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Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 Tablet Review

Daniel Schmidt, 👁 Daniel Schmidt, Felicitas Krohn (translated by Alex Alderson), 11/02/2018

Room for improvement. Samsung has upgraded its flagship tablet, which is probably one of the last Android tablets to have both high-end specifications and pen input. However, the Galaxy Tab S4 has some shortcomings. Find out in what areas the Tab S4 falls short and for whom it is a worthwhile purchase in this detailed review.

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Samsung relaunched its reworked Galaxy Tab S series last year and has concentrated on largely technical refinements for its new Galaxy Tab S4. Samsung has altered the device’s form factor and switched from a 4:3 to a 16:10 aspect ratio, underlining its ambitions as a multimedia tablet. The display of the Tab S4, which is both Super AMOLED and HDR, has a larger 10.5-inch size too thanks to its narrower bezels.

The device is equipped with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 SoC, which should provide high system performance. However, it is last year’s flagship chip; most new mobile devices are equipped with a Snapdragon 845 SoC. The Tab S4 has 4 GB of RAM, 64 GB of internal storage and a 7,300 mAh battery. Moreover, there is microSD card expansion and a USB 3.1 Type-C port. Samsung has added DeX mode too. Our test device is the Wi-Fi version that carries the model name SM-T830 and currently costs $649.99 (£599). There is also an LTE version that costs $729.99 (£649), the model name for which is SM-T835.

If you are searching for Android tablets with similar features, then we would recommend considering the Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 or the Huawei MediaPad M5 10.8 Pro. However, the iPad Pro 10.5 and iPad Pro 12.9 are more compelling offerings with their pen support and optional keyboard covers. We will principally compare the Galaxy Tab S4 against these four devices, but we will also include some cheaper tablets to broaden our comparison tables.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 (Galaxy Tab S Series)
Graphics adapter
Memory
4096 MB 
, LPDDR4x
Display
10.5 inch 16:10, 2560 x 1600 pixel 288 PPI, Capacitive, 10-point multitouch, Super AMOLED, glossy: yes
Storage
64 GB UFS 2.1 Flash, 64 GB 
, 50.7 GB free
Connections
1 USB 3.0 / 3.1 Gen1, 1 HDMI, 1 DisplayPort, Card Reader: Up to 400 GB microSD/SDHC/SDXC cards; FAT, FAT32, exFAT supported file systems, Brightness Sensor, Sensors: Iris scanner, Facial recognition, Accelerometer, Positional sensor, Hall sensor, G-sensor, Digital compass, OTG, Wi-Fi Direct, Samsung DeX
Networking
802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (a/b/g/n/ac), Bluetooth 5.0, GPS
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 7 x 249 x 164 ( = 0.28 x 9.8 x 6.46 in)
Battery
7300 mAh Lithium-Polymer
Operating System
Android 8.1 Oreo
Camera
Primary Camera: 13 MPix (Autofocus, LED Flash, UHD video)
Secondary Camera: 8 MPix (Fixed Focus)
Additional features
Speakers: Four speakers, Keyboard: Virtual keyboard, Charger, USB Type-A to Type-C cable, Card slot tool, Quick start guide, Samsung Experience 9.5, 24 Months Warranty, SAR values: Body – W/kg, Head – W/kg. LDAC, aptX, fanless
Weight
482 g ( = 17 oz / 1.06 pounds) ( = 0 oz / 0 pounds)
Price
699 Euro
Note: The manufacturer may use components from different suppliers including display panels, drives or memory sticks with similar specifications.

 

Case

The Tab S4 is slightly thicker than its predecessor but the difference is only noticeable when comparing the two side-by-side. The Tab S4 is 7 mm (0.04-inches) thick and feels good in the hand. Samsung currently sells the device in either black or grey.

Our test device is well-built while the gaps between materials are even and tight. However, the device is easy to twist, and we could get the display to deform with little effort. While the Tab S4 lacks the rigidity of Samsung’s premium smartphones, we applied more pressure than the device would typically see in daily use.

The card slot sits flush with our test device’s frame and contains a microSD card slot; the LTE version has an additional slot for a nano-SIM. The tablet, unfortunately, lacks any certified IP rating against dust or water and while the glass surfaces look stylish, they are prone to picking up fingerprints.

Size Comparison

Connectivity

The Tab S4 supports up to 400-GB microSD cards according to Samsung, specifically, SD, SDHC and SDXC cards. We expect that the device also unofficially supports higher capacity cards, which all use the SDXC standard. The Tab S4 can only format microSD cards as external storage and will only save applications to its internal memory by default; this can be changed in Developer Options though. Samsung sells the Tab S4 with 64 GB of internal storage in most regions but also sells a 256 GB Wi-Fi version in the United States for an additional $100.

The tablet has a USB 3.1 Type-C port that supports both USB On-The-Go (OTG) and wired video output. The Tab S4 mainly uses the latter feature with its DeX mode to project onto an external display, but the device also supports wired or wireless display mirroring should you need to use it. The Tab S4 achieves the latter with either Miracast or Wi-Fi Direct.

Samsung has not included an NFC chip, but the company has equipped the device with a Bluetooth 5.0 supporting modem.

Top side (portrait): speaker, microphone, speaker
Top side (portrait): speaker, microphone, speaker
Left-hand side: pogo pins
Left-hand side: pogo pins
Right-hand side: power button, volume rocker, microphone, card slot
Right-hand side: power button, volume rocker, microphone, card slot
Under side: speaker, 3.5 mm jack, USB 3.1 Type-C, speaker
Under side: speaker, 3.5 mm jack, USB 3.1 Type-C, speaker

Software

Our test device arrived running Android 8.1 Oreo, on top of which Samsung adds its Samsung UI, which we have already seen on other Samsung devices. Disappointingly, our test device currently has June 1, 2018, Android security patches installed, which would be outdated for a device at any price let alone one that costs nearly $650. Samsung has announced that it would update security patches every three months, but the company has not adhered to this promise with our test device at least. We expect to see an Android 9 Pie update sometime next year, but Samsung has not yet communicated its update schedule.

The Tab S4 includes numerous Samsung apps and its Galaxy App Store, but fortunately, there are few preinstalled third-party apps. We could only disable these apps though; we were not able to uninstall them. There are also multi-user account management controls should you wish to give people a dedicated user account.

Samsung includes DeX support too, a feature that the company has previously reserved for use with its premium Galaxy smartphones and a DeX pad or a supported docking station. The Tab S4 can simply switch to DeX mode on demand, which gives the tablet a real laptop feeling when used with the optional keyboard. DeX is particularly useful for multitasking as it functions like that of a desktop OS rather than the split-screen mode that Android and iOS currently support.

Unfortunately, DeX does not work with multiple user accounts, while the S Pen is only of limited use. We could take notes with the pen and use it for inputs, but the physical shortcut menu button does not work in DeX mode.

Default home screen in tablet mode
Default home screen in tablet mode
Default home screen in tablet mode
Default home screen in tablet mode
Search bar
Search bar
A list of things that Samsung warns users about when first using the Tab S4 in DeX mode. (Please note that this is in German.)
A list of things that Samsung warns users about when first using the Tab S4 in DeX mode. (Please note that this is in German.)
DeX mode default home screen
DeX mode default home screen
An example of multitasking in DeX mode
An example of multitasking in DeX mode

Communication & GPS

The Tab S4 supports all modern Wi-Fi standards including IEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi and 2.4 or 5.0 GHz networks. The Wi-Fi modem has a 2x2 MIMO antenna, which provides better reception and improved transmission speeds than cheaper modems. Our test device impressed in iperf3 Client transmission Wi-Fi tests when tested with our Linksys EA 8500 reference router, but it fell short of our expectations in the receive speed test. Transmission speeds remained consistent throughout testing though, while our test device also has decent Wi-Fi range. The Tab S4 supports Bluetooth 5.0 as mentioned earlier, and there is an LTE version should you need an Internet connection on the go.

