Sam­sung Galaxy Tab S4, A Swiss Army Knife For Busy Ex­ec­u­tives

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Plug - - REVIEW - BY DAVID RICHARDS

On the out­side it looks like any bog stan­dard tablet a tad thin, lighter than an iPad but when you tap into the new Galaxy Tab S4 you re­alise that this de­vice has some unique ca­pa­bil­i­ties a bit like a Swiss Army knife and an S Pen is just one of the stand­out fea­tures.

I am not your nor­mal jour­nal­ist, I’m also the CEO of a fast-grow­ing con­tent cre­ation me­dia Com­pany so my day is driven by my ca­pa­bil­ity to multi task across sales, ed­i­to­rial pro­duc­tion and de­sign.

A key part of the tools that make my day eas­ier is my smart­phone and the use of a good tablet and a PC.

From press con­fer­ences to client meet­ings to be­ing able to re­search on the run there is one thing I need ev­ery hour of my work­ing day and that is, in­for­ma­tion and the abil­ity to eas­ily com­mu­ni­cate.

So, when a prod­uct like the Galaxy Tab S4 is re­leased and I am asked to re­view it, my im­me­di­ate ques­tions are how good is this de­vice as an ev­ery­day tool?

Or as an en­ter­tain­ment de­vice be­cause when I travel I like to watch stream­ing con­tent such as Net­flix in my ho­tel room and at home in front of the TV man­age mu­sic and sev­eral de­vices.

When you open this tablet the first thing you no­tice is the screen on the Sam­sung Galaxy Tab S4 is ut­terly gor­geous, and right up there with the iPad Pro 10.5. It’s re­mark­ably thin and has a su­per bright HDR AMOLED dis­play screen which is 2.5 cen­time­tres big­ger than the pre­vi­ous model this dis­play is as good as most OLED TV’s which makes it ideal for watch­ing movies and videos. It’s also an ex­cel­lent work ma­chine, though it does a ma­jor draw­back when it comes to Pow­er­Point pre­sen­ta­tions which is some­thing I need on this ma­chine (I will go into this is­sue later).

One big dif­fer­en­tia­tor with this de­vice is that I can scribble notes on the screen in the same way I can with the Sam­sung Galaxy Note 9 and I can con­nect it eas­ily to a large mon­i­tor or TV.

This is be­cause built into this de­vice is Sam­sung’s DeX user in­ter­face, which first ap­peared on Sam­sung’s Galaxy S smart­phones. DeX is de­signed to de­liver a “desk­top like” ex­pe­ri­ence when us­ing the Galaxy Tab S4 with ei­ther an op­tional key­board, or when con­nected to an ex­ter­nal dis­play as I am do­ing right now to write this story. There is also a high ca­pac­ity,7300 mAh bat­tery, that on two oc­ca­sions de­liv­ered me 18 hours of bat­tery life be­fore the de­vice needed to be recharged. Miss­ing from the pre­vi­ous Tab S3 is the sep­a­rate home but­ton this is now ac­ces­si­ble when you scroll the screen up.

Pow­er­ing the Galaxy Tab S4 is a Snap­dragon 835 pro­ces­sor, paired to 4GB of RAM, and there’s 64GB of on-board stor­age. For added stor­age though, there’s a mi­croSD slot in­cluded that al­lows for an ad­di­tional 400GB of stor­age. You’ll also find a 13-megapixel rear­fac­ing cam­era as well as a 5-megapixel front-fac­ing cam­era. The specs are sim­i­lar to iPad Pro 10.5 with­out the price sting that Ap­ple dish out for sim­ple own­ing one of their de­vices.

Busi­ness Ma­chine

The Sam­sung Galaxy Tab S4 is an ex­cel­lent busi­ness tool.

I ad­mit I am not a fan of the iPad or Ap­ple’s pro­pri­etary OS and while this de­vice is an An­droid de­vice, Sam­sung have in­cluded an ex­cel­lent suite of Mi­crosoft Of­fice

365 ap­pli­ca­tions and be­cause we use this suite of tools ev­ery day, I was able to eas­ily log into our email back­end as well as our Drop­box and One Drive files.

This de­vice is as high-end as you can get, a fast pro­ces­sor, a gor­geous OLED dis­play and the S-Pen in­cluded which are great when it comes to busi­ness use. For busi­ness users Sam­sung has built in their Dex UI in­ter­face from the Galaxy S9.

