Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra Review


The tech trade has by no means appeared sure about whether or not tablets are completely their very own system class, or finest served merely as a alternative for laptops, and no pill feels extra emblematic of that uncertainty than the Tab S8 Extremely.

With an unlimited 14in show, it is a stunning system for media consumption and net looking – however with costs ranging from $1,099/£999 it’s laborious to think about many individuals dropping that type of cash to observe Netflix on the practice (in spite of everything, how might you afford it after paying Netflix’s newly elevated charges?).

The show’s measurement and facet ratio look so much like a laptop computer’s, particularly with the keyboard cowl connected, and with Samsung’s DeX interface it is a surprisingly succesful pc different.

Then again, that keyboard case is each non-obligatory and extortionately priced. Samsung does embrace an S Pen stylus without cost with the pill, however that is too giant a pill to easily maintain in a single hand and use a stylus with the opposite.

How properly the Tab S8 Extremely works will rely so much on why it appeals to you – and the way a lot cash you must burn.

Design and construct

  • Huge show
  • Slim however stable development
  • Noticeable notch

The very first thing that anybody notices concerning the Tab S8 Extremely is that this factor is very large. That is Samsung’s first ‘Extremely’ pill, and the corporate has gone all out.

The 14.6in show just isn’t solely comfortably bigger than the 12.4in display of the Tab S8+, however can be a lot greater than Apple’s closest rival, the 12.9in iPad Pro. It’s an unlimited display, greater than many laptops, and naturally that makes the pill as a complete fairly huge.

To Samsung’s credit score, it’s labored laborious to maintain the S8 Extremely slim regardless of that. Someway, nearly impossibly, that is simply 5.5mm thick – thinner than each these different two tablets. It’s the type of engineering feat that feels a bit like a magic trick, however a obligatory one to handle what’s already a hefty weight: 726g for the Wi-Fi mannequin, and 728g for those who add in 5G.

That’s heavy for a pill, particularly one you would possibly wish to maintain in a single hand with a stylus within the different. That implies that due to this measurement, the Extremely is downright awkward to make use of as a pill loads of the time – it is simply too huge to comfortably take notes on, use as an e-reader, and even simply use to browse the net out of your couch.

In fact, this could be gentle for a laptop computer, however Samsung’s official Guide Cowl Keyboard weighs one other 644g in its personal proper, taking you as much as 1.37kg complete – which is definitely heavier than some equal laptops. When you do decide to purchase the keyboard – which is an additional $349/£299 by itself – bear in mind that it is good, however not nice. It is comfy sufficient to kind on, and I really like the expansive trackpad, however the display detaches a bit of too simply from the keyboard, and along with the kickstand its footprint is gigantic – this would possibly not be a pleasant possibility for working from a airplane or practice.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra keyboard

As for a way the Extremely appears, Samsung has saved issues restrained. Whereas the S8 and S8+ include some vibrant end choices, the Extremely is simply on supply in Graphite gray. That dominates the pill’s aluminium rear, aside from a small Samsung brand, antennae strains, and black strip working alongside from the 2 rear cameras – the place the S Pen stylus can connect magnetically. When you desire, you may as well connect the S Pen to some (although not all) of the squared sides.

From the entrance although, there may be one standout design aspect: the notch. Whereas Samsung has moved away from notches on its premium telephones – with punch-hole selfie cameras on the S22 series and an under-display digital camera on the Z Fold 3 – the corporate has made the weird option to put the Tab S8 Extremely’s two front-facing lenses right into a notch.

Though the pill does have sufficient of a bezel to carry onto, it apparently didn’t enable sufficient house for these lenses. Happily, the slanted notch solely drops a bit of approach into the show, so for probably the most half it received’t get in the way in which of content material. This doesn’t really feel like probably the most elegant approach of dealing with selfie cameras in 2022, however finally it doesn’t really feel like a significant downside.

When it comes to safety, the S8 Extremely’s physique is made out of Samsung’s Armour Aluminium, which I can say from expertise is not less than robust sufficient to guard an in any other case fragile Z Flip 3 from a nasty drop. The show is coated in Gorilla Glass 5 – although not the most recent Victus normal – however there’s no IP score for mud and water-resistance safety right here.

Show and audio

  • Huge 14.6in AMOLED show
  • Widescreen 16:10 facet ratio
  • S Pen stylus help
  • Quad audio system

The Tab S8 Extremely’s show is in fact the principle motive it’s so rattling huge.

