Samsung S6 EDGE – Game Changer or Flawed Beauty?

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Samsung’s certainly doing what it can to get noticed in the smartphone arena, not that this seems particularly necessary. After delivering all-metal bodies in the A5 and A3 for those who crave a sleeker shell it’s now thinking outside the box with the S6 Galaxy EDGE, a device that aims to take aesthetics to a new level by wrapping the screen around the side bezel.

It’s a beautiful looking device and will certainly appeal to those who like to turn heads with their mobile, but we’ve seen too many examples of form prevailing over function in the past to want to rush out and buy one quite yet. Going by the specs sheet at least, this doesn’t seem to be the case here. An uber-powerful Octacore 2.1GHz processor and 3GB of RAM runs the thing and the 1,440 x 2560 resolution of the 5.1” display, boasting a whopping 576ppi shows that it’ll probably be needed. A 5MP front camera and 16MP round the back is as much as you’ll probably ever need, but with no microSD slot you’ll have to make do with up to 64GB of in-built storage.

We’re sure everyone would want to get hands-on with the EDGE, and luckily a fair few have. Let’s see what they think.

PCPro describes it as a “stunner”, offering a range of photos but admitting that “it’s impossible to precisely replicate in a photograph just how the metal catches the light and shimmers as you move it around.”  Those curved edges importantly offer an ideal compromise in terms of a big screen and comfortable size, with it feeling very comfortable for one-handed use, and the only downside is that the battery is no longer (easily) removable and there’s no microSD slot, and sadly also no apparent waterproofing or dust resistance like the S5. Display-wise there’s some questions here as to whether it needed to be quite so high resolution, but first impressions were positive nonetheless.

“The S6 Edge’s screen certainly looks great subjectively, with bright, vibrant colours and perfect contrast”

and with Gorilla Glass 4 ensuring that extra curved area will have to take a hell of a pounding to result in serious damage we could be looking at one of the best on the market. Finally it looks at the camera, which is one thing that doesn’t seem to have undergone any major revisions, retaining the same 16MP as the S5. Some welcome tweaks should improve the overall experience though:

“The aperture is larger at f/1.9 (the S5’s was an f/2.2 snapper), and the S6 Edge now has optical image stabilisation, which should improve the sharpness of images shot in low light. It also boasts a new quick launch feature: double-click the home button and the camera app will launch in a claimed 0.7 seconds.”

Round the front the 5MP is a welcome upgrade over the previous 2MP, and with object-tracking autofocus added to video it seems as though Samsung has done enough to deliver on this front again.

KnowYourMobile certainly doesn’t hold back in its praise for the new handset, lauding the fact that the specs are up there with the very best but reserving its biggest plaudits for the display. According to tests done of the EDGE and standard S6 by Display Mate, “these are the BEST smartphone displays on market. Bar none.” Everything from pixels per inch and resolution to colour accuracy, brightness and contrast wowed the judges and it’s impressive to say the least that Samsung has somehow improved on the excellent Galaxy Note 4, when other manufacturers may have sat on their laurels.

Elsewhere it goes into detail on some of the additional features, like Samsung Pay and an improved fingerprint sensor. The former runs via the latter, using the sensor for authentication, and the whole process (on paper at least) appears to work very well.

“Samsung Pay does seem to have some advantages over Apple Pay. Namely it does not rely on NFC alone. Samsung Pay also works with MST, which allows you to use contactless payments even at cashier terminals that lack NFC—such as ones that only take swipe cards.”

Finally, TechRadar is similarly in love with a phone that it describes as “a bit bonkers” but with a screen that looks amazingly next generation.  It’s a very tidy design, managing the clever trick of being able to fit a 5.1” display into a device that’s about the same size as the iPhone 6, and though the camera does protrude from the back, which affects the overall aesthetic slightly, nobody could argue that this isn’t an uber-premium device. The display is similarly lauded, being described as “something to behold” and it seems clear that Samsung has nailed this part of the design, which will be its main selling point.

Moving on to operation, TouchWiz has been improved and offers some nice features that’ll help users take advantage of the USP.

“For instance, when the phone is flipped on its front the sides will glow a specific colour when one of your favourite contacts calls in, so you can see who it is without having to turn the Edge over.”

It’s a shame that features from the Galaxy Note Edge, such as being able to control music while browsing the web won’t make it to the S6 due to the refined design but the ability to see notifications like time and weather from the sidebar when it’s asleep will still be present, and no doubt a raft of apps will open up possibilities even further.

