Review: Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 10.1"


The Galaxy Tab 4 10.1” is a mid-range tablet from Samsung, and although it only offers what top-end tablets offered one to two years ago, it is a sufficient mid-range device at a reasonable price.

Design

As with all Samsung mobile devices over the past 18 months or so, the Galaxy Tab 4 10.1” is wrapped in plasti-leather (plastic designed to mimic leather). This range, however uses a hard plastic as opposed to the softer more rubber-like plastic used in the more premium models. The front of the device is plated in glass and although it is not the hardened Gorilla Glass, it does provide a very smooth feel, with little to no trace of friction.

The Galaxy Tab 4 does feel fairly solid and at only 0.3” thick (8mm) it offers comfortable dimensions for a 10.1-inch tablet. The bezels around the display are slightly more shallow on the sides than at the top and bottom, giving the device a more natural look and feel.

Display

The device sports a 10.1-inch display running at a resolution of 1280 x 800 pixels, which only results in a pixel density of 149 ppi (pixels per inch). This may seem reasonable to some, but in reality, this low resolution often gives a pixelated jaggedness to on screen content. The lower the screen resolution, the more image sharpness is affected, which is noticeable when viewing slimline fonts and diagonal lines, making them look spiked or jagged.

Colour-wise, the Galaxy Tab 4 displays a fairly natural and precise image representation. Colours are just as bright and vivid as other mid-range tablets around the same price point. Contrast is also acceptable, even though it does not offer the purest whites and darkest blacks. The range is wide enough, however, that it would not affect its ability to function for everyday use, and with a wide viewing angle, the contrast is not lost when viewing at a tilted angle. It’s also not as necessary to increase the brightness when hit with glare from the sun.

Interface

Samsung has opted to use Android on pretty much most of its devices, and it does work well with the brand's TouchWiz overlay interface by disguising Google's OS and adding a few of it’s own apps, services and design features. With this particular device, however, Samsung have reigned back on just how much they disguised it, giving you the bare minimum. The Magazine UX (the news stream page) has been removed and there are now no productivity apps. What’s left however, is still much more than is offered by most of the similarly-priced tablets.

Standard functionality and apps are still included, such as movie and music players, and, for the first time, you can now watch a movie in a small window whilst doing something else in the background. The Galaxy Apps store is included, which offers a selection of Play Store apps as well as others exclusive to Samsung. Some Play Store games and apps are even available with a discount from Galaxy Apps.

Multitask is also available, allowing you to open two apps simultaneously in split screen. Samsung also hasn’t neglected to include some of the Android tablet essentials, such as Google's Drive, Gmail, Google+, YouTube, Play Store, Hangouts, Play Movies / Music / Games / Books, Photos and Maps.

Multimedia

The Tab 4 10.1 is unsurprisingly good for web browsing. It is fast, but is somewhat let down by the reduced screen resolution and occasionally suffers from small lag spikes when scrolling through pages. The device is still very functional so don’t be put off by this non-serious issue.

Video playback is excellent and the Galaxy Tab 4 10.1 has no trouble with the vast majority of file types; playing either SD, HD or Full HD videos with no problems.

The tablet has two speakers; one on each side when held in landscape mode, which provide decent stereo sound. They are strategically placed, ensuring user do not inadvertently cover them with their hands. There is, however, some distortion at higher volumes and a noticeable peak in the mid/high-mid frequencies.

The headphone line-out on the Tab 4 10.1 provides accurate sound and has enough power output to power most headphones and earphones. Distortion is very low and dynamic range good.

For gaming, the experience is pretty good with decent graphics quality, even on fairly demanding titles. Lag is not immediately apparent, but this will be largely due to the screen's low resolution.

Camera

The 3 megapixel camera on the back of the Tab 4 10.1 is surprisingly below average for Samsung, who usually put cameras that are well above average in their devices. There are a selection of photo modes including Beauty Face, Sound & Shot and Panorama but these can't make up for the relatively low quality of the camera, which is subject to noise and doesn't reveal much in the way of detail. The front-facing camera is even more disappointing at just 1.3 megapixels, which won't give you great-looking video calls or selfies. It feels like that front-facing camera was only added as this is something users have come to expect from a tablet.

Battery

The Galaxy Tab 4 10.1 contains an ample 6800 mAh battery, which should give you about 10-12 hours of constant usage, even watching streamed video content, before a recharge is required.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 10.1" Review

Design
Battery
Display
Interface
Multimedia
Camera
Final Considerations
Pros
  • Decent battery life
  • Fairly responsive overall
  • Good value for money
  • Generaly good multimedia functions
Cons
  • Operating System experiences lag at times
  • Below average cameras
  • Low screen resolution
Overall Score 3.9 good
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Tablets