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Galaxy Tab S: The screen's the thing with this iPad rival

Blake Stimac | June 25, 2014
Samsung's tablet lineup can feel a bit crowded--it already offers Tab and Note devices, each with its own Pro version. And the Galaxy Tab S announced earlier this month adds another tablet to the mix. Good thing, then, that the Tab S 8.4 and 10.5 are among Samsung's best tablets yet.

Samsung's tablet lineup can feel a bit crowded — it already offers Tab and Note devices, each with its own Pro version. And the Galaxy Tab S announced earlier this month adds another tablet to the mix. Good thing, then, that the Tab S 8.4 and 10.5 are among Samsung's best tablets yet.

There's a lot going on with the Tab S, and after a quick read of the spec sheet, it's easy to see that Samsung had its sights on perfection. While you'll still find some of the company's standard features and unfortunate plastic build materials, the entire package seems more well-thought-out than some of its other products.

With the Tab S, the great screens that adorn Samsung's smartphones are now available in tablet form. The screen on the Tab S looks stunning, but it may be something that only enthusiasts will seek out. AMOLED displays are bright and offer deep blacks, but you'll find that the colors are usually over-saturated throughout. Personally, I like the touch of over-saturation on the display, especially when viewing already-vivid colors.

With display resolutions of 2560x1600 (that's slightly higher than the resolution of the iPad Air), text and images on the Tab S tablets are ultra crisp. Given that both tablets share the same resolution, this gives the 8.4-inch Tab S a higher PPI (pixels per inch) spec of 359, as opposed to the 287 PPI found on the 10.5-inch model.

Just because the display on the Tab S is ultra vibrant and bright doesn't mean that you'll always want it to be. Luckily, Samsung has a few tricks of its own to help you adjust the brightness and tone of the gorgeous screen. No matter the content you're viewing — an ebook, a movie, or even a website — the Tab S will have a setting for it, as Samsung's Adaptive Display adjusts itself for the best viewing experience. While Adaptive Display is currently limited to only seven applications, Samsung provides three Screen Modes that work for all apps to provide optimal tone and brightness for whatever you're viewing.

The Tab S tablets are more than just fantastic displays slapped on top of average tablets. Both sizes of the Tab S have an incredibly thin profile of 6.6mm, which is thinner than most smartphones today. The AMOLED display helps in this regard, as it doesn't need the backlight that LCD panels do. The new tablets are also very light. With the larger Tab S weighing only 465 grams, it's difficult to believe you're holding a tablet with a 10.5-inch screen. As for the 8.4-inch Tab S, its 294 gram weight is almost the same as two Galaxy S5s.

 

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