We can tell that someone at Samsung has seen Spinal Tap since the business has taken the iconic statement “crank it up to 11” to heart with the Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra.
The 12.9-inch iPad Pro has held the title of ‘largest tablet’ for quite some time now in the continual game of one-upmanship between Samsung and Apple. But the Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra shows Samsung cranking its own slate size up to 11 (metaphorically, not practically) with its massive 14.6-inch display.
Review in brief
There’s no getting past the fact that this is a large tablet. And depending on your gadget preferences, that may be a key selling feature or a deal breaker. We’ve never seen a tablet that huge before; even laptops don’t always hit that size. This is a leviathan.
There are several reasons why you may want a slate this large. The vast amount of screen real estate is ideal for taking notes and drawing with the integrated S Pen stylus. As well as seeing numerous documents or one large sheet or timeline at once. It’s also useful as a portable screen for playing video games or viewing movies.
The Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra, on the other hand, is huge and awkward to carry about, and its size makes it seem somewhat vulnerable. The magnetic S Pen strip is in an awkward place – Android just isn’t as functional as iPadOS – so you’ll probably need to buy a cover to protect it. Of course, a chunky display comes with a large price tag.
We wouldn’t be shocked if consumers choose the Galaxy Tab S8 or S8 Plus instead. Considering the only difference between them is their 11-inch and 12.4-inch screens ( there are other small changes too).
On the positive side, many of the Galaxy phones’ main selling factors are shared. They’re incredibly powerful owing to the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 CPU; they come with a handy S Pen pen for drawing and taking notes; they have good-looking AMOLED panels; and 5G connection is available.
So there are lots of reasons to go for a tablet, especially if you want to be part of the Android ecosystem and money isn’t an issue. (If money is a concern, we’d recommend another Tab S8 or a Lenovo or Amazon tablet.)
Even with remarks like “what is that?” and “why is that tablet so big?” we had a good time with the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra. People who watched us use it had mixed feelings about whether it was the best thing ever or a bit silly. We can fairly state that if you fall into the first camp, this tablet is ideal for you; if you fall into the second, you’ll despise it.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra price and availability
The Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra is Samsung’s most expensive tablet to date, which makes sense given its size and capability.
There are several configurations based on storage, RAM, and connection, and the costs for all of them are shown below:
|RAM / Storage||Connectivity||US price||UK price||AU price|
Because not all tablet types are available in all locations, there may be a gap in the graph above.
Because this is the first Ultra Galaxy tablet, it’s difficult to compare it to prior Galaxy tablets, but possibly the iPad Pro (2021) 12.9-inch is the best comparison – for a Wi-Fi-only 128GB storage option, it starts at $1,099 / £999 / AU$1,799 (so the same cost, except in Australia). The iPad Pro, on the other hand, has a significantly higher price tag since you can purchase storage up to 2TB, which Samsung does not provide.
On February 9, 2022, the tablet was announced, and it went on sale on February 25, 2022.
This is a massive tablet. Seriously, don’t even think about it unless you have place in your luggage or on your desk for this beast.
With 326 x 208 x 5.5mm dimensions, this slate is long and wide, but also unexpectedly thin, which contributes to its fragility. It appears like snapping the tablet in half with your bare hands would be simple. We didn’t even try.
It’s a hefty tablet, coming in at 726g for the Wi-Fi model and 728g for the 5G variant, but that’s only reasonable for a beast of this size.
The Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra is only available in one colour: graphite, sometimes known as dull grey.
When the tablet is in landscape mode, the USB-C connector is on the right side, while the power button, volume rocker, and SIM tray are on the far left top edge. A three-pin connection at the bottom is also utilised for accessories.
The slate has a glass coating on the back. The little camera bump, which contains two lenses, and the magnetic stripe to which you connect the S Pen stylus are two noteworthy features to note here – more on that in the Accessories section below.
The Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra’s standout feature is its massive 14.6-inch screen, which is larger than the biggest iPad Pro, at 12.9 inches, and even outperforms or equals many computers. It’s enormous.
This size is ideal for watching movies, drawing, working, and pretty much anything else. We found the gadget to be beneficial as an entertainment companion as well as a second screen for our business laptop.
Images are crisp with a resolution of 1848 x 2960, albeit the pixel-per-inch count is lower than on the other Tab S8 members, at ‘only’ 240ppi. The refresh rate is 120Hz, which makes motion appear fluid, and this will be especially handy for gamers, since many popular games support 120Hz settings.
The screen employs AMOLED technology, so the colours are vibrant and the contrast is high, which will be very beneficial for creatives who need good colour accuracy or deal with images on a regular basis.
A notch, which houses the two front-facing cameras, is a screen aspect that is nearly unheard of in the tablet market. It breaks up the screen a small bit at the top, but the total size of the panel is so large that we scarcely noticed this incursion.
Performance and specs
Specifications, performance, and cameras The Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chipset is utilised in the Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra; this is the top-end chip used by Android smartphones at the time of the tablet’s debut, and it is also used in the regular and Plus slates.
When we ran the tablet through the Geekbench 5 multi-core test. It received a score of 3,279, which is excellent, however greater numbers have been observed from Android phones. Still, anything beyond 3,000 is a fantastic performance that will be ideal for gaming or intense work apps.
