Every year Samsung causes a stir in the Android tablet market by launching its premium lineup of tablets in the S-series. This year, the company disrupted the market with the Tab S9 series. But the flagship series might not be an ideal option for every buyer so Samsung has now launched a more affordable Fan Edition of the Tab S9, the Tab S9 FE. Today, we compare Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 FE vs Galaxy Tab S9 to gauge how they stack up against each other.
When comparing the Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 FE to its more expensive counterpart, it’s clear that some compromises were made to achieve a lower price point. While the functionality and design are similar, the display and processing power have been downgraded. However, depending on your specific needs, the Galaxy Tab S9 FE could still be a suitable option. Here is a comprehensive comparison between the Galaxy Tab S9 FE and the Galaxy Tab S9, providing you with all the information you need to make an informed decision.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 FE vs Galaxy Tab S9: Specs Overview
|Specs||Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 FE||Samsung Galaxy Tab S9|
|CPU||Exynos 1380 Octa-Core with 6GB/8GB RAM||Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy with 8GB/12GB RAM|
|Display||10.9-inch LCD 2304×1440 90Hz||11-inch AMOLED 2560×1600 120Hz|
|Storage||128GB / 256GB with microSD expansion||128GB / 256GB with microSD expansion|
|Operating System||Android 13 with One UI 5.1.1||Android 13 with One UI 5.1.1|
|Cameras||8MP rear, 12MP ultra-wide front||13MP rear, 12MP ultra-wide front|
|Fingerprint sensor||Physical fingerprint sensor embedded into Power key||In-display fingerprint scanner|
|Connectivity||Wi-Fi 6 / 5G||Wi-Fi 6E / 5G|
|Measurements||165.8×254.3×6.5 mm||254.3×165.8×5.9 mm|
Pricing and Availability
The Galaxy Tab S9 hit the market in July 2023, with wide availability since August. It’s priced at around $800 for the Wi-Fi-only model and approximately $1,150 for the 5G variant. On the other hand, the Galaxy Tab S9 FE was unveiled on October 3, 2023, with a release date set for October 10, 2023. It starts at a much more wallet-friendly $449 for the base model, featuring 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage.
Design and Display
Both the Tab S9 and Tab S9 FE share a modern aesthetic, with sleek designs that appeal to discerning users. However, the Tab S9 FE makes a slight departure in terms of S Pen placement. Unlike its sibling, the Tab S9 FE opts for a side attachment for the S Pen, similar to how an iPad does it, rather than featuring a rear ridge.
The Galaxy Tab S9 boasts an impressive 11-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X display with a super-smooth 120Hz refresh rate and HDR10+ support. The vivid colors, deep blacks, and high refresh rate make it ideal for multimedia consumption and smooth scrolling. In contrast, the Galaxy Tab S9 FE offers a 10.9-inch LCD screen with a slightly lower 90Hz refresh rate.
When it comes to the display, both tablets offer adaptive refresh rates and similar resolutions. However, the Tab S9 FE uses an LCD panel instead of AMOLED, with a 90Hz refresh rate compared to the Tab S9’s 120Hz. While this results in slightly less impressive contrast levels and marginally less smooth navigation, it caters well to everyday use.
The Tab S9 FE’s display is slightly smaller, but it retains a comparable chassis size, resulting in a tad thicker bezels. Intriguingly, despite the smaller screen, the Tab S9 FE is marginally thicker and heavier. These differences are minimal, making both tablets highly portable.
For those who appreciate personalization, the Tab S9 FE offers a more vibrant range of color options, including Mint, Lavender, Gray, and Silver. In contrast, the Tab S9 is available in the more understated Graphite and Beige.
Also Read: Galaxy Tab S9, S9+ & Ultra Review
Hardware and Performance
The most significant difference between these tablets lies in their processing power. The Tab S9 boasts Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor, a powerhouse known for its speed with 8GB or 12GB of RAM. In contrast, the Tab S9 FE relies on Samsung’s Exynos 1380, a chip found in mid-range phones and 6GB or 8GB of RAM. The Exynos 1380 is adept at handling daily tasks like web browsing and social media but may falter when tackling demanding games or extensive multitasking. Additionally, the Tab S9 FE offers less RAM, making it less suitable for multitasking-intensive workflows.
