Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite vs. Galaxy Tab S4: Which should you buy?

Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 with S Pen on Table
Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 with S Pen on Table (Image credit: Android Central)

Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite

Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Front Cropped

The Galaxy Tab S6 Lite is no match for some of the more productivity-focused tablets out there, but it's still a great option for someone who wants a slim and lightweight design along with the brand new S Pen.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite

New kid

More RAM
Lighter weight
Slimmer dimensions
Higher expandable storage support
Less expensive
New S Pen compatible
No first-party keyboard option
No biometrics
Lack of Samsung DeX capabilities

Samsung Galaxy Tab S4

Samsung Galaxy Tab S4

Despite Samsung taking a few years to release a proper successor to the Tab S4, this tablet served admirably as the flagship. it's time to pass the torch though, and even a budget-friendly tablet like the Tab S6 Lite is a better option for most.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S4

Old reliable

Higher storage option
More vibrant display
Keyboard Cover available
Built-in Fingerprint Scanner
Better battery life
Only one RAM option
Older S Pen
Processor is a bit outdated
Won't receive many more updates
Limited to 400GB microSD card

Three years after its launch, the Tab S4 was a great option for those looking for a flagship-level tablet experience at a low price. However, Samsung has launched a line of new tablet options that could spell the end of the Tab S4. Despite the budget hardware, the Tab S6 Lite is a very solid tablet that features an updated S Pen and a slimmer design.

Break it down now...

Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 Display

Source: Android Central (Image credit: Source: Android Central)

When the Galaxy Tab S4 launched, it was praised by many and positioned as an answer to Apple's iPad for Android users. Samsung included the S Pen in the box, which was expected after Samsung opted to do the same for the previous Galaxy Tab S3. With the optional Keyboard Cover along with the early days of Samsung DeX, the Tab S4 could be transformed into a laptop powered by Samsung's version of Android.

It's been a few years since the Tab S4 launched, but you can still find this tablet on store shelves, and that speaks to the reliability of it. However, in 2020, the Tab S4 is starting to show its age in a few different ways that make it difficult to continue recommending.

The Galaxy Tab S6 Lite, on the other hand, is the little brother of the recently-released Galaxy Tab S6, which supplanted the Tab S4 as the premier flagship tablet for Android users. It's clear that Samsung cut a few corners with the Tab S6 Lite, starting with the LCD display sporting a resolution of just 2000x1200. Releasing any device with an LCD panel in 2020 comes as a surprise, even if Samsung's displays are touted as some of the best in the industry.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite

Source: Samsung (Image credit: Source: Samsung)

The Tab S4 features the same size and resolution display that's found on the Tab S6, with a 10.5-inch Super AMOLED panel, and 2560x1600 resolution. This means that everything you view will generally look better when viewing the S4 and S6 Lite side-by-side.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Header Cell - Column 0 Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 LiteSamsung Galaxy Tab S4
Display10.4-inch LCD10.5-inch Super AMOLED
Resolution2000 x 12002560 x 1600
ProcessorExynos 9610Snapdragon 835
Memory4GB / 6GB4GB
Storage64GB / 128GB64GB / 256GB
MicroSD Card SupportExpandable up to 512GBExpandable up to 400GB
Front Camera5MP8MP
Rear Camera8MP13MP
SpeakersTwo AKG TunedFour AKG-Tuned
Reported Battery Life12 Hours16 Hours
Dimensions244.5 x 154.3 x 7.0 mm249.3 x 164.3 x 7.1 mm
Fingerprint ScannerN/AYes
Headphone JackYesYes
S Pen SupportYesYes
LTE VariantYesYes

Diving deeper into the spec sheet, the Tab S4 was powered by Qualcomm's Snapdragon 835, which powered smartphones like the Galaxy S8, Galaxy Note 8, Google Pixel 2, and more. With the Tab S4, this was coupled with only 4GB of RAM, which was great at the time, but can cause some bottlenecks with the 835.

The Tab S6 Lite sports Samsung's own Exynos 9610 chipset, which is an octa-core chipset. This makes for a much better multi-tasking experience due to the updated architecture. Plus, Samsung doesn't limit you to only having 4GB of RAM, as there's an option available with 6GB of RAM as well.

Drawing on Galaxy Tab S4

Source: Android Central (Image credit: Source: Android Central)

On the storage front, both of these tablets sport either 64GB or 128GB of onboard storage, which can be expanded with a microSD card. The difference here is that while the Tab S4 is limited to using a 400GB card, the Tab S6 Lite can take advantage of a 512GB card for some wiggle room.

A few other differences to highlight are the four AKG-tuned speakers, which are great for those times where you want to chill out with some Netflix. The Tab S6 Lite comes with only two speakers, which could be frustrating and won't fill the room with whatever you are watching or listening to.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite

Source: Samsung (Image credit: Source: Samsung)

As for the size and weight, the Tab S6 Lite wins here. The S6 Lite is more than 5mm slimmer while coming in 15g lighter than the Tab S4. This is not all that surprising given the advances in technology over the past three years, but it's still something to keep in mind since a lighter tablet will be more comfortable to hold.

The final deciding factor for some could come down to battery life. The Tab S4 has a massive 7,300mah cell, compared to the 7,040mAh battery in the Tab S6 Lite. Samsung's reported battery life comes in around 16 hours for the S4, and 12 hours for the newer S6 Lite. Four hours is nothing to snub your nose at and could help get you through the final push for getting work done.

Is the Tab S6 Lite really better than the Tab S4?

Blue Galaxy Tab S6 Lite With S Pen

Source: Samsung (Image credit: Source: Samsung)

If both of these were released back in 2017, the easy answer would be to go for the Tab S4 and it wouldn't be close. The problem that we have with recommending it over the S6 Lite, however, is due to its age. While Samsung has gotten better with software updates over the last few years, the end of the line for the Tab S4 is approaching.

Yes, the tablet was updated to Android 10 back at the end of 2019, but we aren't expecting many more updates. This is even more true now that both the Tab S6 Lite and its bigger brother, the Tab S6, are available.

With the Tab S6 Lite, you'll get more RAM, can expand the storage with a larger microSD card, and it's both slimmer and lighter. Plus, you'll get the new S Pen, which just launched and has plenty of new features.

On the other side of the coin, you'll be stuck with just two AKG-tuned speakers, a smaller battery, and an LCD panel instead of Super AMOLED. For some reason, Samsung also opted to not include any additional biometric unlocking options, leaving with you to just use a password or pin code. Finally, you'll miss out on Samsung DeX, so you won't be able to turn your new tablet into a productivity machine.

Despite those sacrifices, the Tab S6 Lite is still a better buy overall than the Tab S4. Missing out on future software updates, even those only focused on security is something that just can't be overstated.

Andrew Myrick
Senior Editor - Chromebooks, tablets, and wearables

Andrew Myrick is a Senior Editor at Android Central. He enjoys everything to do with technology, including tablets, smartphones, and everything in between. Perhaps his favorite past-time is collecting different headphones, even if they all end up in the same drawer.