Samsung Galaxy Tab

Samsung’s gadget playbook is pretty obvious to anybody who’s been watching. It has created a relatively stable (if uninspiring) design language, chosen plastic as its preferred material, and cranked out device after device — each one based on small, iterative technological updates to the previous models. That’s been the strategy for the Galaxy S line of phones for several years running, and it’s the strategy that has led the company to release 11 different tablets since the beginning of 2014.

It’s easy to look down on Samsung and the tablets it relentlessly churns out. It’s practically impossible for anybody but the techiest of tech geeks to remember the tiny differences between them, especially since they all look basically the same. Flooding the market with subtly different variations on the same tablet, hoping that one of them will catch fire, doesn’t seem like a great plan.

Which bring us to the Galaxy Tab S. Two of them actually, with 8.4-inch and 10.5-inch displays ($399 and $499, respectively). Each is designed around a core technology that’s definitely impressive: a Super AMOLED screen. But whatever the reason behind Samsung’s need to keep throwing tablet spaghetti against the wall, I’m hoping to see some real function behind all that pixel flash.

 

Apple iPhone 7

The iPhone 7 and 7 Plus are deeply unusual devices. They are full of aggressive breaks from convention while wrapped in cases that look almost exactly like their two direct predecessors. Even that continuity of design is a break from convention; after almost a decade of Apple’s steady two-year iPhone update pattern, merely retaining the same design for a third straight year plays against expectations.

Inside that case, everything else about the iPhone 7 is a decisive statement about the future. The dual cameras on the iPhone 7 Plus promise to usher in a new era in mobile photography. The iconic iPhone home button is no longer a physical button, but instead a sophisticated ballet of pressure sensors and haptic vibration motors that simulate the feel of a button. The new A10 Fusion processor blends two high-power cores that rival laptop performance with two low-power cores that combine with a much larger battery to extend run time by up to two hours.

And, yes, Apple has removed the headphone jack.