Samsung’s last two flagship Android tablets-the Galaxy Tab S4 and Tab S6—were fine devices but couldn’t really hang with competitors like the iPad Pro or Surface Pro. But for the Tab S7, Samsung is looking to change that by cramming in practically every feature you could ever need on an Android Tablet (and maybe even a few you didn’t even know you wanted).
Available in two sizes, the $650 Tab S7 and the $850 Tab S7+ look to be Samsung’s take on the iPad Pro, with the Tab S7 featuring an 11-inch 2560 x 1600 LCD display, while the Tab S7+ has a slightly higher-res and more colorful 12.4-inch 2800 x 1752 AMOLED display. The two Tab S7s also sport a few other differences such as the standard Tab 7 featuring a side-mounted fingerprint reader, while the Tab S7+ gets an in-screen finger sensor and slightly more RAM and storage (6GB/128GB vs 8GB/256GB), but that’s pretty much where the differences end. Both versions will also be powered by Qualcomm’s latest mobile processor, the Snapdragon 865+. and like the rest of Samsung’s premium mobile devices in 2020, both the Tab S7 and S7+ offer full 5G connectivity.
However, what really elevates the new Tab S7 into contention with other premium tablets are some of the new components and software that Samsung has included. For digital artists, the most notable of these is significantly reduced input latency for its touchscreen, which has dropped from 40 milliseconds down to just 9 milliseconds. And when you combine that with displays that can pump out a 120Hz refresh rate—which is a first for any Android tablet—the Tab S7 should offer a major upgrade in display quality over its predecessors.
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Then for the Tab S7’s S Pen (which unlike an Apple Pencil comes included for free), Samsung has added even more Air Gestures that allow you to go home or back, summon a list of recently used apps, or even use Samsung’s Smart Select tool simply by waving the S Pen around. Samsung is billing this as a major boon to anyone who uses their tablet as a presentation device, so you aren’t forced to hunch over your device anytime you need to do something more complex than simply advancing to the next PowerPoint slide.
Meanwhile, for anyone using the Tab S7 to take notes, Samsung has upgraded its Notes app to support real-time auto-syncing and the ability to make time-synced voice recordings, so you can save voice memos in a specific time during a meeting. On top of that, the Tab S7 also boasts direct PDF annotation and handwriting recognition that can automatically straighten out your chicken scratch and make notes easier to read later on. Also, to help make docs and media easier to find, Samsung created a new nested folder system similar to what you’d get on a true desktop or laptop.
Furthermore, for those times when the Tab S7 is serving as a secondary device, Samsung has partnered with Microsoft to improve file sharing between the Tab S7 and Windows 10 machines, along with better screen mirroring, multi-window, and enhanced drag and drop support. All told, between the Tab S7’s new productivity enhancements and Samsung’s DeX mode, it feels like the Tab S7 is even better equipped to function as a fully standalone device for work.
Samsung has even made some improvements to the Tab S7’s not-so-optional detachable keyboard, which now comes with a larger touchpad and a new row of function keys on the Tab S7+s’ keyboard that makes it easy to adjust settings like brightness, volume and more.
All these additions are very important for anyone who wants to use the Tab S7 to do more than browse the web or watch movies, particularly when compared to more traditional Android tablets that lack many of Samsung’s software customizations.
However, the Tab S7 isn’t all work and no play, because in addition to enhanced syncing with Windows devices, the Tab S7 (along with the Galaxy Note 20) are also getting support for Xbox Game Pass Ultimate game streaming, which allows you play a huge library of Xbox games on your tablet while the all the heavy graphics work is being handled in a server in the cloud. That means even if you’re trying to travel light by leaving your desktop or gaming laptop at home, the Tab S7 should still offer a ton of options to get your game on while away from home.
The one flaw I’ve found so far with the Tab S7 is that it only offers a single USB-C port. You don’t even get a headphone jack. And unlike the iPad Pro’s Magic Keyboard, Samsung’s keyboard accessory doesn’t have any additional ports, which means you’ll probably have to carry around a dongle if you want to get any work done.
Just last week following the most recent bout of rumors regarding the Tab S7, I pondered if the Galaxy Tab S7+ could finally be Samsung’s answer to the iPad Pro. And after seeing all the new specs and features Samsung crammed into this thing, especially when it comes to Android tablets, the Tab S7 looks to be head and shoulders more powerful and more well-rounded than any other Android slate on the market. Now the big test is to see if all these new additions can help the Tab S7 truly compete with an iPad Pro or a Surface Pro.
The Galaxy Tab S7 and Tab S7+ will available in bronze, silver, and black, starting at $650 and $850 respectively, with official sales slated to begin sometime later this fall.