Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 breathes new life into high-end Android tablets

The high-end Android tablet is an endangered species, but Samsung is trying to keep the idea alive with its new Galaxy Tab S4. This 10.5″ slate leans heavily on Samsung's DeX interface to provide a desktop-like multi-tasking experience in tandem with the company's Book Cover keyboard and compatible Bluetooth mice.

DeX can also let the Tab S4 hook up to external monitors for dual-display productivity work with a separate USB Type-C to HDMI adapter. Samsung also includes one of its S Pen styluses with the Tab S4 for note-taking and sketching with compatible apps.

When users are done with work, the Tab S4's 2560×1600 AMOLED display and quartet of Dolby Atmos-enabled speakers should provide a compelling YouTube portal. Samsung specs the Tab S4 with a 7300-mAh battery that it claims is good for up to 16 hours of video playback. The company says it slimmed down the bezels on this tablet's screen to reduce the overall size of the slate's body, too.

The Tab S4 gets its computing power from an older Snapdragon 835 SoC running at peak speeds of 2.35 GHz for its performance cores and 1.9 GHz for its efficiency cores. That SoC is paired with 4 GB of RAM and 64 GB or 256 GB of onboard storage. Users can add microSD cards as large as 400 GB to expand the onboard NAND. The S4 can be equipped with a Cat.16 LTE modem inside for cellular communications, as well.

For folks brave enough to take photos and videos with a giant slate, Samsung equips the Tab S4 with a 13-MP world-facing camera plus an 8-MP front-facing camera. The tablet can capture 4K video at up to 30 FPS, and it can play back 4K footage at up to 60 FPS. Samsung will ship the Tab S4 with Android 8.1 Oreo.

The Wi-Fi version of the Tab S4 will start at $649.99 for the 64 GB model. Upgrading the internal storage to 256 GB will run another $100. The tablet will go up for sale on August 10 through Amazon, Best Buy, and through Samsung's own website. The Book Cover keyboard will add $149.99 to the bottom line.

US buyers who want the LTE version can get theirs from Verizon starting on August 10, as well, although it's not clear what the privilege of cellular connectivity will add to the base price of the Tab S4. Samsung says the tablet will come to Sprint and US Cellular later in the third quarter of this year.

Comments closed
    • bender
    • 1 year ago

    I have a 2013 Nexus 7 that I still use daily … is there anything worth replacing that with? I wouldn’t mind a few extra horses under the hood (not that big a deal really), but I’d really love an AMOLED screen and something close to stock Android.

      • Laykun
      • 1 year ago

      The Galaxy Tab S line had an 8.4″ version that was pretty good, probably still pretty good by todays standards. 1600p AMOLED screen. I still have the 10.5″ edition and it’s still pretty good.

    • Chrispy_
    • 1 year ago

    Uh, doesn’t the Surface Go effectively put an upper price cap on Android tablets for productivity?

    Maybe Samsung think there’s life in an OS and ecosystem that’s rapidly moving away from this sort of use case; I dunno – Samsung make eleventy-bajillion model variants a year so I guess this is no weirder than some of their other products to fill market niches.

    • Kretschmer
    • 1 year ago

    Technically, it won’t “breathe” life into that market segment unless it actually sells.

    • Kretschmer
    • 1 year ago

    What happened to the <$250 android tablet market? All I see is very old units and trash.

      • strangerguy
      • 1 year ago

      The market died off after phones got bigger than 5.5″.

        • Kretschmer
        • 1 year ago

        That makes sense; good insight.

      • derFunkenstein
      • 1 year ago

      that’s what happened to the <$250 android tablet market.

      • Chz
      • 1 year ago

      There still exists somewhat of a market. There’s the under $100 market full of utter garbage from no-one you’ve ever heard of, and then there’s the Amazon Fires. The 7″ and 8″ Fires are utter garbage as well, it has to be said. However…

      …the Fire 10″ is actually a pretty nice bit of kit for the price. 1920×1200 screen, A72 for the “big” cores. I’d rather it had more than 2GB of RAM, but really tablets are less likely to be multi-tasking than phones are and 2GB is plenty for any single application. It’s regularly on sale for an extremely attractive price, as well. It’s trivial for anyone technical to get the Play Store installed and swap out the launcher for something less Amazon-y, too. You could argue that it’s a bit plastic-y, but quite frankly that keeps it fairly light for a 10″, which is a good thing. It weighs only slightly more than my old 8″ Hudl2. (500g vs 410g, though that *is* more than the Tab S4 it’s also a lot less than Huawei’s porker that comes in at nearly 900g)

    • oldog
    • 1 year ago

    Oh, look! Another surface clone;)

      • albundy
      • 1 year ago

      which version of windows 10 does it come with and what intel core cpu does it use?

        • oldog
        • 1 year ago

        Shucks. Someone just needs to hack it to run Win RT. I’m sure it would run faster than my first generation Surface.

    • crystall
    • 1 year ago

    I’m I the only one thoroughly uninterested in 10+” tablets? The only uses I have for a tablet is reading stuff (e-mail, books, articles, news on the internet, etc…). For that 7″ or 8″ tablets are a lot better as I can easily hold them with one hand.

