When a brand new Samsung Galaxy Tab S arrived it took me almost 2 weeks to open it but it only took about 2 seconds to find two great features. Over the next few days I found many more and in case you are wondering, the first two were a back button and the ability to turn off all your running apps at once.
I'll come clean with full disclosure; I'm an Apple user. I have been for some time with computers, iPods, iPhones and iPads. Typically when I use a non-Apple product I wonder why it doesn't have some of the features I'm used to. In this case I went back to my iPad wondering why it doesn't have some of the features the Galaxy Tab S has, but I'm thinking these companies fight enough in courtrooms these days over who stole each other's technology.
New tablets seem to come up with new creative ways to describe the touch screens' picture clarity and each time I see one I think it can't get any better. Sure enough I'm wrong again. The new Tab S has what Samsung calls a "4 million pixel Super AMOLED display." No need to take out the dictionary, all you need to know is the display is amazing with a crystal clear (1600 x 2560) resolution, described by Samsung as 2X
better than HDTV. The new Samsung tablet (WiFi, Bluetooth) has 16GB of internal memory, is powered by Android 4.4 KitKat and is available with an 8.4-inch screen. The actual body size is 8.37 x 4.94 x 0.26-inches and weighs just 10.37 ounces.
Another thing I've liked about most non-Apple brand tablets is the unlimited removable storage with a built-in mircoSD memory card slot. SDHC/SHD and SD memory cards up to 128GB can be used. I carry a SanDisk wireless flash drive for travel, loaded with a 128GB microUSB card. The Tab S can connect to it wirelessly like most other tablets and smartphones. But there's no need; I just removed the memory card from the flash drive and loaded it into the tablet's card reader. All of your necessary apps for setting up the tablet come preloaded including simple connections to the Google Play store (account required). You'll even find free apps with trial subscriptions loaded.
The built-in virtual keyboard is easy to navigate or as in my case to pair with a portable ZAGG Keys keyboard. There's also an 8MP rear camera with flash and a 2.1MP front camera, which is perfect for the selfie world as well as online face chats. Stereo speakers are built into the bottom and top of the tablet, very convenient so your hands or lap won't block the sound.
A case is snapped into the backside of the tablet. A built-in 3.8 volt, Lithium Ion, 4900 mAh rechargeable battery, good for 10 hours of Internet surfing, 12 hours of video or 80 hours of music playing. Something I really enjoyed while using the Samsung Tablet S and writing this column was watching video in small box while turning on another app. When I switched into this mode, I tried to surf the Internet while watching the video, but I found it kind of distracting since it was blocking the address bar. Not a problem, just drag the video to wherever you want on the screen in either landscape or portrait modes. An obvious question you'll ask yourself after reading this; is it better than an iPad? You'll have to decide that yourself, but before you email me for my thoughts, this is a winner. samsung.com $399 available in white and titanium bronze bodies
Keeping up with nightstand docks and the right connection is costly as companies change the way they are charged and powered up. The iHome iDL46 Dual Charging Stereo FM Clock Radio with a top-sided Lightning Dock is built with an Apple Lightning connection, but the back side USB port makes it compatible with the Samsung Tablet described above and virtually every other USB charging electronic gadget. iHome products have a great reputation and the iDL46 does nothing but continue that with its ability to charge two devices at once along with great sound. The sound comes from a pair of front-facing speakers covered by a cloth grill. A front display has your time, date and day. Buttons along the top are good for all the basics; power, volume, changing songs, setting alarms and the ever important snooze button.
Other features include a battery backup (2 AA's included) to keep the time running in the event of a power loss and 6 FM presets. www.iHomeAudio.com $99.99
The Patchnride is the gadget you never think you'll need until you need it.
It's designed to fix a flat tire on small wheels such as a bike or stroller -- any tire with an inner tube.
The repair is done without removing the wheel during the repair process and there's no limit on how many times a tire can be repaired.
In a nutshell, the new Patchnride device injects an adhesive and patch to repair the leak.
The tool, two patch pods and two leak detectors are available for pre-sale for $25 (regular price is $50) and is expected to ship this fall. Patchnride.com
Gregg Ellman, gadget guru, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @greggellman.