Samsung knows that people love to watch video on their tablets, so it only makes sense that the company take one of the best parts of its Galaxy S5 phone–the rich AMOLED display–and supersize it for the new Galaxy Tab S. Coming in July in 8.4-inch ($399) and 10.5-inch ($499) sizes, both new tablets beat the iPad Air and iPad mini Retina when it comes to contrast, color and resolution. Plus, you can take calls and interact with your Galaxy S phone right from the larger display. The new Tab S slates just prior to their debut has luscious screens, thin designs and family sharing features.
Design -Thinner Than Air: Samsung deserves credit for delivering designs that feel modern and warm at the same time. Sporting clean lines, the Tab S comes in Dazzling White and Titanium Bronze, and they sport a dotted pattern on the back that’s similar to the Galaxy S5.
As with the S5, you’ll also find a fingerprint sensor in the Home button for unlocking your device and making payments via PayPal. However, there’s a key design difference between the Tab S and S5. The tablet’s back cover houses two dimples that connect to Samsung’s new covers, which snap into place.
The new Tab S devices are also strikingly thin, measuring just 0.26 inche, compared to 0.29 inches for the iPad Air and mini. The 8.4-inch Tab S weighs 13.9 ounces, while the 10.5 inch model weighs 1.02 pounds. The aluminum clad 7.9 inch Retina Mini and 9.7-inch Air weigh a lighter 11.7 ounces and 1 pound, respectively, but they have smaller screens.
Awesome AMOLED Display: Samsung says that the 2560 x 1600-pixel AMOLED display on the Tab S has a 100 times better contrast ratio than other tablets with LCD screens. A nature video that showed a gorilla, fox and other animals looked as good as the real thing–actually better. The latest iPads look a little cloudier in dark scenes, and the resolution is a lower 2048 x 1536 pixels.
As with the Galaxy S5 and Note 3 phones, AMOLED delivers brighter whites and darker blacks, as well as superior viewing angles. Also, Samsung’s Adaptive Display tech automatically optimizes the color range, saturation and sharpness based on the lighting conditions. To help you get the most out of this screen, Samsung is partnering with Conde Nast and others for magazine and Marvel comics for a free trial.
SideSync 3.0 Control Your Phone: The coolest feature of the Tab S, SideSync 3.0 lets you interact with your Galaxy smartphone right on the big screen. Connecting via Wi-Fi Direct, you can drag and drop photos, launch apps, and take calls through the tablet. No problem answering a call through the Tab S and gabbing away using its built-in speaker. The SideSync app did lag at times, but hope that’s due to so many devices being in the room at once.
Family Sharing Done Right: It’s nice to see that Apple will finally make the iPad more family friendly by this fall with Family Sharing in iOS 8, which will let you share purchases, calendar, location and more. But there still isn’t a dedicated mode for children. Samsung brings that to the table with Kids Mode, which gives junior a walled garden populated only with apps you approve. You can even have Junior log in directly with his fingerprint.
Other Specs and Features: The Tab S lets you run two apps on the screen at once using the Multi Window feature. An octa-core Exynos processor and 3GB of RAM should keep things running smoothly on both tablets, although there is a delay when switching screen orientations.
You’ll find an 8-MP camera on the back and a 2.1-MP camera up front for selfies. The Tab S will come with 16GB of storage standard, which you can upgrade via the microSD Card slot. An LTE version will also be available, but Samsung has not yet announced pricing or carrier availability.
You really have to see the Galaxy Tab S tablets in person to appreciate just how awesome their AMOLED screens are. Whether you opt for 8.4 inches or 10.5, the displays make everything from movies and webpages to photos and games look bolder and richer than the iPad. Also, Samsung has decided to migrate its SideSync software from PCs to tablets, making it easy to take calls from you slate as well as remotely control your Samsung phone.