Update: New benchmarking scores suggest the spec we'll see on the Samsung Galaxy Tab S4.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 is a genuine iPad Pro alternative, and one of the best Android tablets around. It has similar productivity potential to Apple’s slates, but with a stylus bundled in, saving you some money, and with a Super AMOLED screen.
This is impressive stuff, but the Tab S3 isn’t without faults, so we’ve come up with a list of things we’d like to see improved for the Samsung Galaxy Tab S4.
We’ve also started hearing rumors and spotted leaks about the Galaxy Tab S4, which you'll find below, and we'll use this article to collect any additional news and rumors about the Galaxy Tab S4 as they come in.
Cut to the chase
- What is it? Samsung's next flagship tablet
- When is it out? Possibly February 25
- What will it cost? Likely at least $599/£599 (around AU$780)
Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 release date and price
Samsung hasn’t been giving its flagship slate range yearly upgrades, with the Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 hitting stores in September 2015, but the Galaxy Tab S3 not landing until March 2017.
So there was around 18 months between them. If Samsung keeps that up then we won’t see the Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 until roughly September 2018. We didn't see Samsung announce a new tablet in March, so it makes sense we'll see it in September, and that may mean it'll launch at IFA 2018.
Pricing will probably be in line with the Tab S3’s, if not higher. That slate launched for $599/£599 (around AU$780), and for that money you also got a stylus, but the keyboard costs extra.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 news and rumors
A number of benchmarking leaks suggest what spec we'll see on the Galaxy Tab S4. The first benchmark for a slate with a model number that matches what we'd expect the Tab S4 to have came in February 2018.
The benchmark lists a 2.3GHz octa-core chipset, which is likely the Snapdragon 835, meaning this slate might not quite be cutting-edge as that's a 2017 chipset, albeit a high-end one. That same spec has been backed up by another leak too.
There's also 4GB of RAM and a 10.5-inch 1600 x 2560 screen listed, as well as 64GB of storage, a 12MP rear camera, a 7MP or 8MP front-facing camera and Android 8.0.
A regulatory filing published at the start of May 2018 also suggests the tablet will be set to run Android 8 Oreo software as well as Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 chipset.
Beyond that there are a few things we can take an educated guess at. The screen is sure to be Super AMOLED again for a start, since most Samsung displays use that tech.
It will probably also support HDR content, since the Tab S3 does and it’s unlikely that Samsung would remove a major feature.
You can also expect a powerful but possibly not cutting-edge chipset based on past form, so perhaps the Snapdragon 835 as has been leaked above, which is found in US models of the Samsung Galaxy S8 and is top of the range right now but won’t be by the time the Tab S4 launches.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S4: what we want to see
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 is one of the best tablets money can buy, but it’s still a long way from perfect. Here’s how the Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 can get closer.
1. Better multitasking
As much as Samsung might want you to ditch your laptop and just use the Galaxy Tab S3, it’s not quite up to the task, and that’s largely down to clunky multitasking.
There’s no proper dock for easy app switching, the recent apps menu is a slow alternative, and the screen is arguably a bit cramped if you want to have two apps running side by side.
Improvements to all these things for the Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 would be great to see, and may be necessary if it wants to compete with the iPad Pro range, as that offers larger slates and iOS 11 is set to boost their multitasking skills well beyond what the Tab S3 can manage.
2. A cheaper keyboard
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 is designed in part as a productivity device like the iPad Pro, and like Apple’s slate you need an expensive keyboard accessory to get the most out of it.
In Samsung’s case, the official keyboard launched for $129/£119 (around AU$170), which is almost as much as some Chromebooks cost. For the Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 we want to see the keyboard bundled with the slate, or at the very least offered for a lot less money.
3. Keyboard tweaks
Speaking of the keyboard, there’s room for improvement in its design too. There are no function keys and no home button for example.
It could also do with stronger magnets, and the flap should be magnetic, both to keep it shut and to turn off the screen when closed. These should be easy fixes for the Samsung Galaxy Tab S4’s keyboard.
4. Water resistance
Samsung’s flagship phones have offered water resistance in recent years, but its flagship tablets still don’t, and that’s a shame.
We’d bet any number of people want to use their tablet by the pool, in the bath or while cooking, and a lack of water resistance could put them off – or lead to a very expensive accident, so we want the Tab S4 to be built for all occasions and environments.
5. A 4K display
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 has a great screen. It’s a good size at 9.7 inches, it uses Super AMOLED and it supports HDR. But it's not 4K.
It’s fairly sharp at 1536 x 2048, but if the Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 has a 4K resolution, while still packing in all the same tech as the S3’s and the same speaker setup, it could be the ultimate tablet for media.
6. Flagship power
While the Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 isn’t exactly lacking power, its Snapdragon 820 chipset is a generation behind the Samsung Galaxy S8’s Snapdragon 835 one, despite launching around the same time.
So for the Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 we want a cutting-edge chipset, plenty of RAM and performance that can rival the iPad Pro 3 (or whatever Apple’s latest slate is at the time).
7. More storage
Invest in a hefty microSD card and you’ll have plenty of space to play with on the Galaxy Tab S3, but it only comes with 32GB of storage built-in, which is a paltry amount for a high-end tablet, since you’re likely to want to fill it up with games, apps and videos.
The iPad Pro 10.5 for comparison starts at 64GB and goes all the way up to 512GB. Granted, there’s no microSD card slot in Apple’s slate, but opt for the largest size and you’ll have far more room than even the biggest supported card (256GB) allows on the Samsung Galaxy Tab S3.
So we want more storage in the Samsung Galaxy Tab S4. The Samsung Galaxy S8 has 64GB, so that should be the minimum, but as the S4 will be newer and bigger we ideally want even more than that.