The "1-Minute" Review
- Display colors oversaturated
- Noisy photos in low light
It seems recently that Apple and Samsung seem to be the market leaders for smartphones and tablets, and Samsung continues that trend with its Galaxy Tab S 8.4. Taking its design cues from the Samsung Galaxy 5, the Tab S 8.4 features the same soft-touch, dotted back cover and physical home button on the front. At 8.4 x 4.9 x 0.3, it's a slim piece of hardware, though it's overall size made it difficult for reviewers to use one-handed. Luckily it's relatively light weight of 248 grams make it easy for them to use for long periods of time.
It isn't Samsung's design, however, that will attract potential consumers. It's the 8.4-inch, Super AMOLED display. The 2,460 x 1,600 resolution leads to a pixel density of 359ppi, which is slightly sharper than the iPad Mini. Although it is technically sharper, critics had a difficult time noticing a significant difference between the two. Both, they state, allowed them to easily read small text on web pages or magazines. Like other Super AMOLED displays, the Tab S8.4 delivered vibrant colors and deep blacks though reviewers note that it can be a bit too vivid. In order to combat the oversaturation, Samsung added a feature that allows users to adjust the color balance for a more natural appearance. As well, experts were pleased with the overall brightness with CNET adding, "It's searingly bright, too, doing a great job at countering the worst of overhead office lights…"
Running the device is Samsung's custom processor the Exynos 5 octa-core processor. While it technically has 8 processors, not all of them are running at once. During more basic tasks, the device only uses the 1.3GHz quad core portion with the 1.9GHz quad-core kicking in during more demanding tasks like gaming. This allows it to efficiently manage its 4,900mAh battery for extended life at least in theory. When put to the test reviewers were able to get over 11 hours during battery draining tests and over 24 hours during moderate usage. With a beefy processor and 3GB of RAM, the Tab S8.4's performance is unsurprisingly smooth. Reviewers were able to navigate the homepage seamlessly and play graphically intense games without frame rate drops or slowdowns. App addicts will also be happy with the 16GB/32GB of onboard storage and microSD slot expansion.
Tablets are not known for their strong camera performance, but the Tab S 8.4 delivered decent results. While experts wouldn't compare it to the iPhone 6 Plus camera, they add that it is perfectly capable of quick snap shooting. The 8MP camera was able to provide them with rich and accurate colors and good details in decent lighting situations. As with many tablet cameras, they noticed a drop off in quality in low light with noise in shadowed areas.
Overall, experts are generally pleased with the quality of the Samsung Tab S 8.4. PC Mag states, "…I'm happy to recommend the…Tab S 8.4…If you intend to read, surf or watch on your pocket-sized tablet, it simply shines." NY Daily News adds, "…if you're going to go Android, you simply can't find a better choice."