The Galaxy Tab S9 lineup is here and we had the chance to spend some time with Samsung’s updated trio of tablets ahead of the announcement. There’s a lot of shared DNA between the three, so while it’s hard not to focus on the 14.6-inch monster at the top, I’ll take a brief look at all three models.
If you’re just looking for specs and pricing, check out our Galaxy Tab S9 announcement article because it covers all the bases. Here, I look at what’s changed for 2023 and an overview of tablet usage ahead of our full review.
Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra video review
Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra: design
Externally, the Galaxy Tab S9 series looks a lot like 2022’s Galaxy Tab S8 lineup, but there are a number of updates under their Armor Aluminum skin. From a purely aesthetic point of view, the Galaxy Tab S9 series remains stunning. While the 14.6-inch Ulta still seems like more tablet than I need in my life, all three Tab S9 models are incredibly thin and light considering their relative sizes.
And while black or silver aluminum may seem a bit basic, Samsung adds some interest with the oval area for the S Pen on the back and the thin lines that surround the back of the tablets to prevent the impression that they have just fallen completely on top. design.
Much like foldables, one of the most notable design improvements to the Galaxy Tab S9 tablets this year is increased durability. Now boasting an IP68 rating, users can feel comfortable with their Galaxy Tab S9 at the beach or poolside without worrying that dust or water will shorten the lifespan of their tablet.
Another internal upgrade is a 20% increase in the size of the four-speaker array. We were in a crowded space with terrible acoustics for our hands, so we’ll have to withhold judgment until we have our review unit, but since the Tab S8’s speakers were already pretty good, it seems promising in any case.
I’ll never stop wishing there was a way for Samsung to fit a silo for the S Pen into the Galaxy Tab, but the math just doesn’t work, so you’ll either have to get a case with a silo, Or like me, you’ll repeatedly find your S Pen at the bottom of your bag after it’s been knocked off its magnetic holder onto the tablet during transport.
Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra: display
We will have to introduce the Galaxy Tab S9 into our laboratories for a scientific analysis of their performance. For now I can only say that all three look fantastic with the base model, the Galaxy Tab S9, moving from an LCD screen to joining the rest of the range. models with Super AMOLED 2X.
Even in the aggressively lit space we found ourselves in, all three Galaxy Tab S9 models were easily able to overcome the lighting and remain clearly visible, whether viewing a web page or watching a YouTube video.
The dynamic refresh rate on displays ranges from 60Hz to 120Hz, so you’re not using too much power when just watching relatively static content.
Samsung can barely do anything wrong in the display space these days, and while we’re waiting for the official decision from our testing lab, it doesn’t look like the Galaxy Tab S9 can break that streak.
Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra: performance
We didn’t have enough time for the Galaxy Tab S9 to really put it through its paces, but scrolling through websites, multitasking, and jumping between apps at high speed were all well within the battery-powered wheelhouse. Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for the Galaxy Tab. S9.
Given what we’ve seen on much more thermally constrained devices, we expect incredible benchmarks and real-world performance from the Tab S9. Samsung specifically touted the new custom vapor chamber design, saying it’s “the most heat-efficient Galaxy Tab lineup ever…”. They definitely didn’t heat up while we were using them, but we’ll see how that goes. to benchmarking, gaming, and other rigorous tasks.
I don’t think the Apple Silicon-powered iPad has anything to worry about, but it seems a safe bet that it will be at the peak of Android performance.
Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra: cameras
The Galaxy Tab S9+ and Tab S9 Ultra both feature a 13 MP main and 8 MP ultra-wide camera, while the Tab S9 is limited to the 13 MP main. The Tab S9 and Tab S9+ offer a 12 MP ultra-wide front camera, while the Tab S9 Ultra adds a secondary 12 MP wide-angle front camera to that.
We’ll put the cameras to the test, but if you own a Galaxy S phone released in the last 5 years, it has better cameras than these tablets, so don’t rely on them for anything other than video chats or scanning documents.
Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra: Software
While we often find trying to use a tablet as a laptop replacement to be a misguided notion, Samsung is certainly doing more than any other manufacturer to try and make that dream a reality. Whether it’s DeX Mode to give you a full PC setup, Multiple Windows to give you up to 3 apps at once, or Popup View to give you a windowed experience, there are tons of ways to trying to do more on the PC. Tab S9.
If you’re looking to augment rather than replace your laptop, you also get a second screen that will allow you to mirror or extend your PC onto your tablet, and it’s a safe bet that the Galaxy Tab S9 outperforms the screen of your laptop.
The Galaxy Tab S9 feels and looks amazing, but that was true of the previous generation as well. We’re excited to spend a little more time with the Galaxy Tab S9 to see if Google’s work to revitalize the Android tablet ecosystem pays off for Samsung.
However, especially at their new higher prices starting at $799, $999, and $1,199 for the Tab S9, S9 Plus, and S9 Ultra respectively, it seems like an uphill battle to convince tablet buyers who are still opting for the Most default for the iPad. However, if anyone on the Android side has enough brand loyalty to pull this off, it’s Samsung.