Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 review: A great tablet for fun and serious work

The S Pen'' s consisted of with the Samsung Galaxy Tab S4, however the Book Cover Keyboard case is offered independently for $150.
Image: brian wong/mashable
Samsung Galaxy Tab S4
$649.99

The Good

DeX mode is really functional for doing genuine work • Top-notch screen • Long battery life • Comes with S Pen

The Bad

Book Cover Keyboard costs additional • Not lots of DeX-optimized apps • Fragile glass back

The Bottom Line

Samsung’s Galaxy Tab S4 effectively handles play and performance with its unique DeX mode, however the expense for the benefit is high.

Mashable Score 3.75

Cool Factor 4.0

Learning Curve 4.0

Performance 4.0

Bang for the Buck 3.0

Tablets are lastly measuring up to the “ post PC ” pledge.

After years of functioning as our loyal sofa and bed intake buddies, tablets are now leveling up with productivity-driven functions. Samsung’s Galaxy Tab S4 is an excellent example of this shift from play to work.

The Android tablet benefits sitting back and enjoying Netflix or examining Twitter. Its marquee function is the integrated “DeX mode” that makes the Android software application appearance and function more like a PC that sets it apart from Apple’s iPad Pro .

It’s likewise truly great to see an S Pen consisted of with the tablet rather of offered as a different device. Ahem, Apple.

There’s little doubt the $650 Tab S4 is gunning for the iPad Pro , which likewise begins at the very same cost. I indicate, every tablet is nowadays. Microsoft’s Surface Go looked like it had the most possible — it begins at just $400 and it runs complete Windows 10 — however eventually its undersized Intel processor and bad Windows 10 optimization for a 10-inch touchscreen held it back.

The Tab S4 blends the very best of both the iPad Pro and the Surface Go. With the tap of a software application setting, the tablet’s UI changes in between your reliable grid-based homescreen to one that appears like Windows.

Just wish to delicately search the web, or see YouTube, or play Candy Crush? Leave the Tab S4 as runs out package.

But, if you wish to operate in a PC-like area with a job bar, numerous resizable windows, and mouse and keyboard assistance, you’re going to wish to switch on DeX mode.

Bigger screen and louder sound

The Tab S4’s skinny at 0.27 inches (7.1 mm) thick.

Image: raymond wong/mashable

Tablet patterns are heading in the very same instructions as smart devices: bigger screens and slimmer bezels.

For the Tab S4, Samsung opted for a 10.5-inch Super AMOLED display screen (2,560 x 1,600). As you ‘d anticipate from a Samsung screen, it’s brilliant, dynamic, and crisp.

This time around, however, it’s not an outright copy of the iPad Pro. The screen’s element ratio is 16:10 compared with the iPad Pro’s 4:3, that makes it a little taller in picture mode and a little larger in landscape. I discovered it simpler to develop and take in material in both picture and landscape orientations compared with tablets with more narrow 16:9 element ratios.

Though the bezels are thinner, there’s still adequate of it for your thumb and inner palm to rest on without touching the screen.

Ooh, now that’s a great screen.

Image: RAYMOND WONG/MASHABLE

The Tab S4 likewise rocks loud and clear noise. Much like the Tab S3 , there are quad stereo speakers shooting from the top and bottom of the tablet. The audio’s tuned by AKG and supports Dolby Atmos noise. They’re not front-firing speakers, however they still sound rather helpful for a tablet that’s so slim.

Beyond these crucial tablet functions, the Tab S4 is quite basic for a Samsung slate. The back is still made from glass like the Tab S3, which implies it’s both a finger print magnet and more vulnerable to breaking if dropped compared with aluminum or plastic tablets. If you’re rough with your tablet, absolutely choose up a case.

There’s a 13-megapixel video camera on the back, however seriously, dude? Utilize it for scanning files, not at shows.