We put the tablet through its paces with a few games and found it to be rather capable. But it was obviously difficult to utilise touch controls on such a large screen. Titles were promising, especially because we could aim for the top graphics option when one was available.
The power will be beneficial for intense creative apps and tasks as well. At the Tab S8 launch event, Samsung said that the previously-iOS-exclusive video-editing tool Lumafusion will be released to Android slates at some point, which will undoubtedly need the use of the Ultra’s full processing capabilities.
The SoC is combined with 8GB, 12GB, or 16GB RAM, with 16GB being especially handy if your workflow includes a lot of programmes. Storage is limited to 512GB, but a microSD card slot allows for an extra 1TB of capacity if desired.
UI and Speakers
The tablet’s speakers – four of them, with excellent bass and treble – were one of our favourites. They enhanced the experience of watching material on the tablet or utilising it as a portable speaker.
The operating system is Android 12, with Samsung’s OneUI layered on top. This, in true Android form, provides a plethora of widgets with which to customise your home screen, which is great if you’re looking for a business tablet.
The look of OneUI differs from that of default Android design; some people will appreciate it, while others will not. Check out the menu review photographs to see whether it’s anything you’d enjoy.
We’ve always considered iPadOS to be a superior tablet operating system than Android, and this time is no exception. It lacks a control centre distinct from the notifications list, split screen is more complex to setup, and navigating seems a touch slower. Individuals flaws, though, may go unnoticed by those who haven’t used Apple’s tablets.
On the rear, there’s a 13MP primary camera and a 6MP ultra-wide snapper, which you won’t be using for photography (even a cheap phone can take better shots), but they’re useful for scanning documents, AR functions, and reference imagery.
The Galaxy Tba S8 Ultra has four cameras, two on the front and two on the back.
The two front cameras are both 12MP, with one having a wide-angle lens and the other having an ultra-wide lens. The former is used for selfies, whilst the latter is ideal for video calls since it allows you to have many people in your field of view and the camera can track you around a specific area if you’re presenting.
The software has a few camera modes, including Single Take (which allows you to record a brief video of a topic and the device selects the best image), Pro photography, Portrait, and Night mode.
The S Pen is a vital item that comes with the Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra. This is a stylus that functions similarly to the Apple Pencil (and you don’t have to buy it separately). Despite the name, it is not the same as the pen that comes with Samsung phones; it is considerably larger and more durable.
The S Pen magnetically attaches to the back of the tablet and charges in the same manner. This positioning was a little bothersome because we had to blindly grab behind the screen to pick up or put down the stick. And it made it tough to lay the slate flat when we weren’t using the stylus.
However, we found the S Pen to be incredibly user-friendly. It’s great for taking notes, navigating menus (using the stylus as a fancy substitute for a finger), and doodling. The stylus is especially great for drawing because of its pressure sensitivity, which allows you to press harder for bigger lines or softer for finer ones, really replicating the sketching experience.
To use with the Tab Ultra, you may purchase a cover, stand, and keyboard folio to protect the tablet while still typing or propping it up. We did not get these with our testing sample, as seen by our evaluation images.
If you purchase the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra, we strongly advise you to obtain a case. It’s so large that it seemed hazardous to carry or even put in a suitcase without further protection – we placed it in a bubble-wrap sleeve in our backpack to keep it from getting smashed around.
We should also mention that, while the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra includes a USB-C to USB-C charging connection in the box. It lacks a wall connector, so you’ll have to buy one or rely on USB outlets for power.
The Samsung Galaxy S8 Ultra’s battery, with an 11,200mAh capacity, is large enough to power that massive screen, and we were generally pleased with the tablet’s battery life. In fact, we had difficulty shutting it off in order to do our charging tests.
A 90-minute movie used just 16% of the power – we should add that the movie didn’t have the same aspect ratio as the tablet screen, so not all of the display was on, but it’s a good average to go by. That means you’ll be able to watch TV, write papers, or edit video for a few hours before the battery dies.
Charging is said to be done at 45W, and Samsung claims it will full the battery in 82 minutes. In our charging test, it took that long simply to charge up by roughly 33%. That is not at all quick. To obtain a full battery, you’ll probably need to plug this item in overnight.
Is the Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra a good buy?
Buy it if…
You require a large portable screen.
If the prospect of this large 14.6-inch display excites you, you’ll like the experience of using it.
You enjoy using a stylus.
For those who enjoy sketching and taking notes with a pen, this may be the greatest tablet on the market.
You have a lot of video calls scheduled.
The Tab S8 Ultra’s two front-facing cameras are useful for video conversations since you can present and move about without leaving the frame.
Don’t buy it if…
You don’t need a large portable screen.
This screen will just be too large for some individuals. If the prospect of a massive 14.6-inch display makes you roll your eyes or shudder, don’t even think about it.
You’re on a tight budget.
There’s no denying that this is a costly tablet, and you should only consider purchasing it if you have a lot of money to spend.
You’re not going to purchase a case.
A tablet like big requires a protective shell, and if you’re not the kind to wrap your gadgets in covers or folios, we doubt the Tab S8 Ultra will last you very long.