Samsung Galaxy Tab S7+ Review
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S7+ is the most capable Android productivity tablet on the market. In addition to being the first to support 5G connectivity, it’s also a performance powerhouse that can handle multitasking with ease. Though its starting price of $849 — which doesn’t include 5G capability or the carrier subscription to use it, nor the Book Cover Keyboard Case — looks steep, it’s one of the few viable laptop alternatives on the market, especially if you often commute or travel and don’t want to bother with a hotspot. With impressive features, incredible performance, and all-day battery life, it’s the best Android tablet you can buy right now, and wins our Editors’ Choice award.
A Beautiful, Stylus-Compatible Display
Aesthetically, little separates the Galaxy Tab S7+ from other hight end slates like the iPad Pro. The chassis and back of the Galaxy Tab S7+ are constructed of aluminum and available in black, silver, or bronze. It measures 11.25 by 7.3 by 0.2 inches (HWD) and weighs 1.3 pounds without the optional Book Cover Keyboard Case. That may sound heavy, but the weight is well-distributed, making it easy to hold for long periods. A slim camera stack and a magnetic connector for the S Pen are on the upper left corner. A word of warning: the connector for the S Pen is not as well placed or as powerful as what you’ll find on the iPad Pro, making it easy to lose.
The front is dominated by a 12.4-inch, 2,800-by-1,752-pixel Super AMOLED display with a 120Hz variable refresh rate. Color accuracy is spot-on, with vivid colors and inky, deep blacks. The screen is bright enough to use in direct sunlight without any problems.
Top-Notch Hardware and a Marathon Battery
A Qualcomm Snapdragon 865+ chipset powers the Tab S7+. Samsung offers the tablet in 128GB/6GB, 256GB/8GB, and 512GB/8GB storage/RAM configurations. Our review unit is the 256GB/8GB version. All three support up to an additional 1TB of external storage with a microSD card.
As expected, the Tab S7+ can chew through just about any task you throw its way. We tested it with over a dozen apps and three dozen Chrome windows open and it didn’t even flinch.
The powerful Snapdragon 865 chipset on the tablet, combined with its 120Hz display makes gaming an immersive and seamless experience. We tested the tablet with Asphalt 9: Legends and PUBG Mobile and didn’t encounter a single hiccup. Load times are lightning fast, and the 120Hz display means you’ll never see any lag or dropped frames.
Benchmarks underscored our experience. On Geekbench 5, a suite of tests that quantify raw computing power, the Tab S7+ earned 994 single-core (SC) and 3,814 multi-core (MC) scores. That is, by far, the best score we’ve seen for an Android tablet sold in the US, but still falls behind the iPad Pro’s 1,113 (SC) and 3,277 (MC) scores on the same tests.
Samsung packed a 10,090mAh battery in the Tab S7+ (much bigger than the Tab S7’s 8,000mAh battery), which can easily carry you through through the workday with a little battery life to spare. In our battery test, which streams HD video over Wi-FI at full brightness, the Tab S7+ held on for 7 hours and 21 minutes before powering down. That’s about the same as the iPad Pro (7 hours, 48 minutes), and with more conservative use you should easily be able to make it a full day between charges.
45W fast charging is with an optional power adapter. If you choose to stick with the 15W adapter that comes in the box, be prepared to let it charge overnight.
A Selfie Camera Made for Video Calls
A 13MP primary lens with an f/2.0 aperture and a 5MP ultra-wide lens with an f/2.2 aperture comprise the Tab S7+’s rear camera module. There’s an 8MP sensor on the front of the tablet with an f/2.0 aperture.
With good light, the dual camera stack performs well. The 13MP lens takes an excellent shot with good depth of field and solid color accuracy. The ultra-wide lens performs nearly as well, though we did note some minor loss of fine detail.
In low light, the rear cameras do an adequate job. Our low-light test shots had some edge noise along with lens flares, but they were still good by tablet standards. That said, we doubt many people will use the tablet to grab unplanned photos when most flagship phones perform better and are easier to whip out over the dinner table.
The 8MP selfie camera is perfect for video calls no matter the time of day. It also takes a good selfie, though some of our low-light test shots appeared a little flat, with minor noise around the edges.
Samsung sells the Tab S7 in 5G and Wi-Fi versions. The base model ships with Wi-Fi 6 support. The 5G model works with every US carrier and has supports sub-6GHz and mmWave connectivity, though you’ll need to pay for monthly service. We tested the Tab S7+ on a gigabit Wi-Fi network and recorded excellent results, with averages of 631.4Mbps down and 38.8Mbps up.
The four AKG-tuned speakers on the Tab S7+ are among the best we’ve heard on a tablet. With a maximum volume of 96dB,audio is loud enough for conference calls, and it actually sounds good when you’re watching videos. There’s also Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity for wireless audio with the Galaxy Buds Live or your favorite Bluetooth headphones.
