"Once you watch videos on the Galaxy Tab S7 Plus tablet, you don't want to go back to anything else."
Amazing screen for video
Long battery life
S pen pen included
No wireless charging
Android still doesn't do very well on tablets
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 Plus is a terrible trailblazer for bad habits. Look away now when trying to cut down your TV time as you will want to see a lot more after you buy. It doesn't matter what you want to see as pretty much everything looks and sounds amazing.
However, super video quality is just one reason to buy an expensive tablet and compete against the best high-priced tablet right now, the 2020 iPad Pro, there is much more that needs to be done. Because of this, I start the same way I did my iPad Pro review by writing this review on the Galaxy S7 Plus.
Hardware and design
The Galaxy Tab S7 Plus is huge and has a 12.4-inch screen. With the keyboard accessories attached, it's the size of a laptop and much larger than the 11.9-inch iPad Pro with the Magic keyboard we tested. It is a widescreen tablet with an aspect ratio of 16:10, so it is considerably wider in landscape mode. It's a device that always feels happier in landscape mode than it does in portrait mode. In practice this means that it is much better to watch movies horizontally than to browse books vertically or to read while lying in bed.
At just 5.7mm, it's very thin and the angular edges give it a modern and stylish look. The weight of 575 grams (1.27 pounds) is manageable and evenly distributed across the tablet so that it does not become unwieldy or tiresome. If the Galaxy Tab S7 Plus is used exclusively as a tablet, it makes more sense, as it becomes uncomfortable with the keyboard cover attached.
When you hold it in portrait orientation, the volume rocker and power button are on the right side, top and bottom are speakers and a USB-C port. It doesn't have a 3.5mm headphone jack. On the back, a black stripe extends under the camera module, which hides a magnetized holder for the S Pen, which serves as a wireless charging point for the device. It's a neat solution, but it prevents the tablet from laying flat on your back when you attach it. But kudos to Samsung for including the S Pen in the box.
I like the Galaxy Tab S7 Plus. It looks ultra-modern, the brushed metal case is classy and high quality, the screen bezels are slim, and everything is beautifully built as you'd expect. Tablets don't have to turn heads with their design, but they do need to look stylish and modern on a coffee table or when pulled out of the pocket, and the Galaxy Tab S7 Plus delivers it with ease.
Screen and video
The 12.4-inch Super AMOLED screen has a resolution of 2800 x 1752, a dynamic refresh rate of 120 Hz, HDR10 + support and, to absolutely no surprise, is insane. There is life, vibrancy, color and detail everywhere, and the high refresh rate makes it very easy on your eyes.
In the media, the Tab S7 Plus excels, and the resolution allows you to watch videos at 1440p, which I miss a lot when watching videos on the iPad Pro. I've found that I've been using Samsung's Video Enhancer mode for brightness and color more on the tablet than on the Note 20 Ultra because it really makes videos disappear from the screen.
This is how the carfection test of the Porsche 911 Targa looks fabulous. Such razor-sharp whites, eye-catching greens and with a resolution of 1440p also breathtaking levels of detail. The already atomic colors in Red Velvet's monster video are enhanced, and the amazing graphics look practically beyond the world at 1440p.
It almost didn't matter what I saw on the Galaxy Tab S7 Plus, it's a great viewing experience. The Grand Tour on Amazon Prime? Dreamy. Paranormal Lockdown with its monochrome, loud night vision shots? Crisp and atmospheric. Even a relatively low-resolution episode of Wheeler Dealers from 2018 looked fine, despite not benefiting at all from the Video Enhancer mode.
Four speakers on the edge of the tablet ensure an impressive, surprisingly centered sound. Tuned by Samsung's own audio experts AKG, the vocals and speech are clear and defined, but the sound lacks deep bass. This is a minor point of contention, however, and the Galaxy Tab S7 Plus's ability as a video entertainment device is top-notch.
Other media? I found the tablet a bit too big for reading e-books lying down – it's like putting a small TV in bed – but good for more visual media like comics. After watching my regular rotation of videos on the Galaxy Tab S7 Plus, I no longer wanted to watch them on my laptop or iPad. It really is that good.
Samsung's OneUI 2.5 installs alongside Android 10 and is very similar to the software found on the latest phones. This means that it is colorful with big icons, a very recognizable design, and a neat settings menu. The usual Android functions – for example a dark mode, gestures and the notification shadow – are all available and work quickly and reliably.
Problems arise with app support, as many (daring most) Android apps don't scale very well on a tablet screen and others don't work very well with the Tab S7 Plus keyboard or multi-windowing support. Twitter, Pocket Casts, Amazon, Google Drive, Strava, and so many other popular apps look terrifyingly bad in the landscape. They either enlarge the content dramatically to fit the screen, or slide it to one side with an unused blank surface next to it. Some apps even force you into portrait mode, which is incredibly frustrating.