At 14.6in, this could be a fairly large display on loads of laptops, let alongside tablets. As I’ve already mentioned, that makes the pill as a complete cumbersome, however in fact the perk is that there’s a complete lot of display house, whether or not you wish to use it for streaming Netflix or working a number of work apps side-by-side.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra display

You’d assume the latter could be the plain focus, however I’m not so certain. That’s partly as a result of Samsung has opted for an uncommon facet ratio, with a large 16:10 show that’s a greater match for Netflix originals and film streaming than it’s for productiveness, particularly at a time when work-focussed laptops are shifting in the wrong way, in direction of boxier screens that supply further vertical house.

That’s to not say you can’t work on a widescreen show like this – and naturally Samsung has included loads of software program instruments to do exactly that, which I’ll talk about later – however this looks like a display finest suited to watching on.

And to be honest, screens don’t get significantly better. This can be a 120Hz AMOLED panel, able to easy animations and quick body charges whereas rendering content material in stunning element and depth at a crisp 1848 x 2960 decision. HDR10+ help rounds out the function set, serving to supported content material look its finest – although there’s no help for the Dolby Imaginative and prescient normal, regardless of the pill’s spectacular quad audio system supporting Atmos.

Samsung has included an in-display fingerprint sensor too, discovered alongside the underside of the display (or the right-hand aspect, when utilizing it panorama). That is as quick and dependable as you’d count on.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra S Pen

In fact the opposite key function is that this show helps enter from Samsung’s S Pen stylus, which comes included with the pill. This newest model has shaved the response charge a lot that the stylus primarily feels instantaneous, eliminating the awkwardness from taking notes or drawing doodles.

The S Pen itself boasts solely a single button, however Samsung’s ‘air actions’ let you mix this with gestures to set off a variety of customisable results distinctive to every app, including an additional degree of performance to the stylus setup.

Specs and connectivity

  • Flagship Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chip
  • As much as 512GB storage and 16GB RAM
  • Elective 5G networking

You’d be fearful if a pill this costly didn’t have specs to match, however Samsung hasn’t skimped there.

The Tab S8 Extremely is powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 – the corporate’s strongest chip but – and could be specced with as much as 16GB of RAM and 512GB of storage (although this may make an already costly pill much more so).

When you don’t care concerning the RAM, keep in mind that the S8 Extremely helps microSD playing cards as much as 1TB, so even the most affordable SKU can simply be expanded to supply much more storage.

Efficiency is inevitably spectacular. I’ve really been testing out the S8 Extremely’s most cost-effective model, with 128GB storage and 8GB RAM, however I’ve discovered even this mannequin capable of comfortably sustain with something I’ve thrown at it, together with multi-tasking a number of apps in split-screen for a full work day.

In benchmarks that is probably the most highly effective Android pill we’ve examined but, although it have to be mentioned that it lags far behind Apple’s newest M1-powered iPads. Impressively, it manages to drive comparatively excessive body charges on GFXBench’s extra demanding graphics exams regardless of the excessive WQXGA+ decision. I’d fearful that as a result of the construct is so slim I’d see overheating issues, however I haven’t seen any up to now.

It’s value noting that the S8 Extremely is among the many merchandise that Samsung has admitted can have efficiency throttled in sure apps by the corporate’s Recreation Optimization Service, particularly many video games. It will restrict efficiency (within the identify of defending the {hardware} from overheating and different points), although Samsung is issuing patches to scale back the throttling behaviour.

The 8 Gen 1 can be able to offering 5G networking, although you’ll should pay further for it – by default the pill is Wi-Fi-only. On the time of writing no US service is providing the 5G mannequin both, so American readers might not get the choice in any respect.

Past 5G, you’ll discover Wi-Fi 6E supported together with Bluetooth 5.2 There’s no NFC included, however I believe that’s tremendous – I wrestle to check many individuals breaking a 14.6in pill out to make a contactless cost with.

Battery and charging

  • Common battery life
  • Quick charging by pill requirements
  • Charger not included

An enormous show gave Samsung house for an enormous battery, with a whopping 11200mAh cell right here – nearly triple the dimensions of a typical smartphone battery, and greater than most tablets too.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra battery

In fact, with that battery needing to energy high specs and an enormous show, it does drain quick. I’ve discovered it packs sufficient energy to final a piece day – which might be the most effective bar for achievement right here – however you’ll probably wish to cost it afterwards. Meaning you received’t want to fret an excessive amount of about bringing a charger out with you for those who’re engaged on the go, however might want to keep in mind to high it up in a single day.

