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Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5, analysis and user experience

Already with the hangover of the presentations of IFA, we have seen how many brands have presented their products and, although watches and wearable devices have been the main protagonists, the true kings of the shed continue to be smartphones and tablets Samsung was one of the main claims of IFA, an event in which it presented its new Note 4, among other devices, but also remembered to mention its range of tablets, specifically, the last ones to arrive and that stand out for the high quality of your screen: Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5 and 8.4 inches.

Both were presented in New York at a dedicated event last June, something that really surprised us a bit, since only a few months ago, at the beginning of the year, the South Korean manufacturer announced its range of Tab Pro tablets, supposedly for have them as top of the range. So what is the main claims of the Tab S? Your panel display SuperAMOLED (among other news, of course). We have spent a few weeks with the largest one, the Tab S 10.5, and here goes our Deep analysis on which it is possibly, one of the best Android tablets that have been created to date.

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Review of the Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5

As always, we will begin by reviewing the components Of the device. The Tab S 10.5 has a high-end hardware, with which Samsung wants to win the position of best tablet of its kind. Starting with the most obvious, we have its huge 10.5 inch screen, it is a panel SuperAMOLED with WQXGA resolution 2560 × 1600 pixels, which gives a density of about 288ppi and looks spectacularly good.

Inside, in the version with WiFi connectivity only, the one that we have used, sends its own processor Exynos 5 Octa eight-core, divided into two quad-core at 1.9GHz and another four at 1.3GHz. In the case of the variant compatible with LTE networks, its processor becomes a Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 QuadCore at 2.5GHz. To complete the set and ensure a smooth experience, they accompany you 3GB of RAM

Features of the Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5 WiFi

  • SuperAMOLED screen 10.5 inches WQXGA 2560 × 1600 pixels
  • Samsung Exynos 5 Octa 5420 processor (Quad 1.9GHz + Quad 1.3GHz)
  • GPU Mali-T628 MP6
  • 3GB RAM
  • 16GB or 32GB of storage + micro SD card slot
  • 8MP rear camera + Flash / 2.1MP front
  • 16GB of storage + microSD card up to 128GB
  • WiFi 802.11 a / b / g / n / ac MIMO, WiFi Direct, Bluetooth 4.0, IrLED
  • Android 4.4 KitKat + TouchWiz
  • 7900mAh battery
  • 247.3 x 177.3 x 6.6 mm
  • 465 grams

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As for the storage, we have two models of 16GB or 32GB, although both have a slot to insert a micro SD Up to 128GB in which we can store all kinds of multimedia content. For its part, the camera rear mounted an 8MP sensor and is accompanied by an LED flash, while the front is reduced to 2.1MP, more than enough to make videoconferences.

If we go to the drums, in the Galaxy Tab S 10.5 it has a capacity of 7900mAh, A step back if we see the Tab Pro 10.1 or Note 10.1, which exceed 8000mAh, but nevertheless give the size and we also have the ultra energy saving mode that debuted in the S5. By compare it with the competition, the Sony Xperia Tablet Z2 falls well below when mounting a 6000mAh battery.

If we look at the software, how could it be otherwise, The Tab S works under Android 4.4 KitKat, yes, customized by the new layer TouchWiz with the desks Magazine IU that, honestly I have not disgusted. Later we will enter them, as well as the other gifts that it brings.

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Design and construction

Samsung has taken great care in the design of the Tab S, although many of its elements are inherited from previous devices, mainly from the Galaxy S5 presented at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. When you see it for the first time it surprises its design, it shows samples of a quality tablet, with very tight edges and dimensions certainly contained, although it is still a 10.5-inch tablet.

What do we not just like? that doesn't stop being plastic. At first glance it looks great, but to take it in the hand is when we notice that those glossy finishes and frames with metallic appearance are still that, a finish. Eye, that does not mean that it is of poor quality, on the contrary, but since Samsung wants to beat the iPads with its Tab S, it would not hurt to do it also in the materials used.

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However, if there is a spectacular appearance in the Samsung Galaxy Tab S, both 10.5 and 8.4, it is your thickness: 6.6 mm. The figure is spectacular, both in sight and when taking and transporting it. In addition, the weight accompanies, since with its 465 grams I have come to use it for hours "by weight" and the "lightness" is appreciated.

If we do an external review of its design, starting with the front the main protagonist is its 10.5-inch screen, under it is the physical button that characterizes the Samsung and is accompanied by the buttons capacitive Back and access to recent Apps. The physical button, by the way, houses the fingerprint reader, since these tablets are the first to incorporate it, and it works the same as in the S5, sliding on it, something that I just did not like and slows its use.

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On the screen we have the 2.1MP front camera and proximity and brightness sensors. The rear has the same microperforated finish of the S5, which I like more and more every time and I think it improves the grip and offers a good touch. That area is practically clean except for the rear camera and flash, centered on the top, and the two hitch points for the accessory case.