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It seems pretty clear that the unanimous verdict for the EDGE so far is along the lines of “wow”. But most are hesitant to suggest it’ll be a real game-changer, at least not right away. The biggest stumbling block here will be the price, which hasn’t been confirmed in the UK yet but in Europe is reported as €849 SIM-free for the 32GB model. Ouch. Couple this with the fact that as gorgeous as it is we’ll only really get an idea for how well the display works and feels for day-to-day use when it’s undergone some full reviews and it seems like there’s still work to be done to convince the mainstream market.

Visit Samsung to find out more.

Samsung Galaxy Tab Active – the rugged tablet for business types

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Tablet computers are becoming increasingly popular among business users as a means of allowing employees to stay connected wherever they are. But for industrial environments, field service personnel or people who work outdoors, a conventional tablet may not be up to the task.

Step forward Samsung with an answer to the problem in the form of the Galaxy Tab Active. This is a ‘ruggedised’ tablet aimed at business users, so much so that it will only be sold through B2B channels and won’t be available through retailers. Home users may like to click-through to the next story now.

Still here? Good, you’re obviously a serious business type who’s not afraid to take the rough with the smooth. So what makes a tablet rugged? In the Galaxy Tab Active’s case it’s erm… the case. It has an anti-shock covering that Samsung claims will survive a 1.2 metre drop (that’s about 4 feet in old money), it’s also IP67 certified which means it’s dust resistant and won’t be daunted by going out in the rain. There’s also a stylus so you can, for example, use it whilst wearing gloves.

Beneath the rugged exterior – sorry for coming over a bit Mills and Boon there – is not a heart of gold but a pretty standard Galaxy Tab. You get a 1.2 GHz CPU, an 8-inch 1280×800 screen, 16GB of onboard storage expandable by a microSD slot, 3.1 megapixel front and 1.2 megapixel rear cameras. All this is driven by Android KitKat and, in keeping with its business focus, comes with Samsung’s Knox security program.

So what do reviewers think? Engadget notes that,

“The Galaxy Tab Active boasts 10 hours of power from a detachable, 4,450mAh battery, and a UI designed for tough work – the kind of stuff that keeps your fingers off the screen. It’s also got a variant of Samsung’s S Pen in the C Pen, a tougher version of the standard stylus included with various Galaxy devices.”

Reinforcing the Active’s business credentials ZDNet says, “It’s also been certified for Citrix and SAP applications…” and, “…during the design phase of the Galaxy Tab Active, the company talked with Fortune 500 companies spanning 12 industries to find out what business leaders wanted from a mobile device.”

“The tech specs are mid-range at best,” says Rugged PC Review, “but that would not detract from vertical market use where leading-edge tech isn’t as essential as in the cut-throat consumer market.” Which basically means business users are happy to buy lower tech specs as long as they work.

Pocketnow puts it more simply,

“The hardware that powers the Tab Active isn’t too exciting, much closer to a Tab 4 than a Tab S, but that’s not why anyone’s going to be buying this thing; they’re here for the rugged design. That protects the tablet against drops and environmental damage, while features like its stylus (even if it is a capacitive one) and support for quick charging cradles help expand its usefulness out in the field.”

However, Cnet’s reviewer says,

“The Active has definitely been put together with businesses in mind, but I wouldn’t mind seeing a consumer version, as there currently aren’t many options for those who want a rugged tablet for outdoor use. Samsung has a tendency to make plenty of variants of its products, so fingers crossed we see a version of the Tab Active that’s aimed at everyday shoppers before too long.”

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So, if your working life demands a tablet that’s a bit tougher than the norm, tell your IT manager that the Galaxy Tab Active is available in the UK through distributor Exertis though no pricing is has currently been released.

Samsung’s Galaxy A3 and A5 take aim at the Chinese market

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Some smartphones like to offer “credible” USPs such as waterproofing, which genuinely seem like a good idea. Others turn their focus towards things like the “selfie” generation, which like it or not appears to be a burgeoning market. The fact that it’s a big hit in China is guaranteed to make phone manufacturers sit up and take notice, so it’s not really a surprise to see “dedicated” devices being drip-fed into the mix.

It’s also not surprising to see Samsung getting involved – its figures have been hit in recent times by cheap and cheerful smartphones from China so the release of (what certainly should be) budget-priced models in the A3 and A5 seems like a clear strategy to try to counter the threat.

