Dec 17 2014

Review: Samsung Galaxy Tab S Marries Functionality with Design

Samsung's latest tablet offers strong security worthy of enterprise use.

The new Samsung Galaxy Tab S is the James Bond of tablet computers: It’s sleek and beautiful, but underneath that modern shell resides a surprisingly secure device that can compartmentalize work and personal use and offers FIPS 140-2 encryption and a fingerprint reader for two-factor authentication.

The Galaxy Tab S has a huge, 10.5-inch display yet somehow still weighs just over 1 pound. Images and Ultra HD content look amazing on the device’s screen, which boasts a native resolution of 2560x1600 pixels. Nothing is ever too dim or washed out, thanks to an ambient light sensor that adjusts the screen brightness based on the content being displayed and the ambient light of the room.

Battery life is also impressive. I was able to work for nine hours and 15 minutes before the tablet warned that the battery was running low. Even then, an emergency power-saving mode renders the screen black and white and disables everything but the application in use, enabling users to squeeze just a little more time out of a dying battery, if needed.

Given those impressive features, the Galaxy Tab S is great for consumers, but its hidden assets also make it perfect for enterprise use. The included Know 2.0 workspace program supports the designation of separate personal and work-related spaces, and administrators can determine which applications are allowed to run in which space (users can design their own levels if permitted). The Know 2.0 program and other security features help the Tab S meet the government’s Common Criteria security standard.

And what would James Bond be without a secret gadget? A hidden fingerprint scanner adds an extra layer of protection to the Tab S. The home key at the bottom of the tablet looks like a normal white plastic button but below the surface, a scanner can detect a finger being swiped. IT managers can lock down the device to encrypt data to the FIPS 140-2 standard. That way, data remains protected when a device is lost or stolen.

The Tab S is one of the first Samsung devices to feature SideSync, which can set up a direct wireless connection between the tablet and a Galaxy S4 or S5 phone, allowing users to answer calls on their tablet. SideSync worked in my tests as long as the S5 phone was within about 100 feet of the tablet.

The Galaxy Tab S has a lot going for it. No only does it have a large, beautiful screen befitting a consumer device, but security and usability make the it great for the office or the classroom as well. The device can be easily deployed for multiple roles, and no mode will interfere with or disrupt another, making it a good fit for almost anywhere.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S