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Galaxy Tab S4 vs. HP Chromebook X2: Which one should you buy?

Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 in-hand
Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 in-hand (Image credit: Android Central)

Android tablets have taken a backseat for the past couple years as larger and larger smartphones have diminished the need for them, but even so, that hasn't stopped Samsung from releasing the large, beautiful, and powerful Galaxy Tab S4.

The Tab S4 is easily one of the best Android tablets you can buy in 2018, offering a stunning Super AMOLED display, snappy Qualcomm processor, and all sorts of accessories that turn it into the ultimate productivity machine. However, during the absence of Android tablets, Chrome OS has quietly risen as the replacement for work and play on the big screen.

One of the most enticing Chrome OS laptops/tablets to come out this year is the HP Chromebook X2, and with similar features and a lower price compared to the Tab S4, looks like the clear winner.

However, how do these gadgets truly stack up to one another? Let's find out.

Specifications

CategorySamsung Galaxy Tab S4HP Chromebook X2
Operating SystemAndroid 8.1 OreoChrome OS
Display10.5-inch
2560 x 1600 Super AMOLED
16:10 aspect ratio
12.3-inch
2400 x 1600 WLED
3:2 aspect ratio
ChipsetQualcomm Snapdragon 835
Octa-core
2.35GHz + 1.9GHz
7th gen Intel Core m3-7Y30
Quad-core
1GHz
GPUAdreno 630Intel HD Graphics 615
RAM4GB4GB
Storage64GB or 256GB32GB
ExpandableYes (microSD slot up to 400GB)Yes (microSD slot)
Battery7300 mAh4-cell 48 Wh
Rear Camera13MP
1.12µm pixel size
f/1.9 aperture
13MP
Front Camera8MP
1.12µm pixel size
f/1.9 aperture
5MP
HP Wide Vision
ConnectivityBluetooth 5.0
Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
USB Type-C
3.5mm headphone jack
Bluetooth 4.2
Intel® 802.11b/g/n/ac (2x2)
USB Type-C (x2)
3.5mm headphone jack
SecurityIris scanning
Face unlock
N/A
Dimensions249.3 x 164.3 x 7.1 mm292.1 x 210.82 x 8.4mm
Weight482g725g

What the Galaxy Tab S4 does better

Samsung's been the top dog when it comes to screen technology for years, and with the Galaxy Tab S4, the company's prowess in this field is shown off yet again. While the Chromebook X2's LED display looks great, the Tab S4's sharper resolution and Super AMOLED panel result in a superior viewing experiencing whether your playing games, watching a movie, or browsing the web.

On top of that, Samsung pairs its AMOLED screen with four fantastic external speakers. All of them are AKG-tuned and support Dolby Atmos technology. Daniel got a chance to check these out during his hands-on time with the Tab S4 and said they're "some of the best-sounding speakers you'll hear on a tablet today."

When it comes time to get some work done, Samsung has a unique approach for overcoming Android's poor optimization for large form factors. The company's DeX interface can be run directly on the Tab S4, allowing you to run multiple apps at once in their own windows, drag and drop content from app-to-app, use keyboard shortcuts, and more. You can hop into DeX at any time and pair it with your own Bluetooth keyboard or spring for the official $150 Book Cover Keyboard that automatically launches DeX when it's connected.

Lastly, if you enjoy having a fast way to securely unlock your tablet, the Galaxy Tab S4 gives you the choice between iris scanning and face unlock — two things you won't find on the Chromebook X2.

See at Samsung (opens in new tab)

What the HP Chromebook X2 does better

The Galaxy Tab S4 offers a powerful combo of features, but when you add everything together, things get very expensive very quickly.

The base configuration with 64GB of storage costs $650. While you do get the S Pen included for free, you'll need to hand over another $150 for the official keyboard cover — bringing the final price up to a staggering $800.

While the HP Chromebook X2 does have half the internal storage at 32GB, its $650 price tag includes both a stylus and detachable keyboard. Speaking of which, if you plan on doing a lot of typing with your next tablet/laptop hybrid, the X2's keyboard takes the lead with a built-in palm rest, adjustable display angles, and is easier use on your lap. While the Tab S4's keyboard cover feels like a keyboard accessory, the keyboard for the X2 really does transform it into a proper laptop.

Also, while we appreciate Samsung bringing DeX over to the Tab S4, Google's been making big improvements with Chrome OS over the last few months (with plenty more to come). Chrome OS still has better Android app support, works great with progressive web apps, can run Linux software, and is expected to get deep integration with Android phones in the near future.

See at Best Buy (opens in new tab)

Which one should you buy?

If money isn't an object, you live in the Samsung ecosystem, and/or want a machine that can be used well for both productivity and entertainment, the Galaxy Tab S4 really is an impressive piece of tech. Its AMOLED display and speaker setup make it a phenomenal media-consumption device, and while its official keyboard accessory is pricey for what it offers, the ability to run DeX directly on the tablet gives you a lot of flexibility for how you can use it.

With that said, the HP Chromebook X2 is a much better purchase if you value getting your money's worth. Despite being $200 less than the Tab S4 with the keyboard cover, the X2 still offers solid performance, a really great display, and one of the best 2-in-1 designs you can find.

Joe Maring was a Senior Editor for Android Central between 2017 and 2021. You can reach him on Twitter at @JoeMaring1.

6 Comments
  • Pixelbook > both of these
  • $870 🇨🇦 for the 64GB S4, $1000🇨🇦 for the 256GB version preordered from Samsung ... And you can't find the HP Chromebook X2 for sale in Canada, including the HP web site. That is a lot of cash for a 'media cobsumption' device from Samsung. It would make more sebce to buy a flagship Samsung phone, and maybe put the tablet cash into a nice 48"+ tv. The DeX is not much more than a HDMI and USB connector port. Solutions for aboyt $30 are available on Amazon. I'd want to wait for a mature Chrome OS before I'd commit a lot of money to a premium Chrome device. I recently picked up a new (but old tech) Samsung Tab A (2016 model) for $299 🇨🇦, and Staples price matched Amazon for about $45 for a slick Logitech K480 Bluetooth keyboard... It has a slot for any tablet or phone under 10. 5 inches to fit into... And runs on Android, Apple iOS, or Windows. Thus, I'm at about $370 tax in for my base tablet solution, plus a necessary 128GB micro SD expansion for $70.... So I'm at about $460... Half the price of a base S4... Tab A & S4 tablets aren't close spec wise, but I'm not prepared to spend $1000 on a tablet.
  • How come you never look at huawei the m5 is as good as the Sammy but loads cheaper
  • competition has also brought us the MS surface go, which seems to fit into this type of category as well for both price and use. I personally have zero use for anything ms does anymore, but all 3 of these seem very cost prohibitive. throw in the ipad pro into the mix, and now you have 4 different companies offering 4 different OS experiences doing more or less the same thing. while none of these suit my needs, it is good to see some choice for people.
  • The Galaxy Tab trumps it for me.
    Does all the casual laptop work I need and is a far better tablet, especially for gaming(much stronger GPU) movies and YouTube.
  • I would have preferred either 6 or 8gb RAM in the Tab S4. If Sammy can do it in their phones, then why the heck not in their premium tablet.