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Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 series gets a new 14.6-inch Ultra flagship

Amid all the noise about its new S22 smartphones, Samsung has revamped its tablet line-up, to compete better with market leader Apple's iPads.
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Written by Charles McLellan, Reviews editor on
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Samsung's Galaxy Tab S8 series: S8 (11-inch), S8+ (12.4-inch) and S8 Ultra (14.6-inch).

Image: Samsung

Samsung has announced its 2022 family of Android tablets, the Galaxy Tab S8 series. The new line-up includes a large-screen flagship in the shape of the 14.6-inch Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra, which will undoubtedly get the most attention. There are two other Tab S8 series devices: the 12.4-inch Tab S8+ and the 11-inch Tab S8, which update the existing Tab S7+ and Tab S7.

According to IDC, 46 million tablets shipped worldwide in Q4 2021, an 11.9% decline year over year as demand slowed following strong tablet sales driven by virtual learning, remote work and media consumption during the pandemic. However, shipments were up 3.2% for the full year (168.8m units), with Apple leading the way at 34.2% market share, followed by Samsung (18.3%) and Lenovo (10.5%).

All three Galaxy Tab S8 models are built on frames made from Samsung's durable Armor Aluminum and come in Wi-Fi-only (Wi-Fi 6E) and 5G versions (4G LTE is also supported on latter). 

Prices start at $699.99 for an entry-level Wi-Fi-only Tab S8 with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage. The Tab S8+ costs from $899.99, while the flagship Tab S8 Ultra starts at $1,099.99. Adding 5G, RAM (on the Ultra), storage and optional accessories can boost the cost to premium-laptop levels. 

Samsung claims that the Tab S8 Ultra features the company's 'slimmest bezel ever' at 6.3mm, resulting in 'the best screen-to-body ratio for a Galaxy Tab S device' (which we calculate to be 90.8%, compared to 84.6% for the S8+ and 83.6% for the S8). However, the trade-off for this slim bezel is that the S8 Ultra's Super AMOLED screen is interrupted by a notch that accommodates its dual 12MP front-facing cameras, a move that may not prove universally popular. 

Features available across the board include Qualcomm's 4nm, 8-core Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 Mobile Platform, Android 12 with Samsung's One UI Tab 4, 16:10 screen aspect ratios with refresh rates up to 120Hz, an S Pen stylus, an ultra-wide-angle (120°) front camera and intelligent auto-framing software, dual rear cameras (wide angle and ultra-wide angle), a MicroSD card slot, a USB-C 3.2 port, improved Samsung DeX functionality, three noise-cancelling mics, quad AKG speakers with Dolby Atmos, 4K video recording (30fps) and 8k playback (60fps), and Samsung Knox security.


Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 series specifications 

Galaxy Tab S8  

Galaxy Tab S8+ 

Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra

Display

11-inch LTPS TFT, 120Hz

12.4-inch Super AMOLED, 120Hz

14.6-inch Super AMOLED, 120Hz

Resolution

2560 x 1600 (WQXGA, 16:10, 276ppi)

2800 x 1752 (WQXGA+, 16:10, 266ppi)

2960 x 1848 (WQXGA+, 16:10, 240ppi)

Dimensions

253.8 x 165.3 x 6.3mm (9.99 x 6.51 x 0.25 inches)

285 x 185 x 5.7mm (11.22 x 7.28 x 0.22 inches)

326.4 x 208.6 x 5.5mm (12.85 x 8.21 x 0.22 inches)

Weight

503g (Wi-Fi), 507g (5G) (1.1lbs)  

567g (Wi-Fi), 572g (5G) (1.26lbs)

726g (Wi-Fi), 728g (5G) (1.6lbs)

Colours

Graphite, Silver, Pink Gold

Graphite, Silver, Pink Gold

Graphite

OS

Android 12

Android 12

Android 12

UI overlay

One UI Tab 4

One UI Tab 4

One UI Tab 4

Chipset

Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 Mobile Platform

Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 Mobile Platform

Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 Mobile Platform

RAM / internal storage

8GB/128GB, 8GB/256GB

8GB/128GB, 8GB/256GB

8GB/128GB, 12GB/256GB, 16GB/512GB

Storage expansion

MicroSD up to 1TB

MicroSD up to 1TB

MicroSD up to 1TB

Rear cameras

13MP AF, 6MP ultra-wide, flash  

13MP AF, 6MP ultra-wide, flash

13MP AF, 6MP ultra-wide, flash

Front camera(s)