They are essentially quite similar aside from form factor – both have a 1.2GHz quad-core processor, run Android 4.4 (KitKat), offer 4G and have 16GB of storage with microSD. The A5 has a bigger screen at 5” compared to the A3’s 4.5”, though both offer 720p resolutions (1280×720), with the larger device also offering a higher 13MP camera compared to 8MP.

Interestingly Samsung claims that the A3 and A5 are optimised for social networking, though we’re not entirely sure why aside from the presence of “selfie” functionality and the fact that they are 4G phones that can upload your media pretty quick. Perhaps it’s the fact that those who frequent social networks are also quite likely to take quite a lot of these sorts of photos, so to this end both have a 5MP front-facing camera with a range of custom tools like Wide Selfie, Palm Selfie, Animated GIF and Beauty Face features. Your guess is as good as ours.

One thing we are pleased about is that Samsung has also placed a strong focus on design, so if these models are priced well they could offer a serious advantage over the functional but ultimately uninspiring design of many Chinese counterparts. The A3 an A5 are the slimmest Samsung smartphones yet at just 6.9mm and 6.7mm thick respectively (though technically this is a joint record with the 6.7mm Galaxy Alpha) and are importantly based on the Alpha’s design, which is to say they have full metal unibodies and come in a wide range of colours from Midnight Black to Champagne Gold.

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This seems like a strategic move from Samsung but also an entirely sensible one given that the Alpha represented a swanky design change for the company – it’s something we’ve seen before with HTC doing pretty well out of aping the One’s design with lower-priced Desires, so was always really a case of “when” rather than “if”. Whether or not the selfie focus will be a significant factor in driving sales is yet to be seen, but one thing that Samsung will certainly have to get right is the price.

Unfortunately there are no price details available yet, or indeed a release date for the UK. What we do know is that they’ll certainly be doing the rounds in China from November, and will be hitting other markets shortly afterwards.

Galaxy Note Edge: curves in all the right places?

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“A superb-looking handset that offers something brand-new in the market. Let’s hope Samsung doesn’t make the Note Edge a limited edition,” were the words of Tech Radar.

Considering that when a new and wildly anticipated device enters the market it is typical for it to get ripped apart by the ruthless consumer tech press, Tech Radar’s approval of the Galaxy Note Edge certainly compels us to learn more about the curved screen smartphone.

And curved it definitely is. Whilst Apple made its latest iPhone bendy – at least that’s what the internet fracas like you to believe – Samsung have opted for a stylish curved screen, meaning it should slip straight into the back pocket of a pair of skinny jeans without too much trouble (and without the risk of bending in your pocket).

Dubbed (by Samsung) as taking the “Galaxy Note experience to the next level”, the Note Edge, Samsung claims, “provides people with a new way to access information, engage with their mobile device, and express their personality and tastes.”

So in what ways exactly can the Note Edge enable us to “express our personality and tastes?”

A memorable screen

What’s particularly striking about the Note Edge is its rounded screen, which, quite inventively, only curves off on the right hand side, with the curved edge, as Stuff TV points out, effectively acting as a small second screen.

Asides having curves, as it seem, in the right places, there seems to be a couple of other innovative little features embedded deep into the Note Edge’s spec, such as being able to discreetly view notifications and display the time by swiping the curved edge while the rest of the screen remains blank.

Also, if you swipe or flick the side display, the screen turns into one of a handful of widgets, including app-icon shortcuts, a Yahoo sports ticker or a list of current trending Twitter hashtags. Through various Samsung apps, it turns into menu-bar controls for a sketch program or into camera button controls. Another fairly novel feature related to the Note Edge’s curved side is that when the smartphone is left on standby, the edge softly glows with information about the time, date and alarm.

For anyone who has aspirations to track their heart rate whilst on the go, the Note Edge also has a heart rate monitor, a feature that was of course originally found on the Samsung Galaxy S5. This also acts as a trigger to operate the camera, which would prove invaluable for selfie-fans.

A camera designed for selfie fans

Which brings us on to the camera. Similar to the Note 4, the Note Edge has a 3.7MP camera with f/1.9 aperture. The rear sensors are a 16MP resolution. In a review of the Note 4 and Note Edge cameras, GSmarena shows a number of shots taken by the two cameras in various formats and we have to admit, it’s pretty impossible to tell the difference.

We also have to confess that asides its curved wraparound display that’s always going to look impressive, the Note Edge’s spec is pretty darn similar to its older sibling, the Galaxy Note 4. The screen sizes are almost identical, the Note Edge sporting a 5.6-inch screen versus the Note 4’s 5.7-inch screen display.

