How productive or creative can you be on the move? Very productive, I would say, as someone who has been writing and editing stories on the phone for years and prefers an iPad on short trips over my MacBook. But what is the equivalent of an iPad for Android users? Well, that is not such a straight forward answer because of Google’s unconvincing stand when it comes to tablets. But if there has been one brand pushing the cause of the Android tablet, it has been Samsung. Now, Samsung has come up with its latest flagship tablet, the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra 5G. Here is my review after using this tablet giant for well over a week.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra 5G review
“Dad, is that a small TV?” That was my 10-year-old’s first reaction to seeing the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra 5G. Well, it is that sort of device. At 14.6 inches, it is unusually large for a tablet — my son must have been quite small when I reviewed the first 12-inch iPad Pro. But despite the size, the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra 5G is anything but unwieldy, given that it almost as thin as a news magazine in a recession. But remember, if you want to slip this into your messenger bag, you will need a bag that is big enough to carry a 14-inch laptop.
The Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra 5G has a 14.6 inch-display, which is unusually large for a tablet. (Express photo: Nandagopal Rajan)
Set up is as easy as with any Samsung phone and within minutes you are staring at the kind of screen you expect from the Korean tech giant. The clarity and brightness of the screen might have been the other reason my son thought this was actually a telly.
But despite the large screen, this is quite thin, almost as thin as a news magazine. (Express photo: Nandagopal Rajan)
And yes, you can use this like a television too, especially with streaming from Netflix and Amazon Prime. The colours on this 14.6-inch (1848 x 2960 pixels) display are perfect and so are the blacks. You can cuddle up with this on the sofa as you sink into the intrigue of Vikings Valhalla on Netflix. However, I did find the audio quality a tab bit underwhelming given the size of the screen. It is loud, but sounds a bit too flat for my liking.
Given the size, and display quality, you can use this like a television too, especially with streaming from Netflix and Amazon Prime. (Express Photo: Nandagopal Rajan/Indian Express)
Among those who are looking to lap up this model will be those trying to play on the distinct advantage of the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra 5G — the S Pen. The S Pen on this tablet works almost like it does on the old Note series phones or the new S22 Ultra. There is a whole menu of apps you can use with this stylus like the PENUP app which lets you create and showcase your art on the tablet itself.
And given the extra canvas size of the Tab S8, most of these apps make more sense. So if on the S22 Ultra you use the S Pen to note and doodle at times, here you will wield this stylus to create proper artworks. I loved how the S Pen can stick to the back of the Tab S8, thus reducing the chances of you losing the same.
The S Pen on this tablet works almost like it does on the old Note series phones or the new S22 Ultra. (Express Photo: Nandagopal Rajan)
Given the display size, the S Pen can be used here to create complete artworks. (Express Photo: Nandagopal Rajan)
And the tablet packs a punch when it comes to performance. Powered by the Qualcomm SM8450 Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, this is as powerful as the S22 Ultra, and maybe more effective given the size of the screen. I say this because a lot of my work, like opening up Google Sheets daily or creating PPTs is easier with the larger screen. And you can multi-task easily with Tab S8, which seems to love multiple windows running different apps at the same time.
As always, the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra has an excellent display. One can easily multi-task with the device as well. (Express photo: Nandagopal Rajan)
With a good keyboard this would be a good laptop replacement too, but I cannot say much more on that as I could not test the keyboard cover of the Tab S8.
The battery life on the Tab S8 is good and can last you a two-day trip with some careful usage and low brightness on the screen. I would love to travel with a tab this big, provided it has a good keyboard that lets me type stories on the go. My days of typing on the screen of a tablet are long over, especially now that tablets have become so thin.
The S Pen attaches to the back of the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra. (Express Photo: Nandagopal Rajan)
I have to say that this tablet has a pretty decent camera too as you would expect from a Samsung though the size prevents one from using it beyond a point. But what will really appeal to many this time is the wide-ultra wide 12MP front camera combo that will make you look good on Zoom calls. Also, Samsung has added software tweaks to keep you in focus on these calls.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra 5G review: Should you buy?
Yes, if you are a creative professional who has to draw and annotate on the go. Just ensure this is the size you want, as there are smaller options with the same features from Samsung in the Tab S8 range this time. At Rs 1,22,999 for the 5G version, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra 5G is by no means cheap. But this is for the professional who will recover the money within a few days of investing in this top-notch tablet.