The Samsung Galaxy Tab S is a beautiful device. There I said it. Some people around Geekzone will probably know I am not a big fan of Samsung's Galaxy S series of smartphones when it comes to design but the Samsung Galaxy Tab S is an entirely different thing.
First its 8.4" Super AMOLED screen makes it very usable. With a 2560 x 1600 pixels resolution, it is the perfect size for entertainment and work. I live in email and this screen size makes a huge difference for comfortable use.
The screen size also allows you to make use of its Multi Window, a feature that lets you run two apps, side by side. You swipe from the right-side edge of the screen to open the Multi Window drawer and select which app you want to open. It will either use alternate sides of the screen for each app you select, or you can drag an icon to the side you want.
You can even set an option to automatically open content (email attachments for example) in its own side of the screen, automatically.
The lock screen cards are really useful bits of information you can quickly see without unlocking the device.
You will also find Blocking Mode useful. This feature allows you to disable notifications and/or alarms either manually or within a set time.
Another point for the screen is the Adaptive Display option, which will automatically select a screen mode based on content being presented, or you can manually select AMOLED Cinema and AMOLED Photo for different colour modes.
A feature that works pretty well on a screen this size and makes it easier to work is the Toolbox, which will show a small floating circle which will expand on touch to reveal up to five icons to start your favourite apps.
In terms of security the Samsung Galaxy Tab S supports Samsung Knox, a platform that offers multi-layer security for your device, as well as Private Mode to hide personal content when used in some apps (Gallery, Video, Music and My Files), plus finger scanner, which works well as an authentication device but can't be used if your device has rules that enforce PIN (when using an Exchange account with strict security policies for example).
The 1.9GHz octa-core processor performs really well, although in 3D tests it wasn't the fastest. Still I felt the device a lot quicker than the Samsung Galaxy S5, as a comparison. The device comes in 16GB and 32GB versions, but if you feel limited a microSD slot supports cards up to 128GB for extra storage.
In terms of connectivity it comes with 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac 2.4G+5GHz, VHT80 MIMO support which makes it easier to connect to modern wireless access point and skip those congested 2.4GHz waves. It also supports WiFi Direct and Bluetooth 4.0 (HSP, OPP, A2DP, AVRCP, DI, HID, HOGP, PAN). A 3G/4G version is available but I did not test that model.
One thing I'd like to see here is the adoption of USB 3.0. Using USB 2.0 these days makes it pretty slow to transfer large media files and collections.
The unit I have here is running Android 4.4.2 and includes some Samsung apps. I am no big fan of pre-installed apps and I am happy the Samsung Galaxy Tab S doesn't include some of the apps you see in other Samsung devices - just the basics plus a handful of apps that are actually useful, including Samsung SideSync 3.0 which allows screens, windows and data to be shared between Samsung devices and PCs.
The whole package can be wrapped in a beautiful leather case that clips firmly to the back of the device and uses magnets to latch and to keep it upright (another point for being a great content consumption device). At less than 500g this tablet is really a portable device to consider.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S is available in New Zealand from the 11th July.