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Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 hands-on review: The iPad killers of 2022?

Samsung’s Galaxy Tab S8 comes in three flavours this year, and all are just as appealing as the iPad

The tablet market might be lacking proper iPad alternatives these days, but that’s not stopping Samsung from giving it a go. One of the few Android tablet makers left, the Korean tech giant’s big-screened devices might not be as commonly found in coffee shops and university lecture theatres, but they’re often s22great alternatives to Apple’s market-monopolising iPad lineup.

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And there are three new Samsung tablets to choose from in 2022. Sitting under the Tab S8 umbrella and catering to all sorts of different budgets and needs, could the Tab S8, Tab S8 Plus and Tab S8 Ultra knock the iPads off their pedestals?

Buy Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 on EE

Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 review: UK price, release date and specifications

Galaxy Tab S8Galaxy Tab S8 PlusGalaxy Tab S8 Ultra
Display11in, 120Hz, 2,560 x 1,600, LTPS (276ppi)12.4in, 120Hz, 2,800 x 1,752, Super AMOLED (266ppi)14.6in, 120Hz, 2,960 x 1,848, Super AMOLED (240ppi)
ProcessorQualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1
RAM8GB or 12GB8GB or 12GB8GB, 12GB or 16GB
Storage128GB or 256GB (microSD up to 1TB)128GB or 256GB (microSD up to 1TB)128GB, 256GB or 512GB (microSD up to 1TB)
Battery size8,000mAh10,090mAh11,200mAh
ConnectivityWi-Fi 6e (5G LTE option)Wi-Fi 6e (5G LTE option)Wi-Fi 6e (5G LTE option)
Rear cameras13MP main, 6MP ultra-wide13MP main, 6MP ultra-wide13MP main, 6MP ultra-wide
Front camera12MP12MP12MP, 12MP ultra-wide
Dimensions (WHD)254 x 165 x 6.3mm285 x 185 x 5.7mm326 x 209 x 5.5mm
Weight503g (Wi-Fi), 507g (5G)567g (Wi-Fi), 572g (5G)726g (Wi-Fi), 728g (5G
ColoursGraphite, Silver, Pink GoldGraphite, Silver, Pink GoldGraphite
UK priceFrom £649 (£799 5G)From £849 (£999 5G)From £999 (£1,149 5G)
UK release date25 February25 February25 February

Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 review: Design, key features and first impressions

Coming in three different flavours, Samsung reckons there’s a Tab S8 for everyone, but let’s start with the cheapest model first. The regular Tab S8 starts at £649 for the Wi-Fi-only model or £799 for the 5G LTE variant. It’s an 11in tablet – matching the size of the cheapest iPad Pro – although it’s the only one of the three with an LTPS panel. Still, at least it supports a maximum 120Hz refresh rate, just like the other two.

The good news is that despite costing the least amount of money, there aren’t any compromises when it comes to internals. That’s because the Tab S8, Tab S8 Plus and Tab S8 Ultra all come with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor in the UK. This is a bit odd, of course, since Samsung’s new S22 phones are using the Exynos 2200 instead.

Of course, we’ll soon find out whether there are any differences between the two when I get them in for performance testing, but rest assured that both chipsets, architecturally speaking at least, are as good as it gets at the moment. The Tab S8 will likely be very fast indeed.

When it comes to RAM, that Snapdragon is accompanied by either 8GB, 12GB or 16GB (Ultra only) with storage choices consisting of 128GB, 256GB or 512GB (Ultra only). All models allow for microSD expansion up to a further 1TB as well.

One up from the entry-level model is the Tab S8 Plus. Starting at £849 (Wi-Fi only) or £999 (5G), you get a larger 12.4in Super AMOLED screen for the extra money, as well as a bigger 10,090mAh battery. The regular Tab S8 has a smaller 8,000mAh cell.

That being said, Samsung says that the Tab S8 Plus lasts for 13 hours on a single charge during video playback, while the Tab S8 gets up to 15 hours. The cheaper model might be the one to buy if battery life is at the top of your buying agenda.

That’s it for differences, really. Both the Tab S8 and Tab S8 Plus come in a choice of three colours – Graphite, Silver and Pink Gold – and have a pair of rear-facing cameras. A 13MP main camera sits next to a 6MP ultra-wide unit, while a single 12MP ultra-wide selfie camera can be found in one of the tablet’s screen bezels.

All three versions support wired USB-C charging speeds up to 45W, going from zero to full in around 80 minutes. They can all be used to reverse charge other compatible Samsung smartphones, too, such as the Galaxy S22, A53 and A33. Samsung’s S-Pen stylus is included in the box, which supposedly has an improved prediction algorithm that reduces writing latency by more than 30% compared to the previous model.

And finally, we have the Tab S8 Ultra. A bit of a different beast to the other two models, the Tab S8 Ultra costs at least £999 for the Wi-Fi version, or £1,149 for 5G. It has a massive 14.6in Super AMOLED display, with Dolby Atmos-certified quad speakers and three omnidirectional microphones that reduce background noise by up to 50%.

The Tab S8 Ultra has remarkably skinny bezels, measuring only 6mm thin, and there’s a small notch on one of the tablet’s long edges. In here, you’ll find the same 12MP main camera as the Tab S8 and Tab S8 Plus, but there’s also a secondary 12MP ultra-wide sensor, which adds iPad-like auto-framing tech. The camera follows you around the room when you’re on a video call, basically.

The Ultra gets 4K recording, too, and you can also record your screen and use the front-facing camera at the same time (although only at 1080p). Like the rest of the lineup, it runs Android 12 with Samsung’s One Ui 4 skin placed on top, but it only comes in Graphite.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 review: Early verdict

With the imminent release of the Tab S8, do I think the reign of the iPad is nearing its end? In all likelihood, probably not, but there’s still a lot to like about Samsung’s new tablets, and they’ll likely be a trio of excellent iPad rivals when they do arrive. They look the business, should perform well and are reasonably well priced, too.

But we’ll have to wait and see, of course. All three models are available to preorder right now, and I’ll be reviewing the Tab S8 in the coming weeks, so check back soon for my final verdict.

Buy Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 on EE

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