The Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 uses Android and a little Samsung software magic to take on Apple and Microsoft.
Like Microsoft's Surface line and Apple's iPad Pro, this premium Android tablet is for more than entertainment. Borrowing capabilities from the DeX dock and pad Samsung makes for its Galaxy phones, the Tab S4 has DeX support that changes the tablet's Android interface into a desktop-style experience.
Attach the $150 Book Cover keyboard (no, it's not included) and the interface changes, letting you run multiple apps side by side and resize their windows, and even drag-and-drop content between them. Samsung will offer an HDMI-to-USB-C multiport adapter for a secondary display (also not included).
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Connect to an external monitor and you can use the Tab S4 as a giant touchpad, or grab the included Samsung S Pen and use the S4 like a Wacom tablet. You can also continue to use it as an Android tablet, so you could keep a video playing on the tablet while you continue to work on a PowerPoint presentation on another display. There's Bluetooth mouse support, too, so you don't have to rely on the touchscreen for navigation.
While there is plenty here for mixed use of home and office, Samsung is also pitching this as a tablet for enterprise use such as retail or healthcare. This is also where Samsung's Knox security platform comes in handy for keeping data safe for these applications.
Powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor, the Tab S4 is essentially an Android competitor to Windows 10 two-in-ones like the Asus NovaGo, HP Envy x2 and the Lenovo Miix 630 ($850 at Amazon.com). The big selling points for those is long battery life and optional LTE connectivity so you can work anywhere. The performance on them was unimpressive, though, especially when you consider their prices.
Samsung claims up to 16 hours of video playback from the Galaxy Tab S4's 7,300mAh battery and it supports fast charging via its USB-C port, and there is an LTE version. While I had a little hands-on time with it, going by specs alone, I'm not sure the Tab S4 is worth the $650 asking price, especially when you factor in the additional cost of the keyboard.
- Snapdragon 835 processor
- 4GB of memory
- 64 or 256GB built-in storage; support for up to 400GB microSD cards
- 13-megapixel rear and 8-megapixel front cameras
- 802.11ac MIMO Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.0
- LTE version available
- Android 8.1 (update to Android 9.0 at a later date)
Bigger screen, better sound
Moving up in size from the the 9.7-inch Tab S3 (4:3), the S4 has a 16:10 10.5-inch WQXGA (2,560x1,600 pixels) Super AMOLED display -- 32 percent larger. With its narrower bezels, though, it's similar in size to its predecessor. Samsung paired the screen with AKG-tuned speakers -- four of them -- with Dolby Atmos sound so whatever you're watching or listening to will be as immersive as possible.
The bigger screen gives you more room to use the bundled S Pen and, like Samsung's Note 8, there's support for screen-off note-taking, meaning you can write on the screen without opening an app or even unlocking it.
The Wi-Fi-only version of the Galaxy Tab S4 will be available in the US starting at $650 on Aug. 10 from Amazon, Best Buy and Samsung's website. (That converts to approximately £495 and AU$875.) The LTE version is a Verizon exclusive to start, but will come to other major carriers including Sprint, T-Mobile and US Cellular later in Q3 2018.
You can preorder starting today, and you can also get half off the Book Cover keyboard through Sept. 8 when you buy it with the Galaxy Tab S4.
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