Samsung's Tab S 8.4 is incredibly thin [review]

I remember when tablets came about.  I rushed to order my Asus Transformer TF101.  I've still got it.  I loved the idea of a 10" display replacing my older EEEPC netbook.

Funny how not many years later and I can't bring myself to use something that 'big'.  Yet half that size is now okay for my hand, but a 'relaxing media consuming' device I want no bigger than 8".

So along comes the Tab S 8.4.  I felt the 8.0" of my Note 8 was perfect... was 0.4" going to be a deal breaker?

Let's look at the specs:

  • 8.4" @ 2560x1600
  • 1.9GHz x4 + 1.3GHz x4 Exynos
  • 3GB RAM
  • 16GB storage + microSD
  • 8MP / 2.1MP
  • 4900mAh battery
  • Android 4.4
It is bigger (taller) than Note ... but only slightly, but where it really makes up for that fact is that it's incredibly thin.  I've used it for almost 2 weeks and I can't get over that.  The last few days I've been using it primarily for watching Netflix and other videos and it's so light and easy in the hand.

And speaking of watching movies, the screen is pretty amazing.  I'll give Samsung that, they can make a hell of a display.  Pair it up with the 808 headphones and watching that Penny Dreadful series and it's a great movie experience.

Inside the device it looks very similar to the S5 (you can read my review of that here).  The TouchWiz really seems lighter... just somewhat cartoon-y.

The notification screen is really cleaned up and simpler.  The settings screen has tabs again

The gesture to bring out the dual pane is something to get used to (as on the homescreen if i was swiping around I would accidentally bring up that menu).  I eventually just turned it off, as it's something I rarely used.

To get in you use the fingerprint scanner, like the S5 and I had rarely any trouble with it.

I did like the new panes they've added with the news pane and then an agenda pane.  As I used the device mainly for consumption (reading media, watching media, etc...) it made perfect sense to have some quick panes like that to see the information I might not otherwise go into

Everything I threw at the device it handled.  No stuttering, no glitches, no lag.  Which is to be assumed with the 3GB of RAM.  Everything just looked better and handled better.

Battery life was great.  Way better than my older Note, but for nearly 5k of mAh I would have assumed slightly more, but still nothing you'd want to complain about.

Outside the device it looks pretty much like a thin S5 (did I mention it was thin?) with teh faux leather back.  It's just a little odd that those buttons are there (they're for cases to snap into).

You do get true stereo speakers on it, but be mindful where they're placed.  If in portrait mode it's top and bottom.  If you rotate it counter-clockwise like normally your hands will cover the speakers, so you may want to rotate the other way.

In the end it's a fantastic device.  People tend to give TouchWiz a bad rap, but it's not as least on this device.  Even still, the hardware is fantastic... and it's thin... super thin.