      • moop2000
      • 1 year ago

      Are there any quality <10″ Android tablets that support LTE, and have decent specs? I’ve had trouble finding something that would be a good alternate to an iPad Mini for some of my users at work.

        • crystall
        • 1 year ago

        Not really, I’ve got a nVidia Shield Tablet K1 and it’s OK-ish but not really good (and there’s no spare parts available for it so if you crack the screen or something like that you’re stuck). There’s plenty of cheap 7″ tablets but they’re garbage. Even something like the Galaxy Tab A (which is half-decent IMHO) is hampered by crappy software support. You can consider it a good tablet only if you’re ready to flash an up-to-date custom ROM on it.

      • willmore
      • 1 year ago

      I’m with you. I just want an updated Nexus 7 (2013). Then again, mine still works.

      • Hsldn
      • 1 year ago

      10″+ tablets maybe productivity oriented and useful if they have Windows on it. Wouldn’t buy a android tablet for anything.

      • Redocbew
      • 1 year ago

      I’m still confused why I would pay $800 for a tablet + keyboard instead of a getting a Zenbook or some other decent laptop which is much more capable. Color me Krogoth.

        • Srsly_Bro
        • 1 year ago

        I was thinking less than $400 and closer to $300.

        • strangerguy
        • 1 year ago

        Because Samsung now thinks anything with their name slapped on it will sell like hotcakes regardless of the price.

        And after I got my 6.5″ Mi Max for $180 as a bedtime device I stopped caring about tablets entirely, those are either too gimped, too expensive, or both.

      • Liron
      • 1 year ago

      I like 10+” tablets for reading comics and scanned newspapers.

      • meerkt
      • 1 year ago

      Isn’t 8″ a bit cramped for the web?

      10″ should also be nice for games.

        • jihadjoe
        • 1 year ago

        I think the Ipad Mini pretty much nailed the perfect size for tablets. Small enough to carry all the time, but big enough to read stuff easily.

          • meerkt
          • 1 year ago

          I wouldn’t want to carry a tablet all the time.

            • jihadjoe
            • 1 year ago

            It’s about the size of a trade paperback. Carrying one around surely won’t be that big of a hardship.

            • meerkt
            • 1 year ago

            For my uses a tablet is mostly a homebound device. Else, for very specific uses it can be a notebook computer replacement (not for real work), or part of the luggage when going someplace for a semi-extended stay.

      • Kretschmer
      • 1 year ago

      I mean, most people are uninterested in most products.

      • rwburnham
      • 1 year ago

      The 10 to 12 inch range is pretty good for reading books, comics, and magazines, and do that a lot. Smaller than that and I end doing too much zooming.

        • crystall
        • 1 year ago

        Makes sense. I prefer reading comics and magazines in paper form and it would definitely be a chore on something smaller than 10″.

      • duke_sandman
      • 1 year ago

      Just wait until you are in your mid 40’s and you need bifocals!

        • crystall
        • 1 year ago

        I’m only 5 years away from my mid 40’s so I should know real soon 🙂

    • derFunkenstein
    • 1 year ago

    This is weird. I thought [url=https://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2018/06/acer-chromebook-tab-10-review-a-good-but-not-great-first-chrome-os-tablet/<]Chrome OS[/url<] was going to be the answer going forward for tablets. Google doesn't sell any Android tablets these days, and almost nobody is releasing ANY new ones, let alone high-end new ones. The lone exception is Amazon, but they don't use Google services and they're tied into Alexa. I'm surprised that Samsung is still trying to make Android tablets a "thing".

      • Eversor
      • 1 year ago

      ChromeOS isn’t a good platform for developers or power users right now. Secure, yes, but not much else.
      Given the delays in new hardware releases, it probably isn’t streamlined as Android when it comes to OEM being able to do their work.

      Samsung was also beta-testing Linux distro support on DeX and coupled with the dual screen support, this can actually end up a very capable device.

        • derFunkenstein
        • 1 year ago

        Android is not a good platform for any of those things, either. Chrome OS, on the other hand, is getting container support and Linux apps.

          • DancinJack
          • 1 year ago

          Man, if you didn’t do it, I was going to. It was such a short-sighted view of the market I was surprised to be honest.

          • Eversor
          • 1 year ago

          What ends up in the news and what actually happens in ChromeOS is rather different. I returned an ASUS C101PA a couple months ago due to various reasons, one of which was that, despite being around for a while, Android App support was still rather bug ridden.

          I still have an HP Chromebook for which Google didn’t implement proper CPU temperature protections, so the device throttles from 1.7 to 700MHz with no intermediate states that are supported on the Samsung counterpart with this Exynos chip.
          I have submitted bug reports and patches to fix this years ago, yet it has never been addressed. I know I’m not buying another Chromebook anytime soon.
          Google backporting features or even mainlining kernel support for chips are other major lacking areas.

      • meerkt
      • 1 year ago

      2018 Android tablets I know of: Huawei M5, Xiaomi Mi Pad 4.

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