Aug 27 AT 3:51 PM Nick Sarafolean 2 Comments

As the largest smartphone manufacturer in the world, Samsung has a lot to live up to. It’s created oodles of phones and tablets that have helped to move Android into the hands of the mass market, bringing Android to the top in popularity. For 2014, Samsung created a tablet to act as a flagship for Android tablets, to set the bar for every other tablet. But did the Galaxy Tab S 10.5 succeed? Does it push Android to higher heights? Let’s take a look in our full review of the Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5

1. Hardware

Galaxy Tab S 10.5 (13)

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5 is Samsung’s leading¬†lady tablet for 2014, and as such, is packed to the gills with high-performance specs. Samsung threw in an Exynos 5 Octa 5420 processor with four 1.9GHz cores and four 1.3GHz cores. RAM is at 3GB and the graphics are kept going by a Mali-T628 GPU. Other specs include 16/32GB storage, microSD card slot, 8-megapixel rear camera, 2.1-megapixel front-facing camera, 7900mAh battery, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC, and Android 4.4.2 KitKat. Body size clocks in at 9.74 x 6.98 x 0.26 inches that weighs 1.03lbs. On the front, you’ll also find a fingerprint scanner and the key feature of a 10.5-inch 2560×1600 display.

A solid performance from the Galaxy Tab S 10.5 on the hardware front.

2. Design and Build Quality

Samsung has long been known for extensively using plastic in the creation of its devices. The Galaxy Tab S 10.5 is no exception to that with a stippled plastic back and smooth plastic edges. While the design of the Galaxy Tab S 10.5 isn’t the most eye-catching or attractive, it’s functional and ergonomic with easy to hold sides and a decent amount of grip. The plastic doesn’t much pick up on fingerprints, but it can get scratched fairly easily so keep an eye out. Summed up, it’s functional but not the best we’ve seen.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5 design and hardware: stellar screen, plain plastic

3. Display

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The display of the Galaxy Tab S 10.5 is where the tablet shines. With a 10.5-inch 2560×1600 Super AMOLED display, you’d expect it to be good. In real world performance though, I was blown away at the sheer beauty of the display. It’s bright, crisp and colors pop off the screen, making for a great experience in anything. Whites are white and blacks are extraordinarily black due to the nature of AMOLED.

In short, it’s the best tablet display I’ve ever encountered.

4. Software

TouchWiz gets a lot of flak for verring from Android’s clean, flat design. It’s colorful and bright with more gimmicks than can be counted on several hands. Using the software is, for the most part, simple due to its purpose of drawing people to Samsung devices because of their ease of use. The majority of the gimmicks are just that, gimmicks. Many won’t be used often and they occasionally cause the device to stutter.

Despite its flaws, TouchWiz is still quite functional and is simple and friendly enough to allow many new entrants to Android to easily figure it out and enjoy the experience. With a little bit of work on the design, TouchWiz could be great for noobs and power users alike.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5 software experience: TouchWiz is gaudy, but functional

5. Performance

Galaxy Tab S 10.5 (24)

While the Galaxy Tab S 10.5 is designed to be a flagship tablet, it has a few flaws that hold it back from becoming top dog. While software may play a part, the real issue comes with the layout of the octa-core Exynos processor that Samsung has used in the tablet. The processor has four powerful 1.9GHz Cortex A15 cores and four power saving 1.3GHz Cortex A9 cores. The tablet automatically switches between the sets of cores for efficiency.

When using the A15 cores, the tablet flies along, but when it switches to the A9 cores, it occasionally stutters. Even in basic tasks. That inconsistency puts off the performance a bit and cheapens the experience. Nonetheless, it’s fast for enough of the time to not make it a major issue.

Check out the benchmarks below if you’re into that sort of thing.

Benchmarks

Benchmark Test Score
AnTuTU 33811
Quadrant 18599
Geekbench 3 895 (single-thread) 2586 (multi-thread)
AndEBench Pro 6331
3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited 13386
SunSpider 1.0.2 1082.2ms

Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5 performance: benchmarks vs reality

6. Camera

The Galaxy Tab S 10.5 camera is a tablet camera. And that’s about all you need to know. It takes basic, fairly bland photos without much for special effects. But that’s okay because this is a tablet and if you take pictures with a tablet then no, just no.

7. Battery

On battery, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5 holds up well against its competitors. The 7900mAh battery is able to power the Tab S 10.5 through a full day of usage, or about four hours of screen-on time with auto brightness. If you’re TV show watcher, that equates to four episodes of House of Cards or twelve episodes of The Office, both important figures to keep in mind.

Samsung Galaxy tab S 10.5 battery: fully prepped for binge watching

Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.58 / 10

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When it comes to the Galaxy Tab S 10.5, it performs nicely against the competition. Sure, there are a few things that I’d like to see refined, but in its current state, it’s one of the best tablets on the market. With that, we can highly recommend the Galaxy Tab S 10.5 in the search for your next Android tablet.

Purchase the Titanium Bronze model here and the Dazzling White model here.

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A nerd at heart, Nick is an average person who has a passion for all things electronic. When not spending his time writing about the latest gadgets, Nick enjoys reading, dabbling in photography, and experimenting with anything and everything coffee. Should you wish to know more about him, you can follow him on Twitter @Zricon15.

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