The Samsung Galaxy Tab series recently completed its reasonably crowded 2019 lineup with the addition of the top-tier Tab S6. If its specifications are anything to go by, it has the potential to be the best Android tablet out there, but that’s an argument for some other day. The Samsung tablet directly succeeds the Galaxy Tab S4 from 2018 and is supposedly closely related to the mid-range Galaxy Tab S5e.
We thought it’d be the right time to discuss how the Galaxy Tab S6 compares to the aforementioned Samsung slates that were launched just months apart. Should you hold off your purchase in wait for the Tab S6 or just grab the next deal you could find on the Tab S4 or the Tab S5e? Let’s find out.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 vs. S5e vs. S4: Differences
The three generations have gone through some minor design changes like the bezels on the newest Galaxy Tab S6 are marginally thinner than its direct predecessor. However, major changes are visible when these devices are turned over. The two newest Galaxy Tab models shed the glass back of the Tab S4 in favor of a full metal casing. The Tab S6 differentiates itself with a pair of cameras on its back and an indent for the S Pen to magnetically attach and charge. Plus, its keyboard attachment has introduced a trackpad bringing it a tad closer to a real PC, while the other two can still use a mouse.
Talking about the S Pen, both the flagship models from 2018 and 2019 do support the Samsung stylus, but the Galaxy Tab S5e doesn’t. The two Samsung tablets launched this year share the same battery capacity of 7040mAh, which is a tad less than 7300mAh capacity of the S4. Being the newest of the three, the Galaxy Tab S6 has the most amount of RAM at up to 8GB and onboard memory of up to 256GB. However, the Tab S4 is the only device in this comparison to have the good-old headphone jack.
On the inside of the S6, you will find Qualcomm’s latest and greatest Snapdragon 855 chipset taking care of the processing needs. This is a significant upgrade from the Snapdragon 670 used for the S5e and the Snapdragon 835 for the S4. Getting rid of that glass back also meant a few grams lost in weight—the mid-ranger weighs just 400g while the Tab S6 clocks in at 420g against 482g of the Tab S4. Besides this, the 2019 tablet gets the trendy in-display fingerprint scanner with the Tab S5e having a side-mounted one and the Tab S4 lacking it entirely.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 vs. S5e vs. S4: Similarities
Similarities among these three tablets start from their display panel. All of them use a Super AMOLED display measuring 10.5 inches from corner to corner that has a QHD resolution of 2560 x 1600 pixels. You will feel right at home no matter which device you pick as the trio runs the same software version—Android 9 Pie-based One UI. The Tab S4 did launch with Oreo preinstalled but was updated recently to the newer version.
For what it’s worth, the entire Galaxy Tab S lineup sports a USB Type-C port for charging or connecting peripherals. Samsung was able to maintain the quad-speaker setup across all these three models and similar is the case with the available connectivity options that include Wi-Fi ac, Bluetooth 5.0, and optional LTE. Samsung DeX is another feature that is shared across all these slates making them better at productivity. In a standard Samsung fashion, you have the option to further expand the internal memory using a microSD card.
Specifications: A Comparison
|Samsung Galaxy Tab S6||Samsung Galaxy Tab S5e||Samsung Galaxy Tab S4|
|Android 9 Pie (One UI)||Android 9 Pie (One UI)||Android 8.1 Oreo (Experience UI) upgraded to Android Pie|
|10.5-inch Super AMOLED (2560 x 1600)||10.5-inch Super AMOLED (2560 x 1600)||10.5-inch Super AMOLED (2560 x 1600)|
|Octa-core Snapdragon 855||Octa-core Snapdragon 670||Octa-core Snapdragon 835|
|MicroSD up to 1TB||microSD up to 512GB||microSD up to 400GB|
|13 Megapixels + 5 Megapixels||13 Megapixels||13 Megapixels|
|8 Megapixels||8 Megapixels||8 Megapixels|
|Wi-Fi 802.11 ac, Bluetooth 5.0, optional LTE||Wi-Fi 802.11 ac, Bluetooth 5.0, optional LTE||Wi-Fi 802.11 ac, Bluetooth 5.0, optional LTE|
|USB Type-C||USB Type-C||USB Type-C|
|In-display fingerprint scanner||Side-mounted fingerprint scanner||Iris scanner|
|244.5 x 159.5 x 5.7 mm||245 x 160 x 5.5 mm||249.3 x 164.3 x 7.1 mm|
Which One Is Better For You?
From what’s evident from its specs list, the Galaxy Tab S6 is more of an incremental upgrade from the 2018 model. The Galaxy Tab S4 (review) was updated to Android Pie in April this year leaving little to no difference between their software experience. If you already own the flagship Galaxy Tab from last year, there is absolutely no need to even consider upgrading.
But those looking to buy one in the near future can definitely look at the Galaxy Tab S6 if the upgrades it brings will add any value to your workflow. The improvements to the S Pen and its keyboard can be worth the investment, only if it’ll substantially boost your productivity. The display quality on any of these tablets shouldn’t be a concern since their displays have the same specifications and offer excellent results.
Finally, the Galaxy Tab S5e will be more than enough for most users looking for an entertainment device or some casual use. Do note that we didn’t find it particularly good in the gaming department which was largely due to its mid-range processor.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S6Topping all other tablets from Samsung, the Galaxy Tab S6 offers the best of everything the maker has to offer currently. That AMOLED display stays unrivaled while Samsung has refined the DeX software and the accompanying accessories to improve the productivity experience. The S Pen now has a more convenient magnetic spot and the back now houses two cameras. Four speakers complement that display when watching movies.
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