Samsung Galaxy Tab S vs. iPads: It's All About The Display

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- When it comes to tablets, Samsung wants you to know that it's screen quality that tips the scales. Though Apple (AAPL) may have the highly touted Retina Display on its iPads, Samsung has the world's first Super AMOLED (Active Matrix Organic Light Emitting Diode) display on its new flagship line of Galaxy Tab S devices.

At last night's event in New York, Samsung was clearly proud of the new, super high-resolution displays. Samsung had the Galaxy Tab S tablets sitting side-by-side with iPads, to show off the differences. Both devices had the same photos installed, and in an initial, direct comparison, the new Samsung tablets made the iPads looked washed-out with muted colors and far less detailed.

Samsung launched two, new Galaxy Tab S models to compete with both the iPad Air and iPad mini. Samsung introduced both an 8.4-inch and a 10.5-inch tablet, which both offer Samsung's new WXVGA-level Super AMOLED screen technology. Both sized screens measure 2560 by 1600 pixels, offering full 1080p HD quality - plus a lot more.

By using AMOLED versus LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) technology, the tablets offer higher contrast, blacker blacks and brighter colors. The new screen also slows battery drain, since the black pixels actually remain turned off on AMOLED screen.

Both tablets will run on Google's ( GOOG) Android KitKat (4.4) operating system, and will come with eight-core Samsung Exynos processors, 3GB of RAM, 16GB of built-in memory plus a microSD card expansion slot, 8.0 and 2.1 megapixel cameras on the back and front, the latest 802.11ac Wi-Fi, stereo speakers and a lot more.

With most Samsung devices, these new tablets will have lots of Samsung-branded software titles, something Samsung calls "premium content." The new Galaxy Tab S models include a Kid's Mode (parents can control everything a child can access), Galaxy Gifts, Papergarden (an online magazine store) and the new music app, store, named Milk.

The tablets offer true multitasking, as users can run two programs side-by-side, with one of them being your smartphone. The Galaxy Tab S devices can find your Samsung phone and allow you to answer or place calls or send messages from your new tablet - even if you phone is in another room. The new Remote PC feature lets you access information on your PC from any location and Quick Connect lets you share content with other people nearby. Samsung has improved the security on the new models by adding both software and hardware - including the same fingerprint recognition button that appears on the company's Galaxy S5 flagship smartphone.

Samsung also unveiled a number of different tablet covers for consumers to buy, including a snap-on keyboard cover.

Despite Samsung's best efforts, Apple is still the top device sold, even if Android devices have more market share as a whole. Unlike with smartphone where Samsung products leads the way, the tablet marketplace is much more crowded. In the tablet market, Samsung is competing not just with Apple, but with manufacturers like Amazon (AMZN), Barnes & Noble (BKS), Asus (including Nexus-branded models), Lenovo and an ever-growing list of others. While Apple's overall tablet marketplace share is slowly falling it's still the number one brand. That's despite the ever-growing list of super-inexpensive (less than $200) Android models.

This comes as the tablet market is slowing. According to research firm IDC tablet sales growth is beginning to lose steam. A growth rate of of 19.4% is forecast for 2014, compared to 51.6% last year.

Samsung's 8.4-inch tablet will start at $399.99, while the 10.5-inch will sell for $500, with pre-orders starting today, and both will be available in early July. AT&T (T) , Sprint (S), T-Mobile (TMUS) and Verizon (VZ) will all offer Wi-Fi/4G models also beginning next month.

Final judgement will be reserved until we get a chance to do our own direct comparisons - so we can make sure both devices are adjusted to our liking. Until then, we'll have to agree with Samsung - the new tablets have very good displays.

-- Written by Gary Krakow in New York

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To submit a news tip, send an email to tips@thestreet.com.

Gary Krakow is TheStreet's Senior Technology Correspondent.

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