Samsung Galaxy Tab S Review, Top Shelf Android

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Software and User Experience

The Galaxy Tab S runs Android 4.4 aka KitKat. Samsung includes a number of programs and added features on the Galaxy Tab S to further enhance the tablet’s utility. We’ve seen some of these apps before, but others are new.

Samsung is also offering various Galaxy Gifts with the Galaxy Tab S which include 3 months of unlimited free membership to Marvel’s “Marvel Unlimited” app, Kindle for Samsung which includes a free book every month through Samsung Book Deals, one-year free of Gogo In-flight Wi-Fi access (up to 36 segments), various content subscription trials, 3 months free Sirius XM Radio, 3 months free subscription to Audible, and much more.

 

 

Default home screens found on the Galaxy Tab S 8.4

With SideSync 3.0, you can connect the Galaxy Tab S with select Samsung-branded smartphones to view the smartphone’s screen on the tablet. During our tests of SideSync 3.0 using a Samsung Galaxy S4, we found it very quick and easy to set up and establish a connection. However, while using the apps on our phone through the Galaxy Tab S, the phone’s keyboard would not appear in various input scenarios, which makes it difficult to respond to a text message or look up a contact on the phone. If you push any of the keys on the phone, the tablet will immediately display “Phone is currently in use” and temporarily suspend the connection.

As we’ve seen on other Samsung tablets, the Multi Window functionality lets you open two windows at once. We’ve also seen Kid Mode on previous tablets, including the Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 8.0 and have really appreciated this functionality since it makes it easy for parents to select apps that are appropriate for their kids and keep their youngsters from important files and documents on the tablet. You can add apps and media to the Kid Mode area, view activity logs, set daily playtime limits, and more through Parental Controls. If a child presses the Home key while using Kid Mode, it will return them to the Kid Mode Home screen rather than the tablet’s Home screen. In order to enter the Parental Control panel or exit Kids Mode, you’ll need to enter a PIN which you select during initial set up.

   

Default Apps (left) and My Files browser (right)

Using the Settings menu, you can register up to three fingerprints for security. A fingerprint can be used to secure the tablet’s lock screen, verify your Samsung account, and Pay With PayPal. Registering a fingerprint requires swiping it along the Home button eight times. During our tests, the fingerprint scanner worked well and unlocked the Galaxy Tab S very quickly and easily. Samsung also includes Samsung Knox for additional security.

Samsung Papergarden is making its debut on the Galaxy Tab S. This magazine service includes popular magazine titles such as Cosmopolitan, Elle, Elle Décor, HGTV Magazine, Vogue, Architectural Digest, GQ, Rolling Stone, US Weekly, and more optimized for the Tab S. Papergarden is offering all single issues free of charge through July 31st, 2014.

   

SideSync (left), Milk (middle), Paper Garden (right)

The Galaxy Tab S is also the first tablet that is compatible with Milk Music powered by Slacker. This ad-free radio service is free and lets you create customized stations or listen to one of the more than 200 stations.

Additional apps that come preinstalled on the Galaxy Tab S include WatchON, Remote PC, WebEx, Businessweek+, Dropbox, Hancom Office Viewer, and Flipboard on the Galaxy Tab S. The Galaxy Tab S is also one of the few Android devices in the U.S. that offers Netflix HD.
 


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