Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 – Review 2022

Tablets in Samsung’s Galaxy Tab S8 serial are Android’s respond to Apple tree’southward pro-level iPads, and the best devices for professional person artistic work on the platform. The Tab S8 is the smallest model in the lineup, but it nonetheless has plenty of power ability, sports a beautiful 11-inch screen, and comes with Samsung’s excellent Due south Pen stylus. We’re also fans of Samsung’s productivity-focused Dex mode, which bridges the gap between Android and Chrome OS. But at $699.99, the Milky way Tab S8 costs more than comparable iPads and Windows tablets, while offering fewer pro apps than those devices. Until Android’due south tablet experience catches upwardly to the competition, all high-end Android tablets, no matter how impressive the hardware, remain at a disadvantage.

The Smallest Tab S8

3 versions of the Galaxy Tab S8 are available. The 11-inch Galaxy Tab S8 I’m reviewing here feels like the most natural competitor to Chrome tablets and iPads. The $899.99, 12.4-inch Galaxy Tab S8+ is physically larger; it sports an AMOLED brandish rather than an LCD, has a bigger battery, and offers 5G connectivity. Finally, the $1,099.99, 14.6-inch Milky way Tab S8 Ultra is 1 of the largest tablets I’ve seen—it’due south just equally usable as a modest Television set as it is a gigantic sketchpad.

The Galaxy Tab S8 looks pretty standard, with a black-glass forepart, a silver metal frame, and squared-off edges. It measures nine.99 by 6.51 by 0.29 inches (HWD) and weighs one.11 pounds, which makes information technology a lilliputian taller and heavier, merely narrower, than the latest M1-based iPad Air (9.74 by 7.02 by 0.24 inches; one.02 pounds).

The fingerprint sensor is built into the power button on the edge

The screen has a bit of a bezel, but no concrete buttons are on the front. All of the activeness happens around the edges, including the quad speakers, a USB-C port, volume buttons, a microSD card slot, and the power/fingerprint sensor. (The fingerprint sensor is your best bet for authentication, equally I couldn’t get the face recognition selection to work well, even when I wasn’t wearing a mask.) On the dorsum, a narrow glass window sits next to the two cameras. This is where the S Pen (very loosely) magnetically attaches and charges.

As you might imagine, the Tab S8’south 600-nit, 2,560-by-ane,600-pixel LCD is ideal for entertainment. That said, video playback is tabular array stakes for a tablet—if yous just want to lookout man videos, more affordable models such as the $149.99 Amazon Burn down Hard disk x and the $279.99 Lenovo Tab P11 Plus are just as capable. The bigger news is the display’south 120Hz refresh rate that enables smooth scrolling and seamless S Pen use. The new iPad Air has only a 60Hz screen, for comparison.

The Tab S8’s speakers produce room-filling, but not particularly bassy, sound. Still, they sound less tinny than the ones on my 2020 iPad Air. The 12.9-inch iPad Pro offers ameliorate audio, only it also costs $400 more.

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Galaxy Tab S8: Under the Hood

The Tab S8 runs the same Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor as the Samsung Galaxy S22, has 8GB of RAM, and comes with either 128GB or 256GB ($779.99) of storage. The tablet benchmarked very similarly to the S22 series of phones, but it turned in a better score on the Basemark Web 3.0 browser benchmark. Apple tree’southward A15 processor in the iPhone 13 turns in even better benchmark scores, but what’s important is that the tablet feels speedy and didn’t go bogged downward at any betoken in testing.

Too important is that the Wi-Fi 6 radio in the S8 tablet is very good. I got about 20 more anxiety of range on the 5GHz band than I did with previous-generation devices over a connection to my Netgear router. The tablet also works with Wi-Fi 6E; although routers that support this standard are currently expensive and hard to observe, it future-proofs the Tab S8 a bit. If you need 5G connectivity (from AT&T or T-Mobile), you need to spring for the larger S8+ and S8 Ultra models, yet.

I got 7 hours and 25 minutes of video streaming on full effulgence with the tablet’southward 8,000mAh battery. That translates to a full twenty-four hours’s worth of utilise, and is better than most iPads I’ve tested. It charges back up in 80 minutes on a 45W or greater charger.

Fine Cameras for Video Calls

The Tab S8 has a 12MP, f/2.4 120-degree front-facing camera in addition to 13MP f/two.0 main and 6MP f/2.2 ultra-wide-angle sensors on the dorsum. The cameras are capable of 4K video recording.

Photo from s8 tablet

I look pretty good through the Milky way Tab S8 on Zoom

Microphone racket reduction and camera auto-framing features are designed to improve video calls, and are relatively app-independent. In testing, they worked in Duo, Come across, Teams, and Zoom. Similar Apple’s Eye Stage feature, the auto-framing isn’t magic, but it tries to center y’all if you move a bit left or correct. Oddly, it works a bit better in apps that aren’t Teams; in that app, the camera sometimes zoomed more onto the top half of my head.

Camera quality is fine. If you’re in an environment with decent low-cal, the cameras take skillful pictures without hesitation. They tend to blow out bright areas and sometimes aren’t completely sure where to focus, but you can say the same for most midrange phone cameras. And like most tablet cameras, the ones on the Tab S8+ produce noisy depression-light images. You don’t get a night mode, either.

