The Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 and Galaxy Tab S7+ are two very interesting tablets that directly compete with the Apple iPad Pro. Among its highlights are the S Pen, the Samsung DeX desktop mode, and an optional keyboard cover. With prices starting at 650 Dollars, they’re quite expensive though. Are they worth it? That’s what you’ll learn in this Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 and S7+ review.
Let’s quickly take a look at their prices. The 11-inch Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 starts at 650 US Dollars, while you’ll have to pay at least 850 Dollars for the Galaxy Tab S7+. I like that the S Pen is included at no extra charge which is not the case with almost all competitors. For the keyboards, you’ve got to pay at least 200 Dollars extra. And if you want, you can pay more for more storage, LTE, and 5G.
Display: AMOLED & LCD
I’m starting this review with their displays because this usually is one of the highlights of premium Samsung devices. And that certainly is true for the Galaxy Tab S7+. Here we’re getting a very pretty 12.4-inch Super AMOLED screen with a resolution of 2800 x 2752 pixels. With that resolution, texts and icons look very sharp.
This Super AMOLED display is the best screen you can get in a tablet right now. It has much deeper blacks than the iPad Pro, a great contrast, lots of saturation, and it’s very bright. This time Samsung also supports a refresh rate of 120Hz which means that animations, supported games, and drawings with the pen look as smooth as on an iPad Pro. I think that’s fantastic. These are the first Android tablets with a 120Hz panel.
Yes, I’m saying these in the plural, because the Galaxy Tab S7 supports 120Hz too. And with 2560 x 1600 pixels on 11-inches it’s even a tiny bit sharper. But, sadly, that’s where the good similarities with the Tab S7+ end. For whatever reason Samsung decided to use an LCD screen instead of an AMOLED one for the Tab S7. That’s super disappointing. Sure, it’s a great LCD panel compared to other Android tablets. But compared to the S7+, blacks look a bit washed out.
By the way, there used to be a kind of jelly effect with Samsung’s AMOLED screens in the past, like on the Galaxy Tab S5e. That is mostly fixed now and I think the reason for that is the 120Hz refresh rate.
You can watch Netflix with HD resolution on both devices. But the Galaxy Tab S7+ is the only one that supports HDR10+.
So, if you care about the screen and want to watch movies and TV shows, the S7+ will give you a better experience. Interestingly, that also is the case for sound quality. Both have four great speakers but the S7+ sounds a bit fuller and has a deeper bass.
Samsung S Pen
A major highlight is the S Pen and that stylus is and works the same on both tablets. It’s an active, pressure-sensitive pen that can detect 4096 levels of pressure sensitivity. There’s one button on its side and you can attach it magnetically to the side of the tablet.
The S Pen works without having to be charged and, in fact, you can use every S Pen Samsung makes. They’re all interchangeable. But some features are special to the Galaxy Tab S7 series and that’s why these pens have a battery. With the pens, you can use wireless gestures and for these, they do need to be charged. For that, you just place them on the back of the tablet.
But, again, for handwriting and drawings, they don’t need to be charged, so if you don’t need those gestures, you never have to worry about charging them.
Using gestures, you can quickly start a new note, always return to the home screen, and scroll through the gallery. Most are not that useful. But I like that you can use the S Pen as a trigger for the camera. And the only feature that can be super useful for some is that it can act as a remote when giving a presentation in PowerPoint. That’s nice.
Most want to use the S Pen for handwritten notes, to annotate PDFs, or to draw with. And this is where the stylus shines and it did improve quite a bit compared to the Galaxy Tab S6. The pen reacts and draws super-fast now, almost instantly. I guess the 120Hz display is another reason why it looks so instant.
As usual, Samsung built-in lots of software features for the stylus. The most important one is the Samsung Notes app. With it, you can create notes, draw something, and even import and annotate PDFs now. That works great and I think most won’t have to install a third-party app for that.
With the so-called Air Commands, you can quickly start a new note no matter which app you’re currently using. And you can quickly take screenshots and annotate them. There’s also a very handy translation feature and many more.
Inside the keyboard and Samsung Notes, you can use handwriting recognition too.
If drawing is your hobby or you even do it professionally, you can do that with Clip Studio which is a pre-installed and very professional looking drawing app. Noteshelf is pre-installed too. That’s another note-taking app that some like.
So, I have nothing bad to say about the S Pen at all. It’s fantastic.
Hardware & Performance
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 and S7+ both feature a Qualcomm Snapdragon 865+ SoC which is pretty much the fastest chip you can get in an Android device at the moment. Depending on the versions, you also get 6GB or 8GB of RAM, as well as a 128GB, 256GB, or 512GB internal storage. LTE and 5G are optional.