If that’s not an possibility, charging is quick – not less than by pill requirements. The S8 Extremely can use as much as 45W charging speeds, which Samsung says can return a full cost in 82 minutes. We take a look at smaller time increments, and I discovered it attain a 14% cost in quarter-hour, and a 29% cost in half-hour. That’s slower than Samsung predicts, and on that foundation I’d count on a full cost to take extra like two hours.

There’s an essential caveat there although: I wasn’t testing with an official 45W Samsung charger. That’s as a result of Samsung doesn’t embrace one within the field. I examined charging with a third-party 65W USB-C PD charger, and it is best to be capable of fortunately use something related – or certainly your telephone charger – however keep in mind that you just may need to pay extra to buy the official plug to ensure Samsung’s high speeds.

One different draw back is that there’s no wi-fi charging help right here. That’s not too huge of a deal for a pill – the sheer measurement means this could be awkward to position on the common charging pad anyway – but it surely does additionally imply that there’s no reverse wi-fi charging, so you possibly can’t use this to high up your telephone or headphones on the go.

Digicam and video

  • Twin 12Mp front-facing cameras
  • 13Mp and 6Mp rear cameras
  • Trumps nearly any laptop computer for video calls

The Tab S8 Extremely has a complete of 4 cameras, which can sound like overkill for a pill, however there may be some technique to the insanity.

On the again you’ll discover a pair of lenses: a 13Mp essential digital camera and a 6Mp ultrawide. I’ll be sincere, I’ve needed to power myself to make use of these to check the pill out, and I can’t think about many instances wherein folks would depend on them – that is far too cumbersome a tool to make use of as a digital camera in any conventional sense.

Nonetheless, little question use instances exist, and the cameras right here aren’t dangerous in any respect, particularly in vibrant gentle. The ultrawide is restricted, with low dynamic vary and splotchy particulars, however the principle digital camera usually will get the job carried out.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra camera test

The 2 front-facing cameras are arguably extra essential, as they’ll kick in if you wish to use the Tab S8 Extremely for video calls – and whether or not or not you purchase into the notch will actually hinge on their high quality.

Each lenses use 12Mp sensors, although there’s nonetheless a slight high quality drop as you turn to the ultrawide – although a lot much less so than with the rear cameras.

In stills each cameras take detailed vibrant photographs, however the principle lens handles dynamic vary and difficult lighting higher.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra camera

Extra importantly, they’re each succesful on the subject of video, and that is one space the place the Tab S8 Extremely can edge nearly any laptop computer available on the market – if you wish to take a video name on the go the usual for laptop computer webcams stays embarrassingly low, whereas each these lenses protect pores and skin tone and element and might accommodate various varieties of lighting properly.

Software program and updates

  • Ships with Android 12 and OneUI 4.1
  • 4 years of Android updates promised
  • Elective Samsung DeX desktop interface

The Tab S8 Extremely ships working Android 12 with Samsung’s OneUI 4.1 interface on high. This enables some seamless integration with different Samsung units – reminiscent of screen-sharing or file transferring with Samsung telephones or laptops, or fast pairing with Galaxy Buds headphones – but in addition brings with it just a few tablet-specific optimisations.

The key one is DeX mode, an non-obligatory mode that prompts a desktop-style interface. That is clearly designed for productiveness at first, and makes probably the most sense when paired with the keyboard case and a mouse or trackpad – it truly is the realisation of it is a laptop computer alternative.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra

For probably the most half DeX mode works easily, however there are hiccups. Not each app is optimised for the mode, and a few will flag warnings whenever you open them about potential inconsistencies. I didn’t discover too many issues, besides one which was a significant headache for my private workflow: 1Password refused to run in any respect whereas DeX mode was energetic, that means I needed to change out each time I needed to log into an account wherever. Not superb.

You don’t have to make use of DeX in fact, and even with out it you possibly can arrange a productive work house. Samsung has a few of the finest multi-tasking instruments in Android proper now, and with this monumental show it’s simple to arrange a number of home windows side-by-side or flip between apps. I actually did discover that I might comfortably work on the S8 Extremely, although given the selection I’d nonetheless go for a full Home windows laptop computer 9 occasions out of ten.

