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SanDisk SDCZ71-032G-B35 32 GB Cruzer Force USB 2.0 Flash Drive
SanDisk SDCZ71-032G-B35 32 GB Cruzer Force USB 2.0 Flash Drive
Price: £13.24

4.0 out of 5 stars Cruzin' for a bruzin', 30 July 2014
These things are getting ridiculously small. That is of course a good thing in many ways but, on the other hand, it does make it easy to lose, so make sure you attach it to a lanyard or keyring. There's anice large hole in one end to allow you to to this.

Build quality is excellent - the drive is robust as well as small, and it looks nice too - shiny and sleek.


Baxters Chunky Smoked Bacon & 3 Bean Soup ( 400g x 12 x 1 )
Baxters Chunky Smoked Bacon & 3 Bean Soup ( 400g x 12 x 1 )
Offered by Quasaro
Price: £23.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Beans beans good for your heart..., 28 July 2014
A nice enough, and very hearty lunch-meal. It's heavy on the beans, as you might expect, but I haven't detected much that could be mistaken as bacon yet. Well, there were three fragments of something a little chewier that might have been meat, but I can't be sure. Don't get your hopes up


MeasuPro TF1000 ThermoFast Waterproof IPX7 Pen Shape Digital Stem Thermometer, Perfect for Barbecue, Home and Professional Cooking
MeasuPro TF1000 ThermoFast Waterproof IPX7 Pen Shape Digital Stem Thermometer, Perfect for Barbecue, Home and Professional Cooking
Offered by Five Star
Price: £21.95

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hot stuff, 26 July 2014
An essential piece of equipment for the home cook, perfect for measuring the temperature of your Sunday roast or for making jams, preserves or toffees. This is a well constructed thermometer, easy to read and easy to clean - it even comes with a removable cover for the probe.

Response time is fast - a few short seconds to get to 100C and you can measure max or min temperature in Celsius or Fahrenheit. It even doubles as a room thermometer.

Provided to me free for review
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 27, 2014 4:59 PM BST


Ronhill Men's Bikester Evolution - Black / Fluorescent Yellow, Small
Ronhill Men's Bikester Evolution - Black / Fluorescent Yellow, Small
Price: £27.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars OK... ish, 24 July 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I did used to have a pair of Ronhill Bikester Origin trackies for my cycling but (don't ask me how) tore a small hole in the... ahem... crotch. That turns out to be a bit of an issue as I prefer to "go commando" under my trackies when I cycle. I hardly need to paint a picture, do I?

Well, I wasn't able to replace the Origins like-for-like and had to settle for these Evolutions and I have to say I don't like them as much. The material is heavier, which is more appropriate for winter riding and there are no foot loops. The cuffs aren't particularly flared, but there is a chance that they'll foul my chainring, so I have to tuck the them into my socks. There are a couple of nicely sized, zipped hip pockets; I'm not 100% sure I approve of hip pockets on cycling trackies but I guess it's a matter of taste.

Apart from that they're OK, but I prefer my Origins, even if it does mean I get a chilly willy.


SAMAR® - Supreme Quality New Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4 inch Tablet (Released July 2014) Crystal Clear Screen Protectors (3 in Pack) - Includes Microfiber Cleaning Cloth
SAMAR® - Supreme Quality New Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4 inch Tablet (Released July 2014) Crystal Clear Screen Protectors (3 in Pack) - Includes Microfiber Cleaning Cloth
Offered by Case Specialist
Price: £2.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Protect and Survive, 23 July 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
So you spent £300 on your Tablet only to find, a few weeks down the line, an annoying scratch on the screen when you could have spent an extra few quid and prevented the damage. I've used Samar protectors for many of my tablets and phones and have always considered them an essential purchase.

The film goes on fairly easily so long as you're careful. You need to clean the screen thoroughly to get any fingerprints or dust specks off it before the protector goes down. Always align the film on the screen before you peel away the backing. This can be tricky because realigning it if it goes down squiff can be even trickier. Don't worry too much about bubbles at this stage, because they can be sqeegeed away afterwards - I use a credit card (wrapped in one of the cleaning cloths to prevent it scratching the film).

