Samsung

Galaxy Tab S8 review: Samsung’s entry tablet offers a lot in a portable form factor

Galaxy Tab S8 review: Samsung's entry tablet offers a lot in a portable form factor

After Samsung announced its lineup of three new Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 models, I was hoping that Samsung PR would offer me to test the high-end Tab S8 Ultra. The company reached out to offer the Tab S8 and I thought that was better than not being able to test any model. After three weeks of use, the S8 tab may be one of the best tablets for the way I work and play.

A few years ago I tried the

Galaxy Tab S7 Plus

and it was great for working on the go, syncing with other Samsung gear, and serving as an extremely capable Android tablet. The only thing I didn’t like about this tablet was the under-display fingerprint sensor which was difficult to use in most situations.

As

  • S Pen in the box, powerful functionality
  • Reliable power button fingerprint sensor
  • Samsung DeX is very capable
  • Large size for portable tablet use
  • Premium fit and finish

Do not like

  • LCD, no glossy AMOLED display
  • About the same as the S7
  • Slim keyboard has limited functionality

I love using Samsung DeX with the tablet, especially now with full second screen support for VMware. Samsung’s Galaxy Tab S8 devices are built for productivity and while Android apps need better optimization for tablets, iOS apps aren’t perfect either, and after using an iPad for a month, many apps need still be improved for iPads.

Galaxy Tab S8 Specifications

  • Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1
  • To display: 11-inch LCD screen, 2560 x 1600 pixel resolution with 120 Hz refresh rate
  • Operating system: Android 12
  • RAM: 8/12 GB
  • Storage room: 128 GB/256 GB internal with microSD expansion card slot
  • Cameras: 13MP main and 6MP ultra-wide rear cameras. 12MP ultra-wide front camera
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi 6E 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/ax, Bluetooth 5.2
  • Battery: 8000mAh
  • audio: Four speakers tuned by AKG with Dolby Atmos technology, three microphones
  • Dimensions: 253.8 x 165.3 x 6.3 mm and 503 grams
  • Colors: Graphite, Silver, Rose gold

The S Pen comes with the Tab S8 and attaches magnetically to the back of the tablet. It also charges wirelessly as it supports Bluetooth and Air Actions functions. An additional S Pen costs $59.99. You can also purchase a tablet with 5G cellular functionality.

Also read: Galaxy Tab S7 Plus review: The best Android tablet is also the best for business

Equipment

Samsung also sent a silver WiFi model with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage. A key feature that I like in the smaller Tab S8 model is the fingerprint sensor located on the power button. In landscape orientation, the default for tablet use, the fingerprint sensor/power button is on the top left side, so it’s easy to slide my left index finger across it. It’s also fairly easy to use my right finger and manipulate the volume buttons. For tablet use, I prefer the side button sensor to the in-display fingerprint found on the S8 Plus and S8 Ultra.

After turning on the Tab S8, it was pretty clear that Samsung’s punchy Super AMOLED display wasn’t present, as the blacks weren’t as vibrant as I’ve seen on other tablets. That said, the colors are superb and everything is crystal clear on the screen.

A uniform black bezel sits around the screen, just enough to hold the tablet without impacting the screen. The bezels appear to be the same width as those found on the Tab S7 Plus. The ultra-wide front camera sits in the bezel at the top center of the screen when seated in landscape orientation.

The fingerprint/power sensor, volume buttons and microSD card slot are positioned on the top of the tablet. The four stereo speakers are at the top and bottom of the left and right sides, landscape orientation is the default. The USB-C port is on the right side. The connectors for the keyboard are at the bottom.

The two rear cameras are on the top rear of the tablet, near where the fingerprint sensor/power button is located. A long glossy black oblong part sits to the left of the cameras and serves as the S Pen charging station. Unlike Apple, Samsung includes the S Pen in the tablet package, which represents a significant cost saving for the customer and encourages the use of the stylus.

Book cover Keyboard accessory

The Book Cover Keyboard Slim is sold separately for $139.99. Unlike the biggest book cover keyboard, there’s no touchpad on the slim keyboard, and it’s primarily intended for text input. There’s only one angle for the tablet as the back connects via magnets and then you flip the bottom of the tablet into the keyboard connectors where the back of the case then supports the tablet.

There’s no keyboard backlight, but the keys are large and well-spaced with good depth of travel. There’s a function key to quickly turn DeX mode on and off, which is important for a Samsung tablet. Press Fn > 1 to see a list of keyboard shortcuts available with this combo. Unfortunately, there are no shortcuts for brightness, volume, and other common shortcuts we’ve seen on other keyboards to make the keyboard more useful. There should also be a utility to create custom functions to overcome these missed opportunities by Samsung.

There are five rows of keys, including a top row of numbers/functions. The width of the tablet, in landscape orientation, is enough to provide a comfortable typing experience.

The edges of the tablet aren’t protected and there’s an opening for the S Pen, but you can place the S Pen on a hinged magnet when traveling. However, if placed there, the S Pen will not charge for Bluetooth actions. If you received the keyboard as part of a bundle, it might be worth it, but I wouldn’t recommend the slim version for $140. The full book cover keyboard is a better option for working on the go.

Software

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 launches with Android 12 and OneUI 4.1, so it runs the latest and greatest software out of the box. Samsung DeX has also been improved so you can switch or live in DeX and have a tablet equivalent to a laptop in your hands.

We seem to be hearing a lot of angst about Android on tablets and while there are still some problematic apps, for example Instagram only appears in full-screen portrait orientation, Samsung has done a lot of work to optimize the experience of the tablet and it’s not as bad as some make it out to be. All Samsung apps work great on the tablet and many are also optimized to show split-screen views for improved productivity. Google also optimizes certain apps, such as Gmail and Google Maps, for the tablet display.

Almost every other app I’ve installed works well on the tablet, and many developers provide great tablet experiences as well. Microsoft does a solid job with some of its apps, such as Outlook, Office, ToDo, and OneNote, but there’s room for improvement with others like Teams. The ability to sync Samsung Notes with OneNote is now possible and this ability allows me to use the S Pen even more.

Read also: Best Android tablet 2022: Ditch the iPad

Looking at my iPad next to the Galaxy Tab S8, I honestly don’t see any apps on the iPad that aren’t available on the tab or have equivalents with similar functionality. The gap between Android tablets and the iPad may be more perceived than the reality and I would like to know more about the specific concerns people have with Android tablets.

You can set up the ability to sync your calls and texts between your Samsung phone and the Tab S8, which has been great for maintaining workflow no matter what device I’m working with. It’s a similar experience to what iPhone owners see with a connected iPad.

Daily experiences and conclusions

I packed the Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 on a recent business trip and figured I’d use it to enjoy in-flight media and other basic functions while I tested it. Turns out I was able to leave my backpack in my hotel room and capture all my notes with the S Pen, conduct business emails and team chats with the Slim Keyboard, and work all the day while still having plenty of battery. for evening viewing. The size of the Tab S8 was easy to handle all day and yet the screen was large enough to make writing on it with the S Pen an enjoyable experience. The S Pen also flowed perfectly onto the screen.

The Galaxy Tab S8 has surprised me with its appeal over the past few weeks and exceeded my expectations. It’s not a major upgrade over the Tab S7 with the same form factor, but it does have the newest and most capable processor, improved front and rear cameras, and a Improved S Pen latency. For those looking for a tablet companion for their laptop and smartphone, the Tab S8 is a valid option and with a microSD card you can pick up the $699.99 entry model and probably have everything you need. . Don’t forget that Samsung is also adding the S Pen, unlike Apple you won’t have to pay an extra $100 for the stylus.