The Galaxy Tab S8 Plus is the overlooked middle child of Samsung’s latest tablet lineup, but it deserves your attention. His dearer brotherWhen they did, the Plus was overshadowed , mainly because of its huge display. However, while it’s tempting to give in to FOMO and get a top-of-the-line device to get the best of the best, the extra cost doesn’t seem worth it. Instead, consider the travel-friendly Plus.
It’s hard to ignore the Ultra’s display: it’s a 14.6-inch Super AMOLED screen with a resolution of 2,960×1,848 pixels, 240 pixels per inch and a 120Hz refresh rate. For comparison, the currently largest iPad Pro is 12.9 inches and has a resolution of 2,732×2,048 pixels at 264ppi. The Tab S8 Plus features a 12.4-inch, 2,800×1,752-pixel Super AMOLED display with a 120Hz refresh rate. It’s the smallest of the three, but it’s the perfect display to build a tablet around (or technically behind).
Both the Ultra and Plus (and the regular Tab S8) are powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 system chip, and base models include 8GB of memory and 128GB of internal storage (the microSD slot supports cards up to 1TB. as well). The Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra comes in graphite and starts at $1,100 (£999, $1,799), while the Tab S8 Plus starts at $900 (£849, $1,499) in graphite, silver and rose gold.
- Excellent performance and battery life
- Useful productivity features
- S Pen included
- Bright AMOLED display
- The keyboard cover and charger are already expensive
The extra $200 for the Ultra is justified by the larger display, bigger battery that powers it, and a second 12-megapixel front-facing wide-angle camera (as well as an unsightly camera notch to house it). It can be configured with 16GB of RAM and 512GB of storage — double that of the S8 Plus, but that’s where the differences end.
In general, widescreen tablets larger than the Tab S8 Plus are too large for comfortable handheld use for long periods of time. At nearly 15 inches long and 1.6 pounds (726 grams), the Ultra is best propped up on a desk, lap, or stand. The 12.4-inch Plus is small and light enough (1.3 pounds, 576 grams) to hold in your hand for gaming, reading, streaming video, or browsing the web. It also fits better on a small desk for taking notes in class or in a meeting. However, it is also large enough to complete some office or school work.
The S Pen is included, but little else
Samsung, Apple, Microsoft and others are positioning large tablets as seamless productivity machines when paired with detachable keyboards. The Tab S8 Plus is certainly marketed as an option for someone looking for a device for work and play, but you won’t find that all-important keyboard in the package.
Samsung sent me one of their keyboard covers to try out with the Tab S8 Plus. It’s convenient and I wrote this review in its entirety. However, as, the keyboard isn’t backlit, there’s no trackpad, the case only has one screen, and the keyboard can’t be detached from the back cover to simply use it as a stand — still $110. A two-piece keyboard case with trackpad costs about $150.
If Samsung hadn’t spent so much time advertising this as a productivity tablet, it would have been less of a problem if it hadn’t included a keyboard. My recommendation: Look for a bundle or promotion that includes a keyboard to take full advantage of the Tab S8 Plus.
To Samsung’s credit, the S Pen is included for drawing and writing, and it works perfectly. It charges conveniently when magnetically attached to the back, but it also hangs firmly on the top edge. The soft tip creates enough drag on the screen to make it equally comfortable for writing and drawing with little to be expected. I wouldn’t call it pen to paper, but I felt like I had more control when shading a drawing, for example.
Along with the S Pen, Samsung includes a USB-C cable for data and charging. There’s no charger in the box, but if you want to use its fastest charging capabilities, you’ll need a 45-watt charger. It will refill from zero in about an hour and a half. Its large battery lasted 10 hours and 24 minutes in our video streaming test with display brightness and audio at 50%. The Tab S8’s battery can also be used to charge other devices.
(Almost) laptop replacement
Samsung’s DeX interface gives the Tab S8 Plus more flexibility for multitasking than a plain Android OS. Like Windows, MacOS, and Chrome OS, DeX allows you to have multiple apps on the screen in windows. However, not all apps resize well, and moving windows around can sometimes lag.
I was able to write side-by-side in Word with Chrome while having a YouTube video playing in the corner or having a Zoom chat. Would the experience be better with a $900 Windows or Chrome duo? Yes. And as more and more Android apps support both of these platforms, the need for devices like the Tab S8 Plus will diminish. That being said, Android apps still run better on this tablet. Also, with DeX, you can connect to an external display via the tablet’s USB-C port and push the Tab S8 Plus desktop to a larger display.
Samsung has also improved the Tab S8s camera performance. The Plus has a 12-megapixel ultra-wide-angle front-facing camera with intelligent auto-framing software similar to Apple’s Center Stage. Auto Frame doesn’t respond as quickly as Center Stage, but it works andof the tablet. Another handy addition is that you can record both your camera and your screen at the same time. So, for example, you can show a slide deck while it appears in the corner of the screen to explain a presentation.
Extra value for Galaxy fans
Samsung has made a push to make its Galaxy devices work together over the past couple of years, and that continues with tablets. For example, the Tab S8 Plus can instantly sync content between your Galaxy phone and tablet, while the Galaxy Buds can automatically switch between the two without going through the pairing process. Samsung Galaxy Watch users can now sync with the Tab S8 to view their Samsung Health stats on a larger display.
But the best feature is that it turns the Tab S8 Plus into a second wireless screen for your Windows laptop. And it works on all Windows 11 laptops, not just the Samsung Galaxy Book. Press the Windows key and the K key, tap Second Screen in the tablet’s settings panel, and the connection is almost instant. taking into considerationThe fact that the Tab S8 Plus does this along with everyone else makes the price easier to swallow.
When Samsung announced the Galaxy Tab S8 line, it said that over the past two years, many people have turned to their tablets for work, reading, gaming and video. And apparently, those people craved bigger screens: sales of large-screen tablets rose 24%, Samsung said, citing analysis by NPD Group. However, the Ultra may be a step too far for most people, and in comparison, the Galaxy Tab S8 Plus is a better size for work and play.