You get three protectors in the pack; this is good, because I always fluff at least the first film (and one heart stopping time, the second). If you're lucky, the third one can be kept as a spare, although I've never needed it.

Once on, the film is all but invisible (if you've done it right!) and the touch-screen is as responsive as before. The "feel" of the screen does change a little, but not substantially.


IVSO Slim Smart Cover Case for Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4 Tablet with Auto Sleep/Wake Function (Black)
IVSO Slim Smart Cover Case for Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4 Tablet with Auto Sleep/Wake Function (Black)
Offered by Gambolex
Price: £29.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Keep yourself covered, 23 July 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Bought this for my Tab S and was very pleased with it. Why pay Samsung more than 40squid for their own version of this when you can get a quality product for barely £6? It's a hard backed case with a rigid cover so will provide your device with a decent level of protection, but it's slimline and looks classy too.

The folding cover also provides a means to prop the tablet for hands-free reading although this feature is a little unreliable.


Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4-inch Tablet (White) - (ARM Exynos 5 Octa-Core 1.9GHz, 3GB RAM, 16GB Storage, Wi-Fi, Android 4.4)
Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4-inch Tablet (White) - (ARM Exynos 5 Octa-Core 1.9GHz, 3GB RAM, 16GB Storage, Wi-Fi, Android 4.4)
Offered by Gooddeal4you
Price: £294.38

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Keep taking the tablets: Tab S 8.4", 16GB with wifi, 21 July 2014
Introduction
========
Having bought well and truly in to the Samsung experience and having owned a Tab 2 10" and Tab 3 8", I realise that the Tab 3 was a poor reflection of the excellent Nexus 7", largely because of it's (i.e. the Tab's) rubbish screen resolution. That never worried me much - for a period I ran a Nexus in parallel to the Tab 3 and I /still/ prefer the Tab. I don't really know why. I liked the SD card and 3G/4G capability of the Tab as well as the larger screen size. It also /feels/ nicer than the Nexus and the Samsung Android screen just looks better.

Anyway, I will hang on to my Nexus as a back-up to my shiny new Tab S. Whoop!

Please see the photos uploaded to the product's gallery, which illustrate some of the points I'm making here.

The box and what's in it
================
A quick word on the packaging. The whole thing comes packaged in a rather nice, and surprisingly small wood-grain-print box. Gone are the acres of tacky film that used to be wrapped around the tablet to keep it scratch free in the box. The bezel itself is filmed but the screen is not and the tablet is protected by a spiffy paper envelope. Much more convenient, in my humble.

Contents include the Tab (well, you'd darn well hope so wouldn't you?), a charger and cable and... nothing else. The quick start guide basically tells you to charge it first and get the proper guide off the internet and not much more else.

See photos uploaded.

First Impressions
===========
Initial impressions are of comforting familiarity. The S looks and feels much like the Tab 3 as you take it out of its box. But small differences do then make themselves felt. The bezel is a rather fetching brass colour and the back of the case is a faintly textured and lightly dimpled pearlescent plastic, giving the whole thing a slightly more opulent look and feel than was the case in earlier models. You quickly become aware of the weight (or lack of it) and thickness (ditto) of the device. How Samsung manage to cram so much into something that isn't thick enough to wedge under my kitchen table-leg to stop it wobbling is beyond me.

See photos uploaded.

Set Up
====
Set up is a breeze. Previously, I have found myself faced with a start-up screen in Pinyin (or Mandarin... who can say?) and that first, mystified button-press was a heartstopping experience: was that Pinyin for "Self-Destruct" or "Next"? Now, at least, the first screen is in a familiar language and script and, so long as you can connect to wifi, the Tab will rush you through the welcome screens and log you into your Google account, ready to start configuring and customising the device within a few brief, pain-free minutes. If you've operated a tablet before and backed it up onto Google's cloud the Tab S will immediately start restoring itself, downloading all your apps and other stuff, even to the extent of remembering your old wifi access codes. I THINK that's a good thing, but it does raise questions about s e c u rity.

