Samsung Galaxy Tab S tablets with AMOLED screen [video]

They’re already fighting like cat and dog over who has the best smartphone, but with a pair of new flagship tablets Samsung has now set its sights on challenging the all conquering iPad.

The Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.4-inch and 10.5-inch are set up to be direct competitors to the iPad Air and the iPad Mini. Lighter and thinner than their Apple rivals but boasting bigger screens, both run on the latest version of Android and come in a metallic design that is straight from the catwalk.

They also have an octa-core processor and 3GB of Ram, which should make them some of the snappiest tablets available, and 8.1 megapixel rear and 2.1 megapixel front facing cameras.  Is this the best Android alternative to the iPad? Find out below.

Best Buy tablets – find out which tablets rule the roost

Samsung Galaxy Tab S video

Samsung Galaxy Tab S – five key features

The display – Samsung made a big song and dance about these being the first tablets to come with an AMOLED screen. This is the screen technology currently associated with fantastic looking but overpriced TVs. You do get strong colours with AMOLED and films, games and anything else you watch should look as good as, if not better than on your TV.

The display again – Not only do you get AMOLED but both Tab S tablets come with a screen resolution that tops the iPad (2560×1600). Does this matter?  In truth the screen quality on these high end tablets is so good you’re unlikely to be able to really tell the difference.

Micro HD – This isn’t exciting but it is important. The Galaxy Tab S tablets are available in 16GB or 32GB memory sizes. A chunk of space will almost certainly be swallowed by the Operating System, but you can cheaply expand this with a micro SD card. A 128GB micro SD card, the largest the Tab S will accept, will set you back around £90.

Light weight – Both tablets offer more screen size than their iPad rivals, while still being thinner and lighter. Especially in the case of the 8.4 inch Tab S, this should make it easier to take the tablet out and about.

Call forwarding and Side Sync – No, people won’t be holding tablets to their faces to take a call, that’d be mad. Call forwarding links phone and tablet so you can answer or decline a call on the tablet while still being able to carry on with your work. The Side Sync app can also be used to drag and drop content from phone to tablet on the tablet screen.

Which? Expert Verdict: ‘Great screen and some nice touches’

Katie WallerThe AMOLED screens are key. Screen quality is impressive and they don’t need backlighting – unlike LCD screens – so the Galaxy Tab S models can be thinner and lighter – desirable qualities for any mobile device.

Like the Samsung Galaxy S5 phone, these tablets have fingerprint unlocking – you swipe your finger on screen to access your tablet. This didn’t always work for me first time, but you can always revert to using pin code access instead.

More usefully you can have up to eight accounts on the tablet, enough for most families. There’s also a privacy mode, which lets you lock up individual files, photos, videos and music. If you don’t want to go to the trouble of setting up different accounts for people – as I’m sure I wouldn’t – you can simply flip the privacy switch and any files you’ve previously marked as private will not be accessible without the right finger print or pin code.

The ability multitask with two windows open at once – as we’ve seen on previous Samsung tablets – remains a bonus over iPads and the phone linking features could be handy.

It’s difficult to make a huge leap forward in the tablet market now, but there are some thoughtful design tweaks that give the Tab S models appeal. They’re due to be available from July, but unfortunately there’s no UK pricing yet – let’s just hope it’s competitive.

Katie Waller – Principal Researcher

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Categories: Tablets

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7 replies

  1. I find the wording of your preliminary report above of the Samsung Galaxy Tab S tablets somewhat puzzling.
    You report that “Samsung has now set its sights on challenging the all conquering iPad”
    Am I imagining things or didn’t you test the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 last year, and didn’t you rate it above the ipad air at that time?
    I seem to recall that you subsequently downgraded it to a rating of 83%, but still leaving it with an equal rating to the Apple device.
    Also, in your April 2014 edition of ‘Which Computing’, where you reviewed best buy ‘bigger tablets’, you singled out the iPad Air as the Best Buy @ 83% with the Nokia Lumia 2520 rated second @ 81% & the Amazon Kindle third @ 79%!
    No mention of the Samsung 10.1 Note which you previously rated above the iPad Air?
    This is blatant Apple bias and I expected better from ‘Which’
    I think we should get an independent investigation into corruption at your magazine.
    Are you taking backhanders from Apple or are you all dyed in the wool Applefanboys?
    Needless to say I will be cancelling my sub to your biased publication.


  2. I agree strongly with the view expressed by David that there appears to be a lack of appreciation of the deep seated and excellent qualities of the Samsung Products. I have only a basic Galaxy tab 2.7 (steam age!) But it performs brilliantly still. I think it is time Which looked at these products from the point of view of how they benefit the everyday ‘person in the street’ and less so from the perspective of ‘gadget person’ or ‘city whiz kid’ which seems to me to be the main bias.

  3. I am so happy to see that it isn’t only me that thinks the “Which” magazine reviewers are as David states “apple fan boys / girls”

    Since Google launched the Nexus 7 I have been saying that the Apple brand is a spent force!

    When Apple launched its tablets with RETINA DISPLAY I thought they had discovered the secret of eternal life by the hulabalu that “Which’s” reviewers made about it. Yet when Samsung blasted past that standard with the Nexus 10 “Which” reviewers stated it didn’t really matter as at that resolution you couldn’t really tell the difference. Get a grip will you “Which”

    By continually comparing far superior Tablets with the iPad with “RETINA DISPLAY” and asking is this the iPad beater you not only make yourselves look ridiculous but you are also doing your readers a massive diservice by pointing them to a Brand which is not up to current standards but also charges ridiculous amounts of money for its products.

    Apple also bind to to their brand by not allowing you “its owner” to choose where the go to buy the applications you require for your tablet. Whereas Android powered Tablets and smart phones allow you to but your apps anywhere you can find them.

    So if its freedom to choose, quality and innovation you require take a close look at Google, Asus, Samsung, HTC etc, companies which all make Android Equipment, before you get dragged by the nose by the “Which Apple Fab Boys / Girls”!!!

  4. Completely agree with the above comments about Apple bias in Which reviews. I recently cancelled my subscription (been a member for over 20 years) partly due to what I see as biased reviews. The Apple ones stand out as being particularly obvious but Which do seem to have other favourite brands too. There are other instances where the scoring system used to rate best buys simply defies logic. I was looking at tests on tyres recently and the best performing tyre under wet and dry braking conditions was one of the lowest rated overall at just 50%. After much head scratching on my part I noticed that they had decided to give a maximum score of 50% to any tyre that only had average wear. So a tyre with 2 stars out of 5 for wet and dry braking got a much higher overall score than one with 5 out of 5 for both?!? Go figure.

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  6. In many cases “Which?” best buys are not, because things are taken into account that do not affect the general user. For example it would be nice to know “the best” regardless of price. I have had several “Best Buys” that turned out to be rubbish. I no longer take much notice of their result just draw conclusions from their comments. “Which?” has also become over complicated with their, graphs, pretty colours, footnotes etc, “just give me the facts”. You could probably save more money cancelling your subscription than taking their advice.
    Having got that off my chest. Could their so-called Apple bias be because Apple is the best? Although having changed from Dell to Apple I hate my MacBookPro!

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