It’s well over two years since we were first treated with Samsung’s Galaxy tab S 8.4 and it was a device we immediately fell in love with. It’s a little tricky to find nowadays, considering Samsung has forgotten about it and have since been pointing their focus at newer tablets. If you can pick it up, and not an inflated price, it’s definitely worth your attention.
With the latest arrival of the both the Tab S2 8.0in and Tab S2 9.7in, 2014’s Galaxy Tab S 8.4 is no longer Samsung’s top-dog in the compact tablet market. The main differences lie in the S 8.4 running Samsung’s older Exynos 5 chipset, rather than the latest Exynos 5433 processor found in newer devices. The Tab S 8.4 actually has a higher screen resolution than its younger siblings, and it’s still an impressive display, even when put side by side with the latest tablets. The device still holds up well, even if it is over two years old now.
You can read our original review of the Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4 below.
The Super AMOLED display is certainly the Galaxy Tab S 8.4’s crowning feature, eclipsing displays on other similarly-sized tablets such as the Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact and Apple iPad Mini 3. AMOLED also provides incredibly rich and vibrant colours, with fantastic contrast and saturation, so much so that our colour calibrator returned a perfect score of 100% coverage across the sRGB colour gamut. The colour saturation was so pronounced, in fact, that it took a while for our eyes to adjust, and after using the Galaxy Tab S for a while other displays looked flat and lacked any visual punch. Blacks were a perfect 0.00cd/m2, too, allowing text to really stand out against white backgrounds.
The one downside of AMOLED displays is that they aren’t generally as bright as their LCD counterparts. The Galaxy Tab S 8.4’s display, for instance, only reached a peak brightness of 296.92cd/m2 according to our measurements, which is significantly dimmer than the Tesco Hudl2, Nexus 9 and Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact’s screens. However, the panel’s vibrant colours help to make up for this deficiency, and Samsung’s Adaptive Display setting helps to make sure the display appears at its best by adapting to the ambient light conditions.
The Adaptive Display sensor is more advanced than the auto brightness you typically see with smartphones or tablets as it adjusts gamma, saturation and sharpness rather than just changing brightness levels. We found it worked well, adjusting seamlessly and helping to avoid colour casts, so we opted to leave it turned on. Disappointingly, it only works in specific apps and isn’t universal, so many third-party apps won’t benefit from the feature.
The Galaxy Tab S 8.4 comes in two different colours, but we were particularly taken with our white and champagne gold review model. This makes a pleasant change from the usual white and silver combination we tend to see on other tablets, and it certainly helps maintain a feeling of luxury. The gold might not be to everyone’s taste, but the Galaxy Tab S is also available in Titanium Bronze.
At just 6.6mm thick and weighing 294g, this is Samsung’s thinnest and lightest tablet yet, and it certainly feels svelte in the hand. It has a slightly dimpled, soft-touch polycarbonate back which makes it comfortable to hold and there’s reassuringly no flex in the casing. Still, if you’d rather not take any chances, there are a number of optional protective cases to go with the Galaxy Tab S 8.4, including a keyboard case, which attaches through studs that click directly into the back of the tablet.
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