Interface and Functionality

The features set present here aren’t dizzying as before, so it’s nice to see that it focuses on ones that are meaningful to the experience.

Diving into the tablet’s TouchWiz UI interface, which is running on top of Android 4.4.2 KitKat, we’re continuing to see the same toned-down features approach we’ve been seeing of late from Sammy. Visually, it doesn’t deviate from the usual style of previous TouchWiz efforts, but at this point, it’s clearly beginning to appear distant and bland in comparison to the stunning, modern designs of rival customized Android experiences.

Despite that, there are some notable new additions that we find useful that plays nicely into the tablet’s overall functionality. In comparison to previous TouchWiz efforts from Samsung, we appreciate the focused and more scaled down approach to the features set here. Instead of bombarding us with redundant things, the new additions here are meaningful to the tablet’s “fun” side.

SideSync 3.0


First, we need to talk about SideSync 3.0, which allows for seamless connectivity between the tablet and some of Sammy’s Galaxy branded smartphones. At the moment, it only supports the Galaxy Note 3, S4, and S5, where a virtual version of the smartphone is presented to us in the tablet’s interface (it’s like an emulator of the phone running on the tablet). However, we should point out that the Galaxy S5 is the only smartphone to offer call forwarding to the tablet.

Connecting the smartphone to the tablet is pretty simple, as we’re required to just install and run the SideSync 3.0 app on both devices. From here, we’re able to be nearly the same things on the smartphone, but on the tablet – like running apps, viewing text messages, and accessing our email. And yes folks, we can even play some games as well. However, every now and then, there’s some noticeable delay with its performance that prevents us from enjoying graphically intensive games. To be fair, though, it’s not really meant for this purpose, but rather, it’s a portal where we can access certain phone-centric functions through the tablet.

Papergarden


Secondly, the preloaded Papergarden app is a new and alternative magazine service that caters specifically to the tablet’s fancy-schmancy Super AMOLED display. Paired with the “adaptive display” mode, Papergarden delivers high-quality digital interactive magazine content with vivid and true-to-life colors. In checking out some of the samples, we notice that the text have been sharpened to provide us with an optimal viewing experience that’s easy on the eyes. Additionally, colors have an even more profound and punchy tone to give the content more definition.

Those are two standout software features with the experience, but at the same time, it comes along with some of TouchWiz’s staple functions. For example, Multi Window allows us to run two apps side-by-side – offering us that true multi-tasking experience. Additionally, the experience allows the tablet to cater to different people in the household, seeing that it has the ability to support several users, so parents won’t have to contend with their kids cluttering their up the homescreen with games and other non-essential apps.

Processor and Memory

The hardware is top of the line, but it still gets tested by some of the tablet’s more advanced functions.

Flipping between its own chips and those from Qualcomm’s nest, Samsung decided to outfit the Galaxy Tab S 10.5 with its very own quad-core 1.9GHz Exynos 5 Octa 5420 processor with 3GB of RAM and the ARM Mali-T628 MP6 GPU. Generally speaking, the hardware produces a mostly responsive performance that’s enjoyable, but it’s still prone to the occasional instance of sluggishness when it’s tested with processor intensive things. Well, it becomes more apparent when using features like SideSync 3.0 and Multi Window.

Boasting 16GB of internal storage, 4.51GB of that is reserved for system memory, which doesn’t leave a whole lot for us to enjoy for multimedia content. Luckily, its microSD slot accepts cards up to 128GB in size.

Quadrant Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5 17683
Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet 17980
Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 10.1 22656
AnTuTu Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5 34982
Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet 33669
Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 10.1 33129
Vellamo Metal Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5 1383
Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet 1202.33
Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 10.1 1126
Sunspider Lower is better
Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5 1089.9
Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet 975.13
Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 10.1 784.0
GFXBench Manhattan 3.1 on-screen Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5 2.9
Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet 11.23
Apple iPad Air 9.1
Basemark OS II Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5 818
Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet 1205.33

Internet and Connectivity


Paired with a stunning Super AMOLED display and one pixel crushing resolution, it has the perfect recipe to provide us with a top-notch web browsing experience. Not only does it pop with its amazing visuals, but complex pages load swiftly and smoothly with our Wi-Fi only review unit. However, it should be noted that the upcoming LTE version of the tablet will offer a Download Booster feature that uses advanced Smart Bonding technology to optimize its effectiveness to seamlessly download data.

In true fashion, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4 packs along aGPS with Glonass, Bluetooth 4.0, and dual-band 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi. Unfortunately, though, it doesn’t see additional amenities such as NFC or video-out functionality.

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