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Hands-on: Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4 and 10.5

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Fresh from its global announcement 2 weeks ago, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S is finally launched in Malaysia. This is Samsung’s latest flagship tablet that uses Super AMOLED for its display. For the Malaysian market, we are having both 8.4″ and 10.5″ sizes and both of them are running on Exynos 5 Octa processor with the support for 4G LTE. The Galaxy Tab S 8.4 is priced at RM1,699 while its bigger 10.5 model is RM300 more at RM1,999.

The main highlight is its AMOLED display, which is the same display technology used in its high-end smart phone like the Samsung Galaxy S and Note series. It also marks Samsung’s return of producing AMOLED based tablets since its last model, the Galaxy Tab 7.7 2 years ago. The display boast better experience than conventional LCD displays as it offers better contrast and more vibrant colours which arguably some might find over saturated. On AMOLED displays, each individual pixel can be turn on or off for better power efficiency especially when viewing darker colours. This is more apparent when the display is showing true blacks which also makes it more power efficient than standard LCD panels. Like the Galaxy S5, the Galaxy Tab S also has an Ultra Power Saving Mode where it turns the display to black and white to prolong battery usage.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S Hands-on Video

Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4

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The Galaxy Tab S 8.4 being the smaller of the two is a more portable option and you can use this to make phone calls as it has an earpiece at the top. Weighing in at 298 grams and with a thickness of just 6.6mm, this is the slimmest tablet ever produced by Samsung. The 8.4″ Super AMOLED display pushes an ultra-high 2560×1600 pixels resolution which gives an ultra sharp pixel density of 359ppi (pixels per inch). In fact, this is currently the highest pixel density on a tablet and as comparison, its closest rival the iPad mini with Retina display pushes 326ppi.

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Powering the device surprisingly isn’t a Qualcomm unit but an Exynos 5 Octa-Core processor which is a combination of 1.9GHz Quad-Core + 1.3GHz Quad Core. It is mated to 3GB of RAM and has 16GB of on-board storage. If you need more, it supports microSD cards up to 128GB. For imaging, it has a 8MP camera at the rear with assisted flash while the front camera shoots at 2MP. At the bottom, you’ll find the familiar home button with its accompanying contextual and back buttons. For the first time on their tablet, the home button will be equipped with a Finger Print scanner. If the Galaxy Tab S is a shared device in the family, you can set different profiles which can be accessed with individual finger ID.

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In the hands, it feels incredibly thin and it has a gold coloured frames around the edges. There are 2 colour options available – Titanium Bronze and Dazzling White. The back has a nice grippy feel thanks to its soft touch back which has the same perforated look as the Galaxy S5. Internally, the operating system is what you would expect from Samsung with its TouchWIZ UI that’s running on top of Android 4.4. KitKat. In terms of colours, it looks pretty good and viewing text is very sharp due to its high resolution display. For those who prefer a phablet with high-specs and the best display, the Galaxy Tab S 8.4 is a worthy replacement for the Galaxy Tab 7.7. Furthermore, it is RM700 less compared to its top of the line Galaxy S5 smart phone.

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Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5

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If you prefer something bigger, the Galaxy Tab S 10.5 gets a larger 10.5″ display but it still maintains the same incredibly slim 6.6mm but tips the scale at 467 grams. It may not beat the 6.4mm Xperia Z2 Tablet in terms of weight and thinness but it costs less at RM1,999 (Xperia Z2 Tablet: RM2,299). Inside, the specs are identical as the Galaxy Tab S 8.4 version but it lacks the earpiece at the top, which means phone calls are handled via Bluetooth or through its loud speaker.

Obviously you’ll look silly holding up a 10.5″ tablet next to your head and you’re likely to have a smart phone with you. To seamlessly connect both smart phone and tablets, the Galaxy Tab S also offers Side Sync which lets you connect your Samsung Galaxy S5 display onto your tablet. With both devices connected, you can access your smart phone directly on the tablet including answering calls and replying messages. In terms of productivity tools, the Galaxy Tab S also gets the familiar Multi-Window and Remote PC access that’s being offered on their high-end tablets.

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If you need to do work on the go, there’s also an optional bluetooth keyboard which costs RM459. The keyboard offers a full set of keys including a row for Function keys and we liked how the Tab S can be locked on top with a latch, making it easy to carry both tablet and keyboard as a single piece.

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Also available is a range of covers from a Simple Cover to a Book Cover which lets you stand the tablet in various angles. If you noticed in the pictures, both tablets has a special magnetic docks at the back where the covers can be attached easily.

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With the Galaxy Tab S 8.4 and 10.5 priced at RM1,699 and RM1,999 respectively, it is more affordable than expected considering it packs high-spec internals and probably the best display ever fitted on a tablet. It is definitely more reasonably priced compared to the Galaxy NotePro 12.2 at RM2,999. The Galaxy Tab S will be available nationwide beginning 11th July through its Samsung dealers.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4 Hands-on Photos

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Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5 Hands-on Photos

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