Can Samsung Make Tablets Relevant And Sexy Again?

By Adam Kerr

But seriously though, can anyone? Look, tablets have been arguably one of the most overlooked products in the tech scene, though notable brands everywhere have been relentlessly introducing updated iterations of the tired product. Nobody really wants to be seen commuting on a crowded train watching the next episode of Terrace House on a huge screen; unless of course it also doubles up as an alternative means to carrying a laptop.

But this year, amidst the exciting launches at Europe’s biggest tech show, IFA, we look at Samsung’s latest Tab offerings, which were unveiled at the Samsung Galaxy Unpacked event (for the benefit of Apple users, it’s their tablet offerings that were revealed at their version of the Apple keynote event).

Samsung Galaxy Tab S4, $998-$1298, available at Samsung Experience Stores, local telco operators and major consumer electronics & IT stores.

Android tablets with specifications that can contend with Apple’s iPad Pro 10.5 have been few and far between, but the new Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 seems to match up. It’s also interesting to note that both the S4 and the iPad Pro share near-identical specs, but we’ll point out a couple that would make more sense for you.

Side by side: Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 with the S Pen vs iPad Pro 10.5 and the Apple Pencil (not scaled).

While the screen sizes are the same between the two, the Tab S4 has a screen resolution of 2560 x 1600 and an aspect ratio of 16:10, compared to the iPad Pro’s 2224 x 1668 resolution and 4:3 aspect ratio. To make this possible, you’ll also notice that Samsung has removed the fingerprint sensor that was once on its predecessor, Tab S3. In fact, the Tab S4 uses iris and face recognition, while the iPad Pro still uses Touch ID (though we believe this will change with the 2018 iteration of the gadget, come 12 September).

The S Pen comes in the box with the Tab S4.

The iPad Pro may have been the go-to for creatives and professionals for the past year, but the Tab S4 has been touted as a force to be reckoned with when it comes to productivity. Instead of having to purchase an additional peripheral for your productivity needs, the Tab S4 comes with the handy S Pen stylus ready for use right off the bat. You can draw, take down notes and quickly access a list of your favourite apps via a dedicated button. For the iPad Pro, you’ll have to fork out another $138 just for the Apple Pencil.

Another great productivity feature on the Tab S4 is the DeX mode, which basically turns your Android tablet experience into a PC-like interface. This completely dethrones the iPad Pro as a reigning champion in productivity, especially if you’re out for something that’s in between a tablet and a laptop. It really all boils down to your preferences of operating systems and what you need though, especially since DeX is compatible with a bunch of Samsung’s plethora of apps and third-party support.

And if you’re worried about whether the Tab S4 can handle all the heavy usage, fret not. It comes equipped with the powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor (we think it’s a little dated, seeing how Samsung’s Galaxy S9 comes with the better Snapdragon 845), 4GB of RAM (which is more than enough for multitasking), an internal storage of 64GB or 256GB and microSD card support of up to 400GB. As for the battery life, the Tab S4 loses out to the iPad Pro with only 7,300mAh capacity compared to the latter’s 8,134mAh, though Samsung claims that it can last through 16 hours of video playback. Let us also never forget about the exploding fiasco that happened last year…

In case you’re wondering about the cameras, the Tab S4 comes with a 13-megapixel rear camera with f/1.9 aperture and an 8-megapixel front camera, while the iPad Pro has a 12-megapixel rear camera and a 7-megapixel selfie cam. It’s not all that impressive, but you won’t be taking selfies or revolutionary photos with this device when you’re busy working on your next proposal.

Here’s a summary of our comparison:

Specs Comparison

Whether Samsung can make tablets relevant again, is really dependent on whether users are more inclined to making do with a gadget that sits between a laptop and a tablet. It’s really suited for uni students, professionals who are often on-the-go, and anyone who feels laptops are too bulky.

But before you scurry off to the store to get your hands on these babies, we suggest you stay tuned to Apple’s upcoming Special Event this coming Thursday (12 September) at 1am (SGT), where they’ll be unveiling upgraded operating systems for their products, the rumoured iPhone XS and an updated iPad Pro. Stay tuned for our summary too.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S4, $998-$1298, available at Samsung Experience Stores, local telco operators and major consumer electronics & IT stores.