S Pen

Though one feature of the Note Edge that’s been deemed as being “vastly improved” is the S Pen, yet admittedly, the accolade was made by the Note Edge-worshipping Tech Radar.

The Edge’s S Pen has two additional pen styles, the fountain and highlighter. Asides being able to use the pen to shrink applications, it can also be resonant of a mouse, enabling users to take grabs from websites and set up their own clippings service.

So what’s the verdict? Well Samsung has certainly succeeded in building a quirky-looking smartphone, the problem is, apart from its spectacular curved edge, it’s not wholly different from rivals and predecessors.

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With this in mind, would you be willing to part with £650 for a smartphone, which greatest asset is, by all accounts, a uniquely curved edge?

Samsung Gear S first look and hands-on

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There’s a debate around whether smart watches are a passing fad or a genuinely useful accessory that’ll make it into that elusive group of “must have” gadgets. To date some of the more successful models have sacrificed a degree of Smartphone-esque functionality in order to retain a stylish façade – an essential prerequisite of most good watches, but as we’ve just seen from Apple, full-on functionality devices are not going away, and Samsung has one lined up and ready in the form of the Samsung Gear S.

It has a 2” (360×480) display with Wifi and Bluetooth connectivity so you can stay in touch on the move, but the headline feature here is 3G, which increases its flexibility even further. All of the usual wrist-tech is here and then some – accelerometer, gyroscope, compass, heart rate monitor, barometer plus compatibility with Samsung’s S Health and Nike+ Running. There’s turn-by-turn pedestrian navigation by HERE, advanced-reading technology from Spritz and a range of customisable screen options and changeable straps so you can customise depending on your mood. Samsung claims up to two days usage on a single charge, though we’d be very surprised if it got close to this in the real world. It’s not set to be released in global markets until October, but that hasn’t stopped it doing the rounds in terms of hands-ons and previews, so let’s take a look.

Despite the dynamic changeable watch faces that help it to look quite svelte in photos and will have you believe makes it rival Cartier for chic styling, there’s no skirting the elephant in the room – its size. TechRadar picks up on this immediately, along with the rather unwieldy strap in its hands-on: “The Gear S is bulbous; wearing this device is a statement that you have joined the smartwatch revolution – it is a device that will definitely get you noticed. I wasn’t enamoured with the strap, though. It felt that it was too thick for my wrist.”  This certainly seems one for the type of person that wants everyone to know they have a smartwatch – it goes on to state that  “if you are looking for a smartwatch that looks like a watch then the Gear S isn’t for you.”. If you’re not looking for a smartwatch that looks like a watch though, there’s plenty on offer, largely due to the size of the display. The software appears to be very impressive, with intuitive swipes for navigation and notifications, an improved look and feel for apps and good use of the in-built GPS. The display is also lauded; in fact described as “a thing of beauty”, and all in all contributes well to what is a very usable experience.

AndroidCentral is also very fond of the display, which it calls “pretty stunning” (but also “freaking huge”) but does query the practicality of the curved design, which may take some getting used to – “Do you focus on the top of the display, which is starting over the smartwatch horizon, requiring you to move your wrist? Or at the bottom?” It also questions whether consumers will be happy introducing yet another SIM contract into their lives – with shared plans this may not be so much of an issue, but at some point in time these will have to become more accessible. It concludes with a simple but effective statement that, despite the large size, sums up its first impression quite well: “Damn. That’s cool.”

Finally, Wired went hands-on and took a closer look at some of the nice touches, such as the array of watch faces you can choose from, which include dials to display data like how many steps you’ve walked and how many notifications you have. “When it comes to notifications, you can reply to messages from the watch itself, either by using dictation, or by using the on-screen keyboard. Despite the tiny size of the keys, we were pleased to find that this was very accurate.”

The curved screen made it more comfortable to wear than others of its kind, and spiralling 3G costs may not be an issue for most as the Gear S is effective at turning “from companion mode to standalone mode depending whether or not it is near to the phone it is paired to, if paired at all”

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It’s early days in terms of gathering more information on the Gear S, but it seems clear at this stage that this is certainly not an inconspicuous smartwatch and that it certainly is putting its eggs in the “functional” rather than “stylish” basket. If you’re happy with a chunky unit sitting on your wrist, it seems fairly well stocked with features, so could well be worth a look.

Further information is available from Samsung.

Samsung’s new Alpha – the latest saga in Samsung’s Galaxy Quest

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Samsung has just unveiled its latest handset – the Samsung Galaxy Alpha. What is all the fuss about?

