Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5 hands-on

The iPad Air has been tearing up the scene when it comes to full-sized tablet offerings, but Sammy has something special that’s going to directly compete against it. If you haven’t read our hands-on article with the Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4, you might want to graze it over because its bigger sized sibling, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.5, shares many of the same specs and features. An unusual size, of course, its 10.5-inch display is able to raise a few eyebrows not only for its number crunching resolution, but for the fact that it employs Super AMOLED technology.


Okay, so this model shares the same design language of the Galaxy Tab S 8.4, but it’s meant to be used more in landscape – as opposed to the portrait style construction of its sibling. Visually speaking, the design doesn’t necessarily scream premium, since it’s mostly comprised out of plastic, which is almost similar to the Galaxy S5. However, what’s really impressive about the design is its razor thin body, and its lightweight feel in the hand. For something being talked up as a premium offering, the design is somewhat lackluster. Despite that, we do appreciate that a finger print sensor has been incorporated into this one.


Having a long absence, Super AMOLED is back in full form with this one. Sizing up at an unusual 10.5-inches, the 2560 x 1600 Super AMOLED display is both detailed and iridescent. Looking at it, the extra 0.4-inches of real estate it has over most 10.1-inch screens doesn’t seem as profound – so basically, it looks almost similar in size. Details-wise, the resolution isn’t something new, seeing that it’s been done already by Sammy’s Galaxy Pro line of tablet.

However, what’s remarkable here is Sammy’s decision to bless this with a Super AMOLED display. And sure enough folks, it radiates with a lot of power and awe to catch our attention. Colors have that saturated tone, which isn’t a bad thing per se. Additionally, it seems to produce enough brightness to make it visible in direct light. And of yeah, we can’t forget about its crisp and clear appearance of the display at wide angles. All told, the display is what really shines most with this one.


For those who are familiar with Sammy’s latest Galaxy devices will be at home with the Galaxy Tab S 10.5’s customized Android experience. Using the latest version of the TouchWiz UI, running on top of Android 4.4.2 KitKat, its layout has been optimized, of course, to accommodate the confines and spaciousness of a larger screen. All of the normal TouchWiz features are found here, but Sammy has included a few new goodies with the experience.

Out of the bunch, there’s a cool sync mode, called SideSync 3.0, where it can pair with a Samsung Galaxy S5 smartphone, which can then access all of the phone’s functions through the tablet interface (think a virtual Galaxy S5). Therefore, we can make phone calls, text messages, and even play games on the virtual Galaxy S5. We didn’t get a chance to try it for ourselves with our hands-on unit, but it seemed pretty responsive from the demo we saw.

Playing around more with the software, it’s clearly obvious who it’s trying to target. Unlike the Galaxy Pro series, the Galaxy Tab S line is more apt to attract mainstream users – whereas with the former, it’s meant to suit productivity conscious users. Visually, though, TouchWiz is in need of a revamped design.

Processor and memory

Like the 8.4-inch model, this one is powered by Samsung’s Exynos 5 Octa 5420 processor, coupled with 3GB of RAM. Having this configuration, we didn’t see any performance hitches with the tablet in our short time. Generally speaking, it manages to maintain a responsive performance – so you can expect that heavy gaming won’t be a problem.

Sure to please multimedia heavy users, the tablet is stuffed with an ample 32GB of internal storage – further supplemented by the availability of a microSD card slot.


In comparison to smartphones, the Galaxy Tab S 10.5’s 8-megapixel camera isn’t regarded as a serious thing, but nevertheless, it’s fast snapping and features the usual arsenal of shooting modes to appease most people. Sorry folks, video recording is maxed out at 1080p!


Going on sale sometime in July for $500, where it’ll be available in bronze and white colors, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5 is keeping its eyes set on taking the crown away from the iPad Air. Specs wise, it’s undoubtedly a strong contender, but when it comes to design, we’re still waiting for a truly premium offering from Sammy’s camp. The pricing isn’t too bad, considering that it’s smacked right there with its main rivals – more so when it’s more of a mainstream offering, whereas productivity users might prefer the Galaxy Pro line.

Related phones

Galaxy Tab S 10.5
  • Display 10.5" 2560 x 1600 pixels
  • Camera 8 MP / 2.1 MP front
  • Processor Samsung Exynos 5 Octa, Octa-core, 1900 MHz
  • Storage 32 GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 7900 mAh



1. gigaraga

Posts: 1454; Member since: Mar 29, 2013

This thing with a S Pen would be the tablet that no other can surpass~~ liking the additional keyboard as well as the clip on tablet yet hands down!