In benchmarks like Geekbench 5 and 3D Mark, both tablets perform much better than the Galaxy Tab S6 from last year, and with that, better than every other Android tablet. But Apple’s iPad Pro continues to be much faster and that includes the older 2018 versions.
And no, that’s not just in benchmarks. I rendered the same 9-minute 4K video in Adobe Premiere Rush on the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 and Apple iPad Pro. And even though Samsung’s tablet is much newer, it’s much slower. On the Tab S7+, Premiere Rush is not supported right now, but the result should be almost identical anyway.
Well, they’re still the fastest Android tablets out there and that means that you can play pretty much every game on them. Fortnite performs very well with the graphics set to “epic”, for instance, and the same goes for other games like PUBG Mobile and Call Of Duty.
I don’t think that most games can actually use the 120Hz display but some certainly can. Among them are games like Mortal Kombat, Grimvalor, and Off The Road. They look and perform great.
Everything else runs great too, of course. I worked a lot in the Samsung DeX desktop mode and even with Microsoft Word, Chrome, YouTube, Samsung Notes, and other apps open, both tablets are super smooth. They are very fast and thanks to their big RAM, multitasking works great. I also edited 24-megapixel RAW files in Adobe Lightroom and the performance is good.
Software: Android 10 & One UI
Samsung is shipping the Galaxy Tab S7 and S7+ with the same software which is Android 10 and OneUI in version 2.5. That’s the own interface from Samsung. This time, Samsung is promising to update its newest tablets for at least three years. So, they should be updated to Android 11, 12, and even 13 in the future. In the past, the Galaxy Tab S series has usually gotten two updates only.
I’m sure you’re familiar with Android 10. All standard Android features work and are supported. Often, Samsung even improved them a bit and that’s the case for the split-screen-view. You can also open apps in free-floating windows on top of other apps. And there’s a kind of dock that you can quickly pull up from the side to access apps or to do some multitasking.
Sure, sometimes it’s nice to use vanilla Android. But I like the interface from Samsung because it looks modern and performs very snappy.
Next to the S Pen features the second most important software feature that Samsung built-in is Samsung DeX. That’s their desktop mode that has been part of their premium devices for a while now. In the past, I only used them for my reviews. But DeX has been improved a lot and this time, I used it a lot. And I want to use it, I don’t have to force myself like I had to in the past.
With Samsung DeX, Android gets transformed into a kind of desktop operating system with a desktop and a taskbar. It looks similar to the desktop of Microsoft Windows. And you can kind of work like on Windows. It makes no sense to use DeX with the touchscreen only. But it can be super useful if you’re using the keyboard cover, maybe even an external monitor, or if you’re using another keyboard and mouse.
Apps are opened in free-floating windows but you can make them full-screen too. Or you have four opened at the same time. And you can even open games like this. Often, I have something running on YouTube in the background while working in Microsoft Word and Chrome. And Gmail is open too.
To have YouTube continue to run in a background window, I think you’ve got to be a YouTube Premium subscriber. That’s Google’s fault and not Samsung’s.
Some workflows mostly work like on a desktop machine. To launch a new app, you can just hit the Cmd key, for instance, and start to type the name of the app. I always do that in Windows 10 too.
In Chrome, you can open a new tab by hitting Cmd + T, just as you would on a desktop system. Sometimes you run into smaller issues though. In Chrome, for instance, if you open a new tab, you’ve got to click into the text field first to type in a link. On a normal desktop, you usually can start to type immediately. And Chrome shows you the mobile versions of websites. But you can force it to show you the desktop version, just as you can on a phone.
There are some other issues I encountered. The autofill feature of the password manager LastPass does not work in Samsung DeX, for example. Nothing major, but there are some things that Samsung can improve.
Design & Built Quality
I think the design of the Galaxy Tab S7 series looks very modern. Samsung is using sharper edges now, just as we’ve seen on the iPad Pro. It’s made of aluminum and is very premium-feeling – just as you would expect from a high-end tablet. The larger one is a bit thinner with just 5.7mm compared to the 6.3mm of the standard Tab S7.
Samsung is offering versions in black, silver, and bronze.
As is common in pricier devices these days, a headphone jack is missing. But we do still get a microSD card slot and the tablets have a USB C 3.2 Gen 1 port. That means in addition to external SSDs and other accessories, you can also connect external monitors.
The Galaxy Tab S7+ has a fingerprint scanner that is hidden underneath the screen which looks very modern. On the standard Tab S7, on the other hand, that fingerprint reader is built into the home button. Both work fast and seem very precise.
