Samsung Galaxy Tab S7+ Review: Never Has An Android Tablet Been This Good, As a Laptop Too
The brilliance of the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7+ means it is in a big battle with the Apple iPad Pro 12.9 for your attention and money. It is the battle to be a laptop replacement for your work from home and as an entertainment device. As a result, the Microsoft Surface Pro 7 may get hurt the most.
- Last Updated: October 9, 2020, 14:58 IST
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Bigger is better. Bigger is most definitely better. Particularly when you are looking for a tablet or a convertible computing device to replace your laptop. Bigger is more beautiful too. Particularly how Samsung have done it with the Galaxy Tab S7+. When work from home is ruling everyone’s lives, computing devices that offer some sort of flexibility and are actually the two-devices-in-one that many users are comfortable with. Till now, you didn’t have too many options, to be honest. If the Apple iPad Pro 12.9 was in your budget, you would mostly pick that. If you were adamant about sticking with the familiarity of Windows 10, then the Microsoft Surface Pro was a similarly expensive buy capable choice. But the big gap remained with Android—the most popular smartphone ecosystem still falls perplexingly short in the tablet space. That is, till Samsung takes charge of things. The Samsung Galaxy Tab S7+ is the perfect example of how top-notch hardware and capable layers added to the software side of things, can make a world of difference.
Where we are at with the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7+ is that you have a grand total of one variant to choose from—and it really cannot get simpler than that. The Galaxy Tab S7+ is available in the Wi-Fi + 4G spec, which means you don’t have to ponder for hours whether you need to the Wi-Fi only version or should you spend that bit more for the cellular capabilities as well. It is priced at Rs 79,999 and the other specs include a 12.4-inch display with the 120Hz refresh rate, the very powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 865+ chip, 6GB RAM and 128GB storage. There is absolutely no doubt that comparisons will be made with the Apple iPad Pro, specifically the iPad Pro 12.9—that is priced Rs 89,900 onwards for the Wi-Fi variant and Rs 1,03,900 onwards for the Wi-Fi + Cellular variant. Yet, it may perhaps be erroneous to really compare the two even though these machines seem to be taking a similar approach, because the platforms (Android and iPadOS in case of the iPad Pro) remain as far apart as they can be.
Has There Ever Been An Android Tablet As Beautiful As This?
On the design front, this is by far the largest Galaxy tablet that you can buy right now. And it looks absolutely gorgeous. In the most restrained sort of way. It is an all-metal build and the brushed finish adds to the style. It has a sharp design and the flat slab sides as well as the front and the back enhance consistency. It is just 5.7mm thick, which means this is thinner than most smartphones—just for perspective, the Samsung Galaxy Note20 Ultra is 8.1mm thick. At the back, what looks like an attempt at a racing stripe is actually a magnetic strip that holds the S Pen in place for it to charge. This strip merges effortlessly with the camera module.
You can have the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7+ in three colours—Mystic Black, Mystic Silver and Mystic Bronze. The review unit which is photographed here is the Mystic Black variant. Quite frankly, this looks absolutely gorgeous as it is kept on your workstation or the bedside table or on the coffee table. A lot of that has to do with the flat slab design, which I’ve already mentioned. There are quad speakers nicely chiseled into the four corners of the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7+ while the 3.5mm headphone jack has seen its time come to an end.
If you are using the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7+ Keyboard Cover (that costs you Rs 14,999), and you really should because that is where the magic really lies, you will appreciate the new magnetic mechanism. Unlike the Samsung Galaxy Tab S6, this doesn’t require an adhesive to stick one part of the keyboard cover to the back—and instead uses magnets. With the Samsung Galaxy Tab S6, the limitation was that once the part of the keyboard cover attachment was stuck on its back, it really wouldn’t be most prudent to take that off. Which meant you really couldn’t enjoy the tablet as a tablet—there was always something bolted on. Here, the back cover attaches magnetically and can be used to adjust the screen angle and recline. The keyboard itself then attaches to the base and there you have your laptop replacement ready. The Samsung Galaxy Tab S7+ weighs 575 grams and the Keyboard Cover adds a few grams more, which means you still have something much lighter than the traditional 13-inch laptops.
Exceptional Display That’s Versatile For All You May Want To Watch
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S7+ has a 12.4-inch display. Let us get the specs out of the way first—it is a Super AMOLED display, 2,800 x 1,752 resolution) and is ready for Dolby Atmos. One look at this screen, and it is nothing short of gorgeous. Till now, it was only the Apple iPad Pro with its’s 12.9-inch Liquid Retina Display that delighted with a pristine tablet display. The Samsung Galaxy Tab S7+ gets there too, complete with the 120Hz refresh rate capabilities. The iPad Pro has had 120Hz refresh rate for almost three years, but for the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7+, it is better late than never.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S7+ is great for pretty much anything you may be using it for. Web browsing? Brilliant. Reading? Exceptionally good. Netflix streaming? Gorgeous, particularly for HDR content. Photo editing? I’ve run out of adjectives. Colours pop out nicely and the blacks are inky, something you will most appreciate while using the Dark Mode and while watching HDR content. Dark Mode is even more beautiful once you see this. Everything on this display looks beautiful, super smooth and you will probably end up watching another episode of Baby on Netflix just because you are enjoying the experience on this screen—even though you may be sleepy.
