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article imageReview: Samsung Galaxy Tab S offers strong tablet competition Special

By Michael Thomas     Aug 15, 2014 in Technology
As the tablet market continues to grow and everything is inevitably compared to the iPad, the new Samsung Galaxy Tab S comes out as a strong contender.
Ever since the release of the iPad Air, one of the main questions asked of modern tablets is "how light is it?" Suffice to say this is one thin tablet, perhaps the thinnest I've ever held. The tab comes in 8.4" and 10.5" screen variations, meanwhile.
In terms of technical specs, it features 3GB of RAM, runs on Android 4.4 (KitKat) and a 2560x1600 Super AMOLED screen. While I don't pretend to have the ability to distinguish between it and Apple's retina display, I do know that it's a very pretty screen to look at.
One of the major features it sells on is Side Sync, a cool idea I learned about last year that works if you also own a newer Samsung phone. While my Galaxy S3 phone was too old to work with the technology, it allows users to connect their phones to their tablets, allowing the tablet to fulfill all phone functions. As someone who texts frequently, the idea of not having to switch between devices is enticing.
Another big feature is the fingerprint scanner, but on this front it could use a bit more work. Setting it up was easy, and it walked me through with clear instructions on how to swipe my finger. After a few attempts at unlocking the tablet, however, my swiping (either due to sweat or confusion on movement) stopped working several times in a row and I switched over to another security method.
Multi-Window does exactly what the name implies, allowing for multiple apps to be open at once. The feature works well, and is easily brought up just by swiping from right to left. While it's not a feature people will be using much, it works seamlessly and shows off the tablet's processing power.
While not a new feature, Galaxy Gifts is a nice bonus, which gives you access to a bunch of premium apps at no cost whatsoever, including trials of services like NextIssue (like Netflix for magazines) and Marvel Unlimited, which gives subscribers access to Marvel's massive comics database. There's also premium news apps like New York Times, Globe & Mail, La Presse+ and the Economist, plus games like Cut the Rope and Fruit Ninja.
Most importantly, the tablet works efficiently. On startup, my Galaxy S3 phone is often slow for a good minute or two, whereas the Tab S is ready to go in seconds. And if you're buying a Samsung Tab to go with your Samsung Phone, you have the options of adding all your phone apps to your tablet with one button.
At $420 or $520 in Canada (depending on the size you want) this is a little higher-end, but well worth the price for its seamless functioning and portability.
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