Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra Review


The tech business hasn’t ever gave the impression sure about whether or not tablets are fully their very own instrument class, or easiest served merely instead for laptops, and no tablet feels extra emblematic of that uncertainty than the Tab S8 Ultra.

With a huge 14in show, it is a gorgeous instrument for media intake and internet surfing – however with costs ranging from $1,099/£999 it’s exhausting to believe many of us losing that roughly cash to look at Netflix at the educate (finally, how may just you have enough money it after paying Netflix’s newly larger charges?).

The show’s dimension and side ratio glance so much like a pc’s, particularly with the keyboard duvet hooked up, and with Samsung’s DeX interface it is a strangely succesful laptop choice.

On the opposite hand, that keyboard case is each not obligatory and extortionately priced. Samsung does come with an S Pen stylus without spending a dime with the tablet, however that is too huge a tablet to easily dangle in a single hand and use a stylus with the opposite.

How neatly the Tab S8 Ultra works will rely so much on why it appeals to you – and what quantity of money you need to burn.

Design and construct

  • Enormous show
  • Slim however forged development
  • Noticeable notch

The very first thing that anybody notices concerning the Tab S8 Ultra is this factor is very large. This is Samsung’s first ‘Ultra’ tablet, and the corporate has long gone all out.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra

The 14.6in show isn’t just with ease higher than the 12.4in display of the Tab S8+, however may be a lot larger than Apple’s closest rival, the 12.9in iPad Pro. It’s a huge display, larger than many laptops, and naturally that makes the tablet as a complete lovely large.

To Samsung’s credit score, it’s labored exhausting to stay the S8 Ultra slender regardless of that. Somehow, virtually impossibly, that is simply 5.5mm thick – thinner than each the ones different two tablets. It’s this kind of engineering feat that feels a little bit like a magic trick, however a essential one to regulate what’s already a hefty weight: 726g for the Wi-Fi style, and 728g for those who upload in 5G.

That’s heavy for a tablet, particularly one chances are you’ll wish to dangle in a single hand with a stylus within the different. That implies that as a result of this dimension, the Ultra is downright awkward to make use of as a tablet a large number of the time – it is simply too large to with ease take notes on, use as an e-reader, and even simply use to browse the internet out of your settee.

Of route, this could be mild for a pc, however Samsung’s reputable Book Cover Keyboard weighs any other 644g in its personal appropriate, taking you as much as 1.37kg general – which is in reality heavier than some identical laptops. If you do choose to shop for the keyboard – which is an additional $349/£299 on its own – bear in mind that it is excellent, however no longer nice. It’s comfy sufficient to kind on, and I really like the expansive trackpad, however the display detaches somewhat too simply from the keyboard, and along with the kickstand its footprint is gigantic – this may not be a pleasant choice for operating from a aircraft or educate.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra keyboard

As for the way the Ultra appears to be like, Samsung has saved issues restrained. While the S8 and S8+ include some vibrant end choices, the Ultra is solely on be offering in Graphite gray. That dominates the tablet’s aluminium rear, except for a small Samsung brand, antennae strains, and black strip working alongside from the 2 rear cameras – the place the S Pen stylus can connect magnetically. If you favor, you’ll be able to additionally connect the S Pen to a few (even though no longer all) of the squared aspects.

From the entrance even though, there may be one standout design component: the notch. While Samsung has moved clear of notches on its top rate telephones – with punch-hole selfie cameras at the S22 sequence and an under-display digital camera at the Z Fold 3 – the corporate has made the bizarre selection to position the Tab S8 Ultra’s two front-facing lenses right into a notch.

Although the tablet does have sufficient of a bezel to carry onto, it it seems that didn’t permit enough room for those lenses. Fortunately, the slanted notch solely drops somewhat means into the show, so for essentially the most section it received’t get in the way in which of content material. This doesn’t really feel like essentially the most sublime means of dealing with selfie cameras in 2022, however in the end it doesn’t really feel like a significant problem.

In phrases of coverage, the S8 Ultra’s frame is constituted of Samsung’s Armour Aluminium, which I will be able to say from enjoy is no less than difficult sufficient to offer protection to an in a different way fragile Z Flip 3 from an unpleasant drop. The show is covered in Gorilla Glass 5 – even though no longer the most recent Victus same old – however there’s no IP ranking for mud and water-resistance coverage right here.

Display and audio

  • Enormous 14.6in AMOLED show
  • Widescreen 16:10 side ratio
  • S Pen stylus fortify
  • Quad audio system

The Tab S8 Ultra’s show is after all the principle reason why it’s so rattling large.

