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Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 review

Winning a one-horse race

(Image: © Srivatsa Ramesh)

TechRadar Verdict

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 is, once again, the best Android tablet currently available. It justifies its price with an exquisite design, a great display and reliable performance. As with all tablets, the software will be the key deciding factor, as Android is not great in this form factor.

Pros

  • +

    Beautiful 120Hz display

  • +

    Fast and fluid performance

  • +

    Premium design

  • +

    Great quad-speaker setup

Cons

  • -

    Expensive

  • -

    Lack of tablet apps for Android

  • -

    45W Fast charger not included in the box

Two minute review

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 is the younger sibling in the Tab S7 series. With the tablet market filled with budget devices, it is refreshing to see a premium flagship in the Android space.

For starters, the Galaxy Tab S7 offers one of the best LCD screens out there. You get an 11-inch display with 16:10 aspect ratio which makes it one of the best to consume media. The cherry on the top is the 120Hz refresh rate. You also get on one of the best quad-speaker setups on board which makes it more enjoyable. The design is also very impressive here, you get a slim metal slab.

Since it's a tablet from Samsung, you also get an S Pen which is bundled with the box itself. The S Pen is now better than ever with ultra-low latency and accuracy. The S Pen attaches to the back of the phone magnetically and charges wirelessly.

In the heart, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 is powered by the latest Snapdragon 865 Plus which is paired with 6GB of RAM and 128GB internal storage. Any apps or games you throw at it flies on the tablet without any hassle. The battery onboard is 8,000mAh which can last for a day before needing to be recharged. 

On the software side, Samsung has done a good job with One UI skin. However, Android ecosystem limited app support for the tablet market lets you down. Samsung does a decent job with the DeX mode to overcome the shortcomings. Multitasking on the tablet is excellent and it can handle any load you throw at it. 

Additionally, you can also purchase the book cover and keyboard combo which is sold separately. This will offer you a better work station experience. But, this is too expensive and not everyone's cup of tea. 

(Image credit: Srivatsa Ramesh)

Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 price and availability

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Check out Tab S7 on Amazon (opens in new tab)| Tab S7 Plus on Flipkart (opens in new tab)

Tab S7 Wi-Fi, 128GB - Rs 55,999

Tab S7 (4G), 128GB - Rs 63,999

Tab S7 Plus (4G), 128GB - Rs 79,999


In India, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 is priced at Rs 55,999 for the WiFi variant and Rs 63,999 for the 4G variant. The bigger Galaxy Tab S7 Plus comes in only one variant with 4G connectivity and is priced at Rs 79,999. All the variants will come with the S Pen bundled in the box.

As a part of the launch offer, you can avail additional offers with HDFC bank cards. You can avail Rs 5,000 off on Tab S7 and Rs 6,000 cashback on Galaxy Tab S7 Plus. Samsung also launched the keyboard cover which is priced at Rs 15,999 for the Tab S7 and Rs17,999 for the Tab S7 Plus. Samsung is offering a Rs 10,000 discount on the keyboard cover.

Design

Samsung is well known for its premium build and design for its flagship products. The Tab S7 series also follows the same. You can feel it as soon as you take the tablet out of the box—It feels like a solid block of the metal. 

The tablet has a brushed metal finish that's running all over the edges.  The Galaxy Tab S7 weighs 500 grams and is very thin at just 6.3mm. The weight distribution is also pretty balanced here and doesn’t feel top or bottom-heavy. There’s no flex on the tablet either. It looks and feels premium in all possible ways. You also get brushed metal sides.

Up front, you get an 11-inch display with 16:10 aspect ratio and a similar amount of bezel on all four sides. While you hold the tab in landscape, you get the selfie camera on the top. To the right of the tablet, you get the USB 3.2 Type-C port and at the bottom, there is a magnetic connector to connect Samsung's keyboard. 

To the rear, you get a dual-camera stack with an LED flash and next to that is a magnetic glass strip that is the place to park the S Pen when not in use and charge it. It is also worth mentioning that the S Pen charges only when the tip is placed towards the camera module. The magnetic is not the strongest we’ve seen, but does get the job done right. 

Also, it is always better to attach the S Pen while looking at the rear as placing it blindly from the front might not exactly park the S Pen in the right place. The rear camera has a decent amount of bump which means the tablet won’t sit right on the surface when you lay it down. On the rear, you also get the antenna lines running on either side of the device followed by Samsung and AKG branding. 

When you hold the Galaxy S7 in portrait mode, towards the right, you get the power button which also doubles up as a fingerprint scanner. Right below this, you get the volume rockers These buttons come with nice clicky feedback. On the same side, you also get a microSD card slot which also houses a single SIM slot. 

The fingerprint scanner on board is not the fastest we’ve seen but it does get the job done. It is positioned more conveniently on the top left corner which makes things a bit easier especially on a tablet. The rear side of the tablet is a fingerprint magnet and it also attracts smudges very easily on the Mystic Black colour that we used. 