S Pen Feels Great
Unlike Apple’s pricey $129 Pencil, Samsung includes its S Pen in the box with the Tab S7+ Put simply, the S Pen is incredible. It comes in the box and charges wirelessly when connected to the back of the Galaxy Tab S7+.
Writing with the S Pen actually feels good. We didn’t notice any lag when using the stylus, and latency has been reduced to 9ms from 26ms on the Tab S6 Lite. The tip of the S Pen is significantly thinner than the iPad Pro’s Pencil, and offers a little bit of drag to make writing on the display feel more natural.
Air Actions, Samsung’s set of S Pen gesture–initiated shortcuts first announced on the Galaxy Note 9, makes its big screen debut on the Tab S7+. Air Actions lets you use the S Pen to snap selfies, swipe through pages without touching the screen, and set up other custom shortcuts. If you’re new to Air Actions, there’s a bit of a learning curve, but it’s pretty convenient once you get the hang of it.
A Pricey and Flimsy Keyboard
The optional Book Cover Keyboard Case ($229.99)is hit-or-miss. The actual keyboard has excellent travel and a satisfying tactile feedback. The trackpad is swift and gestures work without a hitch. The cover turns into a stand, with good range of motion, and has a magnetic compartment for storing the S Pen.
So what’s not to like about the case? For starters, it’s nearly impossible to use in your lap. The stand is made to rest against a solid surface. Even if you manage to find a comfortable spot for it on your lap, there’s a lot of flex in the keyboard. And frankly, the Book Cover Keyboard Case looks cheap. From a distance you might mistake the case for leather, but up close it unquestionably looks and feels like low-grade vinyl. Anyone who’s investing in a high-end tablet like the Tab S7+ will likely want a cover that gives the same impression of quality manufacture and design. The Book Cover Keyboard Case does not.
One UI Can’t Save Android
The Galaxy Tab S7 Pro ships with Android 10 and the latest version of Samsung One UI. In the past, we’ve had mixed feelings about One UI, but Samsung has made some major changes that make it much more attractive. The latest iteration now supports live syncing between Samsung devices and PCs; Apple users are unfortunately out of luck.
Samsung’s productivity apps have also gotten a significant facelift. Samsung Notes now offers easy PDF annotations with the S Pen. A handy feature that allows you to sync voice recordings with your written notes is relatively easy to use. There’s also the option to sync your notes with Microsoft Outlook and OneNote, but you can easily download Microsoft 365 to the S7+ and skip syncing altogether.
Folder and file structure have been significantly improved, so it’s easier to find documents if you prefer to store them directly on your tablet. There’s also the option to sync your documents with Microsoft OneDrive.
One UI also improves multi-tasking on the Tab S7+. You can now have three windows open simultaneously. Multi-Active Window, a persistent tab that rests on the side of the screen, now supports app groups, so you can create quick shortcuts to open your three most-used apps simultaneously.
Over the past year, Samsung has made some massive improvements to DeX (desktop-mimicking) mode. It’s more intuitive than older versions, supports multi-touch gestures, and even connects wirelessly to compatible televisions and monitors. We wouldn’t go so far as to say it can replace your desktop, but it’s an excellent alternative for basic tasks.
To be honest, Samsung’s One UI corrects many of the ills that hamstring Android tablets, but at the end of the day, you’re still running Android apps. That means there are limited options, especially for those in creative fields, and some apps just aren’t up to snuff. If you’re not a fan of the iPad Pro, there are plenty of Windows 2-in-1 laptops that run full fledged versions of Adobe Creative Cloud and similar apps.
There’s also the issue of updates. Samsung has committed to updating its new products “for three generations,” but that’s a rather ambiguous claim and it doesn’t set a specific timeline for updates. Android manufacturers, for the most part, have been slow with OS upgrades, and we doubt the Tab S7+ will be an exception. Though Samsung is already upgrading some of its devices, it doesn’t look like the Tab S7+ will get an Android 11 upgrade until 2021.
The Best Alternative to an iPad Pro
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S7+ is the most capable Android productivity tablet on the market. In addition to being the first to support 5G connectivity, it’s also a performance powerhouse that can handle multitasking with ease. The S Pen is a pleasure to use, and the Samsung One UI actually feels like it adds to the overall experience.
What keeps the Tab S7+ from meeting its full potential is its OS. No matter how many tweaks Samsung makes to One UI, it still runs on Android and simply doesn’t offer the same seamless experience you’ll find on the iPad Pro. And although the optional Book Cover Keyboard Case works well on a desk, its steep price and lackluster build quality are a disappointment.
Despite these nitpicks, we still think the Tab S7+ is an extremely impressive piece of hardware. Once you’re able to travel again, you’ll find it by far the best Android tablet for taking work on the road and having a laptop-like experience supplemented by an outstanding stylus. It’s an Editors’ Choice through and through.