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Networking
iperf3 Client (receive) TCP 1 m 4M x10
Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 SM-T825
Adreno 530, 820 MSM8996, 32 GB eMMC Flash
615 MBit/s ∼100% +112%
Apple iPad Pro 10.5 2017
A10X Fusion GPU, A10X Fusion, Toshiba THGBX669D4LLDXG 64 GB NAND
528 MBit/s ∼86% +82%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S4
Adreno 540, 835, 64 GB UFS 2.1 Flash
290 MBit/s ∼47%
Acer Iconia Tab 10 A3-A50
PowerVR GX6250, MT8176, 64 GB eMMC Flash
262 MBit/s ∼43% -10%
Amazon Fire HD 10 2017
PowerVR GX6250, MT8173, 64 GB eMMC Flash
241 MBit/s ∼39% -17%
Huawei MediaPad M5 10.8 Pro
Mali-G71 MP8, Kirin 960, 64 GB eMMC Flash
236 MBit/s ∼38% -19%
iperf3 Client (transmit) TCP 1 m 4M x10
Samsung Galaxy Tab S4
Adreno 540, 835, 64 GB UFS 2.1 Flash
580 MBit/s ∼100%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 SM-T825
Adreno 530, 820 MSM8996, 32 GB eMMC Flash
569 MBit/s ∼98% -2%
Apple iPad Pro 10.5 2017
A10X Fusion GPU, A10X Fusion, Toshiba THGBX669D4LLDXG 64 GB NAND
497 MBit/s ∼86% -14%
Acer Iconia Tab 10 A3-A50
PowerVR GX6250, MT8176, 64 GB eMMC Flash
240 MBit/s ∼41% -59%
Huawei MediaPad M5 10.8 Pro
Mali-G71 MP8, Kirin 960, 64 GB eMMC Flash
238 MBit/s ∼41% -59%
Amazon Fire HD 10 2017
PowerVR GX6250, MT8173, 64 GB eMMC Flash
227 MBit/s ∼39% -61%
GPS Test: GNSS
GPS Test: GNSS
GPS Test: Outdoors
GPS Test: Outdoors

The Tab S4 supports up to five satellite networks and achieved a fast satfix when tested outside, although it needed a few extra seconds to settle on a GPS accuracy of up to four metres. Both the Wi-Fi and LTE versions have a dedicated GPS receiver; some manufacturers reserve GPS functionality for LTE versions of their tablets.

We also took the Tab S4 on a compulsory bike ride to compare its location accuracy against a Garmin Edge 500. Our test device claimed that we covered 9.40 km (5.84 miles) on our route, which is 100 metres (~109 yards) short of what the Garmin recorded us travelling. This is a decent result for the Tab S4 and demonstrates that it is accurate enough for most navigation tasks.

Garmin Edge 500 - Overview
Garmin Edge 500 - Overview
Garmin Edge 500 – Around a lake
Garmin Edge 500 – Around a lake
Garmin Edge 500 - Loop
Garmin Edge 500 - Loop
Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 - Overview
Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 - Overview
Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 – Around a lake
Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 – Around a lake
Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 - Loop
Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 - Loop

Cameras

Taking a selfie with the Galaxy Tab S4
Taking a selfie with the Galaxy Tab S4

The Tab S4 has rather basic cameras that are not befitting of a premium device. The cameras are disappointing compared to the sensors that Samsung used in either the Galaxy S8 or S9.

The front-facing camera is an 8 MP Sony IMX320 sensor. The camera uses fixed focus and produces photos that look washed out. The default camera supports stickers and a beauty mode though, which helps to make selfies look more interesting. The front-facing camera can record videos in up to Full HD too, but the sensor lacks image-stabilisation.

The rear-facing camera is a 13 MP Samsung S5K2L2SA sensor. The camera is nominally the same as the one in the Galaxy S8, but its image quality is considerably worse. Photos have only mediocre dynamic range, while chromatic aberrations are quickly visible upon looking closely at photos. The camera also performs poorly in low-light conditions and can only produce photos that are overwhelmed by image noise.

The main camera can also record videos in up to Ultra HD at 30 FPS and makes use of electronic image stabilisation (EIS) to stabilise videos. We could only shoot videos for up to 10 minutes at these settings though, while image quality is only decent at best in bright ambient light.

Image Comparison

Choose a scene and navigate within the first image. One click changes the position on touchscreens. One click on the zoomed-in image opens the original in a new window. The first image shows the scaled photograph of the test device.

Scene 1Scene 2Scene 3
ColorChecker: The lower half of each area of colour displays the reference colour
ColorChecker: The lower half of each area of colour displays the reference colour

We subjected our test device to further camera tests under controlled lighting conditions for a fairer comparison against other devices. As demonstrated by the chart to the right, brown tones have a reddish tint to them while blue tones are noticeably lighter than the reference colour. Overall though, the main camera reproduces colours accurately and has a pleasing white balance.

However, our test device performed noticeably worse when capturing our test chart. The main camera struggles to capture fine details even at the centre of the image while distorting the edges of lines and structures at the sides of our test chart.

A photo of our test chart
A photo of our test chart
Our test chart in detail

Accessories & Warranty

The Tab S4 comes with a modular quick charger (9.0 V/1.67 A, 5.0 V/2.0 A), a USB Type-A to Type-C cable, a SIM tool, an S Pen with replacement nibs and a tool with which to extract them. Our test device also came with several warranty leaflets, safety instructions and a quick-start guide.

The tablet comes with a 24-month manufacturer’s warranty, but this cannot be expanded with Samsung Care + like you could with its predecessor.

Samsung also sells several Tab S4 specific accessories including a keyboard cover ($149.99/£119) and a Pogo Charging Dock ($59.99/£49). The full list of accessories is available on the Samsung website.

Input Devices & Operation

The Tab S4 has a 10-point multitouch capacitive touchscreen that is bonded to a glossy glass display. The display is easy to use and precisely reproduces inputs from our fingers or the included S Pen. The pen does not have a battery and has the same features as the one that Samsung included with the Galaxy Tab S3. Writing with the S Pen feels great, but it is no better of an experience over its predecessor. Moreover, the pen feels cheap, which is a pity given how expensive the Tab S4 is. It is nice that Samsung has now integrated a pen loop within the tablet’s optional covers.

The device’s physical keys have clear and crisp pressure points that react well when pressed. The keys sit firmly within the aluminium frame too. 

Samsung has included an iris scanner for biometric authentication, although this did not always work during testing and regularly took several seconds to unlock the device. Hence, we often resorted to using the PIN code instead. The ineffectiveness of the iris scanner made us long for a fingerprint sensor, which Samsung has unfortunately omitted.

The optional keyboard cover is now made of a smooth plastic that is no longer powder coated, which makes the keyboard feel cheaper than previous editions. The keystroke and typing experience is good, but the keys are annoyingly loud regardless of how lightly we type.

The Tab S4’s security options
The Tab S4’s security options
Samsung’s liability exclusions
Samsung’s liability exclusions
Using the default keyboard in landscape mode
Using the default keyboard in landscape mode
Using the default keyboard in portrait mode
Using the default keyboard in portrait mode
A look at the Tab S4’s optional keyboard
A look at the Tab S4’s optional keyboard

Display

Sub-pixel array
Sub-pixel array

The Tab S4 has a 10.5-inch Super AMOLED display with a 16:10 aspect ratio, which runs at a native resolution of 2560x1600 and has a pixel density of 288 PPI. The display looks noticeably larger compared to the Tab S3 thanks not only to the Tab S4’s reduced bezels but also because Samsung has changed from using a 4:3 aspect ratio. The sub-pixel matrix remains the same though. The pixel density is smaller than those of modern premium smartphones, but the display should still look sharp as people typically hold tablets further away from their faces than they do with smartphones.

