimes files are displayed according to location, other times they are displayed by date. I cannot figure out how to change the settings. I downloaded an app called ES file explorer that works much better. The dropbox app is probably the easiest way to access media and documents but, alas, there are times when we don't or won't have wifi access.
Someone complained about the screen being too vivid. He was ridiculed for it but I agree completely. I turned off the "adaptive display" which accentuates certain images and colors (I guess) in favor of a "basic display" and now it's more subdued and provides less eyestrain.
Anyway, this tablet seems great and a lot of fun. The display is second to none, the lag is minimal (more than the iPad though), the sd card is a great feature, and the whole unit is incredibly light and well-designed. The experience of reading and annotating text, both PDFs and epubs, falls short of the iOS experience with tried and true apps like iBooks and Goodreader. I'll stick with it though!
42 of 49 people found the following review helpful
on July 9, 2014
Color Name: Dazzling White
The last tablet that I purchased was a 2013 Nexus 7. When I bought this I had planned on buying an iPad mini. I've owned a 3rd gen iPad, it was a great device though it was too large for my taste. I've also owned the first nexus 7 and the first galaxy tab 10.1. To start off with, this tablets screen is not even comparable to any other tablet I have previously owned. It blows both the iPad mini's and Air's screen out of the water. The colors are amazing, bright, and not too "poppy" for my eyes. I put this next to my brothers iPad and his IPS LCD looks outdated.
Having owned several nexus products, I have become accustomed to the "vanilla" android experience. I briefly owned a Galaxy S3 and absolutely hated the touchwiz interface which I felt to be far too clunky and complicated, compared to the ease of vanilla android. This tablet gets it just right in terms of what is included with touchwiz. It's obvious that they have dialed it back significantly.
Watching YouTube, Netflix, etc...is a wonderful experience. Again, I placed an iPad mini next to this and the difference is very apparent. The AMOLED screen can turn off each individual pixel so the blacks are totally black. The iPads LCD by comparison remains backlit across the board and the darks are much brighter.
Reading magazines on the kindle app is also a joy.
My only beef with this tablet: When switching between apps, going to the home screen, or doing something else that requires a full screen refresh the tablet stutters. Often times when going to the home screen whatever widget I have running will disappear as the screen refreshes and then reappear. This is absolutely unacceptable in an eight core tablet with 3gb of ram. It shows that the software was not properly optimized before Samsung pushed it out the door. It has already received two updates, but the stutter problem remains. I am hopeful that Android 5.0 (which I am already running on the nexus 5 I am typing this review on) fixes these problems. Android 5.0 will require everything to run in Android run time or ART and dalvik will fall to the wayside (I believe).
Other than that gripe this is a fantastic tablet. My only wish now is that third party case makers will jump on the bandwagon and get some rugged cases for this tablet out on the market.
Update: 8/28/14 - After doing two factory resets on this tablet and speaking with some developers on XDA, I have decided to sell and change my rating from four stars to three. This tablet is so laggy (unacceptable for 2x4 cores w/3GB of RAM). It often takes several seconds for applications to open that would open instantly on my 2013 Nexus 7. I tried using Nova Launcher, which definitely helped and I also played around with developer options to no avail. The screen is still (IMHO) the best out there, but the rest of the experience is well...meh. I get lag when switching between apps, lag inside of apps (flipboard is awful), and lag pretty much everywhere else. In comparison to my Nexus 7 which was always snappy. I find myself picking up my Nexus 5 so very often to do things that just don't happen quickly with this tablet. If Samsung can put a snapdragon 805 or something comparable with a similar type tab in the future and further optimize the software, I may consider one again. But at the moment I am moving back towards the Nexus line and eagerly awaiting their next release this fall.
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on September 12, 2014
Color Name: Titanium BronzeVerified Purchase
The hardware is superior to everything available at the time I'm writing this review. It's thin, light and fast. Android is as brilliant as ever. The loss of two stars is for the bloatware software Samsung install on this device and do not allow you to uninstall. Not only is the software present consuming precious storage but it's constantly in your face with news updates. As I see it this is my tablet and I resent the idea that I don't have full control over what is installed and active on it.
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on August 5, 2014
Color Name: Titanium BronzeVerified Purchase
Let me start this review by saying that this is by far the best device I have used. The construction is Solid. The device's performance is superb. And the screen is like baby Jesus is blessing your eyeballs. However there are some little tiny bits that subtract from it, but not enough for me to feel any regret in buying this yet.
I'll get the best of the best out of the way; This thing is a work of art. It's the type of screen you will turn on just to marvel at it's beauty. I have found myself pulling up pictures just so I can see them as they should be. It uses what they call "WQXGA Super AMOLED". This is Samsung's own AMOLED technology that integrates the touch interface with the screen its self, and has a screen resolution of 2560×1600. The end result is a color gambit that is bright and vibrant, pure blacks and a level of detail that is unheard of. This is pretty much the best display you can possibly get.
Over all visually stunning
Good power efficiency (Subjective - See Wikipedia - AMOLED)
Power efficiency is affected by what is displayed.
