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Lifewire / Andy Zahn
High quality camera
Great sounding stereo speakers
Extra accessories add to cost
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 is a well rounded and versatile tablet. It has few major flaws, which makes it an easy device to recommend.
Despite their wide use, tablets tend to get a bit lost in their awkward middle ground between phone and laptop. Nonetheless, these devices remain useful for their big screens and relative portability. Though Apple certainly rules the tablet world,the Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 offers an attractive alternative to the Ipad.
The Galaxy Tab S4 isn’t exactly ugly, but it’s not particularly eye-catching either. It’s very bland looking, and both appear and feel quite plasticky. However, this unattractive appearance is only skin deep. Beneath its drab exterior lurks a remarkably capable device. Also, while many devices use flashy materials that look good in advertisements, their high end looks often degrade quickly. The Galaxy Tab S4, however, doesn’t show greasy fingerprints or acquire scratches as easily, and I found it to be a remarkably resilient device.
Beneath its drab exterior lurks a remarkably capable device.
The 10.5-inch display of the Galaxy Tab S4 is an ideal size for handheld use - not too big and not too small. Also, at just 17 ounces, I found this tablet to be lightweight and easy to hold and use for long periods of time.
The Galaxy Tab S has a USB-C port, AUX audio port, and a microSD card slot that allows you to expand upon the internal 64 Gigabytes of storage. Included with the tablet is the S Pen stylus along with a USB-C cable and power adapter.
The Galaxy Tab S4 has a truly excellent 10.5-inch display that has a high resolution of 2560 x 1600 pixels. It’s sharp, provides good viewing angles, accurate colors, and is bright enough to use outdoors.
Getting started with the Galaxy Tab S4 isn’t overly complicated, and is pretty typical of Android devices. You’ll need to create or login to your Google and Samsung accounts. The Samsung account is optional but necessary for the full functionality of the device. You’ll also be asked if you want to import apps, settings, and other information from another device. Overall, it only took me a few minutes to have the tablet up and running.
In the PCMark Work 2.0 test the Galaxy Tab S4 achieved a respectable score of 6569. I also found that it scored highly in GFXBench, where the tablet achieved 513.8 frames on the Aztec Ruins OpenGL (High Tier) test, making it comparable to dedicated gaming tablets such as the Nvidia Shield.
The good performance of the Galaxy Tab S4 in GFXBench translated to a remarkably good gaming experience. Even when I had the graphics cranked to the maximum in the power-hungry World of Tanks: Blitz, I only experienced occasional drops in framerates. The highly responsive touchscreen and beautiful display made for a highly enjoyable gaming experience.
With the included S Pen stylus, the Galaxy Tab S4 is an excellent super portable option for working on the go. The impressive accuracy of the stylus helped me work on important projects with confidence, and I appreciated the inclusion of Microsoft Office apps on the device. The optional keyboard makes it possible to transform the tablet into a fully functional laptop computer.
If you’re a digital artist, the S Pen makes the Galaxy Tab S4 a genuinely useful platform for creating digital art. Whether drawing in the pre-installed PenUp app for editing photos in Adobe Lightroom, the S Pen elevates the creative potential of the Galaxy Tab S4. I spent many enjoyable hours drawing on the device. I particularly enjoyed its picture tracing capabilities.
The impressive accuracy of the stylus helped me work on important projects with confidence.
The Galaxy Tab S4 integrates Dolby Atmos technology into its surround sound speaker system, which is tuned by AKG. This adds up to a truly impressive audio experience considering how slim and light this tablet is. As usual, I used 2Cellos cover of “Thunderstruck” as my baseline for sound quality and found that the speakers managed to accurately reproduce the song providing even performance through the bass, mids, and highs.
“Machine” by Imagine Dragons and “Reckless Paradise” by Billy Talent also sounded great, and audio was equally excellent for watching TV shows or playing games. My only minor complaints might be that it’s difficult to hold the tablet without covering either of the dual speakers on each side, and the volume is really only loud enough for personal use.
I had no complaints about the speed of the Galaxy Tab S4’s Wi-Fi connection. I had the opportunity to test it on a 100Mbps connection (fast for my area), and an Ookla test actually showed it performing at 118Mbps, well above the rated speed, while on my laptop I only got 110Mbps, with my phone only achieving 38Mbps. Bluetooth connectivity was similarly excellent.
The camera interface of the Galaxy Tab S4 should be familiar to users of Samsung’s smartphones, with a number of different photography modes including HDR, Pro, Panorama, and Hyperlapse modes. I found little difference between HDR and the standard model, and Pro only gives you ISO, white balance, and exposure comp controls. Hyperlapse works as it should, but I found the Panorama mode to be particularly useful.
The 13 Megapixel rear facing camera is capable of capturing high quality still images.
The 13 Megapixel rear-facing camera is capable of capturing high quality still images, but unfortunately, it can only shoot up to 1080p video footage with no 4k or slow-motion capability. Colors are rich and vibrant, and images are clean with sharp details.
The 8 Megapixel front-facing camera is similarly capable and includes both a wide selfie mode and a number of beauty filters. It works well even in dim interior environments or high contrast outdoor conditions.
I was very impressed by the amount of use I could get out of the Galaxy Tab S4 on a single charge. Samsung claims that this tablet can achieve 16 hours worth of video playback, which I found to be about accurate, and this translated into me being able to use it throughout several workdays without having to recharge it. It also charges very quickly via its USB-C port.
The Galaxy Tab S4 runs Android 10, which makes it up to date, easy to use, and highly versatile. All your favorite apps will work fine, and the system is compatible with Samsung Dex, though you’ll need the optional keyboard cover to activate this desktop-style mode. Given the inclusion of Microsoft Office software and the S Pen, the Galaxy Tab S4 rivals Windows in terms of the versatility of its software.
At it’s MSRP of $650 the Galaxy Tab S4 seems a little steep. However, it’s widely available at discounts of as much as a few hundred dollars. At such a discount this tablet provides reasonable value for money. The keyboard cover will set you back another $150, which is a little steep, but probably worth the cost for the increased functionality it provides.
On the surface, the Google Pixel Slate may appear to be obviously superior to the Samsung Galaxy Tab S4. After all, the Pixel Slate (view on Amazon) has significantly more RAM, a bigger screen, and a more powerful intel processor, and costs about the same as the Galaxy Tab S4. However, the Pixel Slate is hobbled by its buggy ChromeOS software that fails to take advantage of its powerful hardware. In the end, I had a much better experience using the Galaxy Tab S4 than the Pixel Slate.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 is a well rounded and versatile tablet.
I found precious little to complain about with the Samsung Galaxy Tab S4. The tablet is the ideal size for handheld use, is thoughtfully designed and equipped with powerful hardware that it lends itself to numerous different purposes. This is perhaps the best Android tablet currently available.