Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4 review: S-class coupe

S-class coupe

GSMArena team, 25 June 2014.


The gallery on the Galaxy Tab S 8.4 offers various sorting and viewing options. Pinch zooming in or out will increase or reduce the size of the thumbnails. The album view shows a stack of photos with a navigational bar on the left with all the albums.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S 84 Samsung Galaxy Tab S 84 Samsung Galaxy Tab S 84
The Gallery app

The app supports bulk actions and photo notes. There are lots of sharing options as well, as well as a powerful embedded image editor. It supports highly customizable slideshows, too.

Music player

The music player relies on a customizable tabbed interface rather than the previous split-screen UI. Playlists are supported as well. The bottom of the screen has the basic music controls.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S 84 Samsung Galaxy Tab S 84 Samsung Galaxy Tab S 84
The music player

The Now playing screen gives you the usual options - a timeline scrubber for the track, playback controls, and an AllShare shortcut. A coverflow-like list of album art lets you know what the next song will be and is an easy way to skip to it. The music player will also try to find the lyrics for the song you're listening to.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S 84 Samsung Galaxy Tab S 84
Now playing screen

Samsung has implemented several audio-enhancement features. The equalizer presets (called SoundAlive) are cleverly organized into a square similar to the Music Square. The presets balance between Treble and Bass, Vocals and Instrumental. You can also just tap the Auto toggle or enable a Tube amp effect.

Video player

The video player has three tabs - Personal, Downloads and Nearby devices - complete with a search field. The available videos show up as a grid of animated thumbnails, but list and folder view are also available.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S 84 Samsung Galaxy Tab S 84
The video player

Unfortunately, the video codec support is quite subpar. Most videos we tried resulted in an "audio codec not supported" message and even some basic video codecs don't work (i.e. DivX). MKV, AVI (XviD) and MP4 videos do play, but anything beyond MP3 or AAC sound is no-go.

An interesting feature of the video player is the ability to have a video running in a pop-up, which is visible throughout the user interface.

The same SoundAlive audio-enhancing technology from the music player is available here too. There are additional settings for the brightness, playback speed and feeding the audio through Bluetooth (if you have wireless speakers).

If subtitles are available, the video player will automatically find and load them. You can also manually load subtitles, if the video and subtitle file names don't match. You can change the zoom mode (100% or fit to screen with and without affecting the videos aspect ratio) and there's a pinch zoom too, in case you want to get close to a specific part of the action.

Excellent audio quality

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4 performance in our audio quality test is very much in line with the recent high-end tablets and smartphones by the company. When docked to an active external amplifier, it produced stellar audio, scoring greatly in every part of the test. Its volume levels were above average too, rounding up an excellent overall performance.

The stereo crosstalk degradation when you plug in a pair of headphones is rather big, but the good news is none of the other readings are affected. It’s not a perfect performance here, but one that should please the vast majority of users.

Check out the table and see for yourself.

TestFrequency responseNoise levelDynamic rangeTHDIMD + NoiseStereo crosstalk
Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4+0.05, -0.02-95.792.30.00440.0096-96.0
Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4 (headphones attached)+0.01, -0.05-95.792.10.0120.014-44.4
Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4+0.02, -0.07-93.393.30.00190.011-89.2
Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4 (headphones attached)+0.04, -0.06-
LG G Pad 8.3+0.14, -0.11-93.892.90.00210.0082-93.8
LG G Pad 8.3 (headphones attached)+0.29, -0.11-90.792.70.00740.208-53.6
Google Nexus 7 (2013)+0.00, -0.23-
Google Nexus 7 (2013)(headphones attached)+0.83, -0.12-92.492.30.0100.208-49.3
Apple iPad mini 2+0.04, -0.39-93.893.70.00110.0067-82.9
Apple iPad mini 2 (headphones attached)+0.11, -0.00-93.693.60.00230.030-62.2

Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4 frequency response
Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4 frequency response

You can learn more about the tested parameters and the whole testing process here.


While our Galaxy Tab S 8.4 doesn't have telephony features, we still tested the stereo speakers performance as the slate will be used for music and videos. It scored a Good score and we can confirm the stereo speakers are indeed loud enough.

Speakerphone testVoice, dBPink noise/ Music, dBRinging phone, dBOveral score
Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet62.562.160.7Below Average
Apple iPad mini 265.762.172.3Below Average
Google Nexus 1068.366.167.8Average
Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 10.167.766.269.8Average
Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.570.165.875.7Good
Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.468.766.575.8Good
Apple iPad Air67.965.976.6Good
Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 8.475.766.676.8Very Good
Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 201475.766.677.2Very Good
OnePlus One74.873.580.2Excellent

You can find more on the testing procedure here.

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Reader comments

will samsung come out with a wifi only version of the tab a 8.4? Looking to upgrade my 2015 tab a model.

  • Anonymous
  • 02 Nov 2015
  • 0Tp

Antutu 36000

  • azadeh
  • 04 Aug 2015
  • B}6

My music app view suddenly changed into tabs view , but i want to switch to that folder view that i had from the first what shuold i do?