Roydon CerejoJul 02, 2014 14:33:09 IST
It's easy to see why Samsung made a big hoopla about their new Tab S launch, now that we've seen them. This is no run of the mill Tab refresh that Samsung ritually performs year after year. The Tab S is Samsung's way of telling the Android competition why they are the one to beat.
With a tighter control of the hardware and software than ever before, the Tab S is at long last, a Samsung tablet that can actually go toe to toe with Apple's offering, now that it has been launched in India. The price of the 16 GB 8.4-inch version with 3G connectivity is Rs 37,800 while the 10.5-inch tab with 16 GB along with 3G connectivity is priced at Rs 44,800.
Samsung had the iPad Air and mini with Retina clearly in its crosshairs when designing the Tab S series. The display is the talking point of the new tabs and when compared to Apple's Retina displays side by side, the colours are noticeably richer and punchier. Black levels are as inky you'll ever get and the new display modes like adaptive display, prevents colours from looking oversaturated, which is an easy trap to fall in when it comes to Super AMOLED displays.
The 8.4 and 10.5 models are pretty much identical spec for spec except for the battery size of course. They are both lighter and thinner than Apple's offerings. As far as premium feel goes, we will say that they are an upgrade from their existing Tab series but it's really hard to make plastic feel anything close to actual aluminium. The Tab S is lighter but you sacrifice the feel of cold metal for plastic.
The perforated back is intentionally designed to look like an S5 since both devices are flagships in their own right. The two circular buttons are just that, physical push buttons which make attaching the smart cover a lot easier without adding bulk. The Tab S is not waterproof like the S5 however, it does inherit the fingerprint scanner. Both tablets have IR blasters and the same 8MP rear camera and 2.2MP front facing.
One of the biggest additions is the new software features like SideSync 3.0 and Remote PC. The former is similar to Apple's Continuity and Handodd, except that instead of just reciving calls through the tablet, SideSync actually creates a virtual image of your S5 on the Tab S and lets you use all the functions as if you were physically using the phone. Both devices connect over Wi-Fi Direct which allows you to transfer files as well with good speed. This also comes in handy in MultiWindow mode.
The UI is surprisingly quick and fluid. In fact, it wouldn't be a stretch to say this is the fastest we've seen TouchWiz on any Galaxy device. The Magazine UX interface is similar to the Tab Pro and Note Pro but tweaked a bit.
The aggressive pricing from Samsung is what got everyone in the audience really excited. The Tab 10.5 and Tab 8.4 start at $499 and $399, for the 16GB, Wi-Fi only models. Sound familiar? Samsung is ruthlessly going after Apple's turf by offering a better spec'd tablet with a similar look and feel (thinner and lighter in fact) for the same price. Not only that, Samsung is throwing in a whole bunch of freebies by signing up exclusive partnerships with folks like Marvel, Conde Nast, Netflix and many others. Samsung is not leaving any stone unturned as it's covering its bases very well in terms of content for consumption.
Here's a short video hands-on with the Galaxy Tab S 8.4:
The Tab S series is quite something. It's nothing like Samsung's previous or current offerings which is why this gets its own special launch event. Our only fear is, can Samsung commit to the Tab S in terms of regular updates and bug fixes? We're confident that the Tab S is convincing enough to sway prospective iPad buyers. However, in doing so, you're also inadvertently buying to Samsung's own little ecosystem. In order for some of the biggest features like SideSync 3.0 to work, you'll need a high-end phone like the S5 or at least a relatively high-end Samsung device (we're presuming at this point).
Stay tuned for our full review of the new Tab S, which will be coming soon.
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