Great | Differentiating Features
New Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 SoC. 120Hz, Super AMOLED display. S-Pen included. Android updates until 2027.
Good | Most Have It
Sleek design, good battery life, cameras, and speakers.
Average | Competitors May Be Better
Android on tablets is still in the shadow of iPadOS. Performance still can’t match Apple’s flagship. Pricey.
Much like in the phone business, Apple’s main rival in the tablet market is Samsung (well, except for Microsoft). Like its predecessor, the Galaxy Tab S8+ has been hailed as the best Android slate ever built, and it’s easy to see why. We’ve opted for the “plus” model as it’s got a few advantages over the smaller Galaxy Tab S8 in addition to its 12.4-inch (2800 x 1752, 266ppi) 120Hz, 16:10 display.
The Galaxy Tab S8+ uses a Super AMOLED panel that makes content look fantastic, with vibrant, gorgeous colors and perfect blacks that are ideal for outdoor viewing. It’s even got an in-screen fingerprint reader similar to those found on modern phones. An advantage over the iPad Pro is that Samsung’s stylus is free in the box rather than requiring another $99 outlay. Latency has been improved to 2.8ms from last year’s already respectable 9ms.
Storage starts at 128GB, and it comes with a USB-Type C port, 8GB of RAM, four speakers, and a 5G option. The front-facing camera has been upgraded to 12MP ultra-wide, and the ultra-wide at the rear to 6MP, alongside to the same 13MP snapper of the S7 line.
If you prefer screen size and multitasking capability over portability and value, the new 14.6″ Tab S8 Ultra is the one for you. Other than size, the Ultra’s advantage is that RAM grows with storage, to 12GB with 256GB of storage, and 16GB with the 512GB storage option. It also has an additional 12MP ultra-wide camera in the front. The downside is obviously the price, starting at $1,100 for 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage.
The S8 line is powered by the new Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, which is more powerful than the previous models’ Snapdragon 865, though not in the same performance ballpark as the iPad Pro’s M1 chip. Battery life remains impressive, but you still have to deal with the somewhat disappointing software.
Android on tablets has come a long way, and you do get DeX mode, so compatible apps work in windowed versions, but iPadOS remains superior. The real upgrade in terms of software is the promise of OS updates until 2027. But if you’re in the market for a premium Android tablet, the Galaxy S8+ is a sleek device with an unmatched screen.
If you want to save some money, we believe the basic Tab S8 will be a better purchase in the long-term than the Tab S7+ (which now can be found for the same price), with the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, five years of software updates, and 8GB of RAM even on the cheapest version with 128GB of storage. The more traditional 11″ LCD display still looks great with a resolution of 2560 x 1600, and it has the same 12MP ultra-wide front camera of the S8+.
A non-Samsung option for $400:
Lenovo Yoga Tab 13
Samsung dominates Android tablets the way it does phones, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t alternatives, especially if you want something less traditional. The Lenovo Yoga Tab 13’s built-in stand makes it ideal for use on a desk. It may not offer all of Samsung’s software features and support, but in terms of hardware it rivals the Tab S7+ with the Snapdragon 870, 8GB of RAM and 128 of Storage. The 2160 x 1350 display is limited to 60Hz, and a rear camera is not included, but it comes at a wallet-friendly $399.