Using it
=====
Well, what can you say? In many respects, it is much like using any other Android tablet. The layout and operation is broadly similar, with a few notable exceptions. It is wonderfully light. I would say that it is easy to hold by virtue of its lightness but the screen takes up every square nanometre of the front so you are forced to grip the tablet by the bevel or risk touching the screen inadvertently. Nevertheless, I've not found THAT too much of a problem.

The touchscreen is nicely responsive and the hard button layout follows Samsung's familiar geographical convention. The "Home" hard button does have a rather nasty "sharp" feel to it though.

Apps
===
You are presented with two types of home screen; a "Content" HS and a "Classic" HS. The former is a grid which allows you to install a small handful of large format bespoke widgets - a planner window, an email window, a news window etc. This is, as far as I can tell, rubbish. The selection of widgets is mediocre and I far prefer the off-the-peg ones that come with the apps you get from Google Play and can install onto the "Classic" HS. There is no way to delete the Content HS -possibly the biggest disappointment in the tablet so far for anyone who's grown up with older versions of Android.

See photos uploaded.

The Classic HS is much more like the "normal" screen you would see on any Android tablet, providing space to drop app buttons and OTP widgets. Sadly, however, while the OTP widgets (BBC News, BBC Weather) work fine, they don't seem to format very well for some odd reason.

See photos uploaded.

There is also a "double screen" feature which allows you to run two apps side-by-side; very handy for busy Tab users.

The range of apps available to Android devices seems to be a point of contention. It doesn't really concern me though. So long as I can access email, Facebook and the internet, and read my Kindle books, I am generally happy. A calculator, camera, image viewer, map, sports tracker and so-on are all useful to have too. After that? I'm not an app fiend, I guess...

Screen
====
The 2560 x 1600 Super AMOLED screen resolution is definitely on the money with bright vibrant colours and fine, fine pixelation making this a real contender for the Nexus 7". The Tablet comes with a handful of pictures and wallpapers that are chosen, one would suspect, to show this feature off to its best effect. I prefer to choose my own wallpapers - the supplied ones are, I always find, rather "corporate" in appearance. Nevertheless, they make for some striking backdrops as a couple of photos will demonstrate.

See photos uploaded.

I LIKE the 8.4" format - it's more "holdable" than the 10.1" and I always felt that the 7" format was a little "Toytown". That's just a matter of opinion. Note also that there's no practical difference between 8.4" and 8.0"; the tablet itself is almost exactly the same size as the Tab 3.

Cameras
======
Front - The forward facing camera (the one you'd normally use to take photos, if you ever felt the need to take photos with a tablet) is an 8MP affair, which is better than my SIII Mini smartphone. That's not bad at all. Better still, it comes with a built-in flash - not something I've seen on other tablets.

A few more words on the main camera... it isn't at all bad and IS surprisingly versatile. I took my Tab S to the Farnborough airshow this year and took a few snaps and was pleasantly pleased with the quality of the pictures that came out. Against a cloudy backdrop, the distant planes were still the traditional "black speck in the sky" but the pictures were clear, vivid and rather atmospheric. What's more, zooming in, it was possible to pick out SOME detail of the subjects.

Contrast this with an accidental shot I took with the Tab on my lap - the camera picked out the VERY fine weave of my jeans surprisingly well. All of that on the standard "Auto" setting demonstrates an impressively wide repertoire for a rather basic snapper.

Photos uploaded to demonstrate.

Rear - The user facing camera is "only" 2MP which is quite adequate for most purposes and it produces a surprisingly clear, well-rendered selfie.

Fingerprint reader
============
Seems simple enough to me. You swipe your finger 8 times to register your print and then add a pas sword as backup in case you lose a finger in a freak industrial accident and, bingo! your Tab can be unlocked using your dabs. According to the instructions, it will also work on PayPal, although I haven't tested this yet.

Charging
=====
A word on the battery. I'm running the 3G version and I assume that eats up battery power. It DOES run down more quickly than the Nexus 7 and I am guessing that the stated 9-10hr battery life is going to be a tad optimistic.

