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Samsung Galaxy Tab S: Can it bring some colour back to the tablet market?

Samsung's thinnest slate takes aims at the iPad Air and aims to add some excitement back into the tablet world.
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Topic: Mobility
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1 of 6 Steve Ranger/ZDNet

Samsung has unveiled its latest flagship tablet the Galaxy Tab S, which it claims is its thinnest and lightest yet: an Android 4.4 KitKat device which comes in 10.5-inch and a 8.4-inch versions and aims to go head-to-head with Apple's iPad Air and iPad mini.

Whereas Samsung's Galaxy NotePro and Galaxy TabPro products are positioned as business focused productivity device, the Galaxy Tab S - seen above - is aimed more at content consumers, with the screen a major selling point.

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2 of 6 Steve Ranger/ZDNet

As much as 50 percent of tablet usage is watching video and other content, said Samsung. As such the tablet's 16:10 screen offers 90 percent RGA colour coverage which the company said means it is able to display more colours than before, while the 100,000:1 contrast ratio provides deeper and more realistic images.

Samsung said because a Super AMOLED screen doesn't need to be backlit the devices consume less power than a LCD screen device.  The tablet also features a fingerprint reader which may be a handy addition for enterprise users and Side Sync call forwarding which allows the device to make and receive calls from their linked smartphone.

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3 of 6 Steve Ranger/ZDNet

In an attempt to distinguish its devices among a commoditised sea of slabs, Samsung is attempting to build out the content ecosystem around the device. Just in time for the World Cup it demonstrated its new 'Kick' app for European football with data visualisation tools to allow fans to explore details of team and player performance.

If the tablet user has a Samsung TV they can also use the multi-screen version of the app which will overlay information from the app on the TV screen while they are watching a game. Samsung's 'Papergarden' magazine app is new with the Tab S which it describes as an "optimised viewing environment" for digital magazines.

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4 of 6 Steve Ranger/ZDNet

Samsung has also designed a 'Book Cover' for the tablet  - seen above - which folds into a stand which has three different viewing settings – this is attached to the device by hooks rather than magnets which the company said is more secure. The tablet will be available from 4 July in two colours, Titanium Bronze and White.

After years of rapid growth tablet sales growth has now started to cool; according to analyst IDC  while 50 million tablets were shipped worldwide in the first quarter of this year that's a mere 3.9 percent up on the same period last year. The slowdown was felt across all operating systems and screen sizes and the analyst said this most likely points to an even tougher year ahead for the category. Last quarter Samsung shipped 11 million tablets according to IDC and held a 22 percent worldwide market share.

As the market cools tablet makers are looking for new ways to stand out. Because of the breadth of its product portfolio, Samsung is hoping to persuade consumers about the benefits of a "three-screen experience" linking TV, smartphone and tablet - which it hopes can give it an advantage over rivals in a crowded market.

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5 of 6 Steve Ranger/ZDNet

Here are the two models side-by-side.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4 inch specs

Processor Exynos 5 Octa (1.9GHz quadcore plus 1.3Ghz quadcore) or Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 2.3 GHz Quadcore.

Display 8.4-inch 2560x1600 WQXGA Super AMOLED

Operating System Android 4.4 KitKat

Camera 8MP, 2.1MP

Connectivity Wi-fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac Mimo, Wi-fi Direct, Bluetooth 4.0

Sensors Accelerometer, fingerprint sensor, gyro, geomagnetic, hall, RGB, proximity sensor (LTE only)

Memory 3GB RAM, 16/32GB internal memory, MicroSD up to 128GB

Battery 4,900mAh

Dimensions 125.6x212.8x6.6mm

Weight 294g (wi-fi) 298 (LTE)

 

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6 of 6 Steve Ranger/ZDNet

Galaxy Tab S 10.5-inch specs

Processor Exynos 5 Octa (1.9GHz quadcore plus 1.3Ghz quadcore) or Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 2.3 GHz Quadcore.

Display 10.5-inch 2560x1600 WQXGA Super AMOLED

Operating System Android 4.4 KitKat

Camera 8MP, 2.1MP

Connectivity Wi-fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac Mimo, Wi-fi Direct, Bluetooth 4.0

Sensors Accelerometer, fingerprint sensor, gyro, geomagnetic, hall, RGB

Memory 3GB RAM, 16/32GB internal memory, MicroSD up to 128GB

Battery 7,900mAh

Dimensions 247.3x177.3x6.6

Weight 465g (wi-fi) 467 (LTE)

Further reading

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