Samsung is out with its newest high-end, Android tablet, the Galaxy Tab S7. We've spent the past 24 hours with the Galaxy Tab S7, and our first impressions are pretty good.
However, there's one thing that is clear after using the Galaxy Tab S7 for a full day. And that is the fact that Android is still not suitable for tablets.
The model we have here specifically is the Galaxy Tab S7+. Which is the higher-end of the two models, with a 12.4-inch AMOLED display. It's a really good device, but software is holding it back. And that is not Samsung's fault. For once, software isn't Samsung's fault.
Super Premium hardware
The Galaxy Tab S7+ sports some very premium hardware, and that's what we would expect from Samsung.
It's a metal unibody design, with very small bezels on the front. Now on a tablet, bezels are fine. That's because you still need to hold the device, and if it's all screen, it makes holding it that much harder. Though an all-screen tablet would look amazing.
There are quad speakers, tuned by AKG on the Galaxy Tab S7+. Which makes for a really incredible audio experience. Whether you are just listening to music, watching videos or whatever you're doing. It sounds amazing. I was impressed with the sound before even turning on Dolby Atmos. Flip that Dolby Atmos toggle and the sound gets even better. It sounds fuller, with deeper bass and clearer mids and highs. If you use a Samsung device with Dolby Atmos turned off, what are you even doing with your life.
The other aspect that makes this tablet a media consuming powerhouse, is that display. It's a 12.4-inch 2800×1752 resolution AMOLED display with 120Hz refresh. And yes, it looks as good as it sounds on paper. Watching Netflix, YouTube and Hulu on the Galaxy Tab S7+ is pretty amazing. The brightness levels on this display are pretty incredible too. With it getting super dark, so you can use it at night, but also very bright. Bright enough to use it outdoors. Which is nice to have during this pandemic.
Samsung outfitted the Galaxy Tab S7+ with the latest specs too, Snapdragon 865+, 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. There is also a 6GB/128GB model available. So with that said, the performance here is incredible. It's super smooth, and I'd say it's pretty much on-par with the 2020 iPad Pro, which is what my main tablet is. My first impressions when the Galaxy Tab S7+ was announced, was that it's a huge tablet. But comparing it to the iPad Pro 12.9-inch, it's actually on the smaller side. That is mainly because Apple uses a 4:3 aspect ratio while Samsung does more of a widescreen display on its tablets.
By far the biggest feature that Samsung added to the Galaxy Tab S7+ is, the front-facing camera placement. Instead of having it at the top of the tablet, when in portrait mode, it is now at the top in landscape mode – or on the right side. This puts it in the perfect position for all of those Zoom calls that we are all doing these days.
Samsung tried to make Android work on tablets
Android tablets aren't really a thing these days. Samsung and Amazon are really the only ones making tablets and of course Amazon is using a forked version of Android to make it work. But for Samsung, it is using Android with Google Mobile Services. So it is forced to use the inadequate software on this tablet.
Let me just say, the experience is not good.
Samsung has added some really great features, to really make use of this display, but app support still isn't there.
A good example of this is the Twitter app. Which is essentially the same exact app on your smartphone, but on a 12.4-inch screen. And let's just say, the experience is bad.
Samsung does try to fix the Android shortcomings with a DeX mode built into the Galaxy Tab S7+. Which I found myself using a whole lot more then the traditional Android home screen. As it is able to use apps in a popped out manner, and use it like a laptop.
DeX mode is really useful with the keyboard cover. And let's just say, this keyboard is really good. I was very impressed with how good the keyboard is. Normally tablet keyboards – of the physical variety – are pretty terrible. With the exception of the Surface. But that's not the case with the Galaxy Tab S7+. I really enjoyed using the keyboard with the Galaxy Tab S7+. In fact, I wrote this hands on with that keyboard in DeX mode.
Software isn't good, but Samsung's added features, apps and such are actually really good here.
This isn't a review
Samsung sent us the Galaxy Tab S7+ well ahead of the tablet's release later "this fall". So needless to say, this is not final hardware or software. So we could not do a proper review of the Galaxy Tab S7+, but that will be coming later this fall. But first impressions of the Galaxy Tab S7 are pretty positive on our end.
We do know that the pricing of the Galaxy Tab S7 starts at $649 and Galaxy Tab S7+ starts at $849. This is going to be available as WiFi, 4G LTE and 5G variants. This is the first 5G tablet and it's unclear how much more that will cost, but we should know later this fall.
Right now, this appears to be the best option for an Android tablet, but Google seriously needs to do something about Android on tablets. Yes, Google has given up on tablets, but it's clear that its partners have not. Samsung could go with Tizen, sure, but then it won't have Google apps. And on a tablet, Google apps are pretty important. Much more than on a smartwatch like the Galaxy Watch 3.
Stay tuned for more on the Galaxy Tab S7 and Tab S7+!