Now, I believe that Sammy Tabs have a bit of reputation when it comes to the battery - failing to charge fully or at all - that was a real problem with my Tab 3. I'm keeping the faith with Samsung, but I am pretty sure that the Tab won't charge properly on anything other than the in-box charger. Do be aware.

Storage & RAM
==========
16GB internal RW memory is a bit of a disappointment at this price bracket and I would have been happier with 32GB. That said, the external MicroSD slot pretty much solves any storage problems.

I've never concerned myself with RAM before now, but I was surprised to see that, within an hour of having set up the device, my 3GB of RAM was close to redlined. I'm guessing that the "Content HS" widgets and the screen eat up RAM prodigiously and I've not noticed a problem, but I like to have a safety margin in all things.

Summary
====
Every time I've bought a tablet, I've thought "This is the tablet for me! I'll never need to buy another one." Consequently, that I have the same feeling about the Tab S bears little or no weight. However, it has all that a modern tablet needs and looks and performs great. The S doesn't come cheap, but it seems to me be a real threat to the current iPad and Nexus offerings.

My biggest gripe (probably my ONLY gripe) is the home screen layout - give me the traditional "Classic" Android look or give me a decent selection of widgets for the widget screen. I'm going to be kind to Samsung and NOT knock a star off my rating for that, but if you're listening, Samsung, sort it aht!

Accessories
========
Not too many required here, but a Screen Protector and a hard case are essential to protect your Tab from damage.

Update
====
To follow.


BTR Handlebar Stem Storage Bike Bag With Removable Shoulder Strap
BTR Handlebar Stem Storage Bike Bag With Removable Shoulder Strap
Offered by BTR Direct Ltd
Price: £8.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Crookedmouth's got a brand new bag, 20 July 2014
A nice little multi-purpose bag that straps on the front of your bike. It also has a shoulder strap & a belt loop so you can carry it around off your velocipede. It IS small though and probably only good for a camera (plus spare batteries) a small mobile phone, your car keys or similar undersized accoutrements.

Reasonably well made, but some of the stitching did look a bit dodgy though.


Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4-inch Tablet (White) - (ARM Exynos 5 Octa-Core 1.9GHz, 3GB RAM, 16GB Storage, Wi-Fi, 3G, 4G LTE, Android 4.4)
Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4-inch Tablet (White) - (ARM Exynos 5 Octa-Core 1.9GHz, 3GB RAM, 16GB Storage, Wi-Fi, 3G, 4G LTE, Android 4.4)
Offered by Gooddeal4you
Price: £384.40

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Keep taking the tablets: Tab S 8.4" 16GB with 3G/4G, 18 July 2014
Introduction
========
Having bought well and truly in to the Samsung experience and having owned a Tab 2 10" and Tab 3 8", I realise that the Tab 3 was a poor reflection of the excellent Nexus 7", largely because of it's (i.e. the Tab's) rubbish screen resolution. That never worried me much - for a period I ran a Nexus in parallel to the Tab 3 and I /still/ prefer the Tab. I don't really know why. I liked the SD card and 3G/4G capability of the Tab as well as the larger screen size. It also /feels/ nicer than the Nexus and the Samsung Android screen just looks better.

Anyway, I will hang on to my Nexus as a back-up to my shiny new Tab S. Whoop!

Please see the photos uploaded to the product's gallery, which illustrate some of the points I'm making here.

The box and what's in it
================
A quick word on the packaging. The whole thing comes packaged in a rather nice, and surprisingly small wood-grain-print box. Gone are the acres of tacky film that used to be wrapped around the tablet to keep it scratch free in the box. The bezel itself is filmed but the screen is not and the tablet is protected by a spiffy paper envelope. Much more convenient, in my humble.

Contents include the Tab (well, you'd darn well hope so wouldn't you?), a charger and cable and... nothing else. The quick start guide basically tells you to charge it first and get the proper guide off the internet and not much more else.

See photos uploaded.

