Samsung's Galaxy Tab S 8.4 is the best new compact tablet of 2014. Check out our video review of the smaller Samsung Galaxy Tab S. Also see: Best Android tablets 2014.

Samsung's new Galaxy Tab S range consists of two different sizes. The smaller of the two tablets is not only cheaper, but retains the premium spec of its larger counterpart, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5. Also see: Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5 review.

At £319 the Tab S 8.4 matches the price of the iPad mini with Retina display. That's no coincidence but the device also has to compete with the cheaper Nexus 7 and LG G Pad 8.3 tablets, which both come in at a more affordable £199.

The Tab S 8.4 looks like a typical Samsung device and has taken some style advice from the Galaxy S5 with a dimpled plastic rear cover – although this tablet isn't waterproof like the smartphone. Also see: Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4 vs iPad mini 2 comparison review.

This is one of the thinnest and lightest tablets around. At just 6.6mm the Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4 looks great and is more than easy to hold one-handed in different orientations and positions.

The odd-looking circles on the back of the Tab S are for use with Samsung's Book Cover, which works great but will set you back £45.

Samsung has packed the Galaxy Tab S 8.4 with premium tech. The tablet has the same 16:10 aspect ratio and impressive 2560 x 1600 resolution as the larger model, but at an arguably more manageable size. 

It really is a top-notch display and, at 359ppi, the most tightly packed with pixels we've ever seen. Samsung's AMOLED technology may be a little in your face for some users, but you can switch to basic mode which is more laid back.

The Octa-core processor made by Samsung and 3GB of RAM combine to offer smooth performance apart from a very occasional lapse and battery life is decent too, with around nine hours of video playback. 

As standard you'll get 16GB of storage with the Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4, and there's a microSD slot that can accept up to 128GB.

It's slightly odd that there's no NFC but the tablet has plenty of other additional features, including an IR blaster, which is mounted oddly on the side, a fingerprint scanner, 11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0 and stereo speakers. Also see: Best tablets 2014

If you want 4G connectivity, you're looking at £399 for the Tab S 8.4 + 4G.

The cameras are also good quality if you should wish to take up tablet photography, with 8Mp at the rear with an LED flash and 2.1Mp at the front. 

In terms of software, the Galaxy Tab S 8.4 is up-to-date with Android 4.4 KitKat and Samsung's TouchWiz UI.

The interface has its ups and downs, with a decent set of extra abilities such as Multi-window for side-by-side apps, a comprehensive notification bar and SideSync for taking control of a compatible Samsung smartphone.

However, the Magazine UX won't suit all users and works to full effect only if you use the built-in email and calendar – not Google's. Unfortunately, if you don't like it, the feature cannot be fully removed. 

New additions include Kick for football stats and Papergarden for magazines, but there's also free content on offer through Galaxy Gifts including subscriptions to Deezer and Sky's Now TV. 

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4 is one of the best Android tablets we've ever reviewed. In terms of hardware it's the best you can buy right now and has a superbly thin and light design. There's very little to dislike here aside from some elements of the TouchWiz software and the higher price compared to some decent Android tablet rivals.

We award the Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4 tablet four and half stars (out of five) and our Gold Award.

Read our full Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4 review.