Samsung took the wraps off its latest tablets on Thursday: the Galaxy Tab S 8.4 and 10.5, which sport bright and colorful new screens, updated software — and a gold-trimmed look that may not be everyone's cup of tea.
The biggest improvement by far, over both Samsung's old tablets and the competition, is the screen. Both sizes of the Tab S (each with 2560x1600 pixels) use AMOLED, a display technology that allows for a brighter picture, deeper contrast and vibrant, accurate colors. It even uses less power than traditional LCD screens.
AMOLED has appeared in other devices before and it's generally a striking difference. If you really care about image quality, the Galaxy Tab S should prove very interesting. It's also a feature the iPad, which dominates the tablet world, doesn't share — making the new Tab a particularly serious competitor.
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A built-in fingerprint scanner like the one found on the Galaxy S 5 smartphone can recognize up to eight fingers, and each fingerprint can activate a different set of apps and permissions. No need to activate the new child-friendly mode yourself — it does it for you.
Less of a guaranteed hit is the new look. Fake gold adorns the bezel and rings the camera lens, surrounded by faux perforated leather. While Samsung describes this look as "inspired by architectural design," giving the tablet "an aura of luxury," some may find it plain tacky. You can get it in either "Dazzling White" or what the company calls "Titanium Bronze."
There are a number of other software improvements and partners detailed on Samsung's Galaxy Tab S page, as well as a few accessories.
Both models will be available in the U.S. in July; the 8.4-inch version will start at $399, while the larger 10.5-inch model at $499.