That sheath, by the way, we have also been able to prove it and it is of great quality. It is coupled by hooking the two rear points (you have to squeeze, without fear, although it impresses a little) and protects the tablet completely, leaving the holes for camera and microphones. In addition, it allows us to use it as a stand, being able to place it in 3 tilt positions. Very useful and well finished.

Finally, on the top edge we have the power and volume buttons, as well as the emitter of infrared, while the right part has the lid that hides the microSD slot and the microUSB port. To highlight the placement of speakers, They are very well located behind two grilles in the right and left frame, so that they are almost imperceptible and we do not cover them by supporting or taking the tablet with our hands. The sound they offer is quite loud.

In general, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5 is solid, well built and does not “crack” at any time, but it is plastic and in that sense is behind models such as the Xperia Z2 Tablet or the iPad itself. Of course, if Samsung has already started put metal frames both in the Galaxy Alpha and in the new Note 4, I am almost sure that we will soon see the first tablets with the same design and finishes.

Screen, the great protagonist

They made it clear during their presentation, The new Tab S screen would be your main claim. Saying “Amoled” inevitably reminds Samsung, the South Korean giant has been using this technology for many years, especially in smartphones, where it has achieved that with a lot of work and improvements, the gap between the LCDs and them is getting smaller, and you just have to see the great evolution taken from Note 3, S5, these Tab S and finally in the recent Note 4.

The Tab S screen is news because to see the Samsung's latest tablet with Amoled must be traced back to 2011, when they used it on the Galaxy Tab 7.7. Since then, they have always opted for LCDs on their tablets (even in Tab Pro), until the arrival of Tab S. Thus, they have managed to manufacture a great panel SuperAMOLED with a tremendous resolution of 2560 × 1600 which, according to the detailed analysis of DisplayMate, is the best that has been created to date on tablets.

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Pure blacks and bright colors, so you could define this screen. Viewing images in high resolution, videos or texts is wonderful, in addition the representation of colors is quite faithful and no longer sins so much of supersaturation. The viewing angles are very good, and the maximum high brightness. In interiors I have never gotten to use it to the maximum, and in exteriors it is seen correctly, although neither it is of the most remarkable thing.

By the way, another advantage of using SuperAMOLED is that allows to reduce the weight and thickness of the device, and its energy expenditure is lowerThat is why the use of a smaller battery may be justified (in addition to being limited by the thickness of 6.6 that they wanted to achieve, of course).

In general, we have a very good screen, high resolution To enjoy all kinds of defined content (this is even more noticeable in Tab S 8.4, where there is more density), we can vary the way the colors are reproduced as we want and I especially liked the low brightness that can be achieved, necessary if we work with her in dark environments and we don't want to leave our eyes.

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I'm not a big fan of taking pictures or videos with tablets, I feel like the fourth referee taking the board with the discount time, but if you are going to use the Tab S for some sporadic take, it complies to spare. As a main and rear camera mount a sensor 8MP f / 2.4 that behaves in situations of good lighting, the level of detail is good and the colors resulting from the appropriate processing, the focus and shooting is quite fast and the noise is low.

If we go to dark environments, it does weaken a bit and noise makes an appearance, but come on, nothing that does not happen in other devices of its kind and we will always have the LED flash to lend us a hand. The 2.1 MP front, also with opening f / 2.4, it is enough for the occasional selfie and more than correct for video calls. By the way, both cameras are capable of Record video in FullHD 1080p resolution.

Here are a few photos that I have taken with the Galaxy Tab S 10.5, they are reduced to 1024x, but if you want to see them at maximum resolution, You can download them from this Drive folder.

Moreover, the camera application It is practically traced to that of the S5, we have multiple photographic adjustments, extra options, shooting modes and effects to apply to the photos.

User experience and software

As I said at the beginning, in Tab S we find one of the latest versions of Android (4.4.2 KitKat) and, as usual on Samsung devices, it comes “hidden” under the redesigned TouchWiz layer It must be recognized that this new version of its customization improves a lot both aesthetically and fluently. Many will not like and prefer Android stock, but the truth is that a layer of this type on tablets is necessary, since It adds many features and utilities that enhance the experience on large screens.

For example, in the Tab S desktop itself we have an area, say, “traditional”, that is, desktop as we know where to place shortcuts, folders and application widgets, and if we move to one side we find UI Magazine, which is nothing more than a screen composed of information boxes, which is integrated with Flipboard and where we can see the latest news or topics of interest at once.

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If we slide once more then we have a more area oriented to the work and productivity, since we have quick access to the calendar, upcoming events, email accounts, recent documents and others. That productivity is also enhanced with the system of multiventana. Samsung continues to improve this utility (even more so in the Note 4) and in these tablets it is enough to swipe from the right edge of the screen to deploy a small panel from which to choose which apps do we want to use at the same time, being able to resize the piece of screen for each one and others.