Starting with the size, it is rather slim at just 6.7 mm thick and is the first Galaxy to be fitted with a metal frame. It is not a heavy handset either, weighing in at just 115 grams – very lightweight and very portable.

So far so good, and Samsung has listened to some of its criticism in terms of the robustness of its phones. One noticeable drawback in the new Alpha is the back is fitted with a flimsy plastic case unlike its rivals Apple and HTC, but this carries the advantage over these rivals in that you can remove the battery. However the flimsy plastic case also prevents effective water-proofing – a small detail but one that would have been appreciated. 

It comes with fingerprint sensor built into the Home button, similar to its other family members. This feature is a relatively new development in mobiles, and comes standard with Apple’s latest iPhone 5. Fingerprint scanning allows for near-instant recognition of the fingerprint of registered users in the phone, so passwords and codes do not have to be entered to access the phone. This works well on the iPhone 5, but Samsung’s fingerprint scanning in its recent Galaxy S5 has taken flak recently, and is reputed to be fairly temperamental and does not work nearly as efficiently as the iPhone’s.

The comparisons with other members of the Galaxy family are pretty well rounded up by Andrew Williams over at Trusted Review where he says:

The Samsung Galaxy Alpha is not a replacement for the Galaxy S5. In many respects it’s a lower-end phone, sitting in-between the Galaxy S5 and S5 Mini in terms of spec.

It has been fitted with Octa Core (Quad 1.8GHz + Quad 1.3GHz) processor complete with 2GB RAM – plenty of processing power for YouTube watchers and Facebook users, but lacking behind the Galaxy S5 if you’re a serious mobile gamer due to its reduced processing power.

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On the screen side you will find a 4.7inch HD (1280x720p). While this is a decent resolution for a handset, it has been pointed out by Trusted Reviews that it is far from being the best screen on the market: “A long shot from the Full HD and QHD heights of the market leading devices”.

The phone is shipped with the Android KitKat 4.4.4 operating system and has internal memory capacity of 32GB – a good amount of space if you plan to store lots of photos, music and videos on your phone. It doesn’t have a SD slot so if you have the tendency to hoard data your phone you may have to ensure you have your phone properly organised. For the selfie lover you have a 2.1MP at the front and a 12MP at the back – plenty of photo quality whether you’re taking photos of yourself or someone else.

The Samsung Galaxy Alpha comes in 5 attractive colours. Charcoal Black, Dazzling White, Frosted Gold, Sleek Silver, and Scuba Blue are all available and look great, so make sure you choose before you buy or you may be stuck for choice. So far Carphone Warehouse as an exclusivity on the blue option. Other provider in line are EE , Vodafone and Three but the phone is not due to release until late August top early September. No announcement has been made by Samsung in terms of pricing for the moment so we shall have to wait and wait and see if the Galaxy Alpha is going to take the world of mobiles over.

First look: Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini

SM-G800H_GS5-mini_Black_11Samsung’s grip on the Android smartphone market shows no signs of slowing down – it continues to headline the top-end with powerhouse devices and has catered nicely to less demanding users with stripped-down versions. The S5 mini was more a case of “when” than “if”, and shows up to fill a familiar niche in users who want a smaller device and don’t necessarily need the raw power of the big brother.

As with the rest of these miniature marvels, the S5 mini does look like an undersized S5 and takes many of the core features with it, including the ultra Power Saving Mode, a heart rate monitor, fingerprint scanner, and of course full compatibility with Samsung wearable devices. It also mimics the design, with a unique perforated pattern on the back cover along with a premium, soft-touch grip.

Elsewhere there’s a 4.5”Super AMOLED (720 x 1280) display, quad core 1.4 GHz processor, 1.5GM RAM and an 8MP camera, and its 4G compatible if you’re up for paying more for super-fast downloads. It’s also IP67 dust and water resistant, which means it’s fully protected against dust and protected against immersion in water to depths up to 1 meter for a limited time, a very real benefit if, like us, you’re prone to dropping these things down the toilet.

Compare the S5 mini to its predecessor, the S4 mini, and you’ll see a small size increase, largely due to the increased 4.5” display (up from 4.3”). Pixel density is also up from 256 to 326ppi, which matches the iPhone 5s. Other notable upgrades include double the internal storage (16GB), the fingerprint scanner and heart rate monitor of course and the fact that it will ship with the updated KitKat interface alongside the latest version of Samsung’s TouchWiz UI.

