To help us provide you with free impartial advice, we may earn a commission if you buy through links on our site. Learn more

Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Plus review: The second-best big Android tablet

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Plus offset against a blue background with its stylus and homescreen visible.
Our Rating :
$954.29 from
£999.00 from
Price when reviewed : £999

Samsung’s middle-child tablet is a worthy iPad Pro competitor but Android problems persist


  • Big, beautiful display
  • Powerful performance
  • Included S Pen for productivity gains


  • Can be unwieldy at times
  • Android still lacks relevant tablet apps
  • No keyboard included

Apple’s iPads may be the best tablets around but products like the Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Plus prove that its rivals are not far behind.

With a sleek design, bundled stylus, and well-thought-out software, Samsung’s 12.4in model is a great alternative to Apple’s finest.

Not only that but it also combines its many charms with a price that undercuts Apple’s finest and at a size that’s a little more practical than the 14.6in Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra.

READ NEXT: The best tablets you can buy this year

Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Plus review: What you need to know

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Plus is Samsung’s newest middle-child tablet and as with all middle children, you may not have heard of it, but it’s quite the charmer. Slightly larger than the Tab S9 and smaller than the gigantic Tab S9 Ultra, the Tab S9 Plus could fall into that sweet spot Goldilocks zone where it fits just right.

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Plus comes with a 12.4in display, an upgrade in size over the 11in screen found on the smaller Tab S9. It’s powered by the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy and comes with 12GB of RAM, which means that it should be able to handle practically anything you care to throw at it.

You get some healthy storage options, too, with a choice of either 256GB or 512GB of space. With a microSD card expansion, you can also increase this past 1TB should you want to, and most excitingly of all, the Tab S9 Plus comes with an S Pen stylus in the box at no extra cost.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Plus review: Price and competition

At £999, the Galaxy Tab S9 Plus is expensive and, as a result, its sole rival among Android devices are the other Samsung tablets. As a point of comparison, the regular Tab S9 starts at £799, while the top-end Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra costs £1,199.

Outside the Android sphere, the closest rival, size-wise, is the 12.9in Apple iPad Pro. The base 128GB mode, however, is more expensive than the Tab S9 Plus, and doesn’t come with a stylus in the box. 

If you’re willing to go smaller and leave Samsung behind, the 10.95in Google Pixel Tablet (£600) and the 11.61in OnePlus Pad (£449) are good alternatives. These are some of the best Android tablets you can buy, with Google’s Pixel Tablet leaning into the entertainment side of things, while the OnePlus Pad is a more productivity-focused tablet.

READ NEXT: OnePlus Pad review

Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Plus review: Design and key features

Samsung is keeping this design very close to what it offers on its other premium flagship devices. It’s very thin and light, with fashionably flat edges. At 586g, it’s light enough that it won’t dig into your palms, even when you attach the 512g keyboard case.

The speakers sound rather good. The Tab S9 Plus uses a pair of AKG-tuned stereo speakers placed on either sides of the screen and while they won’t replace a sophisticated home audio setup, they do the job well and produce room-filling sound at top volume with minimal distortion.

As mentioned above, the Tab S9 Plus comes bundled with an S Pen stylus. This doodler feels natural to use and is even nicer to hold in hand than the pen I use with my sketchpad or biro with a notepad. There’s even a useful handwriting-to-text setting, which means you can ditch the keyboard in lectures or meetings.

The Samsung Galaxy S Pen in beige with its bundled stylus laying over its display.

Other design decisions to note include the tablet’s IP68 dust and water resistance rating and full biometrics support. The former means your tablet should survive the odd dunking, while the latter means you can use face or fingerprint unlock to quickly sign in. The setup of both was quick and efficient and they worked effectively, too.

The Galaxy Tab S9 Plus comes in Beige (pictured here) and Graphite colour options. Samsung didn’t go all out on colours this year, so your choices are sadly rather limited.

READ NEXT: The best Android tablets you can buy this year

Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Plus review: Display

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Plus has a large, 12.4in 16:10 Dynamic AMOLED 2X display with a 2,800 x 1,752 resolution and an adaptive 120Hz refresh rate. It supports HDR10+, and there’s barely a whiff of bezel.

Unlike the Tab S9 Ultra, there’s no display notch, either, with a single 12MP camera located within the bezel on one of the tablet’s long edges. The dual rear cameras, meanwhile, consist of a 13MP main camera paired with an 8MP ultrawide unit.

