The Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 is well and truly on its way and has finally been unveiled in an online video announcement. As is well known, the company has a bad track record with keeping its products under wraps – just look at the Galaxy S8 – but the Tab S4’s details remained largely unknown until the official unveiling.
Samsung’s official website showed off the first five-minute Tab S4 introduction video, which shows off all sorts of juicy details about Samsung’s new productivity-focussed tablet. We’ve also now had some hands-on time with the new tablet and we’re quietly impressed with Samsung’s new 10.5-in iPad Pro rival.
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Samsung Galaxy Tab S4: What you need to know
In summary, though, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 is very much like last year’s Tab S3. It’s a 10.5in Android tablet with a firm focus on productivity, comes with Samsung’s S-Pen stylus included in the box and you can add a keyboard cover to use it just like a laptop.
It’s very thin and light, the display is a high-resolution OLED unit supporting HDR and, this year, has a 16:10 aspect ratio to better suit media playback. The tablet also has four speakers with Dolby Atmos support.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 release date and price: When is it out, and how much does it cost?
First up, though, the important stuff: pricing. You’ll be able to pre-order the Tab S4 soon and the cost looks pretty reasonable, especially in the context of the 10.5in Apple iPad Pro.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 will retail at £599 for the Wi-Fi only model, the tablet with 4G built in will sell for £649 and the keyboard case will set you back an extra £119. Unless you pre-order, in which case Samsung is throwing it in for free.
If you leave buying the tablet until after the pre-order period, the total price for the keyboard and tablet is £718 for the Wi-Fi model and £768 for the 4G model.
That might sound expensive, but it is considerably cheaper than the equivalent 10.5in Apple iPad Pro, which costs from £619 for the Wi-Fi-only tablet plus £159 for the keyboard and £99 for the Apple pencil, adding up to a total of £877.
Alternatively, if you simply can’t wait for the next instalment from the Samsung Galaxy Tab range, then you might want to look into snapping up the Galaxy Tab S3 – particularly if you’re heading off on your travels and need a new tablet ASAP. Despite initially retailing at a hefty £600, the Tab S3 has since plummeted to a more palatable £460 on Amazon.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 design: New features and first impressions
Much like the Galaxy Tab S3, the Tab S4 is a minimalistic, streamlined tablet, equipped with Samsung’s own S-Pen stylus that, don’t forget, Samsung is including in the box. It’s 7.1mm thin and weighs a mere 482g – pretty much a perfect match for the 10.5-inch iPad Pro, which is 6.1mm thin and weighs 469g.
At first glance, it looks much the same as the Tab S3 with its flat, glossy glass rear (available in black and light grey) but Samsung has made one significant change in 2018. It’s moved from a 2,048 x 1,536 pixel 4:3 aspect ratio Super AMOLED panel to sharper 2,560 x 1,600 pixel 16:10 panel. From what I can work out, that move is purely to address complaints that, while watching movies on the old Tab S3, you saw thick black borders above and below the screen. This year that’s less likely to be the case.
The stylus has been redesigned here, too: it’s lighter and more pen-like before and has a small ridge built into one side to prevent it rolling off your desk when you put it down. Other than that, its vital statistics remain the same: it’s capable of detecting 4,096 levels of pressure and the angle of tilt so you can switch between shading and drawing by simply leaning the pen over. Samsung has added a few extra capabilities, though, including the ability to take notes with the tablet locked and translate text on the fly.
There’s a new keyboard cover, too, which looks rather similar to the one that launched alongside last year’s Galaxy Book products, the only difference being this one has a detachable plastic cap for stowing the S-Pen in.
It’s a very comfortable keyboard to type on. Each key has a decent amount of travel and feedback and the spacing between each key is just right. You’re probably not going to get up to your full touch-typing speed on it straight away but you’ll not be making loads and loads of mistakes.
And yes, the fact that it costs extra is disappointing, but at least Samsung is giving its customers something for free this year: Samsung DeX. First seen on Samsung’s Galaxy S range of phones, this is Samsung’s Android-based window-based desktop OS.
Plug the tablet into a monitor via a USB Type-C to HDMI cable or adapter (this works with third-party cables as well as Samsung’s own) and it fires up automatically on the big screen.
Interestingly, it’s not exactly the same as the phone-based DeX because you can still use regular Android on the screen of the tablet while manipulating DeX on the monitor. Alternatively, you also have the option of turning the screen of the Tab S4 into a giant touchpad, Wacom-style digitizer pad or touch keyboard.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 specs: Core specifications and performance
Powering the Tab S4 is Qualcomm’s previous-generation flagship processor, the 2.35GHz octa-core Snapdragon 835. As with most of Samsung’s smartphone and tablet devices, I expect there will be a few regional differences in terms of specification and the UK version of the Tab S4 will likely be powered by Samsung’s own Exynos equivalent, namely, the Exynos 8895. I will update this section as soon as we know more.
Elsewhere, the Tab S4 is equipped with 4GB of RAM for and a choice of either 64GB or 256GB of onboard storage, which is expandable up to 400GB via microSD. It has a 13-megapixel, f/1.9 aperture rear camera with a 1/3.05in sensor while, on the front, you’ll find an 8-megapixel, f/1.9 selfie snapper with a 1/4in sensor.
The Tab S4 also has a large 7,300mAh battery with video playback expected to last up to 16 hours and AKG-branded quad-speaker array with Dolby Atmos capabilities.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S4: Early verdict
All in all, the new Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 looks to be a belter of a tablet. The keyboard cover is nice, the tablet is lovely and the stylus is in the box. Coupled with a fast processor, quad speakers and HDR-enabled display, it ought to be a great tablet for everything from working on Word documents to watching Netflix. And the price, which makes it considerably cheaper than the 10.5-inch iPad Pro, is tempting, too.
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