Samsung Galaxy Tab S7+ review: Finally a tablet capable of replacing your laptop
Samsung Galaxy Tab S7+ review: This is the first tab to come with a 120Hz display, is powered by Snapdragon 865+ chip, features an improved S Pen and has wireless DeX support. It’s time to find out if it is worth spending on or should you stick to a notebook instead.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S7+ review: For long I couldn’t make peace with the idea of spending on a tablet while already having a smartphone as well as a laptop. While an able gadget in its own way, a tab always felt like Murali Karthik of the early 2000s who kept knocking the doors of the Indian cricket team with his skilful turners but never found a permanent place in the side with Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh owning the available spots for spinners. The only chances Karthik got was when one of other two were injured.
So, the only mantra of success for a tab is to replace one of these devices instead of offering an additional screen. The first product in this category that had my attention was the Samsung Galaxy Tab S6, that is in the Android ecosystem. The Apple iPads have been around for a while and don’t need any validation. The Tab S6 was a fine device that offered a premium design and display for watching movies, streaming music and do a lot more.
Yet, it was pricey option at Rs 59,990 and was far from replacing your laptop. So, last when the South Korean giant had announced the Galaxy Tab S7+, it had me really excited. Want proof? Check the tweet below.
With a 12.4-inch display and 120Hz refresh rate, the Galaxy Tab S7+ is probably the most exciting of all products. If priced right, it can be a great product for the Indian market.#SamsungEvent #SamsungUnpacked #GalaxyUnpacked pic.twitter.com/H1gpPe42YI
— Manas Tiwari (@manast10) August 5, 2020
A look at the specs and you would know why. This is the first tab to come with a 120Hz display, is powered by Snapdragon 865+ chip, features an improved S Pen and has wireless DeX support. All these make it a challenger to productivity laptops, if not better. The dilemma is that the Tab S7+ still costs Rs 79,999 (only LTE variant).
I had set it up over the last weekend and have been using the tablet for about 10 days and it’s time to find out if it is worth spending on or should you stick to a notebook instead.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S7+ review: Inside the Box
When you have spent close to Rs 80,000 on a tablet, sure you will be curious to find out what all you get inside the box, but no surprises here. You get the tablet, thankfully the S Pen, a 15W charger, a Type C to Type C USB cable and an ejector pin.
I am sure that charger rating would raise some eyebrows. Rightly so. You don’t get to hear 15W that often in 2020, especially in this segment. The tablet still supports up to 45W fast charging but you will have to buy a faster adapter separately.
Sadly, there are no earphones in the box too.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S7+ review: Design
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S7+ is by far the most gorgeous and tablet I have seen. It takes forward Samsung’s ‘Mystic’ strategy for 2020 in three colour options - Mystic Black, Mystic Bronze, Mystic Silver. Let me confess that it broke my heart to see that our review unit was in Mystic Black colour because that Bronze variant seems like a true showstopper.
The good thing with these finishes is that the rear panel doesn’t catch too many fingerprint smudges or, at least they are not clearly visible. You get a magnetic strip at the back for clipping the S Pen along with two camera lenses and Samsung branding.
When you bring the stylus close to that strip, it sticks at the back of the tab. You need to make sure that the S Pen is properly connected to the tab as that’s where it draws power from. Samsung claims that it takes 5 minutes to charge the S Pen from 0 to 100 per cent.
Honestly, you can’t do much with the design elements of a tablet, it’s the build quality that makes all the difference. Samsung has mastered that by using brushed aluminium for the Galaxy Tab S7+ unibody. It makes the tablet look quite sturdy as well. In fact, the Tab S6 seems tiny in front of the Tab S7+.
The tablet weighs juts 575grams, less than half of my 13-inch MacBook Air which makes the former fairly easy to carry.
