The Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4 Is Worthy Alternative if You Hate Apple
As Web Editor, my chief interest is in how our website looks. (iPad Mini 2 on the left, Galaxy Tab S 8.4 on the right)
Photos by Cory Garcia
If you've been hesitating in getting into the tablet game, heed this advice: Just give in. A tablet computer may not change your life, but they're incredibly useful devices that can really enhance your recreational time.
It's hard to believe now, given the fact that tablets are damn near everywhere in society, that when the iPad was unveiled, a lot of people scoffed and said no one would be interested in it. Now non-tablet devices are trying to rip off the beauty that is touchscreen computing, because what good is technology if it's not making your operating system needlessly complicated?
Your best bet is to stick with actual, honest-to-God, "this is what they're created to do" tablets. An even better bet is to stick to the smaller models; what you lose in screen size you gain in reduced weight, which equals less arm strain and makes for a more enjoyable experience.
While the iPad may be the name that everyone knows in tablets, some folks just aren't interested, and that's fine. While in the broad strokes, iOS is a boon for those who want a system that just works (when Apple isn't breaking it themselves), some people just aren't interested in being tied into the Apple ecosystem.
Well, good news: If you're the type who's more at home with Android, there's a lot to like about the Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S is light, almost deceptively so. Although it's really all of 37 grams lighter than the iPad Mini, it feels light-years lighter. This probably has a lot to do with how it is designed; being longer, the weight distribution isn't so clunky. No matter what the scientific reasons are for this feeling, the reality is that it's a device that feels really good in the hand, whether you're holding it in one hand while reading a website or watching a movie in bed.
It also makes typing feel a lot easier when you're holding the device in portrait mode, if you're one of those types who like to answer emails from the comfort of their couches.
In general, the experience of reading on the Tab was a lot nicer than on the similarly sized iPad. There's something about the shape that feels more book-like, and being able to see more of a story while holding the Tab in portrait mode is nice. It's also worth noting that cranking it up to full brightness didn't feel quite as painful as doing the same on an iPad.
To test out its gaming capabilities, the most American of games was loaded onto the device: Candy Crush Saga. (If you're going to test gaming, you might as well test something people will actually play, although the temptation to test Hearthstone was hard to resist.) The game worked just fine, which will be good news for casual gamers across the country.
If there was any sort of disappointment, it came with watching a movie on the device. The speakers on the Tab aren't really anything to write home about, which is no surprise, given how thin it is. Still, your best bet is to wear headphones if you're using it for that kind of entertainment, if you're into watching Gravity before bed.
The other, perhaps more embarrassing issue, is that if you have fat or fleshy palms, you're likely to hit the navigation buttons at the bottom of the screen if you happen to start trying to use the screen while it's in landscape mode. It's a lot less forgiving of fat hands than its Apple counterpart.
All in all, there's a lot to like about the Galaxy Tab S 8.4 and not a lot to be annoyed by. If you're the type who already has an Apple device, you're probably better off getting an iPad Mini, as a lot of your apps will probably work with your new tablet. If, however, you're not already married to the world of Apple, you could do far worse than the Tab S.
Whether you're using it on the couch, in bed or while you're in the restroom (oh, don't act like you don't read in there), get ready to step your relaxation time up a notch.
Get the Theater Newsletter
Get a rundown of upcoming theater events and ticket deals in Houston.