Samsung Tab S 8.4

Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4 tablet.

I bought my Apple iPad mini two years ago because I found the iPad too heavy to carry around.

But I now have little interest in 7-inch and 8-inch tablets because premium 10-inch tablets, such as the iPad Air, Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5 and Sony Xperia Z2, have become so light that I do not see the benefit of sacrificing screen real estate for portability any more.

The smaller versions may still interest women who carry smaller handbags and people who need their tablets to be as light as possible. If they are willing to pay a premium for a mini tablet, Samsung's Galaxy Tab S 8.4 is definitely one to consider.

Like its larger 10.5-inch cousin, the Tab S 8.4 uses Super Amoled instead of the typical LCD screen technology. Super Amoled, unlike LCD, does not need a separate backlight. So it can be thinner and more power efficient as well.

The Tab S has a bright and eye-popping (2,560 x 1,600 pixels) screen with excellent contrast ratios. Fast pixel refresh rates make this a fantastic device for viewing movies and playing games.

The screen covers 90 per cent of the Adobe RGB colour specturm versus 70 per cent for other tablets. So colours in photos and videos are rich. A side effect is oversaturation of colours, so the sky may look bluer than it really is. I prefer more natural-looking photos.

The battery life of this device is amazing - 11hr 30min on Digital Life's video-looping test with brightness and volume maxxed out and Wi-Fi and Bluetooth turned on.

In tech specs, the Tab S again trumps its chief rival, the iPad mini with Retina display. It is thinner (6.6mm v 7.5mm), has more pixels (2,560 x 1,600 v 2,048 x 1,536), a larger screen (8.4 inches v 7.9 inches) and is lighter (298g v 341g for the LTE version). You can feel that 40g difference when you hold it.

But frankly, on a day-to-day basis, these specs do not really make a critical difference. In the apps department, the iPad is still ahead, although Samsung has thrown in a ton of free apps to even things up.

My favourite is SideSync 3.0, which wirelessly connects the tablet to select Samsung phones. Once they are connected, you can keep your phone in your pocket and respond to WhatsApp messages and pick up phone calls from the tablet.

Other Samsung deals include three months' access to Marvel Unlimited comics, 50GB of Dropbox cloud storage for two years, six months' subscription to The Economist and three months' subscription to The New York Times.

A top contender in the premium mini tablet space with eye-popping colours and long battery life.


This article was first published on August 13, 2014.
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