How productive or creative can you be on the go? Very productive, I’d say, as someone who’s been writing and editing stories on the phone for years and prefers an iPad on short trips to my MacBook. But what is the equivalent of an iPad for Android users? Well, that’s not such a simple answer due to Google’s unconvincing stance on tablets. But if there is a brand that defends the cause of the Android tablet, it is Samsung. Now, Samsung has come up with its latest flagship tablet, the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra 5G. Here is my review after using this giant tablet for over a week.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra 5G review
“Dad, is it a small TV? That was my 10-year-old son’s first reaction when he saw the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra 5G. Well, it’s that kind of device. At 14.6 inches, it’s unusually large for a tablet – my son must have been quite short when I reviewed the first 12-inch iPad Pro. But despite its size, the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra 5G is anything but bulky, given that it’s almost as thin as a newsmagazine in a recession. But remember, if you want to slip it into your messenger bag, you’ll need a bag big enough to carry a 14-inch laptop.
Setup is as easy as with any Samsung phone and within minutes you’re looking at the kind of screen you’ve come to expect from the Korean tech giant. The clarity and brightness of the screen might have been the other reason my son thought it was actually a TV.
And yes, you can also use it as a TV, especially with Netflix and Amazon Prime streaming. The colors of this 14.6-inch screen (1848 x 2960 pixels) are perfect, as are the blacks. You can snuggle up with this on the couch as you delve into the plot of Vikings Valhalla on Netflix. However, I found the audio quality a little disappointing considering the screen size. It’s strong, but it sounds a bit too flat for my taste.
Among those looking to check out this model will be those trying to play to the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra 5G’s distinct advantage – the S Pen. The S Pen in this tablet works almost like on older Note series phones or the new S22 Ultra. There’s a whole menu of apps you can use with this pen, like the PENUP app that lets you create and showcase your art on the tablet itself.
And given the Tab S8’s extra canvas size, most of these apps make more sense. So if on the S22 Ultra you sometimes use the S Pen to jot down and doodle, here you’ll use that stylus to create appropriate works of art. I loved how the S Pen can stick to the back of the Tab S8, reducing the chances of losing the same.
And the tablet packs a punch when it comes to performance. Powered by the Qualcomm SM8450 Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, it’s as powerful as the S22 Ultra, and perhaps more efficient given the screen size. I say this because a lot of my work, like opening Google Sheets every day or creating PPTs, is easier with a bigger screen. And you can easily multitask with Tab S8, which seems to like multiple windows running different apps at the same time.
With a good keyboard, it would also be a good laptop replacement, but I can’t say much more about it because I couldn’t test the Tab S8 keyboard shell.
The Tab S8’s battery life is good and can last two days with careful use and low screen brightness. I’d love to travel with such a large tab, provided it has a good keyboard that lets me type stories on the go. My days of typing on a tablet screen are over, especially now that tablets have become so thin.
I must say that this tablet also has a pretty decent camera, as you would expect from a Samsung, although the size prevents using it beyond a point. But what will really appeal to many this time around is the 12MP wide-ultrawide front-facing camera combo that will make you look good on Zoom calls. Additionally, Samsung has added software changes to keep you focused on those calls.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra 5G review: should you buy?
Yes, if you are a creative professional who needs to draw and annotate on the go. Just make sure it’s the size you want, as there are smaller options this time around with the same Samsung features in the Tab S8 lineup. At Rs 1,22,999 for the 5G version, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra 5G is by no means cheap. But it’s for the professional who will recoup the money within days of investing in this high-end tablet.