Samsung Galaxy Tab S sets new mark on tablet features

*Steve Makris is a technology expert who does a weekly Tech Talk segment during Edmonton’s Sunday Morning News. You can watch it above.

Good morning folks. Today on GlobalTV’s Sunday Morning News I featured two stunning Samsung Galaxy 8.4” $419.99, and 10.5” Tab S $519.99, tablets. They are showing up in stores now and can be pre-ordered. Both feature brilliant and the most up-to-date colour accurate Super AMOLED screen display, are lighter and thinner, have a fingerprint scanner, power saving mode and much more.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S has impressive engineering and features. handout

So where do I begin? From the company who makes more tablets than you can shake a stick at, the Samsung GalaxyTab S fires a few volleys across Apple’s top tabs, the iPad Air and iPad mini retina for 99 cents more respectively.

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We were able to hardware compare the Tab S side-by-side with the mini Retina at the New York launch a few weeks ago and the Tab S wins hands down on several counts: light at 4.6 g, screen display colour quality and sharper, much sharper at WQXGA 2560×1600 resolution. The Tab S 8.4 has an impressive 360 DPI resolution, as sharp as the best smartphones but on a much larger piece of glass.

This makes photos, videos and some 30 content providers Samsung Canada worked with for free limited time trials, a joy to see on a virtually dot-less screen. Check out Next Issue, Kindle for Samsung (one free book/month), Cineplex and more. Amazing visuals. Same for the Tab S 10.5 which us also thinner and lighter than the iPad Air, more than one credit card thinner. The Tab s 8.4” also ups the ante with an 8 megapixel rear camera and 2.1 MP front…much improved on both models. The Tab S has a micro SD slot making storage memory upgrades much cheaper than the profitable iPad incremental $100 memory model upgrades. It comes in included 16 GB or 32 GB models.

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I love the sequential 20-frame frame busrt, great for sports events. The video is equally impressive with responsive auto focus down to your favourite flowers. The speaker quality is amazing, bring out a third dimension to movies. Still, compared to cameras, tablets are tougher to shoot pictures and videos with because they are awkward to hold, but the Tab S fared well as portable recording device.

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Battery life is appreciably longer with 11 hours of 1080p video playback. Nice. The Ultra Battery Saving Mode switches to black and white closing down all other apps, to give you those precious few extra minutes. The ten Multi-user feature with individual fingerprint scanner keeping each user’s settings and looks, is awesome. You can even make your own files invisible to anyone else.

Samsung who is actively dabbling with its own OS for future use, offers an array of additional features and apps on top of the Android OS the Tab S runs on.

The most impressive is Side Sync 3.0 which lets you run your smartphone on the tablet screen, including  making and receiving calls.

The Tab S might seem pricey but in view of what you are getting in a 6 credit-card thick slab of glass, and a real alternative to the iPad folks, is worth looking at.

Logitech Type S keyboard cover for the Galaxy Tab S 10. handout

Which size to get? Look at your user habits and what you use now. If you do a lot of late night bed reading, I prefer the smaller screen. In fact using the Galaxy Note 3 with one hand in bed is tough to beat for portability. But if you want to be productive, check out the Tab S 10.5” with optional Samsung keyboard cover or Logitech’s smartly designed Logitech Type-S $99.99. It protects both sides of the Tab S, folds under for tablet use and puts it to sleep when closed over. It works with the Tab S new snap on features, finally putting an end to unreliable magnet cover attachments. It keyboard quality is well designed and springy.

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July is Cellphone Courtesy Month. A recent Google Consumer Survey commissioned by TELUS reveals just how bad our cellphone etiquette is.

  • What’s worse than whipping it out during a eulogy?

o   Put the phone down and pass the popcorn. When asked “when or where is it completely unacceptable for others to use their smartphone”, more people said movie theatre mis-use is a bigger sin than pulling it out at a funeral (11.8 per cent vs.10.4 per cent, respectively).

  • Flashing a smartphone is a tremendous turn-off.

o   More than half (53.9 per cent) of respondents said that if their counterpart whipped it out on a first date, there wouldn’t be a second one, and 16.5 per cent said they would end the date early if their companion couldn’t keep it in their pants.

  • Toying with it can be a slap in the face.

o   What’s more offensive than being told to “shut up”? Nearly half (49.6 per cent) of Canadians said that interrupting a conversation to check their smartphone is worse.

  • Polite? Canadians can be downright rude!

o   Survey participants indicated overwhelmingly that they have used their smartphone to tune someone out, or avoid conversation. It’s true – 75 per cent of people said they purposefully use their smartphone to tune people out and 30 per cent even admitted to doing so TODAY!

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  • We grab it more around loved ones.

o   The survey found that we’re twice as likely to whip out our phones around family and friends (82.6 per cent) than we are when at work (40.6 per cent).

  • Who, me? 

o   While 9 in 10 Canadians think others are annoying when they use their smartphone in public, 40 per cent of us don’t believe our own smartphone use bothers others. Which leads us to the next interesting finding…

  • Canadians aren’t sorry!?!

o   In fact, when told by someone else that their smartphone use was inappropriate, 38 per cent of respondents said they didn’t care – only 10 per cent said they regretted their behaviour.

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