Display

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 sports an 11-inch display with 120Hz refresh rate. It is an LCD panel with a resolution of 2,560 x 1,600 and 276ppi which is pretty decent. You get a 16:10 aspect ratio here. On the other hand, you get a bigger 12.4-inch AMOLED panel with 120Hz on the Tab S7 Plus. 

The LCD panel on the Galaxy Tab S7 is one of the best LCD displays I have seen and it produces rich colour and is vivid. The viewing angles are also great on the tablet, making all binge-watching more enjoyable. The 16:10 aspect ratio is great for enjoying shows and movies. However, while streaming on most of the OTT apps like Disney Plus Hotstar, Prime Video, YouTube, you will get back bars on the top and bottom. While it is not a deal-breaker but, it is worth mentioning. Only Netflix allowed me to zoom in and hide those screens which gave an immersive experience. 

The display is more of a fingerprint magnet than the back of the tablet. This will affect the outdoor usage of the tablet. 

(Image credit: Srivatsa Ramesh)

The display gets bright enough for all your indoor activities such as reading, media consumption, gaming, doodling and taking notes. However, that’s not the case with outdoor usage. The display, for starters, is a fingerprint magnet and it is extremely hard to keep it clean all the time. And, on top of that, the sunlight readability is also not that great here. Most of the time when I went out to my balcony with the tablet watching a video, I used to see my own reflection more than the actual content on the tablet. 

Watching content in the dark was not a big deal here as the brightness gets pretty low and there is also an option to enable blue light filter straight from the quick settings. 

Overall, the display is quite nice and enjoyable for most of the part and the cherry on the cake here is the 120Hz refresh rate which makes all the animation and transition smoot across the UI. You get the option to choose between 60Hz standard refresh rate and a 120Hz adaptive refresh rate. 

Performance

(Image credit: Srivatsa Ramesh)

One of the key highlights of the tablet is its performance. The Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 comes loaded with the latest Snapdragon 865 Plus SoC based on a 7nm fabrication process. It is an octa-core chipset with CPU cores clock speed up to 3.1GHz. The graphics are handled by the Adreno 650 GPU. This is paired with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of onboard storage. You also get a micro SD card slot that bumps up the memory up to 1TB. 

It’s been a while since we’ve seen an Android tablet with a powerful, flagship-grade processor. Almost every Android tablet is powered by either an outdated chipset or a mediocre chipset. The last we saw a powerful processor on a tablet was almost a year ago on the predecessor, the Tab S6 which came with Snapdragon 855. 

As you can expect from a flagship-grade chipset, the Snapdragon 865 Plus handles every task you throw at it without a hassle. Be opening casual apps, writing down notes, using social media apps, streaming videos, or even playing games. All of them are handled well here. I did not face any lag or stutter during my testing time and Samsung had done a great job of blending the software and hardware. The 120Hz smooth panel is also an added advantage here providing a fluid experience. 

Multitasking is a breeze as the RAM management is not too aggressive and the apps stay in the background for most of the time. On one instance, I was playing Asphalt 9 and then closed and the next morning I took the tablet and surfed through my social media feeds and my notes. After all these tasks, once I opened the Asphalt 9 game, I was surprised to see the game resume from the state where I’d left last night. Jumping between apps and opening multiple apps at once was not a burden for the chipset either. 

Overall, the Snapdragon 865 Plus onboard does an incredible job here on the Galaxy Tab S7. There are no hiccups at any point of time offering you smooth all-round experience. Even with extensive gaming like Asphalt 9 and CoD Mobile, nothing changed. During some extreme usages for a long period of time, the tablet does tend to get hot around the Type-C port. But, this is not too hot and one can handle this easily too. 

For a brief time, I also made this as my primary work machine ditching my laptop as I had also got the keyboard and cover. However, due to the lack of plugin and extensions support on Chrome for Android, I had too soon switch back to my laptop. For those, whose work is dependent on Mail and Docs, the Galaxy Tab S7 should serve as a good secondary machine if not primary. 

S Pen

The S Pen made its return to Samsung tablets last year with the Tab S6 and the Tab S7 series also get the S Pen inside the box. The S Pen here comes with new tricks in its sleeve. For starters, the S Pen now has ultra slow latency which gives you a close to pen and paper feel.

The S Pen itself is slightly taller than the regular pen and shorter than most pencils. To the bottom, you get the sharp tip and the S Pen is flat on one side so that it can be changed easily. Holding the S Pen and taking up the notes on even just navigating throughout the UI is a breeze. The touch responsiveness and latency is excellent here. The functions are almost instantaneous. 

There is also a button you get with the button on the S Pen which can perform multiple tasks depending on the app/tool you are using. The S Pen Air gesture is also present here. If the experience of the S Pen on the Note 20 Ultra was great it takes the same to the next level here as you get a bigger screen to play with and Samsung has added several creative tools and apps to take advantage of the S Pen. You get apps to draw, paint, take notes, create storyboards, and much more.

