Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4: Performance

August 13, 2014 by Jason Jacobs Reads (120,599)
Editor's Rating

Ratings Breakdown (1-10)

    • Software & Support
    • 9
    • Upgrade Capabilities
    • 8
    • Usability
    • 8
    • Design
    • 10
    • Performance
    • 10
    • Features
    • 9
    • Price/Value Rating
    • 6
    • Total Score:
    • 8.57
    • Rating 1 to 10, top score 10

Samsung built the Galaxy Tab S 8.4 around an Exynos 5 Octa processor. This chip uses a 1.3GHz quad-core CPU to save power during light-duty jobs, but jumps up to a 1.9GHz quad-core one to handle challenging tasks.

The device has 3GB of RAM, which is very generous amount. Devices that cost close to twice as much don’t have any more.

One of the most important aspects of this new tablet is the GPU, which in this case is the ARM Mali-T628. This can scale between one and eight cores, depending on the load. Its manufacturer claims it’s “optimized to bring breathtaking graphical displays to consumer applications such as 3D graphics, visual computing, augmented reality, procedural texture generation and voice recognition.”

Our benchmark tests show that, when combined with the Exynos 5420, the Mali-T628 works remarkably well, and it may well be that Samsung needed to include the T628 to provide the horsepower to drive the 1600 x 2560 screen in the Galaxy Tab S 8.4.

Quadrant

With a score of 20276 in this benchmarking app, the Galaxy Tab S performs more twice as well as the Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.0, which got an 8480. It also came out just a hair ahead of the Intel Atom-powered Asus MeMO Pad 8, which came in at 20,080. The benchmark is graphics heavy, so the good score here is not surprising, as we have already discussed the power of the Mali T628.

AnTuTu

With a score of over 33,000, the Tab S 8.4 did excellently on the AnTuTu benchmark. This software gives us a much more in-depth look at the inner workings of this Samsung tablet. From it we can learn more about several aspects of the hardware, as well as get a better idea of the power of the CPU and GPU as separate entities. What we find is that while the GPU is great, the CPU is just average.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 7.0 AnTuTu BenchmarkAdditionally, Samsung has equipped this tablet with some slower RAM. When compared against Samsung’s own Galaxy S5, the device scores much lower on both RAM operation and speed.

Additionally, the 2D performance of the Tab S 8.4 is often much slower than the 3D performance. What this means is that while the Galaxy Tab S works well for gaming and 3D content, its ability to handle content like video is actually worse than that of many smaller, less powerful devices. I don’t put much weight on the 2D performance of tablets or other devices as it is not much of a factor any more.

In some comparisons, the device also takes a hit in the CPU Floating-Point performance.

Still, the Galaxy Tab S 8.4 does come out ahead in most comparisons in the end. You won’t be hurting for performance with this device.

Software

This tablet comes with Google’s Android 4.4.2 KitKat, the most recent version of this operating system for tablets and phones. This comes with a collection of useful apps: email, web browsing, that sort of thing.

Samsung adds several bits of built-in software as extras to your experience. Some of these are more beneficial than others, but I will cover the highlights.

The Galaxy Tab S 8.4 offers several custom Samsung applications such as WatchON, a video on-demand service that can stream video customized for mobile devices. The service does require a Samsung account to begin downloading or streaming video content.

The tablet also comes with My Magazine, which keeps you updated on news, social media, and other content in an easy-to-read format. Think of My Magazine as offering customizable content in a layout of your choosing.

Samsung Apps is a marketplace dedicated to software created exclusively for Samsung mobile devices. A variety of different applications can be downloaded, but the marketplace requires a Samsung account to be setup in order to download.

Camera

For those who use their tablets for communication, conference calling, Skype, and similar programs, the built-in camera is important. The Galaxy Tab S 8.4 includes two cameras, much like most smartphones and rival tablets. The forward-facing one is meant to be used for communicating via video while the rear camera is a higher resolution and intended for picture and video taking — the front camera is 2.1MP while the rear camera is 8.0MP.

Battery Life

Using Battery Benchmark, we clocked the Galaxy Tab S 8.4 at 7:35 minutes of actual use at 75% brightness, with Wi-Fi active, and doing a combination of browsing, video playback, and gaming. This is very good, but shy of the claimed 10 hours by Samsung – manufacturer claims of battery life are sometimes taken under ideal conditions.

Using the device at full brightness and the same application usage results in 6:15 minutes of runtime.

Both of these results are quite good for an 8.4-inch screen and the energy requirements of the CPU and GPU.

Price and Availability

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4 is available, as of this writing, from Samsung starting at $299.99 and Amazon starting at $297.99.

Page 3 sums up our final thoughts on the Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4.


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