Samsung has unveiled the Galaxy Tab S, its new top of the line tablet for 2014. The device is in a position to give the Apple iPad Air a run for its money, with a thinner body and a more advanced display.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S will be available in two sizes, one with a 10.5 inch display and another with a screen measuring 9.4 inches. The tablets will connect over Wi-Fi, with LTE-enabled models to come later. The 10.5 will be priced at $499, the same as the iPad Air, while the smaller tablet will retail for $399.
The main feature being touted by Samsung is the tablet's Super AMOLED display. Upon release, the Galaxy Tab S will feature the most advanced display of any tablet, and Samsung is making sure that Apple--and everyone else--is aware of that fact.
"The Galaxy Tab S embodies the next evolution in mobile display technology, delivering a wider range of rich and crisp colors," says Samsung in its statement. "Its industry-leading WQXGA (2560x1600, 16:10) Super AMOLED display delivers more than 90% of Adobe RGB color coverage - expressing more colors than ever before - and has a remarkable 100,000:1 contrast ratio which provides deeper and more realistic images by making blacks darker and whites brighter."
The display on the iPad Air measures 2048 by 1536 pixels, making its resolution only slightly lower than the Galaxy Tab S. Although the iPad Air's contrast ratio has been measured at about 1,000:1, it is uncertain whether Samsung's purported 100,000:1 contrast ratio will stand up to independent testing.
Both the Galaxy Tab S and the iPad Air have 16 GB of storage in the base model; however, Samsung's tablet also has a MicroSD slot that can support cards of up to 128 GB. While the iPad Air has available models reaching 128 GB of storage, the decision must be made at time of purchase. The Galaxy Tab S also has 3GB of RAM compared to Apple's 1 GB.
One area where the Galaxy Tab S does suffer is design. The plastic construction is less appealing to most than the iPad Air's aluminum back, and features the same dimpling as the Galaxy S5, which has proven polarizing among consumers. The thinner bezel leaves the Samsung tablet nearly the same size as the iPad despite the larger screen, and at 6.6 mm it's slightly thinner than the iPad air. It weighs a few grams less as well. However, the bronze trim around the edges has proven unpopular with reviewers so far.
The Galaxy Tab S also has higher-resolution cameras than the iPad Air. The rear-facing camera is 10 megapixels compared to five for Apple's tablet, and features an LED flash. The front-facing camera also outperforms the iPad Air, with 2.1 megapixels compared to 1.2.
Although the Galaxy Tab S has many advantages over its competition, Apple will be revealing its own new tablet later this year, which may beat out Samsung for the most advanced tablet on the market. Apple's iOS also has a loyal following among tablet owners despite Android's dominance of the smartphone market. Overall, the Galaxy Tab S is a more attractive choice to buyers than anything Apple currently has available, but that advantage may not last for long.