The keyboard accessory trackpad is not fully supported by major productivity apps like Google Docs. For example, double-clicking text to highlight words does not work. In some cases, it's better to just reach up and touch what you need. With this full-featured keyboard and trackpad, you can get by with more web-based workflows. If you want to do all of your work on the tablet, it helps to be in the Microsoft ecosystem. It syncs Samsung Notes with OneNote and Outlook, for example, and the Outlook app actually looks pretty good here. Since I use a Mac with Pages and sometimes Apple's Notes app, the iPad fits my workflow better.
Multitasking is strong and offers the ability to run three apps at the same time. Everything looks simple thanks to the power of the tablet. Chrome and Gmail work very well even when YouTube is running in a small pop-up window. If you're running an app in full screen mode, you can drag a multitasking app launcher to a tab on the right edge of the screen with the click of a mouse and drag out the app you want. It can be dragged to the left or right for a 50/50 split, or floated in the middle to make it a pop-up window. However, not every app supports split view or popup. So it is a bit of trial and error until you remember who can do what.
The 50/50 split view fixes many of the app scaling issues and brings them into the phone-like aspect ratio that you would expect. You can also drag the handle between the apps to resize them to whatever compromise you want. On such a large screen, you can easily do a 70/30 split and have a smaller tablet-sized app alongside a phone-sized app without feeling cramped.
Entering multiscreen mode is more tedious than multitasking activation in iOS, but I like the little icon that appears on the screen when you gently exit a pop-up and are ready to bring it back to front when required. It's great for playing YouTube in the background and still accessing it quickly when needed.
If you want a more focused work mode, there's Samsung DeX, which turns the tablet into a laptop environment with a familiar desktop layout, customizable windows, and a distinctly Windows 10-like design. The performance is great too without slowing down multiple apps running. Despite warnings, the tablet may get warm, but I didn't notice it. However, you need a really good keyboard and trackpad to take advantage of DeX.
I couldn't be satisfied with working on the Galaxy Tab S7 Plus. At least not for long periods of time, and I'd only go for the iPad Pro and Magic Keyboard if I thought my tasks were going to take more than 30 minutes. Most of this is due to apps that don't perform very well and keyboard issues, which I'll talk about below.
It is a dual-lens camera on the back of the tablet with a 13MP main lens with a f / 2.0 aperture and an ultra wide-angle lens with 5MP f / 2.2. This is a tablet. So don't expect camera performance to be the same as the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra or even phones that cost half the price like the Pixel 4a. The photos taken are acceptable, but cannot handle shadows or low-light conditions well, tend to be oversaturated, and indoor photos may lack detail. However, it doesn't matter how often the camera is used for anything beyond the basics.
The selfie camera is 8 MP and performs well on video calls. Plus, the Live Focus portrait mode took decent bokeh-style photos. Placing it above the screen in landscape mode works well for zoom conferencing and video calls with friends because the angle is more natural than when the lens is placed on the side bezel. Overall, the camera does a good job for a tablet.
Performance, safety and battery
The Galaxy Tab S7 Plus has the Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 Plus chip and either 6 or 8 GB of RAM, depending on whether you buy the basic version with 128 GB or the more powerful model with 256 GB or 512 GB.
Here are the benchmark tests:
3DMark Sling Shot Extreme: 6343 (volcano)
Geekbench 5: 961 single core / 2758 multi core
These are above the results of the Galaxy Tab S6, but slightly below the Asus ROG Phone 3, which also uses the Snapdragon 865 Plus chip. Playing on the tablet is great in terms of performance, but the size of the tablet means the case will dig into your palms after a short while, and I never wanted to play for hours. This is where the tablet's Xbox Gaming Pass feature comes in, which allows you to pair an Xbox controller and use the tablet as a screen. Given the stunning looks of the Tab S7 Plus screen, it can be a powerful gaming tablet, but only if you're willing to spend on the Xbox Pass and controller if you don't already have one.
An optical fingerprint sensor in the display is the most important biometric security measure, but not reliable enough. Almost every time I use it, it takes two or three times for the tablet to potentially unlock. The size of the tablet makes it quite difficult to aim the selfie camera when trying to use face unlock, which adds further delays. Accessing the Galaxy Tab S7 Plus is frustrating, and most of the time I had to use my PIN number to unlock it because the biometric methods failed. Interestingly, the smaller Tab S7 uses a side-mounted capacitive fingerprint sensor instead.
