Samsung has just given the Android tablet space a big boost by launching three devices of its new Galaxy Tab S8 series. The Galaxy Tab S8, Galaxy Tab S8+ and Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra are aimed at different price points to appeal to a wide audience. The Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra is one of the most powerful Android tablets you can get in the market as it is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 SoC. It’s also one of the largest Android tablets out there, with a massive 14.6-inch display. Is the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra the best Android tablet money can buy, or has Samsung gone a little too far? let’s find out
Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra price in India
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra is available in a single configuration with 12GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. You can choose between Wi-Fi only and 5G enabled versions and these cost Rs. 1,08,999 and Rs. 1,22,999 respectively. The tablet only comes in a single Graphite color.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra theme
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra is the largest tablet I’ve ever used. It has a massive 14.6-inch display with a small notch on the top (when held in landscape mode). The notch houses a dual camera setup and is barely visible when the tablet is used in landscape mode. However, you will notice it if you hold the tablet in portrait mode. Samsung has kept the edges thin, which looks nice, but that makes it difficult to hold the tablet without touching the screen. The 726g weight is noticeable, and I often found myself resting the tablet on a table or on my lap when using it.
Samsung has managed to keep the tablet surprisingly thin at just 5.5mm. In landscape mode, you’ll find the power and volume buttons in the top-left corner and the SIM tray in the top-right. You get four speakers on the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra with two on each side. In addition, the left side has a microphone, while the right one has a USB Type-C port. There’s an in-display fingerprint scanner that’s easy to reach with your right thumb when holding the tablet. The bottom has a proprietary three-pin connector with notches on either side for attaching compatible accessories like the Book Cover Keyboard, which Samsung also sent for this review.
The back is metal, giving this tablet a premium look and feel. A camera module with two camera sensors is located at the top, with a glossy black stripe extending below it. This is the wireless charging mechanism for the S Pen, which snaps into place magnetically. Samsung bundles the S Pen along with a long USB Type-C to Type-C cable, but you don’t get a charger in the box.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra specifications and software
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra has a Super AMOLED display with a resolution of 2960 x 1848 pixels. It has a peak refresh rate of 120Hz and defaults to that. Four speakers tuned by AKG complement the huge display. The Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 SoC, currently the most powerful SoC you can get on an Android tablet. In India, it only comes with 12GB of RAM and 256GB of storage, but the storage is expandable thanks to the microSD card slot.
You get support for Bluetooth 5.2, Wi-Fi 6E and five satellite navigation systems. It also supports the WiDi (Wireless Display) standard, allowing you to use the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra as a secondary display with compatible Windows devices. The cellular model works with both 5G and existing 4G networks. The Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra packs a massive 11,200mAh battery and supports 45W fast charging, but you’ll need to buy a charger separately.
On the software side, the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra runs Android 12 with OneUI 4.1 at the top. It was running the February 2022 Android security patch, which is a bit out of date. The user interface is polished and very easy to use. Samsung offers the traditional three-button navigation layout and you can switch to swipe-based navigation. Multitasking is very easy; You can share the screen with two different apps or open multiple apps in their own windows. You can take full advantage of the big screen by opening multiple apps at the same time.
The S Pen lets you perform actions similar to those on Samsung’s Galaxy Note phones, such as: B. Take notes, select a part of the screen to capture it in a screenshot, and even launch your favorite apps. Air Actions allows you to perform specific actions by holding down the button on the S Pen and moving it around. You can also sketch or paint with the S Pen in compatible apps. The coloring felt therapeutic, and the S Pen surprised me with its low latency. It almost felt like drawing on paper.
The Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra lets you call and text if you have a recent Samsung smartphone, just like you can with Apple’s ecosystem. To do this, you need to sign in with the same Samsung account on all devices. Another notable feature is the ability to use the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra as a second screen with a Windows laptop or as an input surface for drawing with the S Pen. This should be handy for artists.