12MP ultra-wide (120°)

12MP ultra-wide (120°)

12MP wide, 12MP ultra-wide (120°)

Video

4K @ 30fps (recording), 8k @ 60fps (playback)   

4K @ 30fps (recording), 8k @ 60fps (playback)  

4K @ 30fps (recording), 8k @ 60fps (playback)  

Audio

3 mics, quad AKG speakers + Dolby Atmos

3 mics, quad AKG speakers + Dolby Atmos

3 mics, quad AKG speakers + Dolby Atmos

3.5mm headphone jack

no

no

no

Battery

8,000mAh

10,090mAh

11,200mAh

Battery life

15 hours of video playback

14 hours of video playback

13 hours of video playback

Fast charging

45W

45W

45W

Charging time (0-100%)

80 mins

80 mins

90 mins

Reverse charging (wired)

15W

15W  

15W  

USB

USB-C 3.2 (DP out)  

USB-C 3.2 (DP out)  

USB-C 3.2 (DP out)  

Wi-Fi / Bluetooth

Wi-Fi 6E (2.4/5/6GHz), Bluetooth 5.2  

Wi-Fi 6E (2.4/5/6GHz), Bluetooth 5.2  

Wi-Fi 6E (2.4/5/6GHz), Bluetooth 5.2  

Mobile broadband

4G LTE, 5G

4G LTE, 5G

4G LTE, 5G

Desktop mode

Wireless Samsung DeX  

Wireless Samsung DeX  

Wireless Samsung DeX  

Sensors

accelerometer, geomagnetic, gyro, light, fingerprint, Hall sensor  

accelerometer, geomagnetic, gyro, light, fingerprint, Hall sensor  

accelerometer, geomagnetic, gyro, light, fingerprint, Hall sensor  

GPS  

GPS, GLONASS, Beidou, Galileo  

GPS, GLONASS, Beidou, Galileo  

GPS, GLONASS, Beidou, Galileo  

S Pen

included (6.2ms latency)

included (2.8ms latency)

included (2.8ms latency)

Optional accessories

Book Cover Keyboard, Book Cover Keyboard Slim, Book Cover, Protective Standing Cover, Strap Cover  

Book Cover Keyboard, Book Cover Keyboard Slim, Book Cover, Protective Standing Cover, Note View Cover

Book Cover Keyboard, Book Cover, Protective Standing Cover  

Authentication  

face recognition, PIN/pattern, fingerprint scanner (on power button) 

face recognition, PIN/pattern, fingerprint scanner (on screen) 

face recognition, PIN/pattern, fingerprint scanner (on screen)  

Security  

Samsung Knox (inc. Samsung Vault)  

Samsung Knox (inc. Samsung Vault)  

Samsung Knox (inc. Samsung Vault)  

Price

from $699.99 (Wi-Fi only, 8GB RAM, 128GB storage)  

from $899.99 (Wi-Fi only, 8GB RAM, 128GB storage)  

from $1,099.99 (Wi-Fi only, 8GB RAM, 128GB storage)  

Availability  

25 February; preorders from 9 Feb

25 February; preorders from 9 Feb  

25 February; preorders from 9 Feb  


Key differences between the Tab S8 models, include the display type and resolution (LTPS TFT at 276ppi on the S8, Super AMOLED on the S8+ and S8 Ultra at 266ppi and 240ppi respectively), weight (503/507g for the S8, 576/572g for the S8+, 726/728g for the S8 Ultra), S Pen latency (6.2ms on the S8, 2.8ms on the S8+ and S8 Ultra), battery capacity (8,000mAh on the S8, 10,090mAh on the S8+, 11,200mAh on the S8 Ultra) and fingerprint reader location (built into the power button on the S8, on-screen on the S8+ and S8 Ultra).

The main optional accessory for the Tab S8 series is the Book Cover Keyboard, which offers backlit keycaps, customisable shortcuts and adjustable standing angles, along with a glass-coated touchpad. If your Tab S8 tablet is logged into the same Samsung account as a Galaxy smartphone (running One UI 4 or later), you can use Samsung's Wireless Keyboard Sharing feature to enter text more easily on the phone.

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Samsung's 14.6-inch Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra with the optional Book Cover Keyboard.