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The Samsung Galaxy S5 mini come in different colours

Overall it’s a worthy upgrade on the stripped down S4, encompassing enough of the novelties of the full-sized S5 and still delivering a phone that punches above its weight in terms of “budget” handsets. This term is a slight misnomer however – the S5 mini is a premium device in an undersized chassis and allows users to benefit from a relatively underpowered but still more than capable handheld in a smaller form factor, with the added bonus of all of Samsung’s new value-added extras.

No details on pricing are available at this stage, though we’d expect it to cost around £350 sim-free. It hits Russia first in a range of colours including Charcoal Black, Shimmery White, Electric Blue and Copper Gold, and is expected to follow shortly to the UK and US with a similar range of aesthetic options.

For more information please visit Samsung

Galaxy Tab S: What the critics say

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Samsung Electronics has released their new Galaxy Tab S, Samsung’s thinnest and lightest tablet to date. The Tab S comes in two form factors, 10.5-inch and 8.4-inch. Both models come complete with a WQXGA (2560×1600, 16:10) Super AMOLED display which, the company claims, delivers more than 90% of Adobe RGB colour coverage and comes with a 100,000:1 contrast ratio. The company’s Adaptive Display technology will automatically adjust the device’s gamma, saturation, and sharpness based on the application as well as the colour temperature depending on the viewing environment and the lighting.

Both models have a sleek 6.6mm profile and weigh in at only 465g (10.5-inch) and 294g (8.4-inch). They will be available with a variety of connectivity options: Wi-Fi, or Wi-Fi and LTE, available in 16/32GB + MicroSD (up to 128GB). You can also choose between Titanium Bronze or Dazzling White. The smaller model incorporates a 4,900mAh battery, with the 10.5inch packing 7,900mAh. The company claim that when used in Ultra-Power Saving Mode, the Galaxy Tab S lets you “enjoy hours of entertainment without having to worry about recharging”.

Samsung devices are well known for coming packed with a variety of software, some of which is genuinely useful, some of which just a bit too quirky for the average user. The Galaxy Tab S is made for entertainment and comes with a variety of related apps. “Kick” is a new football app that provides in-depth and visually compelling sports data in real-time as matches get played. Samsung’s magazine service, “Papergarden” debuts on the Galaxy Tab S. An optimised viewing environment for digital interactive magazines, you will be able to view a wide range of popular magazines in vivid and true-to-life colour. There is also Galaxy Gifts which is where Samsung has teamed up with more than 30 mobile content and service providers to bring you extra content such as free memberships to Marvel and a free e-book per month.

So far, so good – but lets take a look at what some top industry critics thought of the Galaxy Tab S.

First up is The Guardian who asks whether the Samsung Galaxy Tab S review: a rival for the iPad?. The reviewer is particularly impressed with the new tablet’s display, going as far as to state that it’s the best I’ve ever seen on a tablet” and that it’s “bright enough to read even in direct sunlight”. He was also positive about the battery life, stating that:

I found both Tab S models lasted a good day (about 15 hours) on a single charge under constant usage (constant push email, a few hours’ browsing, perhaps an hour of video) without activating any of the power-saving modes. Even with a power-hungry application like the Assassin’s Creed 4 second-screen app connected to a PS4 the 10.5in tablet lasted a good eight hours.

In concluding, The Guardian’s view was that the “Tab S is Samsung’s best tablet yet by miles. Samsung has definitely given the iPad Air and Mini a solid run for their money: these are arguably the best Android tablets to date, with the best screen ever on a tablet.” They also awarded the device 5 out of 5 stars.

Here’s a quick infographic highlighting some of the features of the Tab S:

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Over at Trusted Reviews they were equally positive, awarding the Tab S 9/10 and giving it “Recommended” status. In particular they liked the “sharp, bright screen” as well as the fact it was “very thin, light and portable” and came with a “good battery life”. There overall verdict was that:

In every way that matters, this is a great tablet. The fingerprint reader is naff and some of Samsung’s software features miss the mark, but the screen is great it’s the perfect size for toting around with you everywhere.

The folks at TechnoBuffalo proclaimed the two varieties of the Tab S to be “the best Samsung tablets we’ve ever seen“:

Not only does it possess a great design and cool features, but it also comes equipped with one hell of a screen—among the best, if not the best, we’ve ever laid eyes on.

Awarding the devices 9/10 the reviewer rounded-up by stating that:

Samsung has never really excelled in the tablet market, but the company has finally hit a sweet spot with the Tab S

The Tab S devices will be selected markets from July 2014.