Samsung is back again with another slate of premium tablets in the form of the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra, Tab S8+ and Tab S8, and they’re only getting bigger.
Like the Galaxy S22 trio of smartphones, these tablets very much mirror the same type of balance. All three include the S Pen, each of which attach to the back of the tablet by magnet.
They are all successors to their previous versions, and appear to be largely iterative updates rather than big upgrades. Samsung unveiled them all today at its virtual Unpacked event. I managed to get a look in advance, and reviews will come to the blog soon.
About the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra
This is a big device. It has a huge 14.6-inch AMOLED display with super thin 6.3mm bezels all around. It also has a notch—a first for a Samsung tablet—housing the two 12-megapixel front cameras. It’s not immediately obvious until you have a lot of lighter colours onscreen, but it is there, in any case. That front camera can do 4K resolution, so video calls and vlogging should look even better than it would’ve with previous models.
Samsung is trying to position the device as a potential laptop alternative. It can connect with keyboard covers to turn it into a laptop, especially when you run Samsung DeX as a desktop platform. You get the AKG-tuned stereo speakers with Dolby Atmos to add some oomph to whatever shows or movies you like to watch. Despite Samsung aiming for productivity here, this is definitely a content consumption device first.
Other staples continue on, like the onscreen fingerprint sensor, Face Unlock, as well as a microSD slot to expand internal storage up to 1TB. Key to the performance is the new Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor that is also in the other two Tab S8 devices as well. Storage options range from 128GB, 256GB or 512GB with either 8GB, 12GB or 16GB of RAM. Samsung is also promising four years of Android updates, which also applies to the other two models. For security updates, it will be five years’ worth.
Unlike the other two, it will only come in graphite, so no other colours to choose from for now. It weighs a modest 1.6 pounds, but it’s the overall size that you will have to get used to.
About the Galaxy Tab S8+ and Tab S8
By comparison, these two tablets aren’t as unique. They match the screen size of the previous Tab S7+ and Tab S7, so you get a very sizeable 12.4-inch Super AMOLED for the Tab S8+ and an 11-inch Super AMOLED for the Tab S8. They are otherwise exactly the same in spec between them. Well, except for a couple particular differences.
One is that the Tab S8+ supports lower latency feedback with the S Pen, but the Tab S8 is the same as the Tab S7 that way. The fingerprint sensor is onscreen with the Tab S8+, whereas it’s built into the power button on the Tab S8.
Samsung claims the aluminum they used to make these tablets are more durable in case you might be a little clumsy with them. They do come in the same three colours: graphite, silver and pink gold. Same storage (128GB, 256GB) and memory (8GB), plus the four years of Android updates.
The S Pen improves
You get the S Pen with all three tablets, and it does come with some improvements. Arguably the biggest is how Samsung also improved the pen’s performance by cutting down latency from 5.6 milliseconds to 2.8 milliseconds. This doesn’t apply to the Tab S8, which retains the previous 5.6 millisecond latency.
That reduced lag means it’s going to feel easier and smoother to write anything on these tablets. Especially with the large displays you have to work with. It’s yet another reason Samsung is trying to position these devices as productivity tools. The magnetic strips on the back do let you keep the pen in the back, and cases and covers made for these tablets will also have holders to fit the pen.
Samsung announced them all, and you can pre-order the Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra and Galaxy Tab S8+ and Tab S8, which officially come out on February 25.