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Samsung's Galaxy Tab S 8.4" is powerful, but lacks impressive battery life

Samsung has added a new addition to the tablet family and this bundle of joy is sleek, powerful, and able to power your favorite apps with ease. The Galaxy Tab S 8.4 arrived last month to rave reviews and it was only after having a chance to see it in action that I understand what the fuss is about. For many college students, gaming and video editing aren’t part of your daily habits. Browsing the internet, doing research, and using social media certainly are and if you’re not one to shell out top dollar for a laptop that is essentially a “Facebook Machine,” a tablet is the perfect substitution.

For only $399.99 this tablet in particular is worth your time.

My main tablet, aside from the ones I test and write about, is a Samsung Note 8 and I’ve been happy with it. Since receiving the Galaxy Tab S 8.4” though, our relationship has been on the rocks. See, Samsung has released a model that’s newer, sexier, and looks better. The screen is a surprising 1600×2560 with a whopping 360ppi. That means when you’re watching Netflix, there’s no question whether it’s in HD or not.

The screen is so good that one of the test videos that comes on the device was actually confused for 3D on multiple occasions. Granted, Samsung puts videos like that on the tablet intentionally, because they look amazing, but the fact that it can produce those results is pretty impressive.

It’s slim, too. It weighs less than a pound and overall isn’t as wide or as thick as my Note 8. I’m not some superficial jerk who thinks that whatever partner I choose has to be thin and sleek. I know as tablets get older they will seem fat and slow, but the supermodel-like Tab S enjoys when I touch the Super AMOLED screen and responds immediately to me.

It’s not all about the looks, either. The Tab S is smart, boasting 3GB of internal RAM, and a Exynos 5 Octa processor. “What’s that?” you’re asking. That’s a 1.9Ghz quadcore and a 1.3Ghz quadcore. The Tab S also uses Kitkat, Android 4.4 which isn’t the latest version, but Android L was only just announced last month.

For those looking for a little bit more information about processing power of the Tab S 8.4”, multiple benchmarks were run to determine how it stacked up to tablets both old and new. It did well, but, in terms of the ratings, wasn’t overpowering. The Anomaly 2 Benchmark showed a Bronze Medal when on the highest settings, Silver on normal. 3D Mark’s “Ice Storm” tests showed similar results, though they were listed as below average (for the device itself) due to background apps and/or how long I had already been testing the device.

The one area I was disappointed in was the battery life. While the specs boast 4900 mAh and “up to 12 hours of video,” I was getting drastically less. Custom settings had the battery draining incredibly fast, which forced me to setup “battery saver mode.” When that was active it was still woefully poor battery life, discharging incredibly fast overnight whereas Samsung’s other tablets showed remarkable longevity on one charge. Additionally, recharging the device was taking longer than any other tablet I’ve tested, Samsung or not.

Ultimately though, poor battery performance or not, this has become my favorite tablet under 10”. It’s powerful, the screen is one of the best I’ve seen, it’s incredibly mobile, and it doesn’t get in your way if you do decide to lug it around with you. If you’ve got the money and you’re looking for a reliable tablet, Samsung’s Galaxy Tab S 8.4” is it.

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