A Samsung Tab S 8.4 Tablet was provided to facilitate this review; all opinions are my own.
It’s no secret that I love Samsung products and have since I received my first Samsung Galaxy camera last year. It’s a camera I still use it occasionally on press trips because of the ease of sharing photos instantly via social media. But at home, I’ve been using a Canon camera that worked well, but because it had a fixed lens, it had limitations on its ability to take great photos. I recently replaced it with a Samsung NX30 20.3MP CMOS Smart WiFi & NFC Interchangeable Lens Digital Camera that I use for everyday blogging and travel.
When I received the Samsung Note 3 it immediately replaced my Samsung Galaxy S4 smartphone with it (I handed the S4 to my niece who is loving it). Though the Note 3 is a fabulous phablet, I still longed for a tablet. Not because the Note 3 was missing features, but because my eyesight is failing and I find a larger screen easier to read. Luckily for me, Samsung offers so many wonderful tablets that finding one that was just right for me was going to be possible, but it hasn’t been easy.
In fact, I’ve been trying to figure out which Samsung tablet to buy for a few months now and several times I’ve had one in my shopping cart with the intent to purchase, but at the last minute backed out because I didn’t want to make an expensive mistake. But why was I so hesitant? I’ve loved every Samsung product I’ve tried, but I just couldn’t decide.
My first instinct was to go with a model that had an onboard S-pen because I’ve grown attached to the one on my Note 3. It allows me to hand-write notes, play games, and more. Could I like a tablet without it? Oh sure, they have tablets with my beloved S-pen, but they’re the top of the line and I wasn’t sure I wanted to invest that much in a tablet I’d mostly be using to stream videos and play word games.
Samsung Tab S 8.4 – Pure Entertainment
Android™ 4.4, KitKat, 3GB RAM; 16GB ROM (expandable with SD slot), 1600 x 2560 Pixels, camera – front 2.1MP and back 8.0MP – prices vary though MSRP is $349
When I received the Samsung Tab S 8.4 tablet to try out I realized that I shouldn’t have hesitated. It turns out I can live without an S-pen and I could learn to love a tablet that allows me to separate my work and relaxation time. It’s become my go-to tablet and bedside companion where it doubles as an alarm clock and media player.
Does the Samsung Tab S 8.4 have all the features I need?
Yes. Does it have all the features I want? No. But mostly because the Tab S 8.4 and Note 3 don’t have sync capabilities (it does with the Galaxy S5) and at just over 8″ it’s an awkward size – just large enough to hold with one hand, but you have to have large hands to do that. At 5’10” tall, I’m able to hold it between my thumb and ring finger, but most smaller people likely won’t be able to. They’ll have to grab it in the margins which can mean that the super-sensitive screen may register that as a command.
I appreciate the finger scanner in lieu of password option, but I will mention that the quality of the fingerprint you put in will determine how easily it unlocks. I scanned both my right and left index fingers and made a point of keeping my fingers flat when scanning. The system requires to you rescan the same finger multiple times to be sure it’s captured correctly. It took me two tries to get it right so that it recognizes my fingerprint on the first try. It’s worth setting it up correctly as it saves so much time and makes it harder for anyone else to access your devices.
While that tablet is said to get up to 10 hours of battery life, I’ve never gotten over 5 hours. Granted I use the dual windows when I can and run a lot of apps which affects how long the battery lasts. I also use the screen at full brightness which also greatly reduces the battery time. For most people, you’ll likely get between 8 – 10 hours of battery life.
Samsung Tab S 8.4 – Lightweight Fun
The Tab S 8.4 tablet is super slim and lightweight weighing in at under a pound and the video screen is bright, crisp, and clear. It’s got great adaptive features for those of us with sight or hearing impairments and it’s very intuitive to use.
My only complaint is the lack of accessories available for the Tab S 8.4″ tablet. I did find some 3rd party equipment, but I would have loved to have Samsung accessories like a keyboard case and/or wireless charging case, but perhaps that’s not possible for a tablet. I have a wireless charging case for my Note 3 and love the freedom of setting it down on a charging plate and walking away. I did find a 3rd party keyboard/case combo, but since it’s not specifically made to the dimensions of this tablet, the generic fit, and small keyboard, don’t add much to the functionality so I won’t be taking it on my next press trip (though I specifically chose this case with a cable connection instead of Bluetooth so it could be used on an airplane).
Even with the minor issues, the Samsung Tab S 8.4″ tablet is a great device packed with features and a welcome addition to my tech gear.
Have you checked out the Samsung Tab S 8.4″ tablet? What’s stopping you?