Our test device achieves a respectable average maximum brightness of 474 cd/m² according to X-Rite i1Pro 2 with its ambient light sensor activated. However, turning this off reduced the maximum luminosity to an underwhelming 303 cd/m². By contrast, the more practical APL50 test measures our test device as reaching a maximum brightness of 533 cd/m² at the centre of its display, which is 59 cd/m² brighter than the X-Rite i1Pro 2 value.

We like that Samsung has included HDR support, but the display does not get bright enough to take full advantage of the benefits that the technology offers. However, colours look rich and there are deep blacks thanks to its AMOLED display technology. AMOLED and OLED panels can individually switch off pixels, which theoretically gives devices like the Tab S4 a zero black value and an infinite contrast ratio.

We did notice that our test device used pulse-width modulation (PWM) to regulate its display brightness though, which may cause eye strain and headaches with some people. We measured the PWM frequency at around 240 Hz at 99% brightness and below, which then drops to 60 Hz at 100% brightness. Both frequencies are low enough to irritate those who are PWM sensitive.

457
cd/m²
461
cd/m²
461
cd/m²
474
cd/m²
474
cd/m²
476
cd/m²
496
cd/m²
495
cd/m²
502
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 502 cd/m² Average: 477.3 cd/m² Minimum: 1.82 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 91 %
Center on Battery: 474 cd/m²
Contrast: ∞:1 (Black: 0 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 2.5 | 0.4-29.43 Ø6.2
ΔE Greyscale 2.1 | 0.64-98 Ø6.5
Gamma: 2.08
Samsung Galaxy Tab S4
Super AMOLED, 2560x1600, 10.5
Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 SM-T825
Super AMOLED, 2048x1526, 9.7
Apple iPad Pro 10.5 2017
IPS, 2224x1668, 10.5
Huawei MediaPad M5 10.8 Pro
IPS, 2560x1600, 10.8
Amazon Fire HD 10 2017
IPS, 1920x1200, 10.1
Acer Iconia Tab 10 A3-A50
IPS, 1920x1200, 10.1
Screen
14%
14%
-100%
-48%
-159%
Brightness middle
474
452
-5%
634
34%
384
-19%
426
-10%
340
-28%
Brightness
477
468
-2%
625
31%
360
-25%
399
-16%
320
-33%
Brightness Distribution
91
82
-10%
87
-4%
84
-8%
91
0%
84
-8%
Black Level *
0.39
0.8
0.38
0.19
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
2.5
1.8
28%
1.9
24%
6.83
-173%
4.5
-80%
15
-500%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 max. *
5.8
4
31%
3.9
33%
12.7
-119%
7.9
-36%
22.8
-293%
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
2.1
1.2
43%
2.8
-33%
7.5
-257%
5.2
-148%
4
-90%
Gamma
2.08 106%
2.11 104%
2.26 97%
2.199 100%
2.23 99%
2.09 105%
CCT
6281 103%
6500 100%
7027 93%
8544 76%
6875 95%
6940 94%
Color Space (Percent of AdobeRGB 1998)
82.32
Color Space (Percent of sRGB)
99.06
Contrast
1626
480
1121
1789

* ... smaller is better

Screen Flickering / PWM (Pulse-Width Modulation)

To dim the screen, some notebooks will simply cycle the backlight on and off in rapid succession - a method called Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) . This cycling frequency should ideally be undetectable to the human eye. If said frequency is too low, users with sensitive eyes may experience strain or headaches or even notice the flickering altogether.
Screen flickering / PWM detected 240.4 Hz ≤ 99 % brightness setting

The display backlight flickers at 240.4 Hz (Likely utilizing PWM) Flickering detected at a brightness setting of 99 % and below. There should be no flickering or PWM above this brightness setting.

The frequency of 240.4 Hz is relatively low, so sensitive users will likely notice flickering and experience eyestrain at the stated brightness setting and below.

In comparison: 53 % of all tested devices do not use PWM to dim the display. If PWM was detected, an average of 8933 (minimum: 43 - maximum: 142900) Hz was measured.

We examined the colour accuracy of our test device’s display with a photo spectrometer and CalMAN analysis software. The Tab S4 has different display modes like its predecessors. The device is set to adaptive display by default, which automatically adjusts the colour mode according to the content that is being displayed onscreen. There are three colour profiles too, which we also examined in greater detail.

The Tab S4 has strikingly good colour accuracy, albeit it is not quite at the level of its predecessor’s. The difference is only noticeable when examining the display data in CalMAN and not to the naked eye. The different profiles all produce similar results but use different colour spaces. All profiles reproduce greyscale practically identically, while there are only subtle differences with mixed colours. Red accuracy is an issue with all profiles though. In short, the lower the average Delta E divergence, the higher the gap to the red divergence.

CalMAN: Greyscale - Adaptive Display, Adobe RGB target colour space
CalMAN: Greyscale - Adaptive Display, Adobe RGB target colour space
CalMAN: Mixed Colours - Adaptive Display, Adobe RGB target colour space
CalMAN: Mixed Colours - Adaptive Display, Adobe RGB target colour space
CalMAN: Colour Space - Adaptive Display, Adobe RGB target colour space
CalMAN: Colour Space - Adaptive Display, Adobe RGB target colour space
CalMAN: Colour Saturation - Adaptive Display, Adobe RGB target colour space
CalMAN: Colour Saturation - Adaptive Display, Adobe RGB target colour space
CalMAN: Greyscale – Profile: Simple, sRGB target colour space
CalMAN: Greyscale – Profile: Simple, sRGB target colour space
CalMAN: Mixed Colours – Profile: Simple, sRGB target colour space
CalMAN: Mixed Colours – Profile: Simple, sRGB target colour space
CalMAN: Colour Space – Profile: Simple, sRGB target colour space
CalMAN: Colour Space – Profile: Simple, sRGB target colour space
CalMAN: Colour Saturation – Profile: Simple, sRGB target colour space
CalMAN: Colour Saturation – Profile: Simple, sRGB target colour space
CalMAN: Greyscale – Profile: Photo, AdobeRGB target colour space
CalMAN: Greyscale – Profile: Photo, AdobeRGB target colour space
CalMAN: Mixed Colours – Profile: Photo, AdobeRGB target colour space
CalMAN: Mixed Colours – Profile: Photo, AdobeRGB target colour space
CalMAN: Colour Space – Profile: Photo, AdobeRGB target colour space
CalMAN: Colour Space – Profile: Photo, AdobeRGB target colour space
CalMAN: Colour Saturation – Profile: Photo, AdobeRGB target colour space
CalMAN: Colour Saturation – Profile: Photo, AdobeRGB target colour space
CalMAN: Greyscale – Profile: Cinema, DCI-P3 target colour space
CalMAN: Greyscale – Profile: Cinema, DCI-P3 target colour space
CalMAN: Mixed Colours – Profile: Cinema, DCI-P3 target colour space
CalMAN: Mixed Colours – Profile: Cinema, DCI-P3 target colour space
CalMAN: Colour Space – Profile: Cinema, DCI-P3 target colour space
CalMAN: Colour Space – Profile: Cinema, DCI-P3 target colour space
CalMAN: Colour Saturation – Profile: Cinema, DCI-P3 target colour space
CalMAN: Colour Saturation – Profile: Cinema, DCI-P3 target colour space

Display Response Times

Display response times show how fast the screen is able to change from one color to the next. Slow response times can lead to afterimages and can cause moving objects to appear blurry (ghosting). Gamers of fast-paced 3D titles should pay special attention to fast response times.
       Response Time Black to White
4 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 2 ms rise
↘ 2 ms fall
The screen shows very fast response rates in our tests and should be very well suited for fast-paced gaming.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.8 (minimum) to 240 (maximum) ms. » 1 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is better than the average of all tested devices (25.6 ms).
       Response Time 50% Grey to 80% Grey
4.8 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 2.8 ms rise
↘ 2 ms fall
The screen shows very fast response rates in our tests and should be very well suited for fast-paced gaming.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.9 (minimum) to 636 (maximum) ms. » 1 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is better than the average of all tested devices (41 ms).