At 14.6in, this could be a fairly large display on a large number of laptops, let alongside tablets. As I’ve already mentioned, that makes the tablet as a complete cumbersome, however after all the perk is that there’s lots of display area, whether or not you need to make use of it for streaming Netflix or working more than one paintings apps side-by-side.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra display

You’d assume the latter will be the glaring focal point, however I’m no longer so certain. That’s partially as a result of Samsung has opted for an bizarre side ratio, with a large 16:10 show that’s a greater fit for Netflix originals and film streaming than it’s for productiveness, particularly at a time when work-focussed laptops are shifting in the wrong way, in opposition to boxier displays that supply additional vertical area.

That’s to not say that you’ll be able to’t paintings on a widescreen show like this – and naturally Samsung has incorporated a variety of tool equipment to just do that, which I’ll talk about later – however this seems like a display easiest fitted to observing on.

And to be honest, displays don’t get a lot better. This is a 120Hz AMOLED panel, able to clean animations and rapid body charges whilst rendering content material in gorgeous element and intensity at a crisp 1848 x 2960 solution. HDR10+ fortify rounds out the characteristic set, serving to supported content material glance its easiest – even though there’s no fortify for the Dolby Vision same old, regardless of the tablet’s spectacular quad audio system supporting Atmos.

Samsung has incorporated an in-display fingerprint sensor too, discovered alongside the ground of the display (or the right-hand facet, when the usage of it panorama). This is as rapid and dependable as you’d be expecting.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra S Pen

Of route the opposite key characteristic is this show helps enter from Samsung’s S Pen stylus, which comes incorporated with the tablet. This newest model has shaved the reaction fee such a lot that the stylus necessarily feels immediate, getting rid of the awkwardness from taking notes or drawing doodles.

The S Pen itself boasts just a unmarried button, however Samsung’s ‘air movements’ permit you to mix this with gestures to cause a spread of customisable results distinctive to every app, including an additional degree of capability to the stylus setup.

Specs and connectivity

  • Flagship Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chip
  • Up to 512GB garage and 16GB RAM
  • Optional 5G networking

You’d be nervous if a tablet this pricey didn’t have specifications to compare, however Samsung hasn’t skimped there.

The Tab S8 Ultra is powered by way of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 – the corporate’s maximum robust chip but – and may also be specced with as much as 16GB of RAM and 512GB of garage (even though this will likely make an already pricey tablet much more so).

If you don’t care concerning the RAM, consider that the S8 Ultra helps microSD playing cards as much as 1TB, so even the most affordable SKU can simply be expanded to provide much more garage.

Performance is inevitably spectacular. I’ve in reality been trying out out the S8 Ultra’s most cost-effective model, with 128GB garage and 8GB RAM, however I’ve discovered even this style in a position to with ease stay alongside of the rest I’ve thrown at it, together with multi-tasking more than one apps in split-screen for a complete paintings day.

In benchmarks that is essentially the most robust Android tablet we’ve examined but, even though it will have to be mentioned that it lags a ways in the back of Apple’s newest M1-powered iPads. Impressively, it manages to power quite prime body charges on GFXBench’s extra challenging graphics checks regardless of the prime WQXGA+ solution. I’d nervous that for the reason that construct is so slender I’d see overheating issues, however I haven’t spotted any thus far.

It’s price noting that the S8 Ultra is likely one of the merchandise that Samsung has admitted will have efficiency throttled in sure apps by way of the corporate’s Game Optimization Service, particularly many video games. This will restrict efficiency (within the title of shielding the {hardware} from overheating and different problems), even though Samsung is issuing patches to cut back the throttling behaviour.

The 8 Gen 1 may be able to offering 5G networking, even though you’ll must pay additional for it – by way of default the tablet is Wi-Fi-only. At the time of writing no US provider is providing the 5G style both, so American readers would possibly not get the choice in any respect.

Beyond 5G, you’ll in finding Wi-Fi 6E supported in conjunction with Bluetooth 5.2 There’s no NFC incorporated, however I believe that’s tremendous – I battle to examine many of us breaking a 14.6in tablet out to make a contactless fee with.

Battery and charging

  • Average battery lifestyles
  • Fast charging by way of tablet requirements
  • Charger no longer incorporated

A large show gave Samsung area for a large battery, with a whopping 11200mAh cellular right here – virtually triple the dimensions of an ordinary smartphone battery, and greater than maximum tablets too.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra battery

Of route, with that battery wanting to energy most sensible specifications and a large show, it does drain rapid. I’ve discovered it packs sufficient energy to remaining a piece day – which is most likely the most efficient bar for good fortune right here – however you’ll most probably wish to fee it afterwards. That method you received’t wish to concern an excessive amount of about bringing a charger out with you for those who’re operating at the pass, however will want to bear in mind to most sensible it up in a single day.