The Tab S9 provides two storage options – 128GB and 256GB, giving users ample space for apps, media, and files. In comparison, the Tab S9 FE also comes with 128GB and 256GB storage options. Both tablets provide identical storage options and the flexibility to expand storage via a microSD card.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 FE is currently the best mid-range tablet with a pen. We get a pretty good overall package here with a high-resolution 10.9-inch 90Hz IPS display, a great design, latest software with long updates, and the S Pen, which is included. The S9 FE has many premium features such as a fingerprint reader, good speakers, and a water and dust-resistant body. It would be even better if the processor was more powerful. So, it's not a perfect gaming tablet.
- Premium design
- IP 68 certification
- Pretty 90Hz display
- Fingerprint reader
- Up-to-date software
- Good speakers
- S Pen is included
- Good keyboard cover
- Performance just average
Both tablets equip a single rear camera and a front-facing selfie camera. The front cameras on both devices sport a 12MP sensor. However, the rear camera on the Tab S9 FE is equipped with an 8MP main shooter, while the standard Tab S9 boasts a 13MP camera. It’s essential to note that neither tablet’s camera is meant to compete with flagship smartphones. Instead, they provide convenience for tasks like video calls and casual photography.
Software and Connectivity
Both tablets come with the S Pen stylus and are resistant to water and dust with an IP68 rating. They both operate on Android 13 with Samsung’s One UI 5.1.1 skin, providing a modern and feature-packed user experience. Samsung provides four major OS upgrades and five years of software patches for both their tablet lineups.
Surprisingly, the Galaxy Tab S9 FE series appears to lack DeX support. Samsung’s desktop mode was enhanced with the release of the Galaxy Tab S9, featuring more window multitasking options and an improved taskbar. The tablets can also be used to extend or reflect a PC’s display. If you desire this feature, it is recommended to opt for the premier Tab S9 series or an older Samsung flagship tablet.
Another notable difference comes in the form of fingerprint sensor. The Tab S9 features an in-display sensor while the Tab S9 FE settles for a physical fingerprint scanner embedded into the power key.
The Tab S9 tablet boasts quad stereo speakers that are fine-tuned by AKG and support Dolby Atmos, providing an immersive audio experience for all multimedia content. On the other hand, the Tab S9 FE tablet may not deliver the same audio richness as the Tab S9, although it still offers dual speakers tuned by AKG and supports Dolby Atmos.
If you value high-speed connectivity options, the Tab S9 is the better choice as it supports 5G, LTE, Wi-Fi 6E, Wi-Fi Direct, and Bluetooth 5.3. The Tab S9 FE, however, only has Wi-Fi 802.11 ac and Bluetooth 5.3, and 5G is optional.
In summary, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 outperforms the Tab S9 FE in nearly every aspect but comes with a significantly higher price tag. The choice between the two tablets depends on your intended use.
If you require a tablet for video editing, intensive image editing, or playing the latest high-fidelity games, the Galaxy Tab S9 is the better choice. It offers a more powerful processor, more RAM, and a superior display with more accurate color rendition.
On the other hand, if you simply want a mid-range tablet for streaming and browsing social media, and performing regular tasks, the Galaxy Tab S9 FE is the cost-effective option. It offers almost the same functionality as the Tab S9 but at a more budget-friendly price.
If you currently own a Galaxy Tab S8, we don’t think it’s worth upgrading to the Galaxy Tab S9 FE line. At the very least, you will continue to benefit from software updates for the next three years. However, if you have a mid-range tablet that’s suffering from performance lag and want to upgrade to an affordable Samsung tablet, then the Tab S9 FE could be a good upgrade for you without spending big bucks.
Ultimately, your decision should align with your specific needs and budget. We are yet to get our hands-on the latest Tab S9 FE and Tab S9 FE+ but we have reviewed the Galaxy Tab S9 series. Check out our honest review of the Tab S9 series after using it for around 2 months. Also, subscribe to our YouTube channel to stay updated with all the latest and greatest in the world of tablets!
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