Might make it more difficult to appreciate devices that do not have an AMOLED display.
Not everything can be a magnificent display, right? Well here is to the bits that aren't inside - Just a note, I have reasonably large hands, so some of this may not apply to all users - At first glace the device is beautiful. Good lines, Smooth edges, unobtrusive bevel and a generally decent look. However, to simply glace at a device like this is, in a word "wrong". The issue - once you pick it up and use it, you may find it difficult to hold it comfortably. This unfortunately, is one of those things that once again liken this device to art. It is wonderful to look at, but can be awkward to grasp. The bevels are very small; making it difficult (for me at least) to comfortably grip with one hand. On top of this, the buttons are in locations that will cause you to inadvertently press them. The back is made of a hard plastic that has a soft feel to it. This feels like a device that was intended to be held with both hands.
Very good looking. Metallic grey coloring with a faux bronze bevel edge. Somehow does not cross the line into becoming gaudy.
Good edges, nothing to make you feel uncomfortable while holding it for an extended period.
Nice solid feel, and a decent weight
The buttons on the face can - and in my case, will get in the way of holding the device at times
The Small side bevel can make it difficult to hold the device with without touching the screen.
Super thin - yes this is in both pro and con, because for me it feels a bit too thin, but again, I have large hands.
For the most part I will avoid discussing numbers as you can find the bench scores for this device on Google very easily. The user experience goes something like this - I push Button. I receive Bacon. This device will pretty much do anything you want it to very well - Games, office work, movies or just plain old web browsing. The performance is enough to push any game I have thrown at it with impressive results. Real racing 3, Asphalt 8 and Dead trigger 2; to name 3 I tested right off the bat - all ran smooth as silk. And with this display they look great. On top of this the storage performance is very good. I tested this at 90 mb/s read and 17 mb/s write. The only real down side is that when this device plays around in the background it can slow its self down and cause a bit of lag. I am not sure where to lay the blame for that though as this could just be the additional software/services that Samsung threw in doing background tasks. Aside from that I can not find anything worth mention. It simply works, and very well at that.
Samsung did ok here. Not gonna lie - It scares me a bit, but it doesn't subtract enough for me to consider it a deal breaker. They did a decent enough job with their software that I did not feel the need to right off the bat root and rom it. For the most part I simply ignore it's there, and we get along for the most part. For stock android lovers and those who like to control app security (like me) this could be an issue if you wanted to keep your device warranty.
1. This device uses 4.4.2 KitKat. So no AppOps without root. Scary Scary. For those who do not know what this means - AppOps is a system in android that was used to control an apps permissions. IE even if an app you installed wanted to use your camera you could go into AppOps and deny it access to your camera. Google removed the ability to do this without root in 4.4.2
2. This device uses KNOX. As of wring this there are no Roots available that do not trip the warranty bit voiding your warranty for this device. For those who do not know - KNOX is a security system put in place on Samsung devices to address enterprise level security concerns. Also last I checked Samsung dropped KNOX and it is not available for this device. If you require KNOX security the word is: get a tab pro instead.
3. There aren't that many roms for this one yet.
The finger print scanner -
This is one you drag your finger across. In my testing this sometimes acted odd or would be VERY specific on how you had to swipe the scanner. Simply removing the enrollment for that finger and enrolling it again normally fixed this for me.
I still can't see myself taking this device out far enough to get good use of a 8 MP back camera. That said the cameras are quite good. Better color then my iPhone 5 camera. I would say it is on par with the iPhone 5s, but i do not have one next to me to test that. The front (selfie) cam has the same color quality as the back, and the picture quality is good as well.
Generally well performing
It's a Tablet. I can not see my self saying with a straight face "Let me whip out my tablet and take a picture", but this might just be me.
You know, I though I was going to hate the speakers on this as they were side facing, but it seems someone at Samsung put a bit of thought into these. The speakers are placed in such a manner that when you hold the device with 2 hands in landscape it channels the sound at you. Granted they still have no depth, but considering this is about a quarter inch thick, I have nothing to complain about here.
Speakers channel well when held in landscape.
You most certainly will not "feel the bass"
Not front mounted
If you have read this far down I will close with this: For the price, this device does not disappoint. The processor is powerful, memory is plentiful, the storage can be expanded by an obscene amount with an SD card and It pretty much has everything. Wireless ac, Bluetooth 4.0, great front and rear cameras, a bio-metric scanner, good speakers - hell, it even has an IR port.
And dear God it has a beautiful screen.
18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on November 30, 2014
Color Name: Titanium BronzeVerified Purchase
This Tablet is absolutely amazing. Rooted, Running KitKat 4.4.4, 64GB card. MKV, MOV, AVI, M4V, all play via VLC (beta)
Books on Kindle Look amazing, 2K resolution.
Running Canon DSLR Controller the picture comes out correct and nice looking (even though the 5D puts out Full HD)
This thing is Bright, Light, and Fast since the root, Rom, run-around(goodbye Bloat/trial-ware). I went from the Nexus 7 to this and it's flat out top notch.
*All mods as a developer - Do at your own risk*