In early August, Samsung announced the new Galaxy Tab S7 and S7+. These tablets are premium and designed to compete with the Apple iPad Pro and Microsoft Surface Pro. The new Android tablets target the high-end tablet market. These tablets look more like a PC replacement than a tablet for just reading or watching videos. Although replacing your PC with a tablet may not have been an option in the past, the solid specs, killer display, and detachable keyboard of these new tablets may give users a compelling reason to consider it. Samsung sent me a Galaxy Tab S7+ to review, and I used it as a productivity device for the last two weeks. I wanted to share my thoughts. I also wrote about Samsung’s Galaxy Unpacked 2020 event and you can access that here.
Out of the box, the Galaxy Tab S7+ feels premium. The outside of the S7+ is a smooth metallic material. My review unit came in the mystic silver color option, but there is also a mystic bronze and mystic black color option. I am getting accustomed to seeing these colors on Samsung devices like the Samsung Galaxy S20 smartphone line, and I like the modern take. Immediately I can tell that the 120Hz display is the best part of this device. It was bright and extremely responsive to touch when I booted up to sign in. As far as ports and buttons go, the device is very simplistic with a power button, volume button, and a single USB-C charging port. Sadly, the device lacks a headphone jack, but depending on the user, that may or may not matter. The quad speakers powered by Dolby Atmos provided a great audio experience. The speakers are on the device's corners, and the placement makes for a balanced, crisp audio experience. The audio sounded great, whether taking a video call, streaming standup comedy on YouTube, or watching a the newest episodes of Blacklist on Netflix . One of the best experiences I had with the device was quickly detaching the keyboard and propping it up for immersive video streaming.
The S7+ has two rear cameras and a front-facing selfie camera. The front-facing camera is 8MP and located on the horizontal plane. That means the camera is best suited for use while the keyboard is attached, and the device is flat. The rear cameras are a 13MP primary camera and 5MP wide-angle camera. The photos that I took with the rear camera were decent quality. I wouldn’t compare the quality to a Samsung Galaxy Note20 Ultra, but for kids' sports game or snapping a family picture outside the rear cameras will do just fine. I don't know if taking photos on a tablet is a significant use case, but the option is there.
My review unit also came with a detachable magnetic keyboard. The Galaxy Tab S7+ keyboard is sold separately from the device and costs $229.99. The keyboard was punchy and easy to type on. I wrote this entire article on the Galaxy Tab S7+, and it was a good experience especially for using a tablet with a detachable keyboard. I'll admit that it wasn't as snappy while typing, editing, and pasting images compared to a Windows PC, but I wouldn't expect it to be. I didn't enjoy using the trackpad as much as the keyboard. It was difficult to drag web pages down and scroll within documents while using the trackpad. I found myself using the screen to scroll, and that was easy and responsive.
The Galaxy Tab S7+ comes with a 12.4" Super AMOLED, 120Hz display with 2800 x 1752 resolution, and a 16:10 aspect ratio. The display on this device is impressive. The high refresh rate means that the screen is extremely responsive to touch. I was able to switch between apps and scroll through web pages with ease. The display also supports biometric login with the in-screen fingerprint scanner seen in Samsung's high-end smartphone offerings. I will say that the login isn't as quick as it was on the Samsung Galaxy Note20 Ultra , but it was nice to have.
The device also comes standard with an S Pen. The complimentary S Pen is a nice touch, while Apple's pen for the iPad Pro will run you an additional $129.99. I enjoyed using the S Pen for marking up documents in OneNote. I will admit that I am not the pen's biggest user as I do not draw, sketch, or edit photos. But for those interested in using a tablet for those purposes, the S Pen was responsive while I used it. The case on the device had a convenient S Pen stowaway option. It keeps the pen hidden and connected to the magnet that runs along with the rear cameras. I don't trust the magnets to hold the pen connected to the device while putting the tablet on surfaces or stowing away in a backpack, so I liked the option to keep it safely attached to the device. Plus, I always find a way to misplace pens, as many do.
Performance & Connectivity
My review unit came with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 Plus octa-core processor, Android 10 operating system, 8GB RAM, 256 GB of storage, and the ability to add 1TB of storage via MicroSD. My Galaxy Tab S7+ also came with Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5 connectivity solutions. The specs on this device are impressive, and it shines through when using the device. There is also the option for wireless 5G coverage on the S7 and S7+ from Verizon, T-Mobile, AT&T, and U.S. Cellular. My review unit didn't come with 5G, so I can't talk to the experience.
I mainly used the Galaxy Tab S7+ for productivity while writing articles, checking email, taking meetings, and streaming content from YouTube and Netflix. It chewed through those workloads easily. I was able to launch apps quickly and run multiple apps simultaneously with no sign of slowing down. I don't foresee this device replacing a PC for heavy multitasking and data manipulation. However, for the lighter loads like email, streaming, browsing, and writing, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 Plus will provide plenty of performance ceiling.
The Galaxy Tab S7+ comes standard with a 10900mAh battery, which is more considerable than the 12.9" iPad Pro battery at 9720mAh. The battery life for the S7+ was on par with my expectations. I was able to get 10 hours on lighter workloads like browsing the web and watching videos. When I tried to use the device as a laptop replacement, I saw the battery life take some hits. I was getting around 7 hours of battery life with the keyboard attached at around 60% brightness while writing articles in Word, manipulating data in Excel, and running 10+ browser instances. This device isn't going to get you through a day of strenuous work tasks on a single charge, but you can make it through for lighter applications. The S7 Plus also has 45W fast charging capabilities, but the standard charger in the box is 15W.
The Galaxy Tab S7+ base model with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage will start at $849.99. The same base model with 5G will start at $1049.99. My review unit, which lacked 5G and came with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage, will begin at $929.99. When you consider that the keyboard is sold separately and costs more than $229, it gets easy to spend over $1000 on a tablet and keyboard. Justifying that type of price will be challenging, but I assume many users like the tablet's portability and functionality.
The Samsung Galaxy S7+ is a good offering in the high-end tablet space. If I were judging by display alone, this device would be at the top of the list. Android software still has a little way to go in terms of app development than Windows and iOS tablets. Some apps like Microsoft Teams and Spotify look like a stretched-out version of the mobile apps, but I assume that will come along. The Galaxy Tab S7+ is a good option for those fully committed to replacing their notebook with a tablet, but I am not to that point yet. Samsung left no stone unturned in terms of display and specs, and because of that, I can confidently say that this is the best Android tablet I have ever used. Excellent job, Samsung.
Note: Moor Insights & Strategy writers and editors may have contributed to this article.