Image: raymond wong/mashable

Above the display screen is an 8-megapixel cam in addition to an iris scanner. The cam has the exact same “Intelligent Scan” presented with the Galaxy S9, which lets you open your gadget utilizing both the less safe and secure, however faster face unlock and the more protected, however hair slower iris scanner. In my tests, the Tab S4 acknowledged my face rapidly and opened in both picture and landscape orientation (not a lot at angles, though).

On the back is a 13-megapixel electronic camera with autofocus. It’s a good video camera for a tablet. The pictures cannot compare with shots from a flagship phone like the Galaxy S9, iPhone X, or Pixel 2, however they’re not dreadful when the lighting readies. Low-light pictures, nevertheless, are terrible.

Praise the gods, there’s an earphone jack and USB-C port with quick charging!

Image: raymond wong/mashable

The Tab S4 likewise keeps all necessary ports. There’s a USB-C port on the bottom with assistance for Samsung’s Fast Charging (a fast-charging plug is consisted of in package), an earphone jack, as well as a microSD card slot for broadening the 64GB of internal storage.

For $650, there’s little space for low-cost products and bad construct quality, and luckily, Samsung does not cut corners on the Tab S4.

Android changes for work

The S Pen comes complimentary with the Tab S4. It does not slot into the tablet.

Image: RAYMOND WONG/MASHABLE

Samsung’s marketing makes it clear the Tab S4 is everything about efficiency. Here’s the reality: Samsung’s been utilizing efficiency as a method to separate its gadgets from Apple’s for years. It’s not like Samsung’s recently understanding individuals wish to have the ability to do deal with their mobile phones.

Remember the Galaxy Note 10.1 tablet? Samsung promoted its S Pen Stylus and capability to run 2 apps all at once. Or how about the Tab S3? The business’s Galaxy Note series phones is a yearly tip of just how much it appreciates performance. And let’s not forget Samsung’s efforts to turn its flagship Android phones into pseudo PCs with the DeX Dock.

The Tab S4 seems like a turning point for dealing with tablets. It basically divides the distinction in between exactly what Apple’s providing with the surface area and the ipad/ios Go/Windows 10.

This keyboard case is $150 additional.

Image: RAYMOND WONG/MASHABLE

At its core, the Tab S4 is still powered by a mobile os, Android 8.1 Oreo. The Tab S4’s capability to change Android’s user interface into one that works and looks like sort of like Windows makes it simply a little bit more flexible than an iPad Pro in my viewpoint.

Despite all the work Apple has actually has actually done to make iOS on iPad much better for efficiency — Split View, Slide Over, and drag-and-drop (for some apps) — the software application is still developed for touch. Windows 10 and its complete desktop experience is much better with keyboard and mouse.

Android in “DeX mode” on the Tab S4 satisfies an area in the middle — its totally touch-compatible, however likewise supports keyboard and mouse (if when you require it).

Image: RAYMOND WONG/MASHABLE

Image: RAYMOND WONG/MASHABLE

This DeX mode is the bridge in between mobile and desktop I believe many individuals have actually been waiting on. Link the Tab S4 to Samsung’s $150 Book Cover Keyboard (offered independently) and it immediately changes from its app grid homescreen into DeX mode, total with desktop, job bar, and windowed apps.

The touchscreen still reacts to your fingers or the S Pen, however since the Tab S4 runs Android apps, there’s none of the menu-heavy cruft discovered in Windows apps.

Pair a Bluetooth mouse — I linked a Microsoft Surface Mobile Mouse with no issues — to the Tab S4 and it truly ends up being PC-like. And if you truly wish to, you can purchase a USB-C dongle to hook the Tab S4 approximately an external display, keyboard, and mouse for a lot more desktop-like experience.

Like with the Surface Go, I fretted that the screen would be too little to show several apps or the last-gen Snapdragon 835 chip coupled with 4GB of RAM would be too sluggish to keep things running efficiently.

But the Tab S4 amazed me. I had the ability to compose the bulk of this evaluation on it — with a handful of Chrome tabs, Spotify streaming music, and the Slack and Gmail apps open — without the Tab S4 decreasing the method the Surface Go did.

