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Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 10.1 Review: Not much on offer

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Samsung has long played a game in the Indian market – It releases a base device and then offers new versions of it with just microscopic changes for e.g. little changes in the form factor, the amount of RAM etc. It puts in no major effort to woo the consumer  yet relies on its fame and massive advertizing campaign to sell its product.

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The Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 belongs to those kind of devices only. The company has pushed in some minor upgrades, borrowed some from its Note series and mostly done nothing remarkable. The Samsung Galaxy Tab range are actually priced on the high side with the 10.1-inch version being priced around Rs. 30,000, the 8-inch version around Rs. 18,000 and the 7-incher coming in for around Rs. 17,000.

Samsung is currently strongly placed in the tablet market and it wants to cash on this, which is why the tablet is just some 8-10K cheaper than Apple’s latest, the iPad Air. Besides that, there is hardly any company that can be called a worthy competitor for Samsung in the Indian market currently.

Samsung is still the only bet, unfortunately if you cannot go for the much higher priced Sony Xperia Z2 Tab or the Apple iPad Air.

All this, I am hoping will change when Xiaomi steps on to the scene with the very high-spec MiPad. Until, then Samsung is the best bet for most.

Now that I have painted the tablet market narrative for you, here is my detailed Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 10.1 review.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 10.1 Specs

  • 10.1-inch display
  • WXGA (1280x800p) resolution
  • 1.2 GHz Quad-core processor
  • 1.5 GB RAM
  • 16 GB internal storage
  • microSD expansion
  • Android 4.4 KitKat
  • 3 MP front facing camera
  • 1.3 MP rear camera
  • 6,800 mAh battery
  • WiFi/3G and LTE versions

Hardware

If we keep in perspective tabs such as the Xiaomi MiPad (Expected to be priced around 20-25 K, release by the end of the year), the specs of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 are humble at the best. If we compare it to its predecessor – the Tab 3, it is not too much of a leap. This one has the same display, same internal storage, the same cameras and the same amount of battery. What it offers in comparison is a lower-spec quad-core processor in place of a higher spec dual-core one, a marginal increase in RAM, Android KitKat and some minor twerks like a back with leatherish feel akin to the Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2  tablet.

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The form factor too has some new stuff, but very little of it. Even though the tablet weighs just around 487g, it kind of feels heavy since the weight is not evenly distributed. I do want to give credit to the Samsung Galaxy Note-esque back, which makes it easy to hold and good to feel about. In fact, you would want to keep running your fingers over it. But Samsung has here also kept away from making this tablet too refined. Even though the feel is there, the finishing touch with those beautiful leather stitches we saw on the Note Pro 12.2 isn’t. I guess Samsung has reserved those for ‘better’ tabs such as the Galaxy Tab S  or the new version of the Note Pro Tab.

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Other than that, I would call it a good looking tab. The front is as classy as the back. It shines away wth metal on the edges, the capacitive buttons at the bottom and the display, which takes most of the space on the front.

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The speakers on the right and left of the tab look pretty suave. The top of the tablet is populated by the power button, the volume rocker, the Micro SD Slot and the the SIM slot. The 3.5mm audio jack is located on the left side of the tablet, while MicroUSB slot is located at the bottom.  The camera at the back looks cool too, while the front cam also looks good.

Overall, in terms of hardware, the Tab 4 is lacking the sheen when it comes to the hardware, kind of succeeds in terms of hardware and is average in terms of usability.

Display

The thing that pinches one the most in terms of hardware for this device is undoubtedly the display. Samsung has gone in for a low spec 1200 x 800p display, which is undoubtedly below the mark. In fact, since this resolution is spread across its 10.1-inch display, if you work out the display density, you will get to know that it comes out to be a paltry 149 ppi.

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That is indeed sad, since the era of 2K tablets is dawning upon us. Samsung could have at least given us a full HD Tab if not a 2K one. At the price tag, the display just doesn’t cut it – It actually loses brightness towards the edges, and you can see the pixellation with the naked eye.

Samsung has tried to make up for it by endowing the display with varied color temperatures, but its still a low-res display. Add to that, it is extremely scratchy. Sunlight visibility is poor. The display is just not up to the mark.

But, still in norrmal use, thankfully there are no lags. It is adequately sensitive and can work even after getting a littlle smudgy.

Software

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This is a department in which the Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 10.1 performs better than the other departments. Thankfully, that is due to Samsung’s little tinge of innovation. Unlike the rest of the tablet, Samsung hasn’t deliberately copied off the software from the previous version with minor changes, rather it has actually got it off its own Note series tablets.

Basically, the software is same as the one that came with Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2, except it does not boast of S-Pen functionality. The software is simply laid out as was with the Note Pro Tab.

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Some apps such as Dropbox and the Hancom Office viewer have also transitioned on the Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 10.1.

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On the bright side, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 10.1 comes with screen mirroring and Multi Window functionality. Not only that there is also a Kids Mode onboard, which lets you protect your data when you hand over the tablet to kids. Also some gestures have come out under the aegis of Motion Control – namely Palm Motion and Smart Screen.

There is also little stuff that I wanted. Samsung could have at least endowed this tab with an Ultra Power Saving Mode. The normal Power Saving Mode is there, though.

Overall, I was more than satisfied on the software front with this tab.

Camera

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As far as  the camera performance of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 is concerned, the performance was nothing remarkable.

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Performance and Battery

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As far as the performance and battery life of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 is concerned, I would rate them as average at best. The Samsung galaxy Tab 4 10.1 comes with a 1.2-GHz Quad-core processor, 1.5 GB RAM and 6800 mAh battery.

The battery life is generally good. But, the battery is not enough if you actually want to play high-def games. It can work out in regular usage though. The power saving mode is not too good.

Verdict

The Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 10.1, in my opinion lags too far behind others in the race. It does not, in any way, impress me. The hardware is below par and the software isn’t out of the world either.

If you are in the market and cannot wait for the Xiaomi MiPad to get a release, I think you will be better off with a Sony Xperia Z Tab which comes at the same price.

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