Is the Samsung Galaxy Tab S Really an Apple iPad Killer?

Samsung's new Galaxy Tab S family is here, but is it the iPad Killer that Samsung has been trying to build?

Jun 24, 2014 at 4:01PM

AnandTech recently reviewed the new high-end Galaxy Tab S 8.4- and 10.5-inch tablets from Samsung (NASDAQOTH:SSNLF). These designs are intended to have leading-edge weight and thickness, coupled with superb display quality. Judging from the $399 and $499 starting prices for the 8.4- and 10.5-inch models, respectively, it seems that Samsung intends to go right after Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) flagship iPad products. Will Samsung succeed?

Apples to apples, how do these tablets compare?
While the specifications on paper would suggest that the Samsung devices are more "premium" (the Samsung tablets have three times the memory, allegedly higher quality displays, and are thinner), it's interesting to read what AnandTech had to say about those tablets.

The iPad Air and mini with Retina Display offered significantly better processor (both CPU and graphics) performance against the Exynos 5 Octa found inside both Samsung tablets. Furthermore, though Samsung won three out of the five display tests that Anand performed, the iPad Air came out out ahead in two (which isn't bad for a nearly year-old product against Samsung's freshest device).

The Samsung devices really came out ahead in movie playback battery life (a strength of the AMOLED displays) and in Wi-Fi performance (thanks to support for top-of-the-line 2-stream 802.11ac Wi-Fi). Samsung also put a fingerprint scanner on the Tab S.

Game changer? Probably not
From a hardware perspective, there are gives and takes between the iPads and the Galaxy Tab S models, but they both seem to be high-quality devices (although spec junkies would probably be inclined to the Galaxy Tab S devices). The key factors beyond pure hardware specifications that will decide the "winner" are likely to be the following:

  • Brand strength. As popular as Samsung's Galaxy S products are worldwide, Apple's iPad and iPhone are nothing short of iconic, which will certainly help Apple keep existing customers and attract new ones.
  • Software ecosystem. Though Samsung's gig is to put the fastest, highest-end hardware into its devices, Apple tends to try to differentiate as much as possible through software (since this is research and development-intensive, but hardware margin friendly). While many technology enthusiasts like bleeding-edge hardware, the average user cares more about the software and app ecosystem.

Fundamentally, even though the Galaxy Tab S products are very nice pieces of hardware that improve meaningfully on the Galaxy Tab Pro tablets that came before them, nothing has changed. It is unlikely that a user who would normally buy Apple would be swayed by the Galaxy Tab S, while a user who already would have bought a Samsung will still buy the Samsung.

Foolish takeaway
With Samsung having put its cards on the table for this round, it's up to Apple to respond with a next-generation pair of iPad Air/iPad mini with Retina Display devices. While touch ID is almost a given for these iPads, it'll be interesting to see what else Apple improves as it goes head-to-head with Samsung's finest.

Leaked: Apple's next smart device (warning, it may shock you)
Apple recently recruited a secret-development "dream team" to guarantee its newest smart device was kept hidden from the public for as long as possible. But the secret is out, and some early viewers are claiming its everyday impact could trump the iPod, iPhone, and the iPad. In fact, ABI Research predicts 485 million of this type of device will be sold per year. But one small company makes Apple's gadget possible. And its stock price has nearly unlimited room to run for early in-the-know investors. To be one of them, and see Apple's newest smart gizmo, just click here!

Ashraf Eassa has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Apple. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

4 in 5 Americans Are Ignoring Buffett's Warning

Don't be one of them.

Jun 12, 2015 at 5:01PM

Admitting fear is difficult.

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Our team of analysts wrote down every single word Buffett and Munger uttered. Over 16,000 words. But only two words stood out to me as I read the detailed transcript of the event: "Real threat."

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KPMG advises we're "on the cusp of revolutionary change" coming much "sooner than you think."

Even one legendary MIT professor had to recant his position that the technology was "beyond the capability of computer science." (He recently confessed to The Wall Street Journal that he's now a believer and amazed "how quickly this technology caught on.")

Yet according to one J.D. Power and Associates survey, only 1 in 5 Americans are even interested in this technology, much less ready to invest in it. Needless to say, you haven't missed your window of opportunity. 

Think about how many amazing technologies you've watched soar to new heights while you kick yourself thinking, "I knew about that technology before everyone was talking about it, but I just sat on my hands." 

Don't let that happen again. This time, it should be your family telling you, "I can't believe you knew about and invested in that technology so early on."

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David Hanson owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway and American Express. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway, Google, and Coca-Cola.We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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