If that’s no longer an choice, charging is rapid – no less than by way of tablet requirements. The S8 Ultra can use as much as 45W charging speeds, which Samsung says can go back a complete fee in 82 mins. We check smaller time increments, and I discovered it achieve a 14% fee in quarter-hour, and a 29% fee in half-hour. That’s slower than Samsung predicts, and on that foundation I’d be expecting a complete fee to take extra like two hours.

There’s a very powerful caveat there even though: I wasn’t trying out with an reputable 45W Samsung charger. That’s as a result of Samsung doesn’t come with one within the field. I examined charging with a third-party 65W USB-C PD charger, and also you must have the ability to luckily use the rest equivalent – or certainly your phone charger – however consider that you may have to pay extra to buy the official plug to ensure Samsung’s most sensible speeds.

One different drawback is that there’s no wi-fi charging fortify right here. That’s no longer too large of a deal for a tablet – the sheer dimension method this could be awkward to put at the reasonable charging pad anyway – nevertheless it does additionally imply that there’s no opposite wi-fi charging, so you’ll be able to’t use this to most sensible up your phone or headphones at the pass.

Camera and video

  • Dual 12Mp front-facing cameras
  • 13Mp and 6Mp rear cameras
  • Trumps virtually any pc for video calls

The Tab S8 Ultra has a complete of 4 cameras, which would possibly sound like overkill for a tablet, however there may be some option to the insanity.

On the again you’ll discover a pair of lenses: a 13Mp major digital camera and a 6Mp ultrawide. I’ll be truthful, I’ve needed to drive myself to make use of those to check the tablet out, and I will be able to’t believe many circumstances by which folks would depend on them – that is a ways too cumbersome a tool to make use of as a digital camera in any conventional sense.

Still, without a doubt use circumstances exist, and the cameras right here aren’t dangerous in any respect, particularly in vivid mild. The ultrawide is proscribed, with low dynamic vary and splotchy main points, however the principle digital camera normally will get the process performed.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra camera test

The two front-facing cameras are arguably extra essential, as they’ll kick in if you wish to use the Tab S8 Ultra for video calls – and whether or not or no longer you purchase into the notch will in point of fact hinge on their high quality.

Both lenses use 12Mp sensors, even though there’s nonetheless a slight high quality drop as you turn to the ultrawide – even though a lot much less so than with the rear cameras.

In stills each cameras take detailed colourful photographs, however the principle lens handles dynamic vary and difficult lighting fixtures higher.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra camera

More importantly, they’re each succesful in relation to video, and that is one space the place the Tab S8 Ultra can edge virtually any pc available on the market – if you wish to take a video name at the pass the usual for pc webcams stays embarrassingly low, whilst each those lenses keep pores and skin tone and element and will accommodate various kinds of lighting fixtures neatly.

Software and updates

  • Ships with Android 12 and OneUI 4.1
  • Four years of Android updates promised
  • Optional Samsung DeX desktop interface

The Tab S8 Ultra ships working Android 12 with Samsung’s OneUI 4.1 interface on most sensible. This permits some seamless integration with different Samsung units – akin to screen-sharing or report shifting with Samsung telephones or laptops, or fast pairing with Galaxy Buds headphones – but in addition brings with it a couple of tablet-specific optimisations.

The main one is DeX mode, an not obligatory mode that turns on a desktop-style interface. This is clearly designed for productiveness at first, and makes essentially the most sense when paired with the keyboard case and a mouse or trackpad – it in point of fact is the realisation of it is a pc substitute.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra

For essentially the most section DeX mode works easily, however there are hiccups. Not each and every app is optimised for the mode, and a few will flag warnings whilst you open them about conceivable inconsistencies. I didn’t understand too many issues, aside from one who was once a significant headache for my non-public workflow: 1Password refused to run in any respect whilst DeX mode was once lively, which means I needed to transfer out each and every time I sought after to log into an account any place. Not ultimate.

You don’t have to make use of DeX after all, or even with out it you’ll be able to arrange a productive paintings area. Samsung has one of the most easiest multi-tasking equipment in Android at this time, and with this huge show it’s simple to arrange more than one home windows side-by-side or turn between apps. I in point of fact did in finding that I may just with ease paintings at the S8 Ultra, even though given the selection I’d nonetheless go for a complete Windows pc 9 occasions out of ten.

