Apple better watch its back! Samsung just unleashed a trio of tablets: the Galaxy Tab S8, the Galaxy Tab S8+ and the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra.
Samsung typically releases two stratas for the Galaxy Tab S series: an entry-level model and a "Plus" version. Now the Korean-based tech giant added a newbie to its line: a giant 14.6-inch "Ultra" model. You may be wondering, "What's so special about the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra?" Well, you've come to the right place! Here's a full breakdown so you can determine whether the gigantic Android flagship tablet is right for you.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 price and release date
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 line kicks off at $699, $50 more than its predecessor's starting price tag. The 11-inch entry-level model is packed with an octa-core, 4-nanometer chip, 8GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD. There's also a 256GB configuration.
For $899, you can snag the Galaxy Tab S8+. It comes with the same aforementioned specs, save for a larger 12.4-inch Super AMOLED display and 10,090 mAh battery (the entry-level variant comes with an 8,000 mAh battery).
Now let's talk about the star of the show: the $1,099 Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra.
What's so spectacular about this variant that Samsung felt compelled to tack the word "Ultra" on its name? Well, as mentioned, it has a gigantic 14.6-inch Super AMOLED display and it has more configurations than its cheaper Galaxy Tab S8 counterparts. You can snag an Ultra tablet with the following RAM and storage combos:
- 8GB of RAM with a 128GB SSD
- 12GB of RAM with a 256GB SSD
- 16GB of RAM with a 256GB SSD
Keep in mind that the iPad Pro, the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra's rival, doesn't offer anything larger than a 12.9-inch display. While the iPad Pro offers a configuration with 16GB of RAM, there are reports that iPadOS apps don't take full advantage of it due to an alleged 8GB of RAM cap.
Pre-orders start on Feb. 9; Shipping starts on Feb. 25.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 design
The Galaxy Tab S8 line appears to be cut from the same design cloth as its predecessor. However, the new-gen devices have a more solid build. The Galaxy Tab S8 consists of what Samsung calls "armor aluminum." It's reportedly 30% more scratch-resistant and 40% less prone to bending compared to the Galaxy Tab S7.
Like the Galaxy Tab S7 family, the Galaxy Tab S8, S8+ and S8 Ultra feature a black silo on the back to house the S Pen. All will sport a dual-camera rear setup, but the specs differ (I'll dive into this later). The bezels on the Galaxy Tab S8 and S8+ are slim, but, of course, the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra has to steal the show with its barely-there frame.
Another striking design novelty worth pointing out is the notch featured on the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra. It's nothing more than a tiny dip into the display to accommodate a light sensor, mic and two camera lenses. Despite its trivial presence, the notch has always been a polarizing design (e.g. the iPhone 13's notch).
All models come with a USB 3.2 Type-C port.
The upper-tier models offer an in-display fingerprint reader while the entry-level variant features a biometric authentication sensor on the power button. All three support facial recognition.
The Tab S8 is the thickest slate of the trio (0.25 inches), but it's also the lightest device at 1.1 pounds. The Galaxy Tab S8+ and the S8 Ultra share the same thinness (0.22 inches), but at a weight of 1.6 pounds, the S8 Ultra is expectedly heavier than the S8+ (1.27 pounds).
The lower-end Galaxy Tab S8 models come in three colors: Graphite, Silver and Pink Gold. The Ultra variant only comes in Graphite.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 display
When we reviewed the Galaxy Tab S7 line, we gushed over the S7+'s Super AMOLED display. The panel popped and featured rich blacks. Our reviewer called it "breathtaking" and asserted that the Galaxy Tab S7+'s panel is a persuasive selling point.
Samsung continues its visual treat tradition with the 12.4-inch Galaxy Tab S8+. It, too, comes with a Super AMOLED display. The 2800 x 1752-pixel panel also offers a 120Hz refresh rate.
The screen specs for the entry-level Galaxy Tab S8 aren't as exciting, but its 11-inch display should be satisfactory with its full HD panel and 120 Hz refresh rate. The 14.6-inch Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra, like its mid-tier sibling, also comes with a Super AMOLED, 120 Hz display. Its pixel count, however, is slightly higher (2960 x 1848). The Ultra model also has the highest screen-to-body ratio ever featured on a Galaxy Tab S series device.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 camera and battery
The Galaxy Tab S8 and S8+ have the same camera specs. On the rear, you'll find a 13 MP auto-focus lens and a 6MP ultra-wide lens. For selfies, you can use the front-facing, 12MP ultra-wide camera.
The rear camera setup of the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra matches its lower-tier siblings, but on the front, you'll find an additional 12MP camera (wide) for a sweet dual-lens system.
The Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra features the biggest battery (11,200 mAh). As mentioned, the Tab S8 and S8+ come with 8,000 mAh and 10,090 mAh batteries, respectively.
The Ultra variant may have the largest cell, but that doesn't mean it will have the best battery life. To give you some perspective, when we tested the Galaxy Tab S7 (8,000 mAh), it lasted a whopping 13 hours and 8 minutes. The Galaxy Tab S7+ (10,090 mAh), on the other hand, could only survive for 8 hours and 51 minutes.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 S Pen
The S Pen has always been a fan favorite among Samsung consumers, and the popular stylus has gotten a few improvements alongside the Galaxy Tab S8.
Thanks to a prediction algorithm that begets ultra-low latency, the new-and-improved S Pen delivers an experience that heightens the realistic feel of gliding a pen across paper.
Artists and creatives will also appreciate Samsung's exclusive partnership with Clip Studio Paint, an app that can transform your Galaxy Tab S8's expansive screen into a digital canvas while using your S Pen as a paintbrush. You can also use your smartphone as a color palette while using Clip Studio Paint.
According to Samsung, the app lets you "customize tools, choose brush options, and even select vivid real-world colors from pictures taken on your synced Galaxy phone."
Samsung Galaxy Tab S8, Tab S8+ and Tab S8 Ultra outlook
The premium tablet market seems to be Apple's domain, but Samsung is determined to dethrone the iPad, especially the Pro model. The Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra comes out swinging with a swanky Super AMOLED, 120Hz display, a massive 14.6-inch panel, and ample memory and storage.
Let's not forget that this trio of tablets all come with an S Pen — Apple charges $129 for its stylus. Could the Galaxy Tab S8 line dethrone the iPad line? Only time will tell.