Tablets Guide

Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4 vs. Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4 -  which tablet should you buy?

Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4 vs. Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4 Compared

 Overview

In just 8 months, Samsung had released a total of 9 tablet devices. They are the Galaxy Note Pro and Tab Pro series (consisting of four tablets), the Galaxy Tab 4 series (consisting of three tablets) and the Tab S series (consisting of two tablets). 

Of those, two particular tablets - the Tab Pro 8.4 and Tab S 8.4 - stood out from the rest as they ride on the increasing appeal of 8-inch tablets and come with ultra-high resolution displays. It can be tough deciding between the two tablets since they have almost similar hardware. 

This is exactly why we've not named the Tab S 8.4 tablet the victor of our previous shootout as we've yet to weight the pros and cons of considering the equally capable Tab Pro 8.4 edition. As such, to help you make an informed decision, we'll be comparing the two tablets in 10 distinct categories. Winning (or getting a tie) in each category will score the tablet one point, with the victor being the one with the most points. Now, let's begin with the shootout: 

 

Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4

Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4

Winner

Design & Handling
  • Dimpled, micro-dot pattern similar to the Galaxy S5 
  • 212.8 x 125.6 x 6.6mm
  • Weighs 298g (LTE), 294g (Wi-Fi)
  • Faux leather rear similar to the Galaxy Note 3
  • 219 x 128.5 x 7.2mm
  • Weighs 335g (LTE), 331g (Wi-Fi)

 

When it comes to aesthetics, opinions can be subjective depending on individual's preferences. In this case, we feel that the Tab S 8.4 has the upper hand as it is thinner and lighter than the Tab Pro 8.4. 

In fact, the Tab S 8.4 is the thinnest and lightest 8-inch tablet. The ASUS MeMO Pad 8 comes close at 299g. The Apple iPad mini with Retina Display weighs 331g (Wi-Fi) and 341g (LTE) while the LG G Tablet 8.3 is thicker at 8.3mm and weighs 338g.

Display
  • 8.4-inch
  • Super AMOLED
  • 2,560 x 1,600 pixels
  • 8.4-inch
  • LCD
  • 2,560 x 1,600 pixels

Even though both tablets sport the same display size and resolution, we are in favor of the Super AMOLED panel of the Tab S 8.4. Colors are really vibrant and rich. Photos and movies look more alive on the Tab S 8.4 when compared to the Tab Pro 8.4 and the rest of the 8-inch tablets including the Apple iPad mini with Retina Display.

Don't forget that it also sips less power, which is a strong plus point when considering the screen plays a major part of the device's power consumption. Concerned that an AMOLED screen might be too vibrant for your taste? Samsung has you covered with a few color presets to suit your needs better.

Audio
  • Speakers located at the upper portion on each side
  • Speakers flank the micro-USB 2.0 port at the bottom

The placement of the speakers on mobile devices is critical in determining whether the audio output is clear. With the speakers located at the bottom section, it is very likely that your hand will cover one of the two speakers on the Tab Pro 8.4 unless you hold it on the opposite end with one hand. As stated in our previous shootout article, we found the Tab S 8.4's speakers to be the best.

Storage
  • 16GB internal storage
  • microSD expansion up to 128GB
  • 16GB internal storage 
  • microSD expansion up to 64GB

Although both tablets come with 16GB internal storage, the Tab S 8.4 is able to support memory cards of up to 128GB. This is double the storage support for the Tab Pro 8.4.

The iPad Mini clearly loses out in this aspect as it does not come with a memory card slot. Meanwhile, the LG G Tablet 8.3 has a memory card slot, but it only supports up to a maximum of 64GB capacity cards.

Special Software Features
  • SideSync 3.0
    (more info on this here.)
  • Ultra Power Saving mode
  • Galaxy Gifts from more than 30 mobile content and service providers 
  • Over $400 worth of premium pre-paid, long-term subscription apps and services

As always, Samsung loves to pack everything but the kitchen sink into its flagship devices. As a productivity-centric tablet, the Tab Pro 8.4 comes with several business-orientated apps and services such as CISCO WebEX, Samsung e-Meeting and Remote PC.

The Tab S 8.4, on the other hand, is positioned as an entertainment tablet. It has Samsung's magazine service, Paper Garden and 3 months of unlimited free membership to Marvel's Marvel Unlimited app.

Sensors
  • Fingerprint sensor
  • Accelerometer
  • Light Sensor
  • Gyroscope
  • Magnetic Sensor 
  • IrLED Sensor
  • Proximity Sensor
  • Accelerometer
  • Light Sensor
  • Gyroscope
  • Magnetic Sensor

Both tablets are equipped with a similar set of vital sensors, but the Tab S 8.4 is notably different in that it comes with a fingerprint scanner. While its implementation of the fingerprint scanner is not as intuitive as Apple's Touch ID on the iPhone 5S, the Tab S series is the first consumer tablet to come with such a feature.

