Samsung didn't exactly catch us by surprise with the Galaxy Tab S6 announcement earlier this week, as the ultra-high-end Android slate had already been thoroughly leaked and teased for an introduction ahead of the big Galaxy Note 10-dedicated Unpacked event on August 7.
But it was certainly a little unexpected (and terribly annoying) to get just a vague "late August in select markets" release promise. While Best Buy quickly listed the tablet as "coming soon" on its official website in two storage configurations and three color options, confirming the retail pricing structure and highlighting an exact release date is yet to be announced, Amazon seems to know something its arch-rival doesn't.
Pre-orders are underway and shipments could start far sooner than expected
Last we checked, August has a length of 31 days, making the 9th part of its first half. First third, even. It therefore seems likely that Amazon either jumped the gun with its Galaxy Tab S6 pre-orders or the August 9 release date listed on the e-commerce platform is a mistake. At the same time, you shouldn't rule out the possibility of looking at an early exclusive launch of a limited batch here. Or maybe Samsung reconsidered the schedule of this ultimate iPad Pro rival and the likes of Best Buy will soon join Amazon in selling the Snapdragon 855 powerhouse.
Whichever of these theories will actually pan out in the end, one thing appears crystal clear - there's no harm in pulling the trigger right now and keep your fingers crossed for a delivery as early as next week. That is, if you're willing to cough up at least $649.99 for an Android tablet with a built-in S Pen but a Book Cover Keyboard sold separately (not available for pre-order yet).
Interestingly, Amazon is only accepting pre-orders for "Mountain Gray" and "Cloud Blue" variants at the moment, which suggests the snazzy "Rose Blush" flavor could be released a little later. If you need more than the 128 gigs of internal storage space provided by the entry-level configuration, you'll have to pay $729.99 for a 256 gig version coated in the same two aforementioned hues. Obviously, these are Wi-Fi-only models, but we wouldn't be surprised to see a cellular-capable variant join the lower-end Galaxy Tab S5e at Verizon and/or other major US carriers in the near future.
Specs, features, and alternatives
Before deciding whether or not to pre-order the Galaxy Tab S6, potential buyers might be looking for a recap of this bad boy's spec sheet. In addition to the aforementioned state-of-the-art Qualcomm SoC, the 10.5-incher has a beautiful Super AMOLED display with a resolution of 2560 x 1600 pixels going for it, as well as 6GB RAM in combination with 128GB digital hoarding room or 8 gigs of the good stuff as far as the 64GB storage version is concerned.
Tipping the scales at a measly 420 grams and measuring 5.7mm thin, the Tab S6 finds enough room to squeeze a large 7,040mAh cell under its hood that's purportedly capable of keeping the lights on for up to 15 hours in continuous video playback. Speaking of battery life, the S Pen included as standard with the powerful new slate supports wireless charging, lasting 10 hours after drawing energy from the tablet itself for just 10 minutes.
All in all, this looks like a fierce contender for the 11-inch 2018-released iPad Pro that typically costs $800 in a modest 64GB configuration. Unfortunately for Samsung, Apple is probably gearing up to unveil a new generation of its blazing fast tablets with an even snappier chipset on deck. When it comes to productivity-focused laptop replacements, Microsoft's Surface Pro lineup has to be in the conversation as well.
Of course, the Surface Pro 6 is itself likely to be upgraded soon enough, so you may want to wait for the seventh-gen edition to come... or purchase an existing Intel Core i5 model from Best Buy at $799 in a keyboard bundle after a cool $230 discount.