The Tab S4 is easy to use outdoors thanks to bright display. The ambient light sensor worked well throughout testing and reliably adjusted display brightness to changing lighting conditions. We only struggled to read the display when we used the device in direct sunlight, as the display’s glossy finish is highly reflective.

Using the Galaxy Tab S4 outdoors
Using the Galaxy Tab S4 outdoors
Using the Galaxy Tab S4 outdoors
Using the Galaxy Tab S4 outdoors

The Tab S4 has strong viewing angles thanks to its AMOLED display. We did not notice any brightness or colour distortions even at acute viewing angles. Moreover, our test device did not even exhibit an OLED-typical green shimmer when looking at the display from tight angles, which is impressive.

Viewing angles
Viewing angles

Performance

Samsung has equipped the Tab S4 with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 SoC, a 2017 flagship-level chip that is out of place in a premium mobile device released by an established manufacturer in 2018. Samsung complements the SoC with 4 GB RAM, which is also unremarkable for a high-end 2018 device and is something that we have started to see in upper mid-range devices. By contrast, some flagship-level smartphones like the OnePlus 6T have up to 8 GB of RAM.

The Tab S4 has more powerful hardware than many of our comparison devices though and so scores comparatively highly in CPU benchmarks. Our test device finishes second to the iPad Pro 10.5 in all benchmarks that we conducted on both devices. Moreover, system performance is good and multitasking worked without issue throughout testing.