DeX mode is cool.

Image: RAYMOND WONG/MASHABLE

Right now, DeX mode’s most significant weak point is that there aren’t lots of apps enhanced for it — implying tuned for keyboard and mouse with assistance for resizable windows and things like right-click performance. Samsung informs me there’s “over 60 apps” that are enhanced for DeX mode.

Besides Samsung’s own suite of Android apps, Microsoft’s Office 365 apps and a number of Google’s apps are likewise DeX-ready. As discussed previously, there’s likewise Slack and Spotify. Some video games like Vainglory Work in fullscreen with keyboard and mouse.

Apps that aren’t enhanced for DeX mode open in non-resizable windows and keyboard and mouse assistance is hit-or-miss. In Instagram you can scroll through the feed and click on posts with a Bluetooth mouse, however you cannot pull-to-refresh the feed unless you utilize the touchscreen.

The Tab S4 likewise lasts relatively permanently thanks to its big 7,000 mAh battery. In DeX mode with WiFi on and brightness set to 50 percent, I got about 11 hours streaming YouTube videos at complete HD resolution. For operate in DeX mode with numerous apps several and open Chrome tabs, I got in between 7-8 hours on a charge.

Samsung’s Book Cover Keyboard is a bit confined. That S Pen holder is quite dope (likewise detachable!).

Image: raymond wong/mashable

Samsung’s Book Cover Keyboard isn’t really the very best keyboard I’ve ever utilized with a tablet. The secrets are a bit too little, making the entire experience confined, in spite of the secrets themselves having an excellent quantity of travel.

My most significant problem with Samsung’s keyboard is that some secrets, like the leading row of number secrets, are too darn narrow. Due to the fact that of their small size, I regularly discovered myself striking the incorrect secrets. Rather of the backspace button, my pinky would strike the bracket secret listed below it. The tab and typical buttons are likewise uncommonly narrow compared with the others.

Apple’s Smart Keyboard costs $160 and does not have as numerous secrets, however a minimum of all its secrets are big enough to precisely strike. Think about looking into a cordless one if you’re stressed about a spacious keyboard. It simply will not fold and prop the Tab S4 the method Samsung’s Book Cover Keyboard does.

Cool, however hard to validate the expense

The Tab S4’s costly when you additional devices.

Image: raymond wong/mashable

I actually like Samsung’s believing with the Tab S4. It aims to have methods both things and mainly prospers. I much chose and prospered in dealing with the Tab S4 whereas I could not on an iPad Pro and didn’t wish to advance a Surface Go.

The Tab S4 advises me of brand-new Chrome OS-powered tablets (performance) attempting to get play cred with Android apps, just it’s the reverse. Completion objective is still the exact same: a tablet’s that genuinely practical for both work and play.

But although I mainly liked utilizing the Tab S4, its prices is difficult to swallow — $650 for a tablet is currently a lot to ask. Consider Samsung’s Book Cover Keyboard and the expense swells approximately $800. Include a Bluetooth mouse which rate leaps even further. Compared with an iPad Pro with Smart Keyboard and Apple Pencil ($910 overall), the Tab S4’s a much better worth, however it’s still costly.

For the cash, why not simply purchase a laptop computer or a Chromebook convertible like Google’s Pixelbook ? The Pixelbook runs Chrome OS, which is a PC-like experience, supports keyboard and mouse, as well as runs Android apps in windows. It likewise has a bigger screen; transforms into tablet mode; and has an integrated trackpad, more ports, and a more large keyboard. Sure, it’s not as portable, however you get a lot more value.

If cash is no concern, the Tab S4 is a flexible gadget that will not dissatisfy. It’s both a fantastic Android tablet for material intake and for efficiency. For the majority of people, however, the rate most likely isn’t really worth the smooth benefit. A somewhat bigger Chromebook that runs Android apps works simply great.

Read more: https://mashable.com/review/samsung-galaxy-tab-s4-review

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