This is in part as a result of there stay small indicators that Android merely isn’t easiest on tablets. For instance, the widescreen 14.6in show must be very best for media streaming – however whilst Netflix makes the many of the massive panel, the Disney+ app refuses to maximize content material to suit the show, forcing me to look at Moon Knight with letterboxing round all 4 aspects of the content material. Plenty of different apps fail to take advantage of the distance to be had, regularly as a result of they do not have tablet-optimised variations for Android in any respect.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra

Problems like this may increasingly give a boost to when Samsung makes a decision to replace the Tab S8 Ultra to Android 12L, Google’s contemporary model replace focussed on large displays. This features a taskbar and more straightforward split-screen paintings, even though since OneUI already comprises a lot of this it’s exhausting to understand how large a transformation 12L would in point of fact make right here.

The excellent information is that Samsung has already showed it plans to factor the replace, as a part of a beneficiant replace promise for the Tab S8 line. This tablet will obtain 4 years of Android model updates – essentially the most of any tablet available in the market – with a 5th 12 months of safety patches. That will see it obtain no longer solely this 12 months’s Android 13, however pass the entire method to Android 16 in 2025, with protecting patches thru 2026.

Price and availability

It received’t come as any wonder that the Tab S8 Ultra isn’t reasonable. It begins from $1,099/£999 for the 8GB/128GB Wi-Fi solely style, emerging to $1,399/$1,249 for the 16GB/512GB model – and the entire means as much as £1,399 so as to add 5G onto that model in the United Kingdom. We’re rounding up the most efficient Tab S8 sequence offers now we have discovered that will help you shave that value down even though.

That’s no longer the entire price even though. While the S Pen stylus is incorporated, the keyboard case isn’t – and at $349/£299 it’s a considerable further price. If you’re hoping to make use of the S8 Ultra to paintings on, as possibly might be, the beginning value is then successfully $1,449/£1,299.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra

In equity to Samsung, Apple’s 12.9in iPad Pro stays in a similar fashion pricey, ranging from $1,099/£999, and neither are dangerous price given the specifications on be offering – however maximum tablet customers merely do not want all that energy, and people who do could be higher served by way of a pc.

If you most commonly need a tablet to look at Netflix one, you’ll be able to in finding a very good one for far much less – even inside of Samsung’s personal Tab S8 vary – even though admittedly with a dinkier display. And if you need it basically to paintings on, for a similar value as this tablet and the keyboard case you’ll in reality in finding that there are very good laptops to be had that may beat this on efficiency and ease-of-use.

Verdict

The Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra is, from a natural {hardware} standpoint, virtually indubitably the most efficient Android tablet round. Excellent efficiency is matched by way of a narrow design that assists in keeping the entire bundle as light-weight and comfy as conceivable given the colossal show.

The query is who the S8 Ultra is for. Great as that show is for observing TV and picture, that is indisputably too pricey a tool for many to select up for media streaming or Android gaming.

And whilst it’s a succesful paintings instrument, when you throw within the keyboard case the calibre of pc possible choices improves greatly, maximum of which is able to nonetheless be higher paintings machines due to the tool boundaries endemic to Android on tablets.

Of route, the actual edge this is versatility. No inexpensive tablets will fit the S8 Ultra’s productiveness prowess, and not one of the laptops can compete as media units.

For the Tab S8 Ultra to make sense as a purchase order, you’ll most likely wish to wish to use it for either one of those – or no less than know evidently that you simply’ll employ the tablet shape issue as regularly as you’re going to the pc mode.

If you’ll be able to have enough money it – and extra importantly, justify it – that is not going to disappoint. But at this value, maximum people are having a look in different places.

Specs

Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra: Specs

  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1
  • 8/12/16GB RAM
  • 128/256/512GB garage (expandable as much as 1TB)
  • 14.6in 120Hz AMOLED show (1848×2960 at 240ppi)
  • Dual rear cameras: huge (13Mp, f/2.0) and ultrawide (6Mp, f/2.2)
  • Dual front-facing cameras: huge (12Mp, f/2.2) and ultrawide (12Mp, f/2.4)
  • Quad stereo audio system
  • Wi-Fi 6E
  • Bluetooth 5.2
  • 5G (not obligatory)
  • S Pen stylus (incorporated)
  • 11200mAh battery
  • 45W stressed out charging
  • 326.4 x 208.6 x 5.5 mm
  • 726g (Wi-Fi) or 728g (5G)



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