It's a massive 10,090 mAh battery that powers the Galaxy Tab S7 Plus. With medium to heavy use, it lasts two days. This includes light work, hours of video, some reading, and some games. The included 15W charger takes at least two hours to go from around 5% to full, and unfortunately there is no wireless charging, a feature I liked on the Huawei MatePad Pro. It is compatible with a 45W charger for faster charging. However, you have to buy one from Samsung.
Bookcover keyboard and S Pen
The so-called "book cover keyboard" is an optional accessory for the Galaxy Tab S7 Plus. So should you pick her up? First, let's talk about the good things. The book cover area attaches to the back of the tablet with magnets, remains very secure and has a very versatile pull-out stand and convenient compartment to keep the S Pen pen securely while charging. The hinge holds at every angle and perfectly matches the brilliant media capabilities of the Galaxy Tab S7 Plus.
The keyboard also locks into place with magnets, but is separate from the book cover. Key travel is judged well, and the keys are well spaced for touch input, and the trackpad is a decent size. If you're just typing at one desk or table at a time, that's fine. If you want to type with the tablet on your lap, it is no good at all. The keyboard area is too floppy because it is attached to the tablet with some cloth rather than a hard hinge. And while the bookcover's angled stand is set so that the screen is facing you, the entire setup is just too big unless your thighs are about 3 feet long.
In that respect, it doesn't compare to the surprisingly compact 11.9-inch iPad Pro and Magic keyboard. The trackpad also isn't very responsive and can get confused easily if your finger is still on it when you click. I also found the buttons and trackpad quite loud. So not good? It's about what I expect from the average tablet keyboard case. It's great for brief flashes of light sitting at a desk or table, but not for pronouncing thousands of words in a variety of environments. The two-piece design is a winner, however, as you can remove the keyboard and still retain the ability to prop the tablet.
If you only want to use the Tab S7 Plus for media consumption, the $ 80 book cover is a good buy as it comes in a slightly different configuration with a screen cover if you don't receive the keyboard. However, at a whopping $ 230, the Bookcover Keyboard is a tough sell. That puts the entire package north of $ 1,000, right in the range of high-end laptops, without a keyboard experience that matches the laptop.
The S Pen comes with the tablet and does not need to be purchased separately. It works the same as the S Pen does on the Galaxy Note series phones, and connects to Bluetooth for a variety of functions, including activating the shutter button in the camera. The S Pen is mostly great. The menu is easy to use, the response time of 9 milliseconds makes typing on the screen very pleasant and the note-taking system is really useful.
However, some features are difficult to activate. Writing screen-off memos requires a precise combination of pressing the S Pen button and tapping the screen. The fact that the S Pen has to be placed on its flat edge in order to properly attach to the back of the tablet and charge is annoying. That said, the palm rejection is top notch, and I could put my hand on the screen and still write with ease, which makes it suitable for artists too.
Price and availability
The Wi-Fi Galaxy Tab S7 Plus can now be pre-ordered from Samsung and Amazon. Shipping begins September 18th and starts at $ 850 or £ 799. If you want 5G, pay $ 1,050, or £ 999, and only get by with the 128GB model. The keyboard bookcover is priced at $ 115 when pre-ordered, but has a normal retail price of $ 230. The book cover alone costs $ 80.
If you are worried about watching videos, playing games, online shopping or any other fun activity while viewing the Galaxy Tab S7 Plus, just put your money away and enjoy the great giant tablet from Samsung. The book cover is worth the extra, but the keyboard implies that you might want to do some work and that, despite its size and high price, isn't really its forte.
Is there a better alternative?
The 2020 iPad Pro was the main competitor of the Galaxy Tab S7 Plus and a better alternative until the 2020 iPad Air arrived with the new Apple A14 Bionic processor and compatibility with the Magic Keyboard. It costs $ 599, which is $ 200 less than the $ 799 iPad Pro. There are major differences between the two, but both share the same great iOS 14 software and app selection.
Another thing to note is the smaller $ 650 Galaxy Tab S7. It's cheaper but doesn't have the S7 Plus' AMOLED screen, but an LCD. The bigger question is, do you have to spend that much on a tablet in the first place? The new 8th generation iPad costs $ 329 and has everything that the more expensive models can do, but with fewer high-tech features. For most, simply hooking up to a phone and laptop is probably more than enough.
How long it will take?
Age. The Galaxy Tab S7 Plus offers the same performance as a top smartphone without the same requirements being placed on it. Therefore it will last for many years. When you take it out into the world, note that it doesn't have a rugged body or any form of water resistance. You can also buy the 5G version of the Galaxy Tab S7 Plus if you envision your future usage changing.
Should you buy it?
Yes. The Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 Plus is a fantastic media-focused tablet. All you have to do is settle for the starting price of $ 850 and pay an additional $ 115 (or $ 230 if you buy from MSRP) for a keyboard.