AnTuTu v6 - Total Score
Apple iPad Pro 10.5 2017
217439 Points ∼86% +23%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S4
176131 Points ∼69%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 (8998) (150208 - 185487, n=17)
173235 Points ∼68% -2%
Huawei MediaPad M5 10.8 Pro
157445 Points ∼62% -11%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 SM-T825
144426 Points ∼57% -18%
Acer Iconia Tab 10 A3-A50
78980 Points ∼31% -55%
Average of class Tablet (14200 - 227987, n=59)
71242 Points ∼28% -60%
Amazon Fire HD 10 2017
63777 Points ∼25% -64%
AnTuTu v7 - Total Score
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 (8998) (201881 - 217442, n=8)
208685 Points ∼37% +3%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S4
201881 Points ∼36%
Huawei MediaPad M5 10.8 Pro
175581 Points ∼31% -13%
Average of class Tablet (20856 - 566378, n=18)
167271 Points ∼30% -17%
Amazon Fire HD 10 2017
77717 Points ∼14% -62%
PCMark for Android
Work 2.0 performance score
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 (8998) (5603 - 7223, n=19)
6702 Points ∼65% +6%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S4
6315 Points ∼61%
Huawei MediaPad M5 10.8 Pro
6039 Points ∼59% -4%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 SM-T825
5432 Points ∼53% -14%
Acer Iconia Tab 10 A3-A50
4827 Points ∼47% -24%
Average of class Tablet (2345 - 6315, n=27)
4253 Points ∼41% -33%
Amazon Fire HD 10 2017
3678 Points ∼36% -42%
Work performance score
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 (8998) (6854 - 8553, n=19)
7820 Points ∼58% +12%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S4
6954 Points ∼51%
Huawei MediaPad M5 10.8 Pro
6830 Points ∼50% -2%
Acer Iconia Tab 10 A3-A50
5843 Points ∼43% -16%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 SM-T825
5608 Points ∼41% -19%
Amazon Fire HD 10 2017
4895 Points ∼36% -30%
Average of class Tablet (2529 - 7053, n=69)
4489 Points ∼33% -35%
BaseMark OS II
Web
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 (8998) (1009 - 1329, n=17)
1222 Points ∼60% 0%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S4
1218 Points ∼60%
Amazon Fire HD 10 2017
1010 Points ∼50% -17%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 SM-T825
1007 Points ∼50% -17%
Huawei MediaPad M5 10.8 Pro
913 Points ∼45% -25%
Acer Iconia Tab 10 A3-A50
803 Points ∼39% -34%
Average of class Tablet (9 - 2034, n=99)
743 Points ∼37% -39%
Graphics
Samsung Galaxy Tab S4
6080 Points ∼21%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 (8998) (5791 - 6273, n=17)
6052 Points ∼21% 0%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 SM-T825
4941 Points ∼17% -19%
Huawei MediaPad M5 10.8 Pro
2284 Points ∼8% -62%
Average of class Tablet (98 - 28853, n=99)
2089 Points ∼7% -66%
Amazon Fire HD 10 2017
833 Points ∼3% -86%
Acer Iconia Tab 10 A3-A50
701 Points ∼2% -88%
Memory
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 (8998) (1501 - 4423, n=17)
3137 Points ∼50% +8%
Huawei MediaPad M5 10.8 Pro
3108 Points ∼49% +7%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S4
2900 Points ∼46%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 SM-T825
1931 Points ∼31% -33%
Amazon Fire HD 10 2017
1513 Points ∼24% -48%
Average of class Tablet (56 - 5423, n=99)
1044 Points ∼17% -64%
Acer Iconia Tab 10 A3-A50
968 Points ∼15% -67%
System
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 (8998) (4238 - 5926, n=17)
5690 Points ∼35% +3%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S4
5537 Points ∼34%
Huawei MediaPad M5 10.8 Pro
3639 Points ∼22% -34%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 SM-T825
3505 Points ∼21% -37%
Amazon Fire HD 10 2017
2329 Points ∼14% -58%
Average of class Tablet (482 - 16467, n=99)
2270 Points ∼14% -59%
Acer Iconia Tab 10 A3-A50
1957 Points ∼12% -65%
Overall
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 (8998) (2702 - 3790, n=17)
3367 Points ∼40% +2%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S4
3302 Points ∼39%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 SM-T825
2409 Points ∼29% -27%
Huawei MediaPad M5 10.8 Pro
2204 Points ∼26% -33%
Amazon Fire HD 10 2017
1312 Points ∼16% -60%
Average of class Tablet (150 - 8450, n=99)
1219 Points ∼14% -63%
Acer Iconia Tab 10 A3-A50
1016 Points ∼12% -69%
Geekbench 4.1/4.2
Compute RenderScript Score
Samsung Galaxy Tab S4
7930 Points ∼18%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 (8998) (7462 - 8281, n=13)
7893 Points ∼18% 0%
Average of class Tablet (862 - 43802, n=24)
7773 Points ∼18% -2%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 SM-T825
7063 Points ∼16% -11%
Acer Iconia Tab 10 A3-A50
3081 Points ∼7% -61%
Amazon Fire HD 10 2017
1562 Points ∼4% -80%
64 Bit Multi-Core Score
Apple iPad Pro 10.5 2017
9358 Points ∼26% +44%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 (8998) (6006 - 6799, n=18)
6515 Points ∼18% +1%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S4
6477 Points ∼18%
Huawei MediaPad M5 10.8 Pro
6173 Points ∼17% -5%
Average of class Tablet (1106 - 18041, n=38)
4647 Points ∼13% -28%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 SM-T825
4187 Points ∼12% -35%
Amazon Fire HD 10 2017
3305 Points ∼9% -49%
Acer Iconia Tab 10 A3-A50
2489 Points ∼7% -62%
64 Bit Single-Core Score
Apple iPad Pro 10.5 2017
3933 Points ∼62% +108%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 (8998) (1809 - 1973, n=18)
1917 Points ∼30% +1%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S4
1893 Points ∼30%
Huawei MediaPad M5 10.8 Pro
1892 Points ∼30% 0%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 SM-T825
1745 Points ∼28% -8%
Average of class Tablet (429 - 5002, n=38)
1606 Points ∼25% -15%
Acer Iconia Tab 10 A3-A50
1541 Points ∼24% -19%
Amazon Fire HD 10 2017
1204 Points ∼19% -36%
3DMark
2560x1440 Sling Shot Extreme (ES 3.1) Physics
Samsung Galaxy Tab S4
2952 Points ∼70%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 (8998) (1628 - 3157, n=18)
2891 Points ∼69% -2%
Huawei MediaPad M5 10.8 Pro
2416 Points ∼57% -18%
Apple iPad Pro 10.5 2017
2027 Points ∼48% -31%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 SM-T825
1798 Points ∼43% -39%
Average of class Tablet (793 - 2952, n=50)
1439 Points ∼34% -51%
Amazon Fire HD 10 2017
1363 Points ∼32% -54%
Acer Iconia Tab 10 A3-A50
843 Points ∼20% -71%
2560x1440 Sling Shot Extreme (ES 3.1) Graphics
Apple iPad Pro 10.5 2017
4537 Points ∼84% +23%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 (8998) (3560 - 4072, n=18)
3901 Points ∼72% +6%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S4
3682 Points ∼68%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 SM-T825
2943 Points ∼55% -20%
Huawei MediaPad M5 10.8 Pro
1646 Points ∼31% -55%
Average of class Tablet (102 - 5384, n=50)
1163 Points ∼22% -68%
Acer Iconia Tab 10 A3-A50
557 Points ∼10% -85%
Amazon Fire HD 10 2017
413 Points ∼8% -89%
2560x1440 Sling Shot Extreme (ES 3.1)
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 (8998) (2895 - 3810, n=18)
3609 Points ∼76% +3%
Apple iPad Pro 10.5 2017
3558 Points ∼75% +2%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S4
3490 Points ∼74%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 SM-T825
2578 Points ∼54% -26%
Huawei MediaPad M5 10.8 Pro
1771 Points ∼37% -49%
Average of class Tablet (134 - 3806, n=55)
1025 Points ∼22% -71%
Acer Iconia Tab 10 A3-A50
602 Points ∼13% -83%
Amazon Fire HD 10 2017
489 Points ∼10% -86%
2560x1440 Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.0 Physics
Samsung Galaxy Tab S4
2952 Points ∼70%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 (8998) (1574 - 3092, n=17)
2795 Points ∼66% -5%
Huawei MediaPad M5 10.8 Pro
2366 Points ∼56% -20%
Apple iPad Pro 10.5 2017
1960 Points ∼47% -34%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 SM-T825
1811 Points ∼43% -39%
Average of class Tablet (810 - 2952, n=53)
1374 Points ∼33% -53%
Amazon Fire HD 10 2017
1347 Points ∼32% -54%
Acer Iconia Tab 10 A3-A50
1128 Points ∼27% -62%
2560x1440 Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.0 Graphics
Apple iPad Pro 10.5 2017
7212 Points ∼87% +96%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 (8998) (3682 - 6231, n=17)
5615 Points ∼68% +52%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 SM-T825
4626 Points ∼56% +26%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S4
3682 Points ∼44%
Huawei MediaPad M5 10.8 Pro
2392 Points ∼29% -35%
Average of class Tablet (42 - 7525, n=53)
1589 Points ∼19% -57%
Acer Iconia Tab 10 A3-A50
884 Points ∼11% -76%
Amazon Fire HD 10 2017
598 Points ∼7% -84%
2560x1440 Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.0
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 (8998) (3407 - 5030, n=17)
4558 Points ∼71% +31%
Apple iPad Pro 10.5 2017
4521 Points ∼70% +30%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S4
3490 Points ∼54%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 SM-T825
3438 Points ∼53% -1%
Huawei MediaPad M5 10.8 Pro
2386 Points ∼37% -32%
Average of class Tablet (53 - 4588, n=57)
1264 Points ∼20% -64%
Acer Iconia Tab 10 A3-A50
929 Points ∼14% -73%
Amazon Fire HD 10 2017
682 Points ∼11% -80%
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Physics
Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 SM-T825
21886 Points ∼28% +15%
Apple iPad Pro 10.5 2017
19534 Points ∼25% +3%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 (8998) (6729 - 23046, n=20)
19196 Points ∼24% +1%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S4
19037 Points ∼24%
Amazon Fire HD 10 2017
15117 Points ∼19% -21%
Huawei MediaPad M5 10.8 Pro
14456 Points ∼18% -24%
Average of class Tablet (3675 - 39393, n=138)
12922 Points ∼16% -32%
Acer Iconia Tab 10 A3-A50
9729 Points ∼12% -49%
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Graphics Score
Apple iPad Pro 10.5 2017
110148 Points ∼21% +95%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S4
56368 Points ∼11%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 (8998) (16794 - 58360, n=20)
53776 Points ∼10% -5%
Huawei MediaPad M5 10.8 Pro
35076 Points ∼7% -38%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 SM-T825
34002 Points ∼6% -40%
Average of class Tablet (2109 - 194856, n=138)
17864 Points ∼3% -68%
Amazon Fire HD 10 2017
12771 Points ∼2% -77%
Acer Iconia Tab 10 A3-A50
11719 Points ∼2% -79%
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Score
Apple iPad Pro 10.5 2017
54237 Points ∼25% +38%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S4
39260 Points ∼18%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 (8998) (12604 - 42278, n=20)
37906 Points ∼18% -3%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 SM-T825
30277 Points ∼14% -23%
Huawei MediaPad M5 10.8 Pro
26634 Points ∼13% -32%
Average of class Tablet (2411 - 103813, n=139)
14750 Points ∼7% -62%
Amazon Fire HD 10 2017
13227 Points ∼6% -66%
Acer Iconia Tab 10 A3-A50
11209 Points ∼5% -71%
GFXBench (DX / GLBenchmark) 2.7
1920x1080 T-Rex HD Offscreen C24Z16
Apple iPad Pro 10.5 2017
225 fps ∼2% +226%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 (8998) (69 - 119, n=18)
107 fps ∼1% +55%
Huawei MediaPad M5 10.8 Pro
93 fps ∼1% +35%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 SM-T825
92 fps ∼1% +33%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S4
69 fps ∼1%
Average of class Tablet (4.2 - 451, n=165)
29.7 fps ∼0% -57%
Amazon Fire HD 10 2017
22 fps ∼0% -68%
Acer Iconia Tab 10 A3-A50
18 fps ∼0% -74%
T-Rex HD Onscreen C24Z16
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 (8998) (54 - 79, n=19)
60.3 fps ∼2% +4%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 SM-T825
59 fps ∼2% +2%
Apple iPad Pro 10.5 2017
59 fps ∼2% +2%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S4
58 fps ∼2%
Huawei MediaPad M5 10.8 Pro
57 fps ∼2% -2%
Amazon Fire HD 10 2017
21 fps ∼1% -64%
Average of class Tablet (3.7 - 120, n=169)
20.4 fps ∼1% -65%
Acer Iconia Tab 10 A3-A50
17 fps ∼1% -71%
GFXBench 3.0
off screen Manhattan Offscreen OGL
Apple iPad Pro 10.5 2017
109 fps ∼2% +82%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S4
60 fps ∼1%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 (8998) (43 - 64, n=19)
55.2 fps ∼1% -8%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 SM-T825
48 fps ∼1% -20%
Huawei MediaPad M5 10.8 Pro
41 fps ∼1% -32%
Average of class Tablet (1.8 - 220, n=103)
19.9 fps ∼0% -67%
Amazon Fire HD 10 2017
9.9 fps ∼0% -83%
Acer Iconia Tab 10 A3-A50
8.5 fps ∼0% -86%
on screen Manhattan Onscreen OGL
Apple iPad Pro 10.5 2017
58 fps ∼2% +61%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 (8998) (29 - 58, n=19)
42.3 fps ∼1% +18%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S4
36 fps ∼1%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 SM-T825
34 fps ∼1% -6%
Huawei MediaPad M5 10.8 Pro
27 fps ∼1% -25%
Average of class Tablet (2.9 - 110, n=106)
14.2 fps ∼0% -61%
Amazon Fire HD 10 2017
9.5 fps ∼0% -74%
Acer Iconia Tab 10 A3-A50
8.3 fps ∼0% -77%
GFXBench 3.1
off screen Manhattan ES 3.1 Offscreen
Apple iPad Pro 10.5 2017
63 fps ∼1% +54%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S4
41 fps ∼1%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 (8998) (21 - 43, n=19)
37.9 fps ∼1% -8%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 SM-T825
32 fps ∼1% -22%
Huawei MediaPad M5 10.8 Pro
28 fps ∼1% -32%
Average of class Tablet (2 - 173, n=53)
21 fps ∼0% -49%
Acer Iconia Tab 10 A3-A50
6 fps ∼0% -85%
Amazon Fire HD 10 2017
4.9 fps ∼0% -88%
on screen Manhattan ES 3.1 Onscreen
Apple iPad Pro 10.5 2017
43 fps ∼1% +95%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 (8998) (15 - 59, n=19)
29.1 fps ∼1% +32%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S4
22 fps ∼1%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 SM-T825
19 fps ∼1% -14%
Huawei MediaPad M5 10.8 Pro
16 fps ∼0% -27%
Average of class Tablet (4.3 - 95, n=53)
12.9 fps ∼0% -41%
Acer Iconia Tab 10 A3-A50
5.7 fps ∼0% -74%
Amazon Fire HD 10 2017
4.7 fps ∼0% -79%
GFXBench
off screen Car Chase Offscreen
Samsung Galaxy Tab S4
25 fps ∼1%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 (8998) (22 - 26, n=19)
24.5 fps ∼1% -2%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 SM-T825
19 fps ∼1% -24%
Huawei MediaPad M5 10.8 Pro
16 fps ∼0% -36%
Average of class Tablet (7.2 - 107, n=33)
14.7 fps ∼0% -41%
Acer Iconia Tab 10 A3-A50
3 fps ∼0% -88%
Amazon Fire HD 10 2017
2 fps ∼0% -92%
on screen Car Chase Onscreen
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 (8998) (11 - 50, n=19)
19.5 fps ∼1% +50%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 SM-T825
13 fps ∼0% 0%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S4
13 fps ∼0%
Huawei MediaPad M5 10.8 Pro
9.3 fps ∼0% -28%
Average of class Tablet (4 - 47, n=33)
8.12 fps ∼0% -38%
Acer Iconia Tab 10 A3-A50
3.1 fps ∼0% -76%
Amazon Fire HD 10 2017
2 fps ∼0% -85%
Lightmark - 1920x1080 1080p
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 (8998) (32.1 - 38.7, n=5)
36.7 fps ∼95%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 SM-T825
18.61 fps ∼48%
Average of class Tablet (4.23 - 29.5, n=7)
14.8 fps ∼38%
Basemark ES 3.1 / Metal - offscreen Overall Score
Average of class Tablet (426 - 5300, n=13)
1505 Points ∼28%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 (8998) (733 - 889, n=6)
832 Points ∼16%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 SM-T825
615 Points ∼12%