Samsung’s Dex feature gives you an almost PC-like experience on the tablet. Samsung is selling a Book Cover Keyboard case for Rs. 22,999 in India. While the price is on the higher side, these accessories almost make the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra pass as a 2-in-1 convertible laptop. This Book Cover Keyboard case consists of two parts. One attaches magnetically to the back of the tablet as a stand and has a neat pocket for the S Pen stylus. The other is the keyboard, which aligns with the ports on the bottom of the tablet to work. I wrote part of this review on the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra and found the keyboard to have good key travel and feedback. The trackpad on the Book Cover Keyboard case was also decent, but not as comfortable as using a standard laptop.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra performance, cameras and battery life
Packed with a really powerful SoC, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra can run pretty much anything you throw at it. You can easily run any game or app from play store on this device. Apps load quickly and the tablet can multitask effortlessly thanks to the 12GB of RAM. The large Super AMOLED display with its thin bezels offers an immersive experience and I enjoyed watching videos. The high refresh rate made scrolling feel smooth. Samsung’s AKG-tuned quad-speaker setup was loud enough to fill a small room with sound.
Samsung’s built-in fingerprint scanner quickly unlocked the tablet and never took more than one try. This tablet also allows face recognition, which is very handy when you use it with the Book Cover Keyboard case.
I ran synthetic benchmarks and the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra produced some impressive results. It scored 8,62,739 in the AnTuTu benchmark, which is even higher than the score of the Galaxy S22 Ultra (Review). It also managed 11,972 points in the PCMark Work 3.0 benchmark while maxing out 3DMark’s Sling Shot and Sling Shot Extreme tests.
Personally, I found the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra too big to play first-person shooter games like Call of Duty: Mobile. Apart from that, it was able to run the game with graphics setting “Very High” and frame rate on “Max”. I didn’t notice any lag or stuttering during gaming, and the tablet showed no signs of heating even after 20 minutes of gaming. I noticed a five percent drop in battery life after my gaming session.
After using the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra for over two weeks, I can say that it offers decent battery life. The idle power consumption is low, which helps the tablet save power when not in use. However, pushing it to its limits resulted in higher battery drain than I expected. With my occasional use, which included idling at times, the battery lasted between two and three days before the tablet needed to be plugged in.
Heavy users should still be able to get a whole day out of this tablet. It only managed 10 hours and 9 minutes in our HD video loop test, but given the size of the display, I’ll take it easy. Samsung doesn’t pack a charger in the box, which I find unacceptable for a tablet that costs over 1 lakh rupees. The Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra supports 45W fast charging. I used a 68W USB PD charger, which charged it to 29 percent in 30 minutes and 57 percent in an hour. It was fully charged in less than two hours.
As for the cameras, the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra has dual camera setups on the front and back. There are two 12-megapixel cameras on the front, one with a wide-angle lens and the other with an ultra-wide-angle lens. On the back, it has a 13-megapixel main camera and a 6-megapixel ultra-wide camera. Given the size of this tablet, it’s best not to take photos with it, but it does take decent pictures indoors. The selfie cameras are quite powerful and the video recording resolution goes up to 4K. These cameras have an auto-framing feature that automatically pans and zooms the subject, just like the Center Stage feature on certain Apple iPad models. I was able to use this auto-framing feature both during video recording and during video calls, and it was pretty handy.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra is the largest and most powerful Android tablet you can buy right now. The Book Cover Keyboard Case (which needs to be purchased separately) makes it much more versatile. Owning a Samsung smartphone gives you some ecosystem benefits. This tablet will appeal to digital artists and graphic designers who could benefit from the S Pen stylus and that could justify its high cost.
For users who want a tablet for media consumption and don’t have money to spend, the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra might also be worth considering. However, I feel it would be overkill for such use cases, both in terms of size and cost. This is the perfect example of how good Android tablets can become, but it has very niche appeal. The Samsung Galaxy Tab S8+ offers the same hardware in a more manageable size, and that would be my recommendation for most people. Those open to alternatives can consider the 12.9-inch Apple iPad Pro instead.