That is partly as a result of there stay small indicators that Android merely isn’t finest on tablets. For instance, the widescreen 14.6in show needs to be excellent for media streaming – however whereas Netflix makes the many of the large panel, the Disney+ app refuses to maximise content material to suit the show, forcing me to observe Moon Knight with letterboxing round all 4 sides of the content material. Loads of different apps fail to benefit from the house obtainable, actually because they do not have tablet-optimised variations for Android in any respect.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra

Issues like this may increasingly enhance when Samsung decides to replace the Tab S8 Extremely to Android 12L, Google’s latest model replace focussed on huge screens. This features a taskbar and simpler split-screen work, although since OneUI already contains a lot of this it’s laborious to know the way huge a change 12L would actually make right here.

The excellent news is that Samsung has already confirmed it plans to challenge the replace, as a part of a beneficiant replace promise for the Tab S8 line. This pill will obtain 4 years of Android model updates – probably the most of any pill on the market – with a fifth yr of safety patches. That may see it obtain not solely this yr’s Android 13, however go all the way in which to Android 16 in 2025, with protecting patches via 2026.

Worth and availability

It received’t come as any shock that the Tab S8 Extremely isn’t low-cost. It starts from $1,099/£999 for the 8GB/128GB Wi-Fi solely mannequin, rising to $1,399/$1,249 for the 16GB/512GB model – and all the way in which as much as £1,399 so as to add 5G onto that model within the UK. We’re rounding up the best Tab S8 series deals we have discovered that will help you shave that value down although.

That’s not the entire value although. Whereas the S Pen stylus is included, the keyboard case just isn’t – and at $349/£299 it’s a considerable extra value. When you’re hoping to make use of the S8 Extremely to work on, as almost certainly shall be, the beginning value is then successfully $1,449/£1,299.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra

In equity to Samsung, Apple’s 12.9in iPad Pro stays equally costly, ranging from $1,099/£999, and neither are dangerous worth given the specs on supply – however most pill customers merely do not want all that energy, and people who do is perhaps higher served by a laptop computer.

When you principally need a pill to observe Netflix one, you’ll find an excellent one for much less – even inside Samsung’s own Tab S8 range – although admittedly with a dinkier display. And in order for you it primarily to work on, for a similar value as this pill and the keyboard case you’ll really discover that there are excellent laptops available that may beat this on efficiency and ease-of-use.

Verdict

The Galaxy Tab S8 Extremely is, from a pure {hardware} perspective, nearly definitely the most effective Android pill round. Glorious efficiency is matched by a slender design that retains the entire bundle as light-weight and comfy as potential given the colossal show.

The query is who the S8 Extremely is for. Nice as that show is for watching TV and movie, that is certainly too costly a tool for many to choose up for media streaming or Android gaming.

And whereas it’s a succesful work system, when you throw within the keyboard case the calibre of laptop computer options improves drastically, most of which is able to nonetheless be higher work machines because of the software program limitations endemic to Android on tablets.

In fact, the actual edge right here is versatility. No cheaper tablets will match the S8 Extremely’s productiveness prowess, and not one of the laptops can compete as media units.

For the Tab S8 Extremely to make sense as a purchase order, you’ll most likely have to wish to use it for each of those – or not less than know for certain that you just’ll make use of the pill type issue as usually as you’ll the laptop computer mode.

When you can afford it – and extra importantly, justify it – that is unlikely to disappoint. However at this value, most of us are higher off wanting elsewhere.

Specs

Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Extremely: Specs

  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1
  • 8/12/16GB RAM
  • 128/256/512GB storage (expandable as much as 1TB)
  • 14.6in 120Hz AMOLED show (1848×2960 at 240ppi)
  • Twin rear cameras: vast (13Mp, f/2.0) and ultrawide (6Mp, f/2.2)
  • Twin front-facing cameras: vast (12Mp, f/2.2) and ultrawide (12Mp, f/2.4)
  • Quad stereo audio system
  • Wi-Fi 6E
  • Bluetooth 5.2
  • 5G (non-obligatory)
  • S Pen stylus (included)
  • 11200mAh battery
  • 45W wired charging
  • 326.4 x 208.6 x 5.5 mm
  • 726g (Wi-Fi) or 728g (5G)





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Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra Review

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