With Google now turning to Chrome OS tablets, and Amazon hoovering up the budget end of the market, top-end Android tablets capable of taking on the iPad Pro directly are thin on the ground. The new Galaxy Tab S4 from Samsung, therefore, has immediately become the best of the bunch.
We only have Samsung's promotional materials to go off so far, but the Tab S4 certainly looks the part: thin bezels, a 10.5-inch, 2560 x 1600 pixel Super AMOLED screen, and a thickness of just 7.1 mm (0.28 inches). That's not as thin as Apple's iPad Pro, but it's close.
Those squeezed bezels mean no room for a fingerprint sensor, and it's been done away with completely rather than moved to the rear. You unlock your tablet with the iris scanner integrated into the front-facing camera.
The comparisons between this and Apple's premium tablet are obvious, with the Galaxy Tab S4 bringing with it S Pen stylus support, and an optional US$149.99 keyboard that you can clip on to the device to use it as a makeshift laptop.
That use-your-tablet-as-a-computer vibe is extended with the addition of Samsung DeX, previously seen on the Samsung Galaxy S9 phones. The idea is you connect up a monitor, keyboard, and mouse, and let your mobile device power everything. In this mode you can use apps in separate windows, while the tablet itself can be used as a trackpad or a sketching pad.
Elsewhere the tablet comes with a Snapdragon 835 processor (found in many a 2017 flagship Android phone), 4 GB of RAM and your choice of 64 GB or 256 GB of internal storage space, expandable via a memory card. There's a 13 MP camera around the back of the Tab S4 and an 8 MP camera on the front.
Android 8.1 Oreo is pre-installed, with Samsung's own tweaks added on top, and it's been on the software as well as the hardware side that Android tablets have lagged behind iPads in the past. Apple continues to add iPad-specific features to iOS that put Android slates in the shade – like the new dock in iOS 11, for example.
You also get four speakers on board with Dolby Atmos support, a USB-C port for all your charging and data transfer needs, and the trusty old 3.5 mm audio jack as well . There's a 7,300 mAh battery packed in, which Samsung promises is going to get you up to 16 hours of video playback.
For 64 GB of storage, you'll have to pay $649.99, which rises to $749.99 for the 256 GB version – those tablets can be pre-ordered now, in gray or black, and ship on August 10. A model with 4G LTE connectivity is coming later in the year, but as yet we don't have an exact date or details on how much it will cost.
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