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Galaxy Tab S 8.4 review

Aims to rival the Nexus 7 and iPad Mini 2
Tue Aug 26 2014, 13:55

Product Galaxy Tab S 8.4
Website Samsung UK
Specifications 8.4in 2560x1600 resolution 359ppi Super AMOLED touchscreen display, octa-core 1.9GHz/1.3GHz Samsung Exynos 5 5420 processor, 3GB RAM, 16GB or 32GB internal storage upgradable up to 128GB via microSD card, 8MP rear-facing camera, 2.1MP front camera, 802.11a/b/g/n/ac dual-band WiFi, 3G, 4G, Bluetooth, DLNA connectivity, microUSB port, infrared port, 3.5mm audio jack, Android 4.4 Kitkat mobile operating system, 213x125x6.6mm, 294g
Price £400


ANDROID HAS CARVED OUT a niche in small tablets. Ever since Google released its first Nexus 7 tablet in 2012, users have been flocking to small tablets in droves. In fact that sector of the tablet market proved so successful that the original Nexus 7 prompted Apple to release its own sub-10in iPad Mini tablet.

Aware of how lucrative the small tablet market is, Korean heavyweight Samsung has chosen to take a swing at it this year, releasing its top-end Galaxy Tab S 8.4.

Design and build
Like its big brother the Galaxy Tab S 10.5, the Galaxy Tab S 8.4 looks like a blown-up version of Samsung's Galaxy S5 smartphone and features a metallic frame and a non-removable perforated polycarbonate backplate.

While the polycarbonate plate makes the tablet look a little unassuming compared with some tablets, such as the Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet or iPad Mini 2, we're fairly big fans of the Galaxy Tab S 8.4's design. This is largely due to the Galaxy Tab S 8.4's thin 213x125x6.6mm dimensions and travel-friendly 294g weight.

Galaxy Tab 8.4 review three quarter

The thin design and low weight make the Galaxy Tab S 8.4 both satchel friendly and comfortable to hold. This is helped by the rear plate's slightly rubberised texture and intelligent button placement. Unlike the 10.5 model, the Galaxy Tab 8.4 is designed for portrait use and its physical home button sits in the middle of its bottom edge. The placement makes the Galaxy Tab S 8.4 easier to use as either an e-reader or document editor.

We were also reasonably impressed with the tablet's build quality. Unlike previous Samsung tablets - which had slightly flimsy-feeling smooth or faux leather polycarbonate backplates - the Galaxy Tab S 8.4's perforated back proved reasonably scratch resistant and left us feeling suitably assured it could survive the odd accidental bump or scrape.

Display
We've always been fans of Samsung's Super Amoled technology. At a basic level Super Amoled works the same way as basic Amoled technology.

Galaxy Tab S 8.4 review display

The technology helps screens display deeper and richer blacks by electrically charging each individual pixel when generating colours. This lets Amoled and Super Amoled displays create blacks simply by turning off the relevant pixels.

The negative part of this is that with regular Amoled screens, manufacturers have had to place the capacitive layer – the component that senses touch – on top of the main display, a practice that not only increases the size of the screen but also reduces the device's battery life. Super Amoled fixes this by integrating the capacitive touchscreen layer directly into the display and lets you enjoy all the benefits of Amoled tech, without the incurred battery drain issue.

As a result we were delighted to see Samsung load the Galaxy Tab S 8.4 with an advanced 2560x1600, 8.4in 359ppi Super Amoled capacitive touchscreen. Our positive impressions of Super Amoled technology rang true and the display is one of the best we've seen on any small form-factor tablet.

Colours are dynamic and rich, brightness levels are dazzlingly good and – except when in bright, direct sunlight – icons and text looked crisp and were easily readable.

Next: Operating system and security.

 

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