All Hands on Tech: Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4

If the Samsung Galaxy S5 were to encounter some sort of freak accident involving radioactive ooze, it would come out looking like the Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4.

That’s not to say it wears a bandana and wields a weapon like a ninja turtle, but it’s bigger and more powerful. It’s similar in almost every way, right down to the shiny metal edging and fingerprint scanner.

It may surprise you to hear this is the 11th tablet Samsung has made this year alone. While most people may look at it and wonder what is even different about it compared to previous models, as a professional tech journalist I have a keen eye for these details.

For example the new processor has (incoherent mumbling). And uh there’s also the new (mumbling). Plus you can’t miss the (throat clearing).

Seriously though, this is the first time Samsung has put an AMOLED screen on its tablet and the results are superb. It has the sharpest pixel resolution on the market (that includes the iPad) and it’s suitable to read both outdoors and in. Plus Samsung’s widescreen design approach makes it easier to hold with one hand, or use your thumbs to type with two hands.

Other incremental improvements include this being Samsung’s thinnest and lightest tablet yet. But at this point I don’t think most people notice a couple extra millimeters or grams. The Tab S is also very responsive and snappy.

You have to give it to Samsung for including all the bells and whistles you’d want on a device. The fingerprint scanner is a neat way to unlock your tablet, even if it can be a bit finicky. Samsung smartly puts its front-facing camera to use to detect your eyes, so it knows when you’re looking at the device and the screen won’t automatically turn off.

Samsung also adds a thick coating of extra software on top of the Android OS. For me, most of this is unneeded and could even be confusing to a user. Why offer a specific Samsung app store in addition to Google Play? But some of Samsung’s partnerships with the likes of Evernote, Dropbox, and the New York Times are pretty nice. Users get premium accounts, extra cloud storage, and free newspaper and magazine downloads for free along with a Samsung device purchase.

You’ll notice a couple of moorings on the back of the device. No, those aren’t secret buttons. It’s to attach the Samsung screen covers and foldable stands for this device.

In Canada, the Galaxy Tab S 8.4-inch device with 16 GB of storage sells for $419.99. Move up to the 10.5-inch model for $519.99.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Brian Jackson
Brian Jackson
Editorial director of IT World Canada. Covering technology as it applies to business users. Multiple COPA award winner and now judge. Paddles a canoe as much as possible.

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