In addition, the fact that we have as a capacitive button that of recent Apps, we can quickly switch between them, although sometimes the system slows down, but nothing worrisome in that regard. As for the rest of the interface, the notification area has been improved, we can customize it with many “switches” and in general everything adopts an aesthetic plus flat With flat colors.

We no longer find so many proprietary Samsung applications, but we still have a few such as RemotePC, S Voice, SideSync 3.0, WatchON, WebEX and not to mention the huge list of "Galaxy Gifts", gifts of applications and premium subscription periods for services that we will have to buy this tablet (space in the cloud, games, magazines …).

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In daily use, this tablet behaves perfectly. Despite mounting the Exynos 5420 (which many people will not like), its performance is very good in virtually any condition, in addition to 3GB of RAM help not to lose memory at any time, even making intensive use of multitasking.

Browsing the web is very fluid and consuming multimedia content is in its sauce, you can imagine how the files look in high definition with that screen. Reading texts is also a pass through the definition Of these, obviously I do not speak of reading books, we already know that the best in these cases is electronic ink, but of magazines such as those given (type GQ and more).

In games it also behaves very well, specifically, demanding titles such as Real Racing 3, Asphalt 8 and the like move perfectly and without any risk of slowing down, so in that sense no complaint. Of course, in those situations the temperature of the Tab S also increases (and more in the month of August).

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As for the fingerprint reader, nothing has changed with respect to the S5. We configure it by swiping the button several times and we can use it to unlock the tablet and make payments with PayPal. If Samsung's goal with it was to combat Apple's TouchID, in that sense it is still a long way off, it still seems like a slow system and often fails, as in other cases such as HTC One Max. We still have to improve there.

For the rest, well, it's Android, you have all the Google Play applications at your disposal, although that may also be a point to improve, since we still miss many with an interface adapted to tablets, hopefully the arrival of Material Design and the unification of the design will help (because we imagine that the Tab S will also receive Android L, for lack of power it will not be).

Benchmarks and performance test

The usual, I don't like to talk about results in benchmarks Because they do not reflect the actual performance of the devices and are just a number. Even so, as many of you like and although it seems a lie, many consider them to buy one device or another, there they go.

In AnTuTu, one of the best known, throws a figure higher than 33,000 points, above, for example, the LG G3 and below the S5 (with Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor).

Battery and autonomy

Here we find a non-removable battery capable of 7900mAh which is one step below the Tab Pro, but as we said before, the SuperAMOLED screen requires less energy and to achieve that thickness of 6.6 millimeters you have to cut space and one of the sections affected is the battery.

Even so, in our tests we have verified that with a medium use, using it sporadically to navigate, watch a video, read documents and others, it can last two days without problem. With one more use intensive, games, continuous web browsing and without taking special care with the brightness, we will end it in one day. That is, in continuous and demanding use it will last from 8 to 10 hours depending on the connections, brightness and others.

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If at some point we are fair and we are not close to the charger, we can activate the ultra power saving mode who already presented us with the Samsung Galaxy S5. It consists of a mode that turns the screen black and white, therefore, being a SuperAMOLED panel, all black areas are turned off, and limits the number of applications and tools available to a few, thus increasing the battery a few hours plus.

By the way, the recharge speed (with the original charger), is far from being the fastest on the market, being able to widely exceed 5 hours to reach 100%.

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Conclusions: the best Android tablet of the moment?

We reach the end of this analysis and the previous question is the question I have left after having been with her for the last few weeks. If Samsung was looking to create a tablet where the screen was the main protagonist, it has succeeded, It looks great and it is also embedded in an enviable, light and thin body.

However, although the Samsung Galaxy Tab S moves smoothly in most situationsTo what extent does it affect you to ride an Exynos instead of the latest from Qualcomm? It is clear that not everything happens to assemble the last components of the market, but I would say that in the coming months we will see a revision of this model with very few changes and among which there will be a Snapdragon 805/810, capable of moving these resolutions more easily.

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Eye, with this I do not mean that not of the size, on the contrary, for my use, the one that I have detailed above, has complied and I could certainly say that this would be one of the first Android tablets that I would buy if I was in a situation of This (although perhaps I would be more inclined to the 8.4-inch one, by size more than anything). Even so, being a fantastic tablet, has room for improvement: the materials used for its construction and the drums (I would change a couple of millimeters to a larger one).

Its price? The 16GB model can already be found below € 500 and among its outstanding competitors we have as main rival in Android the Xperia Z2 Tablet or the new Xperia Tablet Z3 Compact (against Tab S of 8.4) and, of course, the iPad.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S Notes

Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5, analysis and user experience
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