Samsung's fourth-generation Tab gives users the choice of three sizes, but the other specs don't wow.
Samsung quietly announced three new tablets Tuesday. The Galaxy Tab 4 series fills in the middle of Samsung's tablet lineup and has been upgraded a bit when compared to previous generations. Where Samsung's TabPRO and NotePRO devices are all about productivity and power, the Tab 4 family is more about looking good while having a good time.
Samsung knows its customers prefer to have choice, so there are three Galaxy Tab 4s. One has a 7.0-inch screen, one has an 8.0-inch screen, and the last has a 10.1-inch screen. All three share a 16:10 aspect ratio and a resolution of 1280 x 800 pixels. That means the smallest device has the best pixel density of the three. The largest of the three has pixel density not too far off from the original Apple iPad -- which is to say, it's not all that great. The Tab 4 family supports Samsung's Multi-Window function, however, which means they can run two apps side-by-side simultaneously and drag content from one app to the other. This is particularly nice for those who like to multitask.
The quality of the hardware casing has been upgraded with a textured look and feel that Samsung describes as "premium." (At least it's not the faux leather of the NotePRO and TabPRO devices.) The weights are relatively low at 1.02 pounds, 0.71 pounds, and 0.61 pounds for the 10.1-, 8.0-, and 7.0-inch tablets, respectively. The larger two have a 6,800-mAh battery and 4,450-mAh battery, respectively, but Samsung didn't say how large the battery of the smaller tablet is.
Samsung loaded the tablets with Android 4.4 KitKat, the most recent version of Android available, and skinned it with its traditional TouchWiz user interface. That means all three share a number of Samsung apps, such as Group Play, Samsung Link, and WatchOn. Group Play is used to share music and games directly with other nearby Galaxy devices. Samsung Link lets owners share content with TVs and other screens. WatchOn is Samsung's television and movie app that integrates with the owner's local provider. Of course, the standard set of Google-made apps is available, including Gmail, Google Maps, YouTube, Google Play, Google+, and so on.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 devices are each powered by a quad-core 1.2-GHz processor with 1.5 GB of RAM and varying amounts of storage (8 GB, 16 GB, or 32 GB, plus support for microSD memory cards). They all share the same two-camera configuration, which includes a 3.3-megapixel fixed-focus main camera and a 1.3-megapixel user-facing camera for video chats.
Each will be offered in versions that support 3G and 4G cellular data networks, in addition to tablet staples such as WiFi, GPS/GLONASS, Bluetooth, and USB 2.0. They will be offered in either black or white. The Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 tablets go on sale in May.
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Eric is a freelance writer for InformationWeek specializing in mobile technologies. View Full Bio
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