Samsung Galaxy Tab S Tablet Is Overdressed, but Alluring

By Michelle Maisto  |  Posted 2014-07-18 Print this article Print
Samsung Galaxy Tab S tablet

The Tab S' display was also used to good effect while I watched Gravity—a free movie offered by Samsung. Introducing the Tab S to eWEEK hours before the MSG presentation, Samsung's staff repeated that the AMOLED display makes shades of black and white richer and more distinct—which is apparently as ideal in instances like a health care professional showing a patient an ultrasound photo as it is watching a movie set in space.

In addition, the Tab S includes the offer of a free book, from a handful of choices; an all-access 90-day trial of Google Play Music; free magazines; and a free six-month subscription to the Wall Street Journal, among other offers. At the MSG event, Samsung and Marvel also promised Tab S users exclusive content from the film Avengers: Age of Ultron. (I never saw this; if it's available, it was lost in the crush of apps Samsung was telling me I should download and enjoy.)

It's almost like Samsung is worried that users have no actual need for a tablet and has done its best to offer reasons to pick up the device.

One could argue that the Tab S succeeds in moving the tablet conversation from hardware to software. But in true Samsung fashion, there really is too much of it. A user is constantly being asked questions. Do I want to open an article in Chrome or the Browser? Do I want to open a photo in Photos or Gallery? Do I want to see the referenced tweet I just clicked on in Twitter, Chrome or Browser?

You tell me, Samsung—which is better? Quicker? More appropriate to what the tablet knows I'm doing at the moment?

Why am I even being offered free Google Play Music, when there is Milk Music, as well as a third Music app that, like Milk, has a music-note icon. The questions seem to have to do more with Samsung and its advertising or royalty agreements than with offering the user the best possible experience.

The Tab S in Summary

While the Tab S offers basically too much stuff, a good amount of it is nice. I like free movies.

Plus, once you get past all the extra stuff—the redundant apps, the extra home screens, the trial offers—the Tab S is a great tablet, for the simple reasons that it's thin and light and the 8.4-inch version is easy to hold in one hand at length.

Although, one gripe on that last front is that the bezel is so small—the display so optimized—that it's difficult not to touch the display and inadvertently pause a video. Adults I handed the Tab S to found this to be true, and so did my 3-year-old, with her tiny fingers; she finally just laid it down on the bed and, laying on her belly, peered into it.

A thin and light tablet with great security and a peerless display apparently isn't enough to make consumers refresh their devices as often as Samsung would like, or to outsell Apple, and so Samsung has offered even more than that. Some people may find it a little messy—a little harried—but great. But many more are likely to think it's just right.


Follow Michelle Maisto on Twitter.


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