Legend

 
Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 (8998), Qualcomm Adreno 540, 64 GB UFS 2.1 Flash
 
Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 SM-T825 Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 MSM8996, Qualcomm Adreno 530, 32 GB eMMC Flash
 
Apple iPad Pro 10.5 2017 Apple A10X Fusion, Apple A10X Fusion GPU / PowerVR, Toshiba THGBX669D4LLDXG 64 GB NAND
 
Huawei MediaPad M5 10.8 Pro HiSilicon Kirin 960, ARM Mali-G71 MP8, 64 GB eMMC Flash
 
Amazon Fire HD 10 2017 Mediatek MT8173, PowerVR GX6250, 64 GB eMMC Flash
 
Acer Iconia Tab 10 A3-A50 Mediatek MT8176, PowerVR GX6250, 64 GB eMMC Flash

Our test device consistently finishes below the iPad Pro 10.5 in browser benchmarks too. Subjectively, web-browsing feels snappy on the default Samsung Browser 8.0 and gave rise to no complaints during testing.

Octane V2 - Total Score
Apple iPad Pro 10.5 2017 (Safari Mobile 10)
30333 Points ∼100% +135%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 (Samsung Browser 8.0)
12897 Points ∼43%
Huawei MediaPad M5 10.8 Pro (Chrome 68.0.3440.91)
11854 Points ∼39% -8%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 (8998) (3086 - 14300, n=20)
11209 Points ∼37% -13%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 SM-T825 (Samsung Browser 5.2)
9531 Points ∼31% -26%
Acer Iconia Tab 10 A3-A50 (Browser: Chrome Version 63)
8897 Points ∼29% -31%
Amazon Fire HD 10 2017 (Amazon Silk 61.2)
8570 Points ∼28% -34%
Average of class Tablet (1238 - 45734, n=155)
6345 Points ∼21% -51%
WebXPRT 2015 - Overall Score
Apple iPad Pro 10.5 2017 (Safari Mobile 10)
257 Points ∼100% +37%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 (Samsung Browser 8.0)
187 Points ∼73%
Huawei MediaPad M5 10.8 Pro (Chrome 68.0.3440.91)
178 Points ∼69% -5%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 (8998) (57 - 204, n=17)
164 Points ∼64% -12%
Amazon Fire HD 10 2017 (Amazon Silk 61.2)
137 Points ∼53% -27%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 SM-T825 (Samsung Browser 5.2)
132 Points ∼51% -29%
Average of class Tablet (36 - 386, n=71)
109 Points ∼42% -42%
JetStream 1.1 - 1.1 Total Score
Apple iPad Pro 10.5 2017 (Safari Mobile 10)
200.59 Points ∼100% +208%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 (8998) (52.9 - 80.4, n=19)
66.1 Points ∼33% +2%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 (Samsung Browser 8.0)
65.07 Points ∼32%
Huawei MediaPad M5 10.8 Pro (Chrome 68.0.3440.91)
57.007 Points ∼28% -12%
Average of class Tablet (10.9 - 279, n=71)
55.4 Points ∼28% -15%
Acer Iconia Tab 10 A3-A50 (Browser: Chrome Version 63)
47.337 Points ∼24% -27%
Amazon Fire HD 10 2017 (Amazon Silk 61.2)
46.39 Points ∼23% -29%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 SM-T825 (Samsung Browser 5.2)
42.73 Points ∼21% -34%
Mozilla Kraken 1.1 - Total Score
Average of class Tablet (603 - 43092, n=166)
9352 ms * ∼100% -254%
Amazon Fire HD 10 2017 (Amazon Silk 61.2)
3975.5 ms * ∼43% -50%
Acer Iconia Tab 10 A3-A50 (Browser: Chrome Version 63)
3756.1 ms * ∼40% -42%
Huawei MediaPad M5 10.8 Pro (Chrome 68.0.3440.91)
3575.4 ms * ∼38% -35%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 (8998) (2425 - 4813, n=19)
3219 ms * ∼34% -22%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 (Samsung Browser 8.0)
2644.7 ms * ∼28%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 SM-T825 (Samsung Browser 5.2)
2244.4 ms * ∼24% +15%
Apple iPad Pro 10.5 2017 (Safari Mobile 10)
972.7 ms * ∼10% +63%

* ... smaller is better

Samsung has equipped the Tab S4 with UHS 2.1 internal storage, which is considerably faster than all the comparison devices in our comparison table. No comparable Android tablet can compete in this regard.

