Samsung launches the ultra-thin Galaxy Tab S as a competitor to the iPad Air

June 13, 2014
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Nobody will criticize the Korean manufacturer for not trying hard enough: With the launch of the new Galaxy Tab S line, Samsung aims again at grabbing the tablet crown from Apple.

In a grandiose launch event at the Madison Square Garden in New York City, Samsung unveiled the new Android device in two sizes: one with an 8.4 inch screen, another with a 10.5 inch screen.

Samsung’s answer to the iPad Retina display is a super Amoled display with a 2560 x 1600 resolution. Samsung says it offers up to 100 times more contrast, true blacks, and shows up to 90% of the Adobe RGB colors while LCD screens only show 70%.

The other impressive achievement is how slim the tablet is. At just 6.6 mm, it’s almost 1 mm thinner than the iPad Air. At 465 grams, the 10.5 is also just a few grams lighter than Apple’s flagship tablet.

At $399 for the 8.4 and $499 for the 10.5, the entry level version of the Galaxy Tab S (16 GB, wifi only) will exactly match the price of, respectively, the iPad Mini with Retina display and the iPad Air.

With a lot of emphasis given to its sharp display, the Tab S is clearly a media consumption device first, optimized for video. A partnership with Marvel will bring some exclusive content to the Tab S –as well as roles to Samsung devices in the next Avengers movie. Netflix will also stream movies in full 1080p HD on the device.

Other content partners include high-end magazine publishers Condé Nast, National Geographic and The Economist. Samsung announced a dedicated new app, called Papergarden, to manage magazines optimized for the Tab S.

Not so much to say on the business/productivity front, except that:

  • A fingerprint reader, allowing up to 8 users to have their own private zone on the device, may ensure a decent level of security.
  • A nice-looking bluetooth keyboard/case will also be offered in addition to the two cover options.
  • The Tab S supports split-screen viewing.
  • WebEx is integrated with the device to make video conferencing easier.

The Wifi versions will be available in July. The LTE versions will come to the market later.

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