As far as the quality of the display goes, there’s little to dislike here. Colours pop and media content looks great on the default vivid setting, while natural provides pleasing images that are more true to life. Likewise, the contrast and saturation is also very punchy.

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Plus's display shown off over a blue backdrop with its stylus at the top of the frame.

In testing, I was able to reproduce 104.3% of DCI-P3 colour gamut in the default vivid mode, with 100.9% of sRGB and an average Delta E of 5.95. In other words, this is a brilliant display for content consumption – everything from Netflix to Prime Video looks great.

READ NEXT: The best iPads you can buy this year

Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Plus review: Performance and battery life

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Plus is equipped with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy processor paired with a healthy 12GB of RAM. This is the same chip used across the rest of the Tab S9 range, as well as Samsung’s S23 series of smartphones.

Unsurprisingly, the Tab S9 Plus is a terrific performer. Take this with you on a day out, and you’ll find that it chugs along all day, dealing with video playback and any other task you can throw at it without complaint. In the Geekbench 5 and 6 tests, the Tab S9 Plus performed better than the Pixel Tablet and the OnePlus Pad but was weaker than the mighty iPad Pro.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Plus Geekbench 5 benchmarks compare against a slew of older models.

It also handled games well. I played Genshin Impact at max settings, and despite the game warning me that overheating was a distinct possibility, I saw no evidence of that during use. It’s one of the best tablets for gaming you can buy, and when paired with a decent Bluetooth game controller, you’re in for a real treat.

Results in the GFXBench tests backed up our visual observations. It performs well, beating the OnePlus Pad and Pixel Tablet, but lagging a fair way behind the M2 iPad Pro. Naturally, it’s also in sync with the similarly specced Samsung Galaxy Tab S9.

Samsung's Galaxy Tab S9 Plus GFX Bench benchmarks showcased against older comparable devices.

The Galaxy Tab S9 Plus’ 10,090mAh battery helped the tablet reach 12hrs 19 mins in our video playback test. It outlasted the iPad Pro 12.9in by almost exactly one hour and creeps close to the Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra’s stamina, which has a larger 11,200mAh battery. The smaller OnePlus Pad and Pixel Tablet, however, last even longer, reaching 14hrs 46min and 15hrs 33mins respectively.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Plus battery results compared to other high-end tablets.READ NEXT: The best gaming controllers you can buy this year

 Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Plus review: Software

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 is equipped with Android 13 and Samsung’s OneUI 5.1 software overlay, which comes with a number of optimisations designed to improve the stock Android experience for larger screens.

I like the fact that the notification centre slides down where your finger pulls it, so you don’t have to reach across the display. And OneUI has a number of powerful multitasking tools  that make life easier when running two apps side by side.

The built-in apps, whether from Samsung or Google, display beautifully in multi-column format, making the most of the tablet’s 12.4in screen. And Google’s latest Android updates have gone a long way in making Android more personal and more inviting for tablet users, too.

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Plus is powered by OneUI 5.1, with its distinctive notification center shown off here.

But, you’ll also be using third-party apps on this device, not just those that come preinstalled and it is here that Android tablets, including this one, fall short. Many Android apps simply aren’t very well optimised for the big screen and some software that would work great on an Android tablet, such as Scrivener and Things 3, simply aren’t available on the Play Store.

This is a shame because there’s enough power here to cope, and Samsung’s DeX desktop emulation means you can, in a pinch, use it as a laptop replacement – just pop it in one Samsung’s optional keyboard cases.

It will even connect to an external monitor via its single USB-C port, although multi-monitor support is a little awkward, displaying DeX on the monitor and the regular OneUI Android interface on the tablet itself, instead of stretching DeX across both.

READ NEXT: Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra review

Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Plus review: Verdict

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Plus is easily one of the best Android tablets you can buy, complicated only by the fact that Tab S9 Ultra takes the top spot. It’s both well-built and is a nippy performer, and it’s packed with software tweaks such as Samsung DeX, that improve its flexibility over regular Android tablets.

Ultimately, the Galaxy Tab S9 Plus is a great choice if your budget can’t quite stretch to the Ultra. The cutbacks are minor and you’re still getting an awful lot of tablet for your money –  best of all, it’s significantly cheaper than the base 12.9in M2 iPad Pro, comes with more storage and a stylus included in the box.

Read more