First Impressions
===========
Initial impressions are of comforting familiarity. The S looks and feels much like the Tab 3 as you take it out of its box. But small differences do then make themselves felt. The bezel is a rather fetching brass colour and the back of the case is a faintly textured and lightly dimpled pearlescent plastic, giving the whole thing a slightly more opulent look and feel than was the case in earlier models. You quickly become aware of the weight (or lack of it) and thickness (ditto) of the device. How Samsung manage to cram so much into something that isn't thick enough to wedge under my kitchen table-leg to stop it wobbling is beyond me.

See photos uploaded.

Set Up
====
Set up is a breeze. Previously, I have found myself faced with a start-up screen in Pinyin (or Mandarin... who can say?) and that first, mystified button-press was a heartstopping experience: was that Pinyin for "Self-Destruct" or "Next"? Now, at least, the first screen is in a familiar language and script and, so long as you can connect to a wifi or 3G signal (pop that Giffgaff sim card in first!) the Tab will rush you through the welcome screens and log you into your Google account, ready to start configuring and customising the device within a few brief, pain-free minutes. If you've operated a tablet before and backed it up onto Google's cloud the Tab S will immediately start restoring itself, downloading all your apps and other stuff, even to the extent of remembering your old wifi access codes. I THINK that's a good thing, but it does raise questions about s e c u rity.

Using it
=====
Well, what can you say? In many respects, it is much like using any other Android tablet. The layout and operation is broadly similar, with a few notable exceptions. It is wonderfully light. I would say that it is easy to hold by virtue of its lightness but the screen takes up every square nanometre of the front so you are forced to grip the tablet by the bevel or risk touching the screen inadvertently. Nevertheless, I've not found THAT too much of a problem.

The touchscreen is nicely responsive and the hard button layout follows Samsung's familiar geographical convention. The "Home" hard button does have a rather nasty "sharp" feel to it though.

Apps
===
You are presented with two types of home screen; a "Content" HS and a "Classic" HS. The former is a grid which allows you to install a small handful of large format bespoke widgets - a planner window, an email window, a news window etc. This is, as far as I can tell, rubbish. The selection of widgets is mediocre and I far prefer the off-the-peg ones that come with the apps you get from Google Play and can install onto the "Classic" HS. There is no way to delete the Content HS -possibly the biggest disappointment in the tablet so far for anyone who's grown up with older versions of Android.

See photos uploaded.

The Classic HS is much more like the "normal" screen you would see on any Android tablet, providing space to drop app buttons and OTP widgets. Sadly, however, while the OTP widgets (BBC News, BBC Weather) work fine, they don't seem to format very well for some odd reason.

See photos uploaded.

There is also a "double screen" feature which allows you to run two apps side-by-side; very handy for busy Tab users.

The range of apps available to Android devices seems to be a point of contention. It doesn't really concern me though. So long as I can access email, Facebook and the internet, and read my Kindle books, I am generally happy. A calculator, camera, image viewer, map, sports tracker and so-on are all useful to have too. After that? I'm not an app fiend, I guess...

Screen
====
The 2560 x 1600 Super AMOLED screen resolution is definitely on the money with bright vibrant colours and fine, fine pixelation making this a real contender for the Nexus 7". The Tablet comes with a handful of pictures and wallpapers that are chosen, one would suspect, to show this feature off to its best effect. I prefer to choose my own wallpapers - the supplied ones are, I always find, rather "corporate" in appearance. Nevertheless, they make for some striking backdrops as a couple of photos will demonstrate.

See photos uploaded.

I LIKE the 8.4" format - it's more "holdable" than the 10.1" and I always felt that the 7" format was a little "Toytown". That's just a matter of opinion. Note also that there's no practical difference between 8.4" and 8.0"; the tablet itself is almost exactly the same size as the Tab 3.

Cameras
======
Front - The forward facing camera (the one you'd normally use to take photos, if you ever felt the need to take photos with a tablet) is an 8MP affair, which is better than my SIII Mini smartphone. That's not bad at all. Better still, it comes with a built-in flash - not something I've seen on other tablets.

