Decided to drop few words here based on my impressions having upgraded from my trusty (but otherwise still in full working order) SONY Xperia Z WiFi 32GB tablet that I bought 6 years ago to Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 WiFi 64GB (SM-T830) mid-Jun.
Overall impressions are really very good, once I migrated data / apps / accounts etc. I already own SONY Xperia XZ1 phone with Android Pie (9.0) on-board, so got used to the GUI and the rest already. I don't use DeX or any other SAMSUNG's-own customisations though, disabled them upfront.
And: I can hardly spot any significant differences when using it, except for the weight / bulkiness (SONY tablet is lighter and more ample in size), screen (SAMSUNG's screen has better contrast and is slightly bigger) and speed & overall responsiveness (SAMSUNG wins, obviously, but I do remember when SONY tablet was as responsive as SAMSUNG now is).
(But one needs to point out that Xperia XZ1 phone having the same CPU [Snapdragon 835, not the newest and strongest these days] remains more snappy and works more smoothly. I can imagine that it's the screen resolution that it's to blame here - SAMSUNG's screen is twice the size pixel-wise).
So really well done SAMSUNG as I believe any migration is successful if user cannot spot any real and annoying differences and continue using new product without any significant alterations.
Alas! I don't like few minor things unfortunately and decided to spell them out here - as I believe these are really sitting in a software domain and some tweaks are still possible.
1. GUI could be better refined, especially on the SAMSUNG (customisation) <-> Google (OS) boundaries. What sticks out like a sore thumb are minor things like:
a) all sort of rather inconsistent and visible step-changes when tablet boots up: SAMSUNG logos, unlock screen, blue-light filter application just before login to tablet is made possible - could some of these not be hidden behind some kind of animation that would hide them?
b) visible difference in contrast displayed etc. when logging in, especially with biometrics enabled
c) definitely annoying issue with screen rotation when changing from portrait to landscape (as reported here: https://eu.community.samsung.com/t5/Tablets/Android-Pie-9-0-for-Galaxy-Tab-S4/m-p/1196559#M1938)
2. Rather badly designed volume slider, with the penultimate / last step (full volume) having too big gap between them - it's either still not loud enough, or suddenly too loud
3. Sudden issue with inability to log in (reported here already: https://eu.community.samsung.com/t5/Tablets/Galaxy-Tab-won-t-unlock/m-p/929335)
Dear SAMSUNG, please take this feedback on board as it would make your high-quality product much more refined and in line with my expectations - these come from long-use of all sorts of SONY products, their GUIs were always spot on.
Many thanks for your kind response. And: you're very welcome!
The last afterthought if I may: I cannot say how much of an ordinary (archetypic?) user I am as the usage of apps etc. and subsequent detailed requirements will vary between us all, obviously.
However one probably has to say that there's hardly anything new and noticeable when the latest generation of tablets is compared with the one available good few years back (except: shiner screen with better resolution, faster CPU, more internal storage, RAM etc. - but these are natural consequences of technical advancements). Which on one hand is probably a good thing as it eases migration from one device to another, but on the other hand (and with the exception of the abovementioned technical advancements) makes it hard for manufacturers to sell their products as ground-breaking...
Apologies for perhaps stating the bleeding obvious, but this impression just struck me once I learnt about forthcoming Tab S6 release.