With the Galaxy Tab S7 FE, Samsung released a lighter version of the Galaxy Tab S7 Plus. The FE stands for „Fan Edition“. This lineup is meant to give Samsung fans the most popular features of a premium device at an affordable price. With the Tab S7 FE, we get a large 12.4-inch screen, a premium-feeling body, the S Pen, and even Samsung DeX. But we’ve got to make some sacrifices. Are they worth it? That’s what you’ll learn in this Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 FE review.
The cheapest WiFi version of the Galaxy Tab S7 FE starts at 530 US Dollars. Originally, the Galaxy Tab S7 Plus was released for 850 Dollars but you can get it for just over 700 Dollars already. The standard Tab S7 used to cost 650 Dollars but is sold for 530 Dollars now. Remember, that one has a smaller screen.
Display & S Pen
Let’s start with the display because that’s the unique selling point of the Galaxy Tab S7 FE. At under 600 Dollars, we’re getting a 12.4-inch screen. Usually, tablets that are this big cost much more. However, unlike with the Galaxy Tab S7 Plus, the FE has a standard LCD instead of a Super AMOLED panel. The resolution of 2560 x 1600 pixels is the same, so texts look very sharp.
It’s an LCD and that means the contrast is not as high as on the S7 Plus. And it’s a bit darker than the Galaxy Tab S7 which has an LCD too. In a direct comparison with that one, whites look a bit yellowish.
While the other tablets of the S7 series support 120Hz, the S7 FE has a standard 60Hz display. That means animations don’t look as smooth.
It sounds like I’m complaining about the screen a lot – but that just happens when comparing a mid-range device to a top-of-the-line premium tablet. Overall, I think the display is very good. It has wide viewing angles, is very sharp, fully laminated, and bright enough to work outside in the shadows.
Since it has a Widevine level of L1, you can watch Netflix and other services with HD resolution.
Samsung S Pen: Without Bluetooth Gestures
Like with the others of this series, the S Pen is included, so you don’t have to buy it extra. At first sight, it looks identical to the pens for the S7 and S7 Plus. And, of course, since all S Pens are interchangeable, you can use the stylus for the S7 FE with the S7 Plus and the other way around. I love that this is possible with all Samsung S Pen devices.
There’s one difference on the inside, however. The pens for the S7 and S7 Plus have a built-in battery which is missing on the S7 FE stylus. You never have to charge an S Pen for handwriting and drawings. But to use Bluetooth gestures, which the S7 series supports, you’ve got to charge them. So, they don’t work with the S7 FE. You can attach the pen magnetically to the tablet just as with the S7 Plus, though.
Software features are identical. I still think that the Samsung Notes app is one of the best note-taking apps for Android and it’s fantastic for handwriting or drawing with the S Pen. You can annotate PDFs as well. The stylus is very precise and works great.
The Air Commands are supported too. With those, you can quickly start a new note, take a screenshot and annotate it, use a translation feature, and much more.
I noticed one other difference which is due to the screens. Since the S7 FE has a 60Hz screen, it looks like the S Pen does not react as instant as it does on a 120Hz screen. You’ll see that when drawing fast. That’s because of the display and has nothing to do with the pen.
Hardware & Performance
Inside the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 FE runs a Qualcomm Snapdragon 750G octa-core processor with 4GB or 6GB of RAM and a 64GB or 128GB internal storage. You can get it with WiFi only and WiFi plus 5G.
Benchmark tests show that it’s much slower than the Galaxy Tab S7 and S7 Plus due to the Snapdragon 750G chipset. Not just a bit but much slower – that goes for the CPU and GPU performance in Geekbench 5 and 3D Mark. It’s also interesting to note that it’s a bit faster than the Lenovo Tab P11 Pro which is another large mid-range tablet.
My gaming tests confirm the bad benchmark results. While you can play Fortnite with „epic“ settings on the S7 Plus, you can select medium graphics on the S7 FE only. The same goes for PUBG Mobile. Instead of UltraHD graphics, you can play it just with HD settings.
In my Adobe Premiere Rush render test, the S7 FE needed 10 minutes longer to render the same 4K video.
On a positive note, I never thought that it’s slow during my everyday use. The tablet can handle all common apps like Chrome, YouTube, Microsoft Office, and Samsung Notes very well and a good amount of multitasking is possible too. Even the Samsung DeX desktop mode runs pretty well. Sure, in direct comparison, the S7 is much snappier. But it’s certainly fine for normal use.
Design & Built Quality
There are almost no differences when it comes to the basic design and built quality. The Galaxy Tab S7 FE looks like a premium device and feels like it. It’s made of aluminum, has even and small screen bezels, and just makes a high-end impression. It’s 6.3mm thin and weighs just over 600g.
You charge it using a USB C 3.2 Gen 1 port which you can use to connect USB C hubs and external monitors. There’s a microSD card slot and if you get the 5G version, that’s where the SIM card fits as well. On the side, there’s a connector for a keyboard cover but a headphone jack is missing.