A few more words on the main camera... it isn't at all bad and IS surprisingly versatile. I took my Tab S to the Farnborough airshow this year and took a few snaps and was pleasantly pleased with the quality of the pictures that came out. Against a cloudy backdrop, the distant planes were still the traditional "black speck in the sky" but the pictures were clear, vivid and rather atmospheric. What's more, zooming in, it was possible to pick out SOME detail of the subjects.

Contrast this with an accidental shot I took with the Tab on my lap - the camera picked out the VERY fine weave of my jeans surprisingly well. All of that on the standard "Auto" setting demonstrates an impressively wide repertoire for a rather basic snapper.

Photos uploaded to demonstrate.

Rear - The user facing camera is "only" 2MP which is quite adequate for most purposes and it produces a surprisingly clear, well-rendered selfie.

Fingerprint reader
============
Seems simple enough to me. You swipe your finger 8 times to register your print and then add a pas sword as backup in case you lose a finger in a freak industrial accident and, bingo! your Tab can be unlocked using your dabs. According to the instructions, it will also work on PayPal, although I haven't tested this yet.

Charging
=====
A word on the battery. I'm running the 3G version and I assume that eats up battery power. It DOES run down more quickly than the Nexus 7 and I am guessing that the stated 9-10hr battery life is going to be a tad optimistic.

Now, I believe that Sammy Tabs have a bit of reputation when it comes to the battery - failing to charge fully or at all - that was a real problem with my Tab 3. I'm keeping the faith with Samsung, but I am pretty sure that the Tab won't charge properly on anything other than the in-box charger. Do be aware.

Wifi & 3G4G
========
Wifi is pretty standard and there's not a lot I can say about it. The 3G/4G capability is, however, one big selling point for me. I popped a preloaded Giffgaff microSIM in just before I turned the Tab on and, hey presto managed to set the Tab up over the 3G airwaves (I was away from a wifi source at the time). Simples!

One nice thing is that if you buy the right sim card you can use the Tab S as a phone. Although, I'd rather use my PHONE as a phone...

Storage & RAM
==========
16GB internal RW memory is a bit of a disappointment at this price bracket and I would have been happier with 32GB. That said, the external MicroSD slot pretty much solves any storage problems.

I've never concerned myself with RAM before now, but I was surprised to see that, within an hour of having set up the device, my 3GB of RAM was close to redlined. I'm guessing that the "Content HS" widgets and the screen eat up RAM prodigiously and I've not noticed a problem, but I like to have a safety margin in all things.

Summary
====
Every time I've bought a tablet, I've thought "This is the tablet for me! I'll never need to buy another one." Consequently, that I have the same feeling about the Tab S bears little or no weight. However, it has all that a modern tablet needs and looks and performs great. The S doesn't come cheap, but it seems to me be a real threat to the current iPad and Nexus offerings.

My biggest gripe (probably my ONLY gripe) is the home screen layout - give me the traditional "Classic" Android look or give me a decent selection of widgets for the widget screen. I'm going to be kind to Samsung and NOT knock a star off my rating for that, but if you're listening, Samsung, sort it aht!

Accessories
========
Not too many required here, but a Screen Protector and a hard case are essential to protect your Tab from damage.

Update
====
To follow.


Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4-inch Tablet (Bronze) - (ARM Exynos 5 Octa-Core 1.9GHz, 3GB RAM, 16GB Storage, Wi-Fi, 3G, 4G LTE, Android 4.4)
Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4-inch Tablet (Bronze) - (ARM Exynos 5 Octa-Core 1.9GHz, 3GB RAM, 16GB Storage, Wi-Fi, 3G, 4G LTE, Android 4.4)
Offered by GameCyberShop
Price: £386.36

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Keep taking the tablets: Tab S 8.4" 16GB with 3G/4G, 18 July 2014
Introduction
========
Having bought well and truly in to the Samsung experience and having owned a Tab 2 10" and Tab 3 8", I realise that the Tab 3 was a poor reflection of the excellent Nexus 7", largely because of it's (i.e. the Tab's) rubbish screen resolution. That never worried me much - for a period I ran a Nexus in parallel to the Tab 3 and I /still/ prefer the Tab. I don't really know why. I liked the SD card and 3G/4G capability of the Tab as well as the larger screen size. It also /feels/ nicer than the Nexus and the Samsung Android screen just looks better.