Image: Samsung

Other add-ons include a transparent Note View Cover for the 12.4-inch Tab S8+, which lets you write on the tablet while keeping it protected. That's a reflection of the fact that Samsung's tablets, in contrast to its high-end smartphones, don't have an IP rating for dust and water resistance. The smallest and lightest model, the 11-inch Tab S8, also gets a Strap Cover which allows you to hold the tablet in the most comfortable orientation.

Use cases

Samsung describes the Tab S8 series as "the perfect companion for our always-on, video-first world", and the use cases encompass content consumption, communication and – especially if you go for an optional add-on keyboard – content creation. With the Tab S Ultra costing the equivalent of a well-specified laptop, you certainly should expect to be able to do a lot with it. 

Video calls are enhanced by 4k recording, a 12MP ultra-wide-angle (120°) front camera, intelligent auto-framing software that keeps you in focus and zooms in or out to cater for different numbers of participants, triple noise-cancelling mics and quad AKG speakers. The Tab S8 Ultra adds a second 12MP front camera in its screen notch. 

Another feature that will be particularly useful on the larger-screened S8+ and S8 Ultra is an improved multi-window mode that lets you split the screen into three windows, with four preset layouts and the ability to configure windows as required. 

More PC-like features are available in Samsung's DeX mode, which is improved in the S8 series to cater for portrait as well as landscape orientation, with more resizable apps and transparent app windows. DeX mode automatically engages when you snap on a keyboard cover, and can wirelessly connect the tablet to an external monitor, or support the use of the tablet as a wireless touch-screen monitor for your PC or phone. 

These features all operate within Samsung's mobile Galaxy ecosystem, orchestrated by the company's One UI Tab 4 user interface. Other connected experiences include syncing Samsung Notes between phone, tablet and PC, and sharing files wirelessly via Quick Share – which is now faster thanks to Wi-Fi 6E support on the Galaxy S22 and Tab S8 series. Another new addition to the Tab S8 series is the Samsung Health app. 

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Companion Mode: Using your smartphone as a palette when working in Clip Studio Paint, here on the Tab S8 Ultra.

Image: Samsung

All three Tab S8 devices come with Samsung's S Pen stylus, and the S8+ and Ultra models benefit from an improved prediction algorithm that reduces latency to 2.8ms when using Samsung Notes, the company claims. There's a cool-looking new S Pen feature called Companion Mode that's available in Clip Studio Paint (PRO and EX versions are available on Galaxy devices). Here, so long as both devices are connected to the same Wi-Fi network, you can use your smartphone as a palette, picking colours with the stylus and painting on the tablet's screen. LumaTouch's LumaFusion, a professional video editing tool, is also on its way to the Galaxy platform, Samsung says. 

Samsung claims battery life of between 13 and 15 hours for video watching on the Tab S8 series, with 45W charging restoring the tablets from empty to 100% in 80 minutes (Tab S8 and S8+) or 90 minutes (Tab S8 Ultra). Wired reverse charging (15W) is also supported for certain Galaxy smartphones – including, of course, the new S22 series -- via a USB-C cable. 

Finally, Samsung is committing to supporting four generations of Android OS upgrades and five years of security updates on the Tab 8 series, so if you do invest in one of these devices, you should be able to give it a good run for its money. 

Should you buy one? It's clear that the more deeply you embrace the Samsung ecosystem, the more functionality you'll extract from your devices – witness the Companion Mode for Galaxy smartphones and tablets mentioned earlier. If you're platform-agnostic, you'll need to look at detailed comparisons between Samsung's offerings and the competition – notably Apple's iPads – and take note of any price reductions on existing Tab S7 series devices. All this and more will be available in due course on ZDNet.

In the UK, Samsung has provided pricing details for all of the different Galaxy Tab S8 models:


Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 series prices (UK)

Galaxy Tab S8

Galaxy Tab S8+

Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra

Wi-Fi

 

8GB / 128GB

£649 

£849  

£999  

8GB / 256GB

£699  

£899  

12GB / 256GB

£1099  

16GB / 512GB

£1249  

Wi-Fi + 5G

8GB / 128GB

£799  

£999  

£1149  

8GB / 256GB

£849  

£1049  

12GB / 256GB

£1249  

16GB / 512GB

£1399  


First look: Products revealed at Samsung Unpacked 2022 [in pictures]

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