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Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5 review

Tablet hardware impresses, but is let down by overbearing user interface
Tue Aug 05 2014, 08:24

Product Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5
Specifications 10.5in 2560x1800 resolution Super AMOLED display, fingerprint scanner, octa-core Samsung Exynos 5 processor, 3GB RAM, 8MP rear-facing camera with flash, 2.1MP front-facing camera, 16GB/32GB internal storage, microSD card slot supporting cards up to 128GB, 802.11a/b/g/n WiFi, 7,900mAh battery, Android 4.4.2 Kitkat mobile operating system, 247x177x6.6mm, 465g
Price £400

THE SAMSUNG GALAXY TAB S has one thing in its sights: Apple's iPad Air.

Samsung hasn't had much success in the tablet market, but it is looking to change that with the Galaxy Tab S, which it boasts is "slimmer and lighter" than Apple's flagship tablet and has a higher-resolution display.

The Galaxy Tab S 10.5 is one of the thinnest and lightest tablet on the market. It measures 247x177x6.6mm - skinnier than the 7.5mm thick iPad Air - and it tips the scales at 465g. While Samsung has been keen to boast that the tablet is lighter than the iPad Air, it in fact weighs just four grams less than its competitor, with the Air starting at 469g.

Still, with its slim profile and light weight the Galaxy Tab S feels quite comfortable in hand for a tablet of its size, although we didn't notice much difference compared to the iPad Air's usability. One thing we weren't too keen about was the tablet's physical button placement, which means the tablet is designed to work in landscape orientation.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S design

In terms of its look, the Galaxy Tab S is a larger version of the Galaxy S5, featuring a similar perforated plastic back and metal edging around its sides. While it doesn't feel quite as high end as it would if it were clad in aluminium, the Galaxy Tab S does feel like a premium device, with its rubberised casing giving the tablet a robust and drop-proof feel.

Also much like the Galaxy S5, the Galaxy Tab S comes with a fingerprint scanner built into its physical home button, adding an extra layer of security to the device. We found this worked accurately most of the time, perhaps more than Apple's Touch ID sensor. Unlike the Galaxy S5, however, the tablet does not come with IP57 certification.

The screen on the Galaxy Tab S is arguably its most exciting feature. We got our hands on the Galaxy Tab S 10.5 - with the tablet also available in an 8.4in model - which boasts an 2560x1600 Super AMOLED sceen with 288ppi pixel density. In comparison, the iPad Air touts a 9.7in 1536x2048 resolution screen with a pixel density of 264ppi.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5

Thanks to a combination of its high resolution and AMOLED display, the screen on the Galaxy Tab S is one of the most vibrant we have used - so much so that we found ourselves having to turn down the brightness for fear of losing our eyesight. This AMOLED screen technology makes blacks deeper and colours more vivid than those you'll find on a traditional LCD display.

We did find, however, that images can sometimes look oversaturated on the Galaxy Tab S, and that text isn't quite as crisp as that often seen on smaller screen devices.

Next: Performance, operating system.


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