3. Liveitup

Posts: 1798; Member since: Jan 07, 2014

Surface pro 3 begs to differ, I'd like to see video comparisons of both with pens included.

5. joey_sfb

Posts: 6794; Member since: Mar 29, 2012

You are comparing apple and orange. I am used to Samsung Galaxy Tablet and will continue to buy them. Surface pro, can't get me excited. The design language piss me off. I always think to myself the windows 8 UI designer and the programmer is the same person.

8. Liveitup

Posts: 1798; Member since: Jan 07, 2014

Surface runs full blown Windows, the workhorse of the world, it is a premium device. No one is saying that you're not Galaxy, but saying its the best tablet to me is simply not true, to you it is, its about choices. To me you saying that Surface device language pisses you off makes little sense she everyone including Samsung has gone flat, guess who did flat first, yep Windows UI. You hate what influenced what you love.

17. joey_sfb

Posts: 6794; Member since: Mar 29, 2012

Metro interface is hate at first sight, they put solid blocks of red, blocks of green, blocks of blue over a solid purple background. What kind of designer does that? I don't get that feeling with flip board which Samsung paid flip board to use their design. Even so its light years ahead of metro.

6. tech2

Posts: 3487; Member since: Oct 26, 2012

1. Users with Surface pro 3 also beg for charger. MS claims 9 hours web browsing while Samsung claimed 11 hours video playback. That's a big difference. 2.S Pen's main advantage is its OS integration which Pro 3 doesn't have. 3. $500 vs $999 (128GB i5 not even with a top range processor) Pricing itself is the biggest reason putting off the buyers. $999 for a decent 128GB model ?! Galaxy Tab S offers MicroSD slot. 4. amOLED display !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 5. Samsung also partners with so many services and offers you free content for about $575.

13. saffant

Posts: 274; Member since: Jul 04, 2011

Noob, u're comparing a Core i3 to a cheap exynos. Also, good luck trying to write programs/apps on your tablet.

14. tech2

Posts: 3487; Member since: Oct 26, 2012

No need to act like a douche bag. Firstly, android doesn't need a power hungry core i3 chip to run smoothly. So comparing chips on different OSes like android and full windows is pretty stupid really. Can you tell me what percentage of people write programs on tablet ? We've laptops/PC for that. Most of them use for emails, browsing and watching videos. Surface Pro 3's keyboard is pretty weak for fast typing because of its size and less key travel or no click sound on key press so if you think a surface will replace your PC then you're wrong. Get a Ultrabook instead of stupidly expensive surface. Lenovo Yoga Pro 2 is a better, cheaper alternative with bigger battery which won't break your bank and is pretty compact too.

12. T.Law

Posts: 423; Member since: May 10, 2014

Surface pro 3 is just a fancy ultrabook with a touchscreen. The interface is horrible and for the price, I'd rather get myself a macbook air.

2. sudbury78

Posts: 136; Member since: Jul 12, 2012

One would think by the fall they would announce the note 10.1/10.5 edition? Hopefully because I agree with you above...

4. imej88 unregistered

Where are the speakers?are they dual or single like S5?

11. imej88 unregistered

Sorry forgot that there is a video for it....

7. mail2me98

Posts: 18; Member since: Feb 24, 2013

yes!!! finally i can replace my old tab 10.1(1st gen). err...there tab pro? and tab 4... now this?? too confusing... why no front speaker like tab 2? Ahhh...i think i just wait for new nexus 10.

9. imej88 unregistered

yea agree with you. Samsung's product line for tablet and also the camera/phone is pretty confusing. Finally, somebody agreed with me. Hear that @hassoups i presumed the new tabs does not have front speakers. Guess its Samsung's own design way.

15. dmakun

Posts: 382; Member since: Jun 06, 2011

"more so when it’s more of a mainstream offering, whereas productivity users might prefer the Galaxy Pro line"... What do mean with this line? Are you saying any of these tab offerings is not suitable productivity wise? I think these are perhaps designed for people looking for versatile and highly functional 'tabs'. That line I quoted from the article suggested these offerings were lesser than the galaxy pro line of tabs by Samsung. Care to elaborate?

16. tiara6918

Posts: 2263; Member since: Apr 26, 2012

I have always been a fan of amoled displays and this technology combined with this 10.5"tab s is a perfect viewing experience for me

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