Samsung is directly targeting the iPad Air with its latest premium tablet versions. The company just launched the Galaxy Tab S with a WQXGA Super AMOLED screen that delivers the most vibrant tablet display on the market.
The Galaxy Tab S offers Samsung screen technologies like Adaptive Display, which adjusts the gamma, saturation, and sharpness based on what you are viewing, the temperature of the viewing environment and ambient lighting. And advanced outdoor visibility technology means users can see their content even in bright sunlight.
Samsung also promises energy savings with its new Galaxy Tab S by using the Super AMOLED technology instead of power-consuming LCD displays. Both of the Tab S models are just 0.26 inches thick. The 10.5-inch screen device weighs in at 1 pound, while the 8.4-inch model weighs 10 ounces.
Samsung's Achilles Heel
We caught up with Avi Greengart, an analyst at Current Analysis, to get his take on the new tablet, which some are calling an iPad killer. He told us the Samsung Tab S can compete on specs with anyone, including Apple.
"It has a spectacular display. It is thinner and slightly lighter than the equivalent iPad Air and iPad mini Retina," he said. "So if you are looking for a premium tablet and you are basing your purchasing decision on specs alone, you will be buying a Samsung Galaxy S every time."
The problem for Samsung is that tablet consumers do not buy solely on specs. Rather, they also take into consideration build quality. As Greengart sees it, Apple's aluminum designs are significantly more premium than the plastic found on the Galaxy Tab S casing. But the biggest decision factor is the app ecosystem.
"Apple's iOS has a commanding lead in that respect. That's not to take anything away from Samsung. There isn't much Samsung can do to fix that problem. That's really Google's problem," Greengart said. "Samsung is doing everything it can to compete on hardware and is also throwing in a lot of software and software partnerships and free content to come as close as they can to saying there is optimized content for our device, too."
iPad Still Wins
To Greengart's point, Samsung's magazine service "Papergarden" debuts on the Galaxy Tab S. Samsung also announced a strategic partnership with Marvel to access more than 15,000 Marvel Comics through three months of unlimited free membership to Marvel's "Marvel Unlimited" app. Then there's Kindle for Samsung, with exclusive offers for the Galaxy Tab S.
Is it enough? Greengart said it may be for the consumer who is primarily looking to watch videos and browse the Web. He also points to a large consumer base of Samsung Galaxy S 4 and 5 users who are already familiar with the interface.
"This is a very, very nice tablet," Greengart said. "Samsung has been growing its sales and this is again a great product, but I don't think a brighter display and a tablet that's a millimeter thinner is going to change the calculus for most premium tablet buyers that are still going to end up with an iPad."
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S will come with Wi-Fi, or with Wi-Fi and LTE, and will be available with 16 or 32 GB of internal memory. All the versions also can accommodate a MicroSD card of up to 128 GB of external memory. And users can choose between Titanium Bronze or Dazzling White.
Prices begin at $399 for the smaller 8.4-inch tablet, and $499 for the 10.5-inch tablet. The Galaxy Tab S will be available in July.