Another plus point for the  Tab S 8.4 is that the fingerprint scanner is integrated with PayPal for making online payments conveniently. However, the fingerprint scanner is vulnerable to spoofing hack. This primarily becomes a concern if your tablet gets stolen.

Camera Modes & Features
  • 8-megapixel rear camera with autofocus
  • 2.1-megapixel front-facing camera
  • 8-megapixel rear camera with autofocus
  • 2-megapixel front-facing camera

Both tablets are equipped with 8-megapixel rear cameras and have similar imaging features such as Beauty Face, HDR and Sound & Shot.

Benchmark Performance
  • Exynos 5 Octa 5420 (1.9GHz A15 quad-core + 1.3GHz A7 quad-core)
  • 3GB RAM
  • Quadrant: 20476
  • SunSpider 1.0.2: 1047.4ms
  • 3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited: 13591
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 quad-core 2.3GHz
  • 2GB RAM
  • Quadrant: 23025
  • SunSpider 1.0.2: 738.8ms
  • 3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited: 15730

Both tablets are powered by different processors and available RAM. The Snapdragon chipset in the Tab Pro 8.4 proved itself to be more capable, edging out the Tab S 8.4 in all three performance oriented benchmarks. 

On the other hand, the Apple iPad Mini scored 411.1ms and 14265 in the SunSpider and 3DMark benchmarks respectively. The LG G Tablet 8.3 did not fare as well; its scores for the SunSpider and 3DMark benchmarks are 1181.8ms and 9524 respectively.

Battery Life (video playback)
  • 3.8V, 4,900mAh
  • 10 hours and 45 minutes
  • 3.8V, 4,800mAh
  • 6 hours and 52 minutes

Thanks to its more power-efficient Super AMOLED display, the Tab S 8.4 was able to last close to four hours longer than the Tab Pro 8.4. The LCD display of the Tab Pro 8.4 drew more power as it needs a backlight unit to produce images whereas the Tab S requires little or no power to light out certain pixels.

In comparison, the Apple iPad Mini with Retina Display lasted 71% shorter than the Tab S 8.4, while the LG G Tablet 8.3 only managed half the battery mileage.

Price
  • S$598 (Wi-Fi)
  • S$698 (LTE)


     
  • S$448 (Wi-Fi)*
  • S$498 (LTE)*

    *Revised suggested retail prices.

 

If you are planning to get a Wi-Fi model, the Tab Pro 8.4 costs S$150 lesser. This comes at an expense of shorter battery life and a slightly bulkier form factor. In this case, we would recommend the Tab S 8.4.

However, the Tab S 8.4 seems to be on the high side when it comes to choosing the cellular model. It may not be worth spending S$200 more to get the Tab S 8.4. 

But once you factor Apple in the comparison mix, the Tab S might not be too pricey after all. Apple's iPad Mini with Retina Display costs S$598 for the 16GB (Wi-Fi) model, which is on-par with the Tab S 8.4. You get more tablet optimized apps on the iPad Mini, but it loses out in terms of storage capacity as there is no memory card expansion.

The LTE model of the iPad Mini starts from S$728, which is S$30 more than the Tab S 8.4 (LTE). For the same reason stated in the earlier paragraph, the Tab S 8.4 proves to be a better deal.

For consumers looking for a more cost effective deal, the Tab Pro 8.4 still offers a pretty good deal for its price point with relatively strong features and performance.
 

Final Tally



With a final tally of 9 wins, the Tab S 8.4 is the clear winner in this shootout. It won by a significant margin, besting the Tab Pro 8.4 in 6 of the 10 contested categories.

 

Unlike most premium products where the differences are insignificant compared to to a lower tiered model, but you tend to have to pay a lot more, this wasn't the case with the Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4. Even with the revised price point of the Tab Pro 8.4, there are enough strong reasons for one to consider topping up for the premium Tab S model. Be it longer battery life, better handling, or the more vibrant display, you would likely gravitate towards the Tab S edition unless you are on  a strict budget. In fact, the Tab S 8.4 seems to have made better progress than the Tab S 10.5 model when comparing against their direct predecessors.

Also not to forget, when pitted against other premium 8-inch tablets, the Tab S 8.4 is in a favorable position as it combines an ultra slim package with superior overall performance. All things factored, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4 rightly deserves our Editor's Choice award!

Our Final Ratings