Sadly, there’s no fingerprint scanner. You can unlock it using facial recognition but for that, the single webcam is used only.
The front-facing camera sits in the middle which is great for video chats. It has a resolution of 5 megapixels and on the back sits an 8-megapixel main camera. There’s no wide-angle camera. Photos and videos look pretty good.
On the right and left sides, there’s a speaker each, so you can hear a real stereo separation. And for a mid-range tablet, it sounds pretty good. Good enough so that I certainly can recommend it as an entertainment tablet. With that being said, in direct comparison, the S7 and S7 Plus do sound noticeably better.
Keyboard Cover: Two Options
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 FE works with the same keyboards you can get for the Galaxy Tab S7 Plus. So, you can get the same and fantastic Book Cover Keyboard that I reviewed with the S7 Plus. I think that’s the best one for the S7 FE as well and it’s worth it to pay a bit more if you want to work with your tablet regularly.
Together with the S7 FE, Samsung also introduced a new keyboard cover which is called Book Cover Keyboard Slim. I tested that one together with this tablet.
With the Book Cover Keyboard Slim, we’re getting a cover that is attached magnetically to the tablet. There’s a magnetic place for the S Pen in the middle, and on the back, there’s a cutout for the pen. That’s necessary for the S7 Plus because that’s where you charge the stylus on that one.
On the inside of the cover, there’s a keyboard built-in. It works very well and in fact, I love working with this keyboard. I wrote this review and many other articles and since the keyboard can be so big due to the 12.4-inch screen, it’s very comfortable.
But especially when using Samsung DeX, I’m missing the touchpad that the standard Book Cover Keyboard has. Sure, there’s a huge touchscreen and I can use the S Pen. But when expecting a desktop workflow in Samsung DeX, a trackpad is very useful. With the standard one, you can prop up the tablet in lots of angles too, while the Slim supports just one. Keep in mind though that the Slim is much cheaper.
The standard Book Cover Keyboard costs 230 Dollars, the Book Cover Keyboard Slim costs just 160 Dollars. As I said, both work with the Tab S7 FE and S7 Plus, so you’ve got two good options at different prices.
Software: Android 11 & OneUI
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 FE ships with the same software that runs on the S7 Plus. It’s Android 11 with OneUI in version 3.1. Samsung is much better with updates than other Android brands. So, I’m guessing that we’ll get at least three big updates. As usual, I can’t promise anything though, it depends on Samsung.
I like the OneUI. Sure, Android looks a bit different but there are many useful features built-in. A useful one is that you can open apps in free-floating windows, multitasking is very well supported, and you can access a dock from the side.
Samsung’s Notes app is fantastic but all of their devices have it pre-installed. That’s different with Samsung DeX which is supported by premium devices only. DeX is a desktop mode and it does run on the S7 FE. It transforms Android into a kind of desktop operating system and works just as on the S7 Plus.
I think Samsung DeX is very useful, especially when using it together with a keyboard cover or an external monitor. I like working with DeX, Samsung has improved it a lot over the years. It can‘t fully replace Windows. But it’s a nice additional feature.
In my battery test, the tablet got a runtime of 7.5 hours. For this, I’m always looping an HD video at maximum brightness using the YouTube app.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 FE Review: Final Verdict
Let’s get to the end of this Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 FE review. I’ve read lots of comments online saying that this tablet is unnecessary or useless because it’s much slower than the S7 even though both cost about the same now. And that’s correct. If you want lots of processing power and premium features like a fingerprint scanner, four speakers, and a 120Hz display, the S7 is a much better choice for you.
The Galaxy Tab S7 FE is interesting only if you want a large screen and don’t need a premium tablet like the S7 Plus or the 12.9-inch iPad Pro which are much pricier. That’s the highlight of the S7 FE. At a mid-range price, it offers a large and sharp 12.4-inch display.
It’s not a premium device but a mid-range tablet with a solid performance, a good screen, a high-end body, two keyboard options, and the S Pen is included. But due to its weak performance, it’s not a perfect gaming device and premium features like a fingerprint scanner are missing.
Let’s get to the alternatives.
When thinking about the S7 FE, you certainly should check out the Galaxy Tab S7 and S7 Plus which I mentioned many times already. The S7 Plus is much pricier but it offers a better AMOLED screen, is much faster, and has all the premium features you can think of. You can get these features and the fast performance from the standard S7 too and that one costs about as much as the S7 FE. But the 11-inch screen is a bit smaller.
Another big mid-range tablet is the Lenovo Tab P11 Pro which has an 11.5-inch screen. So, it’s a little bit smaller. Depending on where you’re from, prices are usually similar, and sometimes it’s a bit cheaper. Both tablets are similar. The P11 Pro has a great OLED screen. But since it’s a Pentile display, the S7 FE looks sharper. Make sure you compare prices locally. If they cost about the same, I would go for the S7 FE.
- Good 12.4-inch screen
- Premium built
- S Pen is included
- Up-to-date Android 11
- Samsung DeX
- Good keyboards
- Mid-range performance
- No fingerprint scanner
- No 120Hz screen
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