The other design elements include power button, volume controls and SIM tray on the right in the mentioned order. There are four speakers in total – two on either side. On the left side, you get a magnetic clip for attaching the keyboard cover.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S7+ review: Accessories
This brings me to an important aspect – the accessories you may have to purchase separately. Those who have used Samsung tablets in the past would know that they support keyboard cover. That’s what helps the tab narrow the gap on laptops. Without the cover, it’s just a smartphone with a gigantic screen.
The cover costs you an additional Rs 17,999, taking the effective cost to an eyebrow-raising Rs 97,998. If you decide to pre-book the Tab S+ though, you can get the same cover at a special price of Rs 7,999 (discount of Rs 10,000 on MRP) and cashback up to Rs 6000 on HDFC credit and debit cards.
The quality of the cover has been significantly improved. The one launched with the Galaxy Tab S6 had some issues with its magnetic strip and used to come off even with slightest of touches. It isn’t the case with the new cover. It’s far more secure and rigid.
The trackpad is now bigger than before which allows more space to navigate from.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S7+ review: Display
It’s the display that is most likely to make you fall in love with the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7+. The tablet features a 12.4-inch Super AMOLED display with 16:10 aspect ratio and hold-your-breath 120Hz refresh rate. Yes, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7+ is one of the first tabs to offer that higher refresh rate, still quite rare even on smartphones.
Some tech enthusiasts might feel that 12.4-inch is not that big but in reality, it’s not too less than the 12.9-inch iPad Pro and 13.1-inch MacBook Air. In fact, it seems like a more compact and neater version of the Apple devices with thinner bezels.
The Tab S7+ comes with an in-screen fingerprint scanner for rapid login, unlike the standard Tab S7 which features a side-mounted scanner. Wait, did I forget to mention about that? Yeah, Samsung has also launched the normal Tab S7 which gets a smaller LCD screen, though with the same refresh rate.
One thing I noticed is that unlike the Samsung smartphones, you don’t get an option to change display settings – both for quality and refresh rate.
I watched few episodes of ‘The Boys’, streamed the ‘Wolves-Sheffield United’ premier league game and watched a lot of other videos on YouTube.
The screen looks truly amazing – be it for streaming content, typing or playing games. The transition between apps and pages is as smooth as it gets. The colours are vibrant, icons are sharp and text appears quite crisp. You also get high dynamic range support for HDR10+ content which makes the Tab S7+ an absolute treat to stream content.
If you have to pick one thing to complain about it would be probably be that the surface is very reflective. This can be a problem if you have positioned the tab at certain angles. The other thing is that the speakers could have been a bit louder.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S7+ review: Performance
The Galaxy Tab S7+ is not only a beautiful but also an extremely powerful device. It is powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 865+ chipset – the most powerful processor available right now – which somehow failed to find a place in company’s flagship smartphones of 2020: S20 Ultra and Note 20 Ultra.
In India, Samsung has only launched the tab in single variant: 6GB RAM and 128GB of internal storage. The latter can be expanded by up to 1TB using a microSD card. It would have been nicer if the 8GB RAM variant was also available in the country but even the 6GB model should do the job for most.
While a tablet has never been my go-to device for gaming, the experience was very impressive on the Tab S7+. It added that extra element of fun because of that bigger screen. The graphics on Asphalt 9 were chic. Real Cricket 20, which by the way is a game every cricket fan should check out, felt super cool with its splendid gameplay.
All-in-all the Tab S7+ is more than capable of handling multi-tasking, gaming, working or whatever else you want to do with it, expect if you turn it into a bat to play cricket with smiley ball. Oh, it’s 2020. That’s not a thing anymore.
The Galaxy Tab S7+ runs on One UI 2.5 which is based on Android 10.
The pre-installed apps include - Gallery, Internet, Bixby, Game Launcher, Video. The Galaxy Store and a few other Galaxy apps. Samsung and Microsoft also offer you the MS Office, Outlook and OneDrive apps.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S7+ review: S-Pen and Dex Mode
The tablet ships with the same S-Pen unveiled with the Note 20 series, just in a bigger size. The reduced latency combined with 120Hz panel gives you a smooth writing and sketching experience. The stylus is easy to use, especially if you are familiar with the Note devices or previous generation Galaxy tablets.