Ba­si­cally, it turns the tablet into a pro­duc­tiv­ity tool, al­low­ing you to have sev­eral apps open at once, in­clud­ing your Of­fice 365, Docs, Sheets and a cal­en­dar at once, with them all vis­i­ble, is truly great for pro­duc­tiv­ity.

To ac­cess Dex go to the tog­gle menu at the top of the page pull it down and scroll right to the Dex but­ton, a Win­dows desk­top win­dow will ap­pear.

Along the bot­tom you’ll find the usual An­droid soft­keys plus a se­lec­tion of run­ning apps and a taskbar in­cor­po­rat­ing the date, time and other set­tings.

The weak­ness is fonts or a lack of them and this is­sue is not iso­lated to just Sam­sung prod­ucts it’s ap­pli­ca­ble across all An­droid de­vices.

Let me ex­plain, be­cause we deal in de­sign and Pow­er­Point pre­sen­ta­tions all day long, but it ap­pears that when you down­load a PP pre­sen­ta­tion that has cer­tain fonts for ex­am­ple Google Fonts the fonts don’t come down as ex­pected, nei­ther can you down­load the Google Fonts to the tablet which is sur­pris­ing as this is a Google An­droid Tablet. If you go to font down­loads what you get is a suite of Sam­sung fonts that you have to pay for.

There is a so­lu­tion for this and that in­volves con­vert­ing the PP file to a PDF and open­ing the PDF with the links em­bed­ded from the PP pre­sen­ta­tion while it is not the orig­i­nal PDF it is the clos­est you will get to the orig­i­nal pre­sen­ta­tion.

The screen at­taches to a set of POGO pins for con­nect­ing up the Book Key­board Cover, which is sold sep­a­rately how­ever I strongly sug­gest that you look at buy­ing the $89 cover with­out the key­board be­cause there will be times when you want to sit back and read and don’t want to have a key­board at­tached to your tablet. It also pro­tects the tablet when you de­tach it from the key­board case.

Con­nec­tiv­ity to a mon­i­tor is via a USB-C port to HDMI the USB C Port sits along the bot­tom edge, flanked by a 3.5mm head­phone port. I pre­fer to Blue­tooth con­nect us­ing my Jabra buds.

Hav­ing al­ready fallen in love with my Note 9 pen it’s great to have a sim­i­lar but larger pen for the Galaxy Tab S4.

In essence this is a Wa­com-pow­ered sty­lus for doo­dling draw­ing and note-tak­ing.

This sty­lus as I call it is a sig­nif­i­cant step up con­sid­er­ing it is at­tach­ing to an An­droid tablets, it de­liv­ers solid pres­sure sen­si­tiv­ity lev­els and mul­ti­ple lev­els of pen width via what is a rub­ber tip.

You can scribble in Sam­sung Notes, or it you fancy your­self as an artist you can use the Au­todesk Sketch­book, or buy the Adobe Sketch and Adobe Draw to bring on your cre­ative juices.

As for sound there are four speak­ers with the en­tire au­dio sys­tem tuned by the now Sam­sung owned by AKG. The built in Cam­eras in­clude a sin­gle 13-megapixel f/1.9 cam­era on the back, and an 8-megapixel ver­sion on the front which is ideal for shoot­ing im­ages such as a build­ing or con­struc­tion site or on the set of a pro­duc­tion for fu­ture ref­er­ence.

My re­view unit came with LTE/4G and once I in­serted my Tel­stra SIM it be­came an ab­so­lute dream ma­chine be­cause of the speed that I could ac­cess con­tent.

There is also a Daily Board that dis­play cal­en­dar ap­point­ments, weather and the time. This pops into life when the tablet is at­tached to a dock or when it’s charg­ing.

Bixby is here but I dis­abled this and chose to use Google Voice for my au­dio com­mands. This is a tech­nol­ogy that is built into the op­er­at­ing sys­tem and it works seam­lessly.

Con­clu­sion

The Sam­sung Galaxy Tab S4 is one of those prod­ucts that’s al­most as im­por­tant as the kitchen sink. It’s a key life­style prod­uct that you can­not do with­out if you are se­ri­ous about man­ag­ing a busy life­style.

And be­cause it’s made by Sam­sung you have the con­fi­dence that’s it’s a qual­ity prod­uct hous­ing tech­nol­ogy that de­liv­ers unique func­tion­al­ity, the screen for view­ing, the pen for com­mu­ni­cat­ing and it’s light and easy to carry around.

To­day, the best tech prod­ucts are not about tech, that’s the easy part, it’s all about hav­ing a de­vice that fits into your life seam­lessly be­com­ing a key part of your life and the Galaxy Tab S4 does that.

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