On the front, we get an 8-megapixel webcam which is great for video chats and occasional selfies. And on the back, there’s a 13-megapixel main camera that takes great photos and videos too. There’s a 5-megapixel wide-angle-camera as well which is certainly nice to have but due to the low-resolution photos don’t look very detailed.
Samsung Keyboard Cover
If you want to work with your tablet while traveling or in cafes, you can get an official Samsung keyboard cover. The ones for the Tab S7 and Tab S7+ are mostly the same. But the S7+ one is bigger and has an additional functions row. I have the one for the S7 only.
The Samsung Keyboard Cover consists of two parts. One part is a back cover that attaches magnetically to the back of the tablet. It features a kickstand that you can use without the keyboard. And there’s protection for the S Pen too.
The second part is the keyboard which attaches magnetically as well. If you fold them together, the screen and back are protected but the corners are free to get scratches.
Well, I think the keyboard itself is very good. The keys have a proper travel and even the smaller Galaxy Tab S7 keyboard is big enough to type on comfortably. Like I always say of Microsoft’s keyboards and the Apple Magic Keyboard, I think Samsung’s too is a great compromise of comfort and portability. I do wish, however, that you could angle up the keyboard a bit. It’s always sitting flat on the table.
There’s a touchpad sitting below the keyboard. It works fine but is much smaller than on a laptop.
So, yes, I think if you’re willing to spend around 200 Dollars on a keyboard, I think the official ones from Samsung are good. They did improve compared to the Galaxy Tab S6. But remember, when you’re working at home at a desk or so, you can also connect almost every standard keyboard.
When streaming HD videos on YouTube at maximum brightness, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7+ lasts 7.5 hours and the Galaxy Tab S7 lasts 8 hours. So, the battery life is not outstanding, but good.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S7+ Review: Final Verdict
So, let’s get to the end of this Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 and Galaxy Tab S7+ review. Should you get one of them? Well, you’ve seen it. Both are the best Android tablets you can buy right now, with the Galaxy Tab S7+ being the better of the two thanks to its amazing Super AMOLED screen. I think both tablets are a great choice if you’re willing to spend a bit of money and want an Android tablet, the S Pen, and Samsung DeX.
I work a lot in cafes and in the last couple of weeks, I used the Galaxy Tab S7 instead of an iPad Pro. That’s because, for me, 11-inches are best suited. Anyways, the point is that I didn’t miss the iPad. Thanks to the good keyboard cover, Samsung DeX, and the fast performance and a good screen, I never had the feeling of missing something from the iPad.
That might change, however, when I’m traveling again and want to edit photos while being away from my laptop. On an iPad, you can use Adobe Photoshop and alternatives like Affinity Photo. And, as my video render test shows, even the two-year-old iPad Pro from 2018 continues to be faster than the Galaxy Tab S7.
Now, I know that most people don’t want to edit videos with their tablets. But that doesn’t matter – it just shows that a 2-year-old tablet is faster which is an embarrassment for Samsung. I know, if you’re an Android fan like I am too, it can be annoying to always hear comparisons with Apple’s stuff. But that’s part of a fair review.
Pure performance is not everything, of course. The Galaxy Tab S7 and Tab S7+ do have many unique features like the Super AMOLED screen, Samsung DeX, the fantastic S Pen, and they’re a bit cheaper. I will continue to use the Galaxy Tab S7 for at least a couple of more months to see how I’ll use it in the long-run. But due to the bigger selection of tablet-optimized apps, and better performance, I think for many the iPad Pro continues to be the better tablet. Unless you specifically want Android, of course.
As usual, let’s check out some alternatives.
If you want to save some money, you can check out the Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite. Now, it’s performance and screen are much weaker than the Galaxy Tab S7 and you can’t get an official keyboard. But it comes with an S Pen too and the software features are almost the same – except for Samsung DeX, which is not supported. Prices start at just 350 Dollars.
For those of you that don’t need the S Pen but want a great, cheaper tablet for watching movies, then you can check out the Samsung Galaxy Tab S5e. It has four good speakers and a very pretty Super AMOLED screen. The performance is much weaker but it does support Samsung DeX.
Pricier alternatives are both the 11-inch and 12.9-inch Apple iPad Pro tablets that I mentioned a couple of times already. Here I like the much bigger selection of apps because you can even get very professional ones like Adobe Photoshop and Affinity Photo. Apple’s competition is a bit pricier though – and a lot pricier if you factor in the Apple Pencil which you’ve got to buy extra. But I still consider them to be the best pure tablets you can buy.
- Fantastic screens
- High-end build quality
- Fingerprint scanners
- Great speakers
- Android 10 with three updates
- Fastest Android tablets in 2020
- S Pen is included
- Good keyboard cover
- 2018 iPad Pro is faster
- No AMOLED for Tab S7
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