The S-Pen comes with a matte finish and a single button on top. As soon as you remove it from the back, an always-visible S-Pen shortcut pops-up. You can click on it to open quick options like Create note, View all notes, Smart Select, Screen write, AR Doodle, PENUP and even Translate.
The Notes app is one of the few that supports the low-latency rates. Writing on the Tab S7+ feels like writing on real paper. Then, you can convert handwritten text to word files, diagrams to PDFs, drawings and sketches to Power Point Files.
Lastly, you get the Air Actions, introduced with last year’s Galaxy Note 10 line up. This is basically converts the S-Pen into a remote control. So, you can change camera modes, click images, swipe through them and more without actually touching the tab. You also get gestures for zoom in or out while using the camera app.
This takes us to another important feature of the tab – the Dex Mode. For those unfamiliar, the Tab S7+ runs the tablet view by default which is an enlarged version of the One UI you would have seen on the Samsung phones.
The Dex Mode, on the hand, allows you to switch to a more desktop-friendly mode. It can enabled from Settings or the Notification Center. It changes the whole appearance of the tablet, moving the notification tray to the button and making the icons appear as they would on a Windows desktop.
A lot of people are also apprehensive about switching from laptop to a tablet because the ease of opening multiple tabs and switching between them conveniently. The Dex Mode solves that problem to a large extent. A task bar appears at the bottom which houses all the apps you have opened. So, you don’t lose the progress.
While most apps support the Dex Mode, I spotted that a few like Hotstar and Zee5 were not opening in full screen.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S7+ review: Camera
As far as the cameras go, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7+ comes with a dual rear camera setup which comprises of a 13-megapixel primary lens with f/2.0 aperture and a 5-megapixel ultra-wide angle lens with f/2.2 aperture.
The camera app is the same as the Samsung smartphones but with lesser options. It supports Live Focus, Auto HDR, Scene Optimizer and Night Mode for the main camera.
To be fair, I don’t see too many people moving around with a 12-inch screen to click images but 2020 has been a year of weird things. So, the camera does a good job in daylight, clicking some good images. But, struggles big time in low light conditions. Most images lacked details and had too many grains.
The Night Mode does make a difference but even then, the low light performance could have been better.
On the front, you get a very able 5-megapixel, which you are likely to use more than the rear cameras. For what? Making video calls which seems like the only way of meeting people these days.
We even recorded an episode of Tech Talks using the tab which you can see above to check the video quality yourself.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S7+ review: Battery
To support the highly superior specs, Samsung has fitted a 10,090mAh battery that is meant to last long. Even after watching three back to back premier league games on Saturday evening, which last for about 8 hours, the battery remained at around 50 per cent. So, if you travel a lot (in the ideal world), you are sorted.
Not to forget, there is also support for fast charging so you can juice up the tab in minutes.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S7+ review: Final Verdict
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S7+ is by far the best Android tablet available in India right now. It’s a charming device which makes other products in this segment look incompetent. The Tab S7+ comes with an excellent display, high refresh rate, the S-Pen, Dex Mode and a large battery. It has pretty much every area covered and has the potential to replace your laptop.
Now, some may ask – what about the cameras? Well, how many does your current laptop have? Consider the cameras on the Tab S7+ (especially at the back) as an added luxury to support what looks like a magnificent package otherwise.
The other thing in question would be the pricing, which comes at close to Rs 1 lakh, if the pre-booking offers are skipped. Yet, it is significantly lower than then Apple iPad Pro (12.9-inch) which is selling at Rs 1.13 lakhs in India with Apple Pen being sold separately.
But, if your budget doesn’t allow, you can still look at the Galaxy Tab S6 which is likely to get a price cut or wait till Samsung adds a Lite version to the Tab S7 series.
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