The microSD card reader is fast too, but it cannot take full advantage of our Toshiba Exceria Pro M501 reference card’s full potential. Moreover, the microSD card reader is slower than the one in the Huawei MediaPad M5 10.8 and is only noticeably faster than the Fire HD 10 (2017) out of our comparison devices.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S4Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 SM-T825Huawei MediaPad M5 10.8 ProAmazon Fire HD 10 2017Acer Iconia Tab 10 A3-A50Average 64 GB UFS 2.1 FlashAverage of class Tablet
AndroBench 3-5
-39%
-34%
-52%
-48%
11%
-64%
Sequential Write 256KB SDCard
59.08 (Toshiba Exceria Pro M501)
58.56 (Toshiba Exceria Pro M401)
-1%
73.1 (Toshiba Exceria Pro M501)
24%
30.14 (Toshiba Exceria Pro M501)
-49%
56.82 (Toshiba Exceria Pro M501)
-4%
50.2 (17.1 - 71.9, n=25)
-15%
42.5 (14.6 - 73.8, n=41)
-28%
Sequential Read 256KB SDCard
80.07 (Toshiba Exceria Pro M501)
76.39 (Toshiba Exceria Pro M401)
-5%
84.9 (Toshiba Exceria Pro M501)
6%
55.49 (Toshiba Exceria Pro M501)
-31%
80.4 (Toshiba Exceria Pro M501)
0%
66.4 (18 - 86.6, n=25)
-17%
60.8 (34.4 - 87.7, n=41)
-24%
Random Write 4KB
24.43
13.13
-46%
15.35
-37%
9.37
-62%
8.77
-64%
50.5 (8.77 - 156, n=34)
107%
5.52 (0.13 - 77.9, n=192)
-77%
Random Read 4KB
141.96
45.82
-68%
27.41
-81%
27.72
-80%
13.7
-90%
134 (78.2 - 173, n=34)
-6%
17.5 (1.32 - 142, n=192)
-88%
Sequential Write 256KB
195.76
87.6
-55%
94.08
-52%
147.67
-25%
92.38
-53%
193 (133 - 229, n=34)
-1%
35 (2.04 - 208, n=192)
-82%
Sequential Read 256KB
740.54
288.58
-61%
278.59
-62%
262.2
-65%
173.7
-77%
727 (529 - 895, n=34)
-2%
104 (6.75 - 741, n=192)
-86%

Games

The Snapdragon 835 SoC integrates a Qualcomm Adreno 540 GPU, which is still a powerful GPU by today’s standards despite it being over 18 months old. The GPU combines well with the Tab S4’s large high-resolution display and its quad-speakers to deliver a great gaming experience.

Unfortunately, games are only playable in tablet mode, which rules out using DeX to play games like PUBG Mobile on an external monitor with a mouse and keyboard. This limitation is unfortunate as the Tab S4 render even complex games at playable frame rates. Our test device achieved stable frame rates in GameBench too. The only drawback of playing games on the Tab S4 is its size, which could prove cumbersome when gaming while holding the device in your hand for a prolonged period.

Asphalt 9: Legends
Asphalt 9: Legends
PUBG Mobile
PUBG Mobile
Asphalt 9: Legends
010203040Tooltip
; 1.0.1a: Ø29 (25-31)
PUBG Mobile
01020304050Tooltip
; 0.8.0: Ø39.7 (11-41)

Emissions

Temperature

GFXBench Manhattan benchmark: OpenGL ES 3.1
GFXBench Manhattan benchmark: OpenGL ES 3.1

The Tab S4 manages its temperatures exceptionally well. Surface temperatures on our test device reached a maximum of 28 °C on the display at idle and averaged 26.2 °C across the entire device. Impressively, surface temperatures only rise to a maximum of 31.4 °C under sustained load and average below 30 °C. No smartphone or laptop can manage its surface temperatures to the same degree as the Tab S4 can.

We checked how well our test device maintained peak performance under sustained load by running GFXBench battery tests on a loop and measuring changes in FPS per benchmark run through. Frame rates dropped steadily throughout the Manhattan looped benchmark, but the Tab S4 maintained around two-thirds of its initial performance by the final run through, which is a decent result. Overall, the Tab S4 should not thermal throttle even during long gaming sessions.

Max. Load
 31.4 °C
89 F
29.9 °C
86 F
27.7 °C
82 F
 
 29.4 °C
85 F
27.8 °C
82 F
27.9 °C
82 F
 
 28 °C
82 F
27.4 °C
81 F
28.4 °C
83 F
 
Maximum: 31.4 °C = 89 F
Average: 28.7 °C = 84 F
27.5 °C
82 F
30 °C
86 F
30.2 °C
86 F
26.6 °C
80 F
26.5 °C
80 F
28.3 °C
83 F
26.2 °C
79 F
26.7 °C
80 F
26.3 °C
79 F
Maximum: 30.2 °C = 86 F
Average: 27.6 °C = 82 F
Power Supply (max.)  29.6 °C = 85 F | Room Temperature 20.4 °C = 69 F | Voltcraft IR-260
(+) The average temperature for the upper side under maximal load is 28.7 °C / 84 F, compared to the average of 30.8 °C / 87 F for the devices in the class Tablet.
(+) The maximum temperature on the upper side is 31.4 °C / 89 F, compared to the average of 34.8 °C / 95 F, ranging from 22.3 to 51.8 °C for the class Tablet.
(+) The bottom heats up to a maximum of 30.2 °C / 86 F, compared to the average of 34.4 °C / 94 F
(+) In idle usage, the average temperature for the upper side is 26.8 °C / 80 F, compared to the device average of 30.8 °C / 87 F.
Heat map of the front of the device under load
Heat map of the front of the device under load
Heat map of the back of the device under load
Heat map of the back of the device under load

Speakers

Pink Noise curves
Pink Noise curves

Samsung collaborated with AKG and Harman to create the Tab S4’s quad-speakers. The speakers automatically adjust to the orientation in which the tablet is being held for a consistent sound experience, which works well in practice. 

The speakers sound great too, albeit there is a noticeable lack of bass. Our test device reproduces deep mid-tones well that help to create an impressive sound quality overall. The speakers sound loud at maximum volume, but we measure a lower dB(A) than the speakers on the Tab S3.

