The Galaxy Tab S7 wasn't particularly loved during an unpacked event that announced five major new devices. Maybe understandable. It has neither the star power of the Note line nor the novelty of a new foldable or bluetooth earbud. Tablets in general are not as exciting as they used to be.
But Samsung is further afield. The company makes a lot of tablets. It's just like that. Why do one when you can do a dozen with different prices and audiences? However, it's the Galaxy Tab line that has always been on show, offering a premium slate experience that compliments the Galaxy phones.
In a world where Android Tablets are mostly the budget device. Samsung is still one of the few companies that still makes a device that can keep up with the iPad. The latest model offers a number of important functions, the largest of which, however, is not available on the Tab S7 + test device sent by the company.
The device will be among the first tablets to receive 5G connectivity. Pricing and availability for this SKU are still pending, although I honestly can't see a lot of people demanding cellular connections on their tablets while so many people are still working from home. When the journey finally starts again, that could be a different story.
The model that Samsung sent along shortly after the Unpacked event is a beast. It's the specially designed version of the Tab S7 + that starts at $ 849. The higher level increases the RAM from 6 GB to 8 GB and the memory from 128 GB to 256 GB. When you add in the latest Snapdragon 865+ you have an extremely powerful machine in your hands here.
The design corresponds to the premium specifications. Gone are the three-dimensional design of earlier models, which were exchanged for a slim and robust glass and aluminum design. It's a tablet that looks and feels as high quality as the price suggests. It's a bit heavy, however, at 1.26 pounds for the 12.4-inch model compared to 1.41 pounds for the 12.9-inch iPad Pro. The truth about these devices is that they can no longer be held over your face when you are in bed.
They should of course be real multitasking work / game machines. I should note that I am writing this as someone who continues to use a laptop for all of their jobs, but I can certainly appreciate the advances the category has made over the past few years. I also know a handful of people who have mostly successfully exchanged their work machines for a tablet, be it an Android device, a surface or an iPad.
The value of a tablet as a work machine is of course only as good as its shell – a statement that you cannot reasonably make about most products. Along with the device itself, Samsung has upgraded the case in some nice ways. The typing experience doesn't quite fit a dedicated laptop keyboard, but it's pretty nifty. The keys have decent travel and a nice spring for a laptop cover. The leather case can also be detached in two parts so that the back can be used as a stand without the keyboard being present. Of course, the tradeoff for this type of case is the fact that it can't actually be used on your lap without things falling and parts loosening.
Of course, it wouldn't be a Samsung tablet without the S Pen. Fortunately, the peripheral is included. There's no slot for the pen (something I keep asking about but never get; life is difficult at times) but it magnetically snaps into place on top of the device, albeit a little weak. Samsung certainly built a nice little ecosystem for the input device, and I'm pretty consistently impressed that it can detect and convert my chicken scraper. Seriously, my already terrible penmanship has only withered over time.
Also points for a nice OLED display with a refresh rate of 120Hz. Depending on what you want to do with it, you may have to toggle this to save battery life. Both models are pretty solid on that front at 8,000 and 10,900 mAh respectively, but the 5G models will no doubt take a hit.
Samsung is pushing DeX really hard – even harder than in the past. You can choose to automatically trigger the desktop approximation when you connect the keyboard. The UI is an attempt to approximate the Windows desktop experience, but some apps still don't support the UI and overall it still feels clunky. It's easy to extrapolate a little and imagine how it will improve things like multitasking, but it doesn't feel like it's all there.