Gear Test: Samsung Galaxy Tab S

Gear Test: Samsung Galaxy Tab S

We took Samsung's newest flagship tablet out for a spin. See how it stacks up against the rest.

Every year Samsung introduces a slew of devices that are forever decreasing in thickness and increasing in power. To follow up their February launch of the Galaxy S5 smartphone in Barcelona, Samsung headed to NYC late last week to pull the curtain back on their newest flagship tablet, the Galaxy Tab S, and inform the world of their latest pursuit: Brightness.

The brightness we're talking about comes from their advances in screen technology. The Galaxy Tab S comes in two different flavors, 8.4" and 10.5", and both are rocking what Samsung calls a Super AMOLED screen that pumps out pixel resolution of 2560x1600. Tech spec aside, that's a significant increase over any other tablet out there and puts your 1080p HDTV to shame. Samsung is also touting big advancements in color saturation as one of the screen's benefits and we're big fans of it. It usually takes hallucinogens to make colors this bright.

Still, even though a tablet is defined largely by its screen, the Galaxy Tab S has some noteworthy horsepower under its uber-thin hood. We could try to explain how Samsung's octa-core processors work but the end result would be the same; the thing is fast and will chew up and spit out even the most labor-intensive tasks. Heavy-duty battery life and 3GBs of ram means all-day HD Netflix marathons can be had on a single charge. Smart software, designed specifically with the Galaxy Tab S in mind, puts that power to good use. Their SideSync app harmonizes all of your Samsung gadgets and multitasking let's you stay productive even if you're watching a World Cup game on half your screen. Like every other one of Samsung's Galaxy gadgets, the Tab S is running Android so you have access to all of the apps on Google's marketplace.

This isn't Samsung's first trip around the block and they know that great specs don't actually matter if your gizmo looks like shit. While they didn't take our suggestion to use that as their newest slogan, they do know how to snazz up the design of their devices, taking sleek to a new level by stuffing all their microprocessing muscle into a tiny, quarter-inch form-factor. And then they gave it a gold trim and a back-panel that looks like it borrows inspiration from space-shuttle rivets and big-rig diamond plating. We would totally leave this thing on our coffee table if we weren't constantly spilling beer on our coffee table.

The Galaxy Tab S is coming "later this year" which is Samsung's dumb way of saying it'll be out shortly. Definitely for the holidays and likely in time for back-to-school. Considering we were playing with them at the launch event, we imagine there are warehouses of them ready to go. You can snag a 10.5" for $499 and an 8.4" for $399 when they finally drop.

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