The Tab S4 also supports wired or wireless audio output using the 3.5 mm jack and Bluetooth 5.0 respectively. The latter supports aptX and LDAC, which ensure good sound quality over Bluetooth.

dB(A) 0102030405060708090Deep BassMiddle BassHigh BassLower RangeMidsHigher MidsLower HighsMid HighsUpper HighsSuper Highs203029.42530.123.53129.326.64026.924.55032.831.16324.826.78020.726.210019.535.212518.627.216021.445.92002551.425017.459.531516.266.540018.467.550015.467.963013.568.180013.768100013.769.3125014.670.3160014.972.6200014.471.1250014.768.1315014.665.1400014.863.2500014.764.5630014.666.180001561.41000014.952.41250015.147.91600014.938.5SPL27.280.1N0.947.6median 14.9median 65.1Delta1.493237.731.931.131.731.131.132.736.235.926.332.422.232.222.53825.445.518.952.817.159.816.962.41462.613.568.713.869.212.571.312.17511.47511.273.4117010.871.410.574.310.874.610.373.110.375.210.469.410.563.510.459.410.351.310.447.170.765.523.884.62718.20.562.7median 11.2median 69.22.59.1hearing rangehide median Pink NoiseSamsung Galaxy Tab S4Huawei MediaPad M5 10.8 Pro
Frequency diagram (checkboxes can be checked and unchecked to compare devices)
Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 audio analysis

(±) | speaker loudness is average but good (80.1 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(-) | nearly no bass - on average 18% lower than median
(-) | bass is not linear (18.7% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(+) | balanced mids - only 4.3% away from median
(+) | mids are linear (1.9% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(+) | balanced highs - only 3.3% away from median
(±) | linearity of highs is average (7% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(±) | linearity of overall sound is average (18% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 32% of all tested devices in this class were better, 8% similar, 60% worse
» The best had a delta of 7%, average was 21%, worst was 36%
Compared to all devices tested
» 31% of all tested devices were better, 6% similar, 63% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 21%, worst was 53%

Huawei MediaPad M5 10.8 Pro audio analysis

(+) | speakers can play relatively loud (84.6 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(-) | nearly no bass - on average 15.7% lower than median
(±) | linearity of bass is average (8.7% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(+) | balanced mids - only 2.7% away from median
(+) | mids are linear (4.1% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(±) | higher highs - on average 5.1% higher than median
(+) | highs are linear (5.6% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(+) | overall sound is linear (14.4% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 9% of all tested devices in this class were better, 4% similar, 87% worse
» The best had a delta of 7%, average was 21%, worst was 36%
Compared to all devices tested
» 14% of all tested devices were better, 3% similar, 83% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 21%, worst was 53%

Power Management

Power Consumption

The Tab S4 has a 7,300 mAh battery, which is significantly larger than the 6,000 mAh battery found in its predecessor. The newer tablet has lower power consumption under load, primarily because of its more efficient SoC. However, our test device consumes more power on average than the Tab S3 at idle because of the former’s larger and higher resolution display. We also measured our test device consuming 2.53 W more at maximum brightness with the ambient light sensor activated to when it was deactivated. 

Samsung has included the same charger as it did with the Tab S3. Predictably, the larger battery takes longer to charge; our test device takes around two-and-a-half hours to recharge fully with the included charger.

Power Consumption
Off / Standbydarklight 0.01 / 0.21 Watt
Idledarkmidlight 1.76 / 4.22 / 4.25 Watt
Load midlight 4.52 / 7.35 Watt
 color bar
Key: min: dark, med: mid, max: light        Metrahit Energy
Samsung Galaxy Tab S4
7300 mAh
Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 SM-T825
6000 mAh
Apple iPad Pro 10.5 2017
8134 mAh
Huawei MediaPad M5 10.8 Pro
7500 mAh
Amazon Fire HD 10 2017
6300 mAh
Acer Iconia Tab 10 A3-A50
6100 mAh
Power Consumption
-8%
-41%
-74%
-15%
-64%
Idle Minimum *
1.76
2.08
-18%
1.44
18%
3.3
-88%
1.55
12%
3.21
-82%
Idle Average *
4.22
3.5
17%
6.12
-45%
4.2
-0%
4.17
1%
5.97
-41%
Idle Maximum *
4.25
3.58
16%
6.14
-44%
7
-65%
4.25
-0%
6.19
-46%
Load Average *
4.52
6.97
-54%
8.55
-89%
10.4
-130%
7.13
-58%
9.72
-115%
Load Maximum *
7.35
7.4
-1%
10.62
-44%
13.8
-88%
9.63
-31%
9.97
-36%

* ... smaller is better

Battery Life

The Tab S4 has good, albeit comparatively disappointing, battery life. Our test device lasted longer than all our comparison devices in our looped H.264 video battery life test, which is surprising as the iPad Pro 10.5 and the MediaPad M5 10.8 Pro both have larger batteries than the Galaxy Tab S4. Our test device also finished third in our battery life under sustained load test, but the H.264 video test is the only battery life test in which the Tab S4 excelled.

Surprisingly, the Tab S3 lasted over 50% longer in three of our four battery life tests despite having marginally worse power consumption and a smaller battery capacity. Something seems amiss here though that we hope that Samsung will address in an update.

Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
20h 27min
NBC WiFi Websurfing Battery Test 1.3 (Samsung Browser 8.0)
8h 15min
Big Buck Bunny H.264 1080p
12h 15min
Load (maximum brightness)
4h 05min
Samsung Galaxy Tab S4
7300 mAh
Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 SM-T825
6000 mAh
Apple iPad Pro 10.5 2017
8134 mAh
Huawei MediaPad M5 10.8 Pro
7500 mAh
Amazon Fire HD 10 2017
6300 mAh
Acer Iconia Tab 10 A3-A50
6100 mAh
Battery Runtime
34%
18%
3%
-5%
-30%
Reader / Idle
1227
1903
55%
2036
66%
1254
2%
960
-22%
735
-40%
H.264
735
551
-25%
629
-14%
629
-14%
585
-20%
WiFi v1.3
495
760
54%
693
40%
670
35%
542
9%
387
-22%
Load
245
375
53%
199
-19%
220
-10%
274
12%
175
-29%

Pros

+ slim, stylish design
+ good performance
+ expandable storage
+ impressive OLED display
+ decent quad-speakers
+ S Pen support
+ DeX integration
+ optional LTE modem
+ USB 3.1 with HDMI and DisplayPort support

Cons

- last year’s flagship SoC
- weak cameras
- small internal storage
- no NFC
- the device does not have a premium feel

Verdict

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 review. Test device courtesy of Samsung Germany.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 review. Test device courtesy of Samsung Germany.

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 is currently the strongest Android tablet on the market. The great Super AMOLED display is particularly convincing, while its DeX integration is great for productivity, although there are limitations with its use for gaming and multimedia. The 64 GB of storage and 4 GB of RAM are plentiful too, although it is a shame that Samsung does not sell the 256 GB in more regions and currently limits it to only the Wi-Fi version. The battery-less S Pen remains a great tool too. 

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 is a fantastic tablet that takes the Android tablet crown thanks to its great display and the current lack of viable alternatives.

However, Samsung has missed the mark in trying to create a high-end tablet with a suitably premium feeling. The company has equipped the Tab S4 with last year’s flagship SoC, while its storage, RAM and cameras are more befitting of a mid-range smartphone than a 2018 flagship device. The plastic S Pen and optional keyboard cover only add to our impression that Samsung could have gone further in delivering a flagship-level tablet experience.

The Tab S4 starts at $649.99 (£599) on Samsung’s website, which rises to $749 for the 256 GB Wi-Fi version in the United States and to $729.99 (£649) for the LTE variant. However, most Android tablets are considerably cheaper, of which the Huawei MediaPad M5 Pro is currently the best alternative. Its optional accessories are hard to come by though, and it falls just short of the Tab S4 overall too.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 - 11/01/2018 v6
Daniel Schmidt

Chassis
88%
Keyboard
67 / 80 → 83%
Pointing Device
94%
Connectivity
57 / 65 → 87%
Weight
83 / 40-88 → 90%
Battery
92%
Display
88%
Games Performance
63 / 68 → 93%
Application Performance
66 / 76 → 87%
Temperature
95%
Noise
100%
Audio
76 / 91 → 83%
Camera
58 / 85 → 68%
Average
79%
90%
Tablet - Weighted Average

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 Tablet Review
Daniel Schmidt, 2018-11- 2 (Update: 2018-11- 5)