What I did notice though was that with certain apps, such as the Airtel Xstream and Jio TV, certain content was unable to keep up with the display’s refresh rate—hard to identify whether it is a limitation of the apps, the content or the fact that the display isn’t clocking down the refresh rate to better match the content. This was something quite hard to miss while live streaming the England vs Australia T20 cricket matches, in high definition.
That being said, anything on Netflix, Amazon Video, Disney+ Hotstar and YouTube played back flawlessly—YouTube even goes up to 1440p for videos that have this option.
Battle Against Apple iPad Pro. Biggest Loser In This? Microsoft Surface Pro 7
With the Qualcomm Snapdragon 865+ alongside 6GB RAM handling all the power responsibilities, what you get is a very solid performance foundation. No matter what I have run on this, including leaving more than a dozen apps open and also gaming, I’ve not noticed a single stutter from the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7+ in that time. Often, benchmarks become the way to define what is good and what is bad (I personally do not subscribe to that school of thought). In that regard, the Apple A12Z Bionic will be significantly faster as far as synthetic benchmark tests are concerned. But in the real world, here and now, using the same sort of apps and deploying very similar usage scenarios, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 865+ and indeed the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7+ aren’t any slower.
Secondly, one may assume that 6GB of RAM may add a virtual ceiling as far as performance is concerned. It doesn’t. Yes, having 8GB or 12GB of RAM may have been awesome, but it is most certainly not a requirement. A lot of under-the-hood optimizations to Samsung’s One UI have also significantly reduced any wastage of power and resources, which means there is more left for your apps to use.
I have often dabbled with the idea of using an Android computing device as my default laptop for work for a few days. Many have attempted but most have failed. At various altars, mind you. Some just weren’t powerful enough, while some didn’t handle our CMS nicely enough while others didn’t have a keyboard that could get me to write a lot. On all three fronts, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7+ delivered with flying colours. It became a laptop replacement with ease, I was able to type on the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7+ Keyboard Cover as I do on a laptop or the Apple iPad Pro with the Magic Keyboard and the performance as well as the experience was nothing short of flawless.
A lot of that has to do with the further updated DeX mode, which tries to replicate a Windows 10-esque interface for your apps to run in—it is the familiarity of a start menu and a taskbar that matter more than anything else. And once done, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7+ can be as compact as a stack of magazines—slide it into the study table drawer, with ease. I already have dreams of tucking this under my arm and taking it to work (if and when the work from home routine ends), because it’ll be brilliant in every single way. Though I do fear the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7+ will return to its rightful owners much before that happens.
No Longer Are Versatile Keyboards A Compromise
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S7+ Keyboard Cover, if you do decide to buy that accessory to complete the package, is as much a part of the experience as anything. Unlike the keyboards that adorned the productivity-centric tablets and convertibles till about 12 months ago, this is far superior in all possible ways. In terms of what it offers. In terms of the experience it delivers. The free stop hinge lets you adjust the recline of the screen exactly how you want it. But it is the keyboard itself which really will work well for pretty much anyone who is considering this as a laptop replacement. For starters, the key size and the key spacing is extremely good. It is not too different from a typical 13-inch laptop.
Then there is the fairly large trackpad, which again replicates the sort of real estate that gets close to standard laptop territory. In my experience, this is big enough for the vertical and horizontal swipe gestures and is quite responsive. All this adds to the laptop-esque feel, without the accompanying bulk. What perhaps gives away the secret ingredient about the close inspiration is the set of 16 function keys, which replicate what your laptop or MacBook probably have—shortcuts for display brightness, volume, play or pause media, open DeX and so on.
Forget The Adapter, You Won’t Be Seeing It For A While
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S7+ has a mammoth 10,090mAh battery which should last you a day at work with absolute ease. Be careful with display brightness, and if I can cajole you to downrate the refresh rate from 120Hz to 60Hz, and maybe you’ll get a day and a half on a single charge.
The thing is, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7+ supports 45-watt fast charging, but Samsung bundles the smaller 15-watt charger with the tablet—the 45-watt charger is to be purchased separately.
The Last Word: Samsung Has Worked Hard To Make Galaxy Tab S7+ Stonking Good
There are two parts to this puzzle that is the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7+. The first is the hardware brilliance, which all through was controlled by Samsung. It has an incredibly powerful processor chugging away under the hood. You get a gorgeous display that is an absolute treat no matter whether you are working or indulging in a bit of Netflix binge watching. There is 4G support for when you aren’t around a solid Wi-Fi connection. The S Pen, fantastic as always, remains a part of the box set. And if you do get the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7+ Keyboard Cover, which I really would urge you to, there is a very laptop-esque typing experience waiting for you. And battery life is consistently good too.
Then there is the software side of things, not necessarily in Samsung’s control. To be fair, Google still hasn’t done enough (in fact, nothing at all) with Android to make it a better fit for a display as big as this. Which means, it is not necessarily made with convertible computing devices in mind. If you are to compare Android and Apple’s iPadOS in their raw forms, iPadOS is miles ahead as far as the experience, smoothness and performance is concerned. Samsung, which is why, has done a fantastic job with the DeX Mode. It is still a case of a lot remaining to be done. But to make Android remotely familiar to a Windows 10 PC will work very well for a lot of users.