What to expect from Samsung's Galaxy Tab S launch

In May Samsung sent out invites to the Samsung Galaxy Premiere 2014 event, to be held in New York on Thursday 12 June.

We've seen a number of leaks since that invitation went out, and Samsung's invitation clearly draws attention to tablets, and to colour. 

So what can we expect from Samsung at the New York event?

Samsung Galaxy Tab S specs leak

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S appeared in leaks in early May 2014, with a full range of specs in tow.

Most of the attention is on the display, said to pack in a resolution of 2560 x 1600 pixels, but importantly using an AMOLED panel, rather than regular TFT LCD. That also fits the tagline on the invitation "Tab into color."

You can expect a brighter and more vibrant display, offering deeper blacks than you're typically used to. At the same time, AMOLED tends to saturate colours, and with that vibrancy things can move away from natural tones. Still, plenty of people love the AMOLED display on the Galaxy smartphones, so we suspect it will have a great reception on a tablet too.

There's said to be a Samsung Exynos octa-core chipset, 3GB of RAM, 32GB of internal storage with a microSD card slot for expansion sitting at the heart. We'd expect plenty of power, but we wouldn't be surprised if there was a Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 chipset in place of Samsung's own.

There's an 8-megapixel camera on the rear and a 2.1-megapixel camera on the front. A flash is also pictured. This was something that the TabPRO offered, but previous Tab models didn't.

There is also a fingerprint scanner included, like the SGS5.

Designed like the SGS5

There's no shortage of Samsung tablets out there with the TabPRO and Tab 3 and 4 range, as well as legacy devices, in all sizes. 

It looks as though the Samsung Galaxy Tab S is going to be designed to have consumer appeal, with a design that reflects the Samsung Galaxy S5, according to leaked images.

That means you'll get the dimple textured back, which some have likened to a Band-Aid plaster. That will provide some distinction from the TabPRO with its faux leather stylings that are similar to the Note 3. 

The Tab S is said to be 6.6mm thick and judging by some of the leaked images, it appears to have a simpler design around the edges than the SGS5. It's nicely curved and free of fuss. 

It will are also be light: 465g for the 10.5 inch, and 287g for the 8.4. That would make the Tab S models lighter than comparable iPads - probably deliberately so - and at 6.6mm, not too far off the ultra svelte Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet.

Four new Tab S devices?

One of the initial leaks said there would be four models of Tab S. The invitation, too, was neatly divided into quarters, showing an edge view of the devices.

Samsung recently launched the TabPRO in 8.4, 10.1 and 12.2 inch sizes. The Tab 3 is available in 7, 8 and 10.1.

With a 2560 x 1600 pixel resolution display, we're pretty sure that 8.4 and 10.5 inches make sense, as has been suggested. It's said that there will be LTE and Wi-Fi-only versions, so that probably accounts for the four "different" models.

That said, we could easily see a 7-inch model, or something larger. We know from previous years that Samsung is happy to release tablets is just about any size it can imagine.

Galaxy Tab S software and features

The hardware story of the Tab S looks pretty well defined and we're not expecting too many surprises on this front.

The software story is where Samsung will really have the chance to differentiate from other tablets on the market. Launching on Android 4.4 KitKat we'd take for granted, but beyond that, we expect a range of innovative features.

We'd expect a full makeover with a Samsung user interface, with many of the features that make Samsung's phablets and tablets appealing. You can expect plenty of split-screen skill.

As much is shown in a recent leaked image of the Samsung Tab S: the Gallery and Flipboard-powered Magazine interface are split in the background, with a phone overlay showing an incoming call. 

So it looks like we can expect Samsung to tie the Galaxy Tab and smartphones closer together, so you can take calls on your tablet.

Then there's the fingerprint scanner. We'd argue that perhaps this security feature is better placed in a TabPRO, especially if there's sensitive business information on it, but consumers might also like the peace of mind.

That said, plenty have complained about the fingerprint scanner on the SGS5: it might be more convenient to use on a tablet than a phone, just because you spend less time locking and unlocking.

It's also reported that the Tab S will have a low power mode - just as the SGS5 does - as well as the Wi-Fi Booster function that will allow downloads to use 4G and Wi-Fi together for maximum speed. 

There's no mention of S Health, although we'd be surprised if you couldn't use the Tab S to keep track of your efforts. There's no sign of a heart rate scanner, however, so the play to health doesn't seem to be as overt on this device.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S price

The price of the Samsung Galaxy Tab S is one of the elusive pieces of information. An earlier leak from a retailer priced it at €449.90 (£363) for the 8.4 Wi-Fi, €563.90 (£455) for the 8.4 LTE, €563.90 (£455) for 10.5 Wi-Fi, €619 (£501) for the 10.5 LTE.

Retailers often price things speculatively and at those prices, the Tab S 8.4 would be more expensive than the TabPRO 8.4 (£279). It would be a slightly cheaper than the £399 32GB iPad mini with Retina display.

For the larger model, that £455 starting price puts it just under the 32GB iPad Air (£479), around the same price as the Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet, but again, more expensive than its TabPRO sibling.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S release date

All will be revealed on 12 June, but we'd expect Samsung to make the new Tab S available soon after launch. 

We will be at the event in New York to bring you all the details as they happen.



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