On the outside it looks like any bog standard tablet a tad thin, lighter than an iPad but when you tap into the new Galaxy Tab S4 you realise that this device has some unique capabilities a bit like a Swiss Army knife and an S Pen is just one of the standout features.
I am not your normal journalist, I’m also the CEO of a fast-growing content creation media Company so my day is driven by my capability to multi task across sales, editorial production and design.
A key part of the tools that make my day easier is my smartphone and the use of a good tablet and a PC.
From press conferences to client meetings to being able to research on the run there is one thing I need every hour of my working day and that is, information and the ability to easily communicate.
So, when a product like the Galaxy Tab S4 is released and I am asked to review it, my immediate questions are how good is this device as an everyday tool?
Or as an entertainment device because when I travel I like to watch streaming content such as Netflix in my hotel room and at home in front of the TV manage music and several devices.
When you open this tablet the first thing you notice is the screen on the Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 is utterly gorgeous, and right up there with the iPad Pro 10.5. It’s remarkably thin and has a super bright HDR AMOLED display screen which is 2.5 centimetres bigger than the previous model this display is as good as most OLED TV’s which makes it ideal for watching movies and video’s.
It’s also an excellent work machine, though it does a major drawback when it comes to PowerPoint presentations which is something I need on this machine (I will go into this issue later).
One big differentiator with this device is that I can scribble notes on the screen in the same way I can with the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 and I can connect it easily to a large monitor or TV.
This is because built into this device is Samsung’s DeX user interface, which first appeared on Samsung’s Galaxy S smartphones. DeX is designed to deliver a “desktop like” experience when using the Galaxy Tab S4 with either an optional keyboard, or when connected to an external display as I am doing right now to write this story.
There is also a high capacity,7300 mAh battery, that on two occasions delivered me 18 hours of battery life before the device needed to be recharged. Missing from the previous Tab S3 is the separate home button this is now accessible when you scroll the screen up.
Powering the Galaxy Tab S4 is a Snapdragon 835 processor, paired to 4GB of RAM, and there’s 64GB of on-board storage. For added storage though, there’s a microSD slot included that allows for an additional 400GB of storage. You’ll also find a 13-megapixel rear-facing camera as well as a 5-megapixel front-facing camera. The specs are similar to iPad Pro 10.5 without the price sting that Apple dish out for simple owning one of their devices.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 is an excellent business tool.
I admit I am not a fan of the iPad or Apple’s proprietary OS and while this device is an Android device, Samsung have included an excellent suite of Microsoft Office 365 applications and because we use this suite of tools every day, I was able to easily log into our email backend as well as our Dropbox and One Drive files.
This device is as high-end as you can get, a fast processor, a gorgeous OLED display and the S-Pen included which are great when it comes to business use.
For business users Samsung has built in their Dex UI interface from the Galaxy S9.
Basically, it turns the tablet into a productivity tool, allowing you to have several apps open at once, including your Office 365, Docs, Sheets and a calendar at once, with them all visible, is truly great for productivity.
To access Dex go to the toggle menu at the top of the page pull it down and scroll right to the Dex button, a Windows desktop window will appear.
Along the bottom you’ll find the usual Android soft-keys plus a selection of running apps and a taskbar incorporating the date, time and other settings.
The weakness is fonts or a lack of them and this issue is not isolated to just Samsung products it’s applicable across all Android devices.
Let me explain, because we deal in design and PowerPoint presentations all day long, but it appears that when you download a PP presentation that has certain fonts for example Google Fonts the fonts don’t come down as expected, neither can you download the Google Fonts to the tablet which is surprising as this is a Google Android Tablet. If you go to font downloads what you get is a suite of Samsung fonts that you have to pay for.
There is a solution for this and that involves converting the PP file to a PDF and opening the PDF with the links embedded from the PP presentation while it is not the original PDF it is the closest you will get to the original presentation
The screen attaches to a set of POGO pins for connecting up the Book Keyboard Cover, which is sold separately however I strongly suggest that you look at buying the $89 cover without the keyboard because there will be times when you want to sit back and read and don’t want to have a keyboard attached to your tablet. It also protects the tablet when you detach it from the keyboard case.
Connectivity to a monitor is via a USB-C port to HDMI the USB C Port sits along the bottom edge, flanked by a 3.5mm headphone port. I prefer to Bluetooth connect using my Jabra buds.
Having already fallen in love with my Note 9 pen it’s great to have a similar but larger pen for the Galaxy Tab S4.
In essence this is a Wacom-powered stylus for doodling drawing and note-taking.
This stylus as I call it is a significant step up considering it is attaching to an Android tablets, it delivers solid pressure sensitivity levels and multiple levels of pen width via what is a rubber tip. T
You can scribble in Samsung Notes, or it you fancy yourself as an artist you can use the Autodesk Sketchbook, or buy the Adobe Sketch and Adobe Draw to bring on your creative juices.
As for sound there are four speakers with the entire audio system tuned by the now Samsung owned by AKG.
The built in Cameras include a single 13-megapixel f/1.9 camera on the back, and an 8-megapixel version on the front which is ideal for shooting images such as a building or construction site or on the set of a production for future reference.
My review unit came with LTE/4G and once I inserted my Telstra SIM it became an absolute dream machine because of the speed that I could access content.
There is also a Daily Board that display calendar appointments, weather and the time. This pops into life when the tablet is attached to a dock or when it’s charging.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 is one of those products that’s almost as important as the kitchen sink. It’s a key lifestyle product that you cannot do without if you are serious about managing a busy lifestyle.
And because it’s made by Samsung you have the confidence that’s it’s a quality product housing technology that delivers unique functionality, the screen for viewing, the pen for communicating and it’s light and easy to carry around.
Today, the best tech products are not about tech, that’s the easy part, it’s all about having a device that fits into your life seamlessly becoming a key part of your life and the Galaxy Tab S4 does that.