I had the pleasure of reviewing the Samsung Galaxy S7+ for CGM, and it ranked among the highest of all tablets last year. But, as it was a 2020 model, the next big thing was inevitable. Samsung has released their Galaxy Tab S8 series and the Galaxy Tab S8+ is a great step forward from its predecessor, without harming any of the things that made the S7+ so great in the first place.
Let’s start by where the two devices are similar (if not flat out identical). They both sport the same dimensions and the same display, using the same battery with the same charging capabilities and the same fingerprint sensor. They both have microSD slots for storage expansion. The similarities, however, end here.
The Galaxy Tab S8+ is slightly lighter than its predecessor and is built with Samsung’s new Armor Aluminum technology, also in use with their Galaxy S22, Fold 3, and Flip 3 phones. Samsung says that it is 40% less likely to bend as a result. The Galaxy Tab S8+ also provides better screen protection with Corning Gorilla Glass 5.
On the inside, the Galaxy Tab S8+ packs some punch with the 4 nm Qualcomm SM8450 Snapdragon 8 gen 1 chipset. Internal storage took a hit as the S8+ doesn’t offer a 512 GB option (that is only for the S8 Ultra) but makes up for it in RAM. The 128 GB model offers 8 GB of RAM (The maximum for the S7 series) and the 256 GB model comes with 8 GB or 12 GB options. The S8+ has also been upgraded to an Adreno 730 from the 630 on the S7.
“Samsung has released their Galaxy Tab S8 series and the Galaxy Tab S8+ is a great step forward from its predecessor…”
The cameras got some upgrades on the Galaxy Tab S8+, the biggest being the selfie camera, which is now 12 Megapixels as opposed to the 8MP on the S7+. The selfie lens on the S8+ is an f/2.4 compared to the S7+’s F/2.0, so lighting conditions become more of a concern (only slightly) for the newer model. On the other side, the ultrawide lens has been upgraded from 5MP to 6 MP to go with the 13MP primary lens. The Galaxy Tab S8+ offers an LED flash and video resolutions of up to 4K 60fps for the front facing and selfie cameras.
If you are looking to buy a tablet that one would consider more future-proof, the S7+ will receive no updates beyond Android 13, but the Galaxy Tab S8+ is guaranteed four updates to its operating system due to Samsung’s new firmware policies. You can expect to be up-to-date for a long time to come on this year’s model.
Now let’s talk about one of the great tools of the Galaxy Tablets, the S Pen. While the S Pen sports a slightly longer latency on the Galaxy Tab S8+ (6.2ms compared to the S7+’s 5.6ms and a far cry from the Galaxy S22 Ultra’s 2.9ms), it offers some great new features that deserve our attention.
“The Galaxy Tab S8+ offers an LED flash and video resolutions of up to 4K 60fps for the front facing and selfie cameras.”
You can now pair your tablet with a Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra and utilize the phone as a toolset for certain applications, such as Samsung Notes or Clip Studio Paint, leaving the whole screen on your tablet as your workspace. Picture an artist holding their palette in one hand as they work freely with their canvas. Now, make it digital.
In terms of overall performance, there isn’t much that I can say about the S8+ that I didn’t say about the S7+. It has a spectacular, bright, and beautiful display with a sound quality that still stounds me. The performance of the S Pen is still great, and the new features only make it better. The S8 series of tablets is a perfect sequel to their predecessors. They’ve moved forward, improving what needs to be improved, leaving alone what works great.
At $979.99 USD, it is a comparable price to the latest iPad Pro, which is to the detriment of the Galaxy Tab S8+. While the S8+ is indeed an improvement on the S7+ (which, in my humble opinion, overshadowed the iPads of the time) in virtually every way, the jump made by Samsung was small compared to the leap made by Apple with its M1 chips. Someone without brand loyalty to either side would likely lean to the immense power of the newest generation of Apple devices and the S8+ certainly isn’t bringing anyone over from the other side. Loyal Android users, however, will still find in the Galaxy Tab S8+ a powerful device that is well worth the price.