Samsung’s Galaxy Tab S Tablet: Great Hardware Marred by Too Much Software
Let’s just face it: Tablets may now be fully baked.
They’ve pretty much reached their maturity. There’s not much more anyone can add to them.
It happens. Sometimes, products fulfill their destinies and stop growing. We don’t complain about the lack of breakthrough new features in lawnmowers, toasters, or even PCs, do we?
Samsung is only making the sense of stagnation worse by flooding the market with very similar tablet models — nine different Android tablets this year. Trying to describe and review them, let alone trying to choose one to buy, gets exhausting.
But here’s a shot: a review of the latest hot tablet, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S.
Samsung has done an excellent job on the hardware of this device. It’s available in two sizes, $500 for the 10.5-inch model, $400 for the 8.4-incher. (Those are the 16-gigabyte, WiFi-only models. $50 more buys you 32 gigabytes; no cellular version is available yet.)
Here’s what’s good about these devices:
• Weight. Weight makes a huge difference in an object you have to hold all the time you’re using it. The Samsung tablet is much lighter than the iPad: two-thirds of a pound instead of a whole pound. It’s slightly thinner, too.
(Unfortunately, one way Samsung made this tablet so light is by building it from plastic instead of metal. The back is cheesy dimpled plastic, pocked by logos and fasteners, which are designed to attach to special cases.)
• Expansion. You can expand the storage of this tablet by buying a microSD card and popping it into the slot. (iPads, by contrast, are not expandable.) Note that the Android operating system doesn’t permit you to store apps on a memory card — only files, like music and movies.
• Battery life. The usual: You’ll get a couple of days of typical use out of it.
• Screen. Nobody exactly complains about the screens of existing tablets, but this one looks wonderful. The sharpness, brightness, and color saturation are excellent. (It uses something called AMOLED technology.)
On this tablet, the margins around the screen are very narrow on the short sides. Small margins are nice, of course, because they make the tablet itself smaller, but they’re also tricky to hold when you’re trying to watch a movie or read a book.