Samsung introduced two new tablets in its budget A-series last month, the Galaxy Tab A9 and Tab A9+. Today, we are sharing our hands-on review and unboxing experience of the Tab A9+, which is a bigger version of the Tab A9. It offers a larger display and more advanced features. If you’re on the hunt for a budget-friendly but functional and premium-looking tablet, this hands-on review is here to guide you through our first impressions of the Tab A9+.
Galaxy Tab A9+: What’s Inside the Box?
Upon opening the box, you are greeted by the Samsung Galaxy Tab A9+. You don’t get the charger inside the package but a standard USB C-to-USB C cable for charging and data transfer. Other things inside the box include a region-specific documentation, a quick start guide and an ejector pin for taking out the SIM and microSD card tray.
Design and Display
Samsung tablets have a familiar rectangular shape with a 16:10 aspect ratio. The majority of the back panel is crafted from metal with a matte finish, except for the plastic frame at the top.
On the back, you’ll spot a circular camera module that slightly protrudes. Up front, we have toughened glass with symmetrical bezels and a small front camera lens. The sides are flat and also sport a matte finish, which is practical.
On the right side, you’ll find a charging port, a headphone jack, a microphone, and two external speakers. Over on the left, there are two more external speakers. Up top, there are control buttons and a noise-canceling sensor, while down below, there’s a slot for a memory card and SIM card, along with contacts and mounts for the official case.
In terms of build quality, in my opinion, the tablet is exceptionally well put together, with no annoying creaks or wobbles, making it pretty sturdy. The materials used are of good quality, even though they may not quite match those of the Galaxy Tab S series. But when you put it side by side with the Galaxy Tab S9, you’ll see that it doesn’t lag far behind. The Tab A9 Plus brings some exciting improvements over its predecessor, and it’s a comfortable tablet to hold. It’s relatively lightweight for an 11-inch device, and those flat sides won’t dig into your fingers. Don’t take it for a swim, though – it’s not water-resistant.
Now, onto the tablet’s display. It rocks an 11-inch IPS screen with Full HD resolution and a 90Hz refresh rate, making it the first A series tablet to support high refresh rates. This results in smoother visuals.
The screen’s sensitivity is nearly 300Hz, but the brightness is a tad limited due to the display type. However, the viewing angles are great, and there’s no noticeable backlight bleeding. The image is clear, good enough for streaming your favorite movies and shows. An 11-inch screen size is currently what I’d consider the sweet spot for a tablet. Indoors, you are going to like the display, but take it out in the sun and you’ll find it tough to view most of the content. Even at full brightness, I struggled to view content in sunny surroundings.
Software and Performance
Turning on the tablet, you are greeted with the One UI 5.1 launcher, which runs on Android 13. As for the UI, One UI is fully optimized for tablet use, providing a clear and convenient experience. However, while Xiaomi is trying to mimic the iPad, Samsung sticks to its standard multitasking mode. It’s convenient and allows you to open multiple full-fledged apps and in floating mode without any stutters.The S-Pen is not supported, and there’s no DeX mode. In general, there are some limitations in terms of software, but overall, it’s great and convenient at this price.
Under the hood, the tablet is powered by the trusty Qualcomm Snapdragon 695 processor, which boasts eight cores. In terms of performance, it’s a solid mid-range processor, not breaking any speed records but staying steady. Now, let’s talk about gaming. It stays stable during long gaming sessions, and it manages its temperature well, avoiding extreme overheating while playing Asphalt 9 but you may notice slight stutter in graphics. It even has a gyroscope, which is a nice touch not found in the Galaxy Tab A9. It supports multi-touch with up to 10 fingers, and the touch response remains smooth, even when the screen heats up a bit.
Even with slight screen warming, it has a headphone jack, which some people may like. I have nothing against the Snapdragon 695, but it’s not a gaming processor so you can’t expect it to run heavy games with utmost ease. However, it does allow you to play a wide range of games quite smoothly and you won’t be disappointed. If you are considering it for gaming, I’d ideally prefer it to have a Snapdragon 778, but that would likely make the device more expensive. We will delve more into the performance aspect along with the benchmark comparisons in our detailed review for the Tab A9+.
In terms of general performance, it has enough power for quick app launches without significant delays or hiccups. If you’re getting it for work rather than gaming, you don’t need to worry about performance for most tasks; the processor handles them well.
Our Tab A9+ variant features 8GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage. There’s another variant available with 4GB of RAM and 64GB storage. Even with 64GB, You can further expand storage with a microSD card up to 1TB.
The camera setup is basic, with a 5-megapixel front camera and an 8-megapixel rear camera. The camera’s capabilities are not impressive, offering a standard range of modes and limited video recording options, maxing out at Full HD at 30 frames per second. There’s no optical stabilization. You can get by using the camera for video calling purposes, but don’t expect the best quality here since the front camera video may seem grainy in low-light conditions.
Battery and Connectivity
The tablet comes with a 7040mAh battery with support for fast charging up to 15W. It might be possible that I’m doing something wrong, but the 15W charging feels quite slow, taking over 3 hours to charge fully, which is not very impressive in the current context. The tablet also supports reverse charging, allowing you to charge other devices with your tablet. The battery life is decent thanks to the energy-efficient and stable processor.
In terms of security, the tablet offers only facial recognition, PIN, and Pattern locks as there’s no fingerprint sensor onboard. For connectivity, it features Wi-Fi 5, Bluetooth, OTG mode, and USB 2.0. You get quad speaker setup here with Dolby Atmos. In quiet surroundings, I loved the sound quality when watching Netflix or YouTube, but in noisy environments, the sound output is not that great.
The Bottom Line
Based on our hands-on experience, the Galaxy Tab A9 Plus seems to be a total bang for the buck at its pricing. It’s refreshing to see Samsung finally introducing high refresh rates for a budget tablet. Of course, it has some functional limitations, which are to be expected at this pricing but you can’t really get the flagship level performance from a tablet that’s aimed at the mid-range segment. During my usage of the Galaxy Tab A9+, I found this tablet delivering better than expected results on moderate usage. You may find some performance lags when running multiple heavy apps simultaneously.
Overall, if you’re looking for a good-quality tablet with premium looks at an affordable price, consider the Galaxy Tab A9+.
We will be sharing our in-depth review of the Tab A9+ soon alongside a bunch of helpful guides for the tablet. Stay tuned with us!
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