An South Pen for Your Thoughts

All of the tablets in the Tab S8 lineup come with the Due south Pen. Earlier tablet S Pens, simply not telephone S Pens, also piece of work on the Tab S8. The newest S Pen has one apartment side to prevent it from rolling away, and a single action push button. It features a matte plastic material and measures virtually half dozen.5 inches long; it’s a scrap shorter and more manageable than the large $99.99 S Pen Pro. You charge the pen by magnetically clipping it onto the same glass window on the back of the tablet.

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The S Pen has been around for a long fourth dimension, and the feel is very consistent between Samsung devices at present. The stylus is very sensitive to pressure and I didn’t detect any input lag in testing, though technically, the lag is 6.2ms. Samsung’south UI layer lets you lot speedily tap to start a new annotation or doodle, and to use the pen to write on a screenshot. Hardware-wise, the S Pen is absolutely on par with Apple’s 2nd Generation Pencil.

Writing on the tab s8

The Due south Pen offers a refined experience

The problem is the software. iPadOS has Affinity Designer, Photoshop, Procreate, and other top-of-the-line, desktop-class art and design apps, as does Windows and macOS. Android does not. Yep, in that location are Android apps for art, blueprint, and taking notes, including ArtRage, Autodesk Sketchbook, and Clip Studio Pigment, only you take fewer options.

In terms of taking notes, y’all tin can run OneNote or sync Samsung’s notes app to OneNote. Bamboo Paper also works well. If you’re mostly a note-taker, and especially if you’re all-in with Microsoft, this tablet is a good choice. Just then is an iPad. In short, the Android ecosystem lacks experiences the iPad offers, and doesn’t offer many features the iPad doesn’t. That’due south a problem we’ll come up dorsum to afterwards.

Milky way Tab S8 Software and Dex Mode

The Tab S8 runs Android 12 with Samsung’s extensions, which are relatively light and elegant. Samsung guarantees Android version upgrades to version sixteen and security updates through the Android 17 wheel.

Samsung purports to offering features that enable Galaxy devices to piece of work together the way Apple devices do, including the power to copy and paste across products, besides as resume apps on different devices. Just I couldn’t figure out how to brand these integrations work—and I’ve used a Galaxy S21 Ultra as my primary phone for months. That said, calls I received on my telephone automatically popped upwardly on the tablet.

The tablet’southward Dex productivity mode isn’t as appreciative to Android’south limitations. Information technology enables a traditional multi-window OS where you tin run unlike Android applications in separate windows, too as use a keyboard and mouse to navigate.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 with keyboard

Samsung included a $199.99 Book Cover Keyboard with my Galaxy Tab review unit, a slim case that unfolds into a full five-row keyboard. The keyboard uses the Tab’s smart connectors and draws power from the tablet. Just the deck is cramped—the keyset is 10 inches wide, and much less comfy than my desktop keyboard (which is just shy of 12 inches). I actually notice the narrow width while typing, but unfortunately, that’due south how broad the keyboard needs to be to properly fit the tablet. Apple’s competing Smart Keyboard Folio for 11-inch iPads is just a touch wider, at 10.25 inches.

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For the best Dex experience, y’all need a mouse, too. I plugged my desktop USB mouse into the tablet’s USB-C port and it worked perfectly, just whatsoever Bluetooth mouse works.

Managing office work is far easier via Dex than in the tablet’s standard mode. You can keep multiple Microsoft Part documents in overlapping windows open up, for example. Dealing with tablet-unfriendly Android apps like Twitter becomes easier as well, considering you can resize them to preference. I tried diverse apps in Dex—Adobe Acrobat; Twitter; Google and Microsoft office applications; and even Kindle and Marvel Unlimited—and they worked fine.

Dex Mode on Tab S8

Dex mode lets you use the tablet with multiple windows

The roadblocks I ran into once again involved the de-featured nature of Android apps. Specifically, I was working in Excel and needed formulas and data types that aren’t bachelor in the app. I wanted Dex to turn the Tab S8 into a directly-upwards laptop, just information technology doesn’t quite achieve that feat.

Android’southward Best Isn’t Proficient Enough (for Tablets)

If you’re invested in Android apps or just actually don’t like Apple or Windows products, the Milky way Tab S8 (and the other models in the lineup) offers more power for creativity and productivity than whatsoever other Android tablet. But the Tab S8 is pricey, especially if you first adding accessories; the combination of the entry-level $699 model, a $199 keyboard, and a mouse takes you close to the $1,000 range. And although you tin can inexpensive out with a $65 Logitech K780 Multi-Device Keyboard, a $15 generic wireless mouse, and a $20 Fintie slim example from Amazon, the aggregation so becomes pretty kludgy.

The other problem is that the Tab S8 simply doesn’t offer as premium an experience as iPads and Windows tablets. Creative types don’t have equally many apps at their disposal, and Samsung’s Dex manner isn’t set for full-scale productivity. Ultimately, the pricing is a Samsung trouble and the apps are an Android problem.

If you’re willing to look beyond Android, the $599 HP Chromebook X2 ($599) includes a keyboard and a pen, so while it’s noticeably slower than the Tab S8, it’s substantially more affordable. In addition, Microsoft offers an Intel Cadre i3 version of the Surface Go 3 tablet ($569) that you can outfit with a Surface Go Type Comprehend ($99.99). That device runs the full version of Microsoft 365 apps and Photoshop.

And then, of course, there’due south the new iPad Air. Apple’s competing tablet costs $100 less than the Tab S8, and information technology runs all of those iPad artistic apps that aren’t available on Android. We haven’t reviewed this model yet, just if yous’re looking for a pro-level in the $600 to $700 price range, it looks to be the 1 to go.