Anyway, I will hang on to my Nexus as a back-up to my shiny new Tab S. Whoop!

Please see the photos uploaded to the product's gallery, which illustrate some of the points I'm making here.

The box and what's in it
================
A quick word on the packaging. The whole thing comes packaged in a rather nice, and surprisingly small wood-grain-print box. Gone are the acres of tacky film that used to be wrapped around the tablet to keep it scratch free in the box. The bezel itself is filmed but the screen is not and the tablet is protected by a spiffy paper envelope. Much more convenient, in my humble.

Contents include the Tab (well, you'd darn well hope so wouldn't you?), a charger and cable and... nothing else. The quick start guide basically tells you to charge it first and get the proper guide off the internet and not much more else.

See photos uploaded.

First Impressions
===========
Initial impressions are of comforting familiarity. The S looks and feels much like the Tab 3 as you take it out of its box. But small differences do then make themselves felt. The bezel is a rather fetching brass colour and the back of the case is a faintly textured and lightly dimpled pearlescent plastic, giving the whole thing a slightly more opulent look and feel than was the case in earlier models. You quickly become aware of the weight (or lack of it) and thickness (ditto) of the device. How Samsung manage to cram so much into something that isn't thick enough to wedge under my kitchen table-leg to stop it wobbling is beyond me.

See photos uploaded.

Set Up
====
Set up is a breeze. Previously, I have found myself faced with a start-up screen in Pinyin (or Mandarin... who can say?) and that first, mystified button-press was a heartstopping experience: was that Pinyin for "Self-Destruct" or "Next"? Now, at least, the first screen is in a familiar language and script and, so long as you can connect to a wifi or 3G signal (pop that Giffgaff sim card in first!) the Tab will rush you through the welcome screens and log you into your Google account, ready to start configuring and customising the device within a few brief, pain-free minutes. If you've operated a tablet before and backed it up onto Google's cloud the Tab S will immediately start restoring itself, downloading all your apps and other stuff, even to the extent of remembering your old wifi access codes. I THINK that's a good thing, but it does raise questions about s e c u rity.

Using it
=====
Well, what can you say? In many respects, it is much like using any other Android tablet. The layout and operation is broadly similar, with a few notable exceptions. It is wonderfully light. I would say that it is easy to hold by virtue of its lightness but the screen takes up every square nanometre of the front so you are forced to grip the tablet by the bevel or risk touching the screen inadvertently. Nevertheless, I've not found THAT too much of a problem.

The touchscreen is nicely responsive and the hard button layout follows Samsung's familiar geographical convention. The "Home" hard button does have a rather nasty "sharp" feel to it though.

Apps
===
You are presented with two types of home screen; a "Content" HS and a "Classic" HS. The former is a grid which allows you to install a small handful of large format bespoke widgets - a planner window, an email window, a news window etc. This is, as far as I can tell, rubbish. The selection of widgets is mediocre and I far prefer the off-the-peg ones that come with the apps you get from Google Play and can install onto the "Classic" HS. There is no way to delete the Content HS -possibly the biggest disappointment in the tablet so far for anyone who's grown up with older versions of Android.

See photos uploaded.

The Classic HS is much more like the "normal" screen you would see on any Android tablet, providing space to drop app buttons and OTP widgets. Sadly, however, while the OTP widgets (BBC News, BBC Weather) work fine, they don't seem to format very well for some odd reason.

See photos uploaded.

There is also a "double screen" feature which allows you to run two apps side-by-side; very handy for busy Tab users.

The range of apps available to Android devices seems to be a point of contention. It doesn't really concern me though. So long as I can access email, Facebook and the internet, and read my Kindle books, I am generally happy. A calculator, camera, image viewer, map, sports tracker and so-on are all useful to have too. After that? I'm not an app fiend, I guess...

Screen
====
The 2560 x 1600 Super AMOLED screen resolution is definitely on the money with bright vibrant colours and fine, fine pixelation making this a real contender for the Nexus 7". The Tablet comes with a handful of pictures and wallpapers that are chosen, one would suspect, to show this feature off to its best effect. I prefer to choose my own wallpapers - the supplied ones are, I always find, rather "corporate" in appearance. Nevertheless, they make for some striking backdrops as a couple of photos will demonstrate.

See photos uploaded.

I LIKE the 8.4" format - it's more "holdable" than the 10.1" and I always felt that the 7" format was a little "Toytown". That's just a matter of opinion. Note also that there's no practical difference between 8.4" and 8.0"; the tablet itself is almost exactly the same size as the Tab 3.

Cameras
======
Front - The forward facing camera (the one you'd normally use to take photos, if you ever felt the need to take photos with a tablet) is an 8MP affair, which is better than my SIII Mini smartphone. That's not bad at all. Better still, it comes with a built-in flash - not something I've seen on other tablets.

A few more words on the main camera... it isn't at all bad and IS surprisingly versatile. I took my Tab S to the Farnborough airshow this year and took a few snaps and was pleasantly pleased with the quality of the pictures that came out. Against a cloudy backdrop, the distant planes were still the traditional "black speck in the sky" but the pictures were clear, vivid and rather atmospheric. What's more, zooming in, it was possible to pick out SOME detail of the subjects.

Contrast this with an accidental shot I took with the Tab on my lap - the camera picked out the VERY fine weave of my jeans surprisingly well. All of that on the standard "Auto" setting demonstrates an impressively wide repertoire for a rather basic snapper.

Photos uploaded to demonstrate.

Rear - The user facing camera is "only" 2MP which is quite adequate for most purposes and it produces a surprisingly clear, well-rendered selfie.

Fingerprint reader
============
Seems simple enough to me. You swipe your finger 8 times to register your print and then add a pas sword as backup in case you lose a finger in a freak industrial accident and, bingo! your Tab can be unlocked using your dabs. According to the instructions, it will also work on PayPal, although I haven't tested this yet.

Charging
=====
A word on the battery. I'm running the 3G version and I assume that eats up battery power. It DOES run down more quickly than the Nexus 7 and I am guessing that the stated 9-10hr battery life is going to be a tad optimistic.

Now, I believe that Sammy Tabs have a bit of reputation when it comes to the battery - failing to charge fully or at all - that was a real problem with my Tab 3. I'm keeping the faith with Samsung, but I am pretty sure that the Tab won't charge properly on anything other than the in-box charger. Do be aware.

Wifi & 3G4G
========
Wifi is pretty standard and there's not a lot I can say about it. The 3G/4G capability is, however, one big selling point for me. I popped a preloaded Giffgaff microSIM in just before I turned the Tab on and, hey presto managed to set the Tab up over the 3G airwaves (I was away from a wifi source at the time). Simples!

One nice thing is that if you buy the right sim card you can use the Tab S as a phone. Although, I'd rather use my PHONE as a phone...

Storage & RAM
==========
16GB internal RW memory is a bit of a disappointment at this price bracket and I would have been happier with 32GB. That said, the external MicroSD slot pretty much solves any storage problems.

I've never concerned myself with RAM before now, but I was surprised to see that, within an hour of having set up the device, my 3GB of RAM was close to redlined. I'm guessing that the "Content HS" widgets and the screen eat up RAM prodigiously and I've not noticed a problem, but I like to have a safety margin in all things.

Summary
====
Every time I've bought a tablet, I've thought "This is the tablet for me! I'll never need to buy another one." Consequently, that I have the same feeling about the Tab S bears little or no weight. However, it has all that a modern tablet needs and looks and performs great. The S doesn't come cheap, but it seems to me be a real threat to the current iPad and Nexus offerings.

My biggest gripe (probably my ONLY gripe) is the home screen layout - give me the traditional "Classic" Android look or give me a decent selection of widgets for the widget screen. I'm going to be kind to Samsung and NOT knock a star off my rating for that, but if you're listening, Samsung, sort it aht!

Accessories
========
Not too many required here, but a Screen Protector and a hard case are essential to protect your Tab from damage.

Update
====
To follow.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 31, 2014 7:50 AM BST


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