With the S Pen, you can also import PDF files, take down notes, and even sign documents and comment and make comments right on the PDF.

The button on the S Pen can be used to control the media which is being played on the tablet. It worked really well with YouTube. The gestures will then control volume, seeking, and play/pause. However, I found these to be too gimmicky and didn't work all the time as intended.

All in all, the S Pen adds more value to the overall package and gives you a better tablet experience. And, you get it for free in the box, which is a bonus.

Software and Dex

Things take a slight hit here with the Galaxy Tab S7. Don’t get me wrong, Samsung has done a good job with the One UI skin here. But, it is just that the Android ecosystem lacks support for quality apps for bigger screens. Although Google is having apps for all screen sizes from smartwatches to Android TVs, most of the developers focus on Android apps for smartphones and especially on portrait apps only. 

Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 runs on Android 10 based on Samsung One UI 2.5 on top of it. For anyone who’s used a Samsung phone in the recent months, you’ll know what you’re getting into. You get system-wide dark mode, smart mirroring mode, screen recorder, secure folder, Kids mode, Bixby voice assistant, music share, and much more. 

Samsung’s One UI is more user friendly now and gives you an overall smooth and hassle-free experience. The Snapdragon 865 Plus and 120Hz combo along with One UI make the tablet fly whatever you throw at it. The default launcher on the tablet is also very clean. It offers limited customization like grid size, app icons and buttons, and hide apps. The -1 screen on the tablet is dedicated to “Samsung Daily” which is Samsung’s equivalent to Google Discover. On this screen, you get news from Flipboard, Gifs, Netflix recommendation, deals, podcasts, and much more. For those who want something unique from Google's feed, this should work well. 

(Image credit: Srivatsa Ramesh)

Just like its smartphones, Samsung has pre-installed multiple apps including Samsung’s own and Microsoft apps. Some of the Samsung apps push notifications here and there which gets annoying after a while. But, those can be blocked easily. Samsung has added split-screen and pop-up view for certain apps that can take advantage of the big screen as well. 

However, the Android ecosystem lets you down. Most of the apps that are made for Android smartphones are just a stretched version of phone apps. For instance, Instagram, Hotstar, Flipkart, and much more are forced to open in Portrait mode only and not in landscape mode. Some of Google’s apps do work well on tablets. But apart from a few, most of the apps are just not fit to use on the big screen which is a shame. 

Samsung’s DeX mode tries to compensate here and for most of the part it does live up to the expectation. Clicking on the dedicated DeX mode key will bring all-together a new home screen experience. Your default Android home screen will be replaced by Windows-like desktop mode. You also get the wireless DeX option which allows you to connect to another wireless display like a monitor or TV with wireless display support. 

In DeX mode, the apps sit just like they do on a Windows laptop. The opened apps are docked at the bottom. And, all the apps open in a floating window by default. The multitasking is very convenient on the DeX mode and with the use of Keyboard and S Pen, the tasks get easier. 

I used the DeX mode while I was writing a document, browsing on the web, and a few more note-taking. For those who are considering getting this tablet as their primary or secondary machine, the DeX will definitely help you get more productive. The Samsung DeX mode is now more refined and improved from the last-gen. 

Audio and call quality

(Image credit: Srivatsa Ramesh)

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 boasts a quad-speaker - two on either side of the tab when you hold it in landscape mode. These speakers are tuned by AKG and it also supports Dolby audio. The speakers are one of the best we’ve heard on any tablet and it is definitely one of the best out there. It gets pretty loud without losing out any details and offers a rich audio experience. Watching movies, listening to music, and even binge-watching shows was quite enjoyable on the Galaxy Tab S7.

The Samsung Tab S7 is also available in LTE version, the same which we’re using for the review here. We popped in a 4G SIM for a while and got around 7-8Mbps downlink which is quite good for streaming a HD video on YouTube. The Snapdragon 865 Plus comes with 5G support, however, for India, you only get options for 2G/3G/4G. 

I also tried a few calls with the device and yes, it looks pretty weird while you take a call on the tablet. There is no earpiece on the tablet. Either you have to talk on loudspeaker or use a Bluetooth earphone. The call quality was pretty good here and the person on the other end could hear me clearly as well. The speaker again does a good job here.

Cameras

Let’s talk about the selfie camera first as that’s more important on a Tablet of this size. You get an 8MP shooter which sits on top of your screen while you hold it in landscape mode. This placement is pretty smart and convenient too. This also gives the feel of a laptop. The front camera is best suited for video calls and conferences. You also get a wide-angle mode on the front camera.

To the back, you get a dual-camera setup with a 13MP primary shooter tagged along with a 5MP wide-angle camera. The rear camera is average at best, as they tend to lose details as soon as you start zooming in. The colours are accurate but, they just lack details overall. If you are a person who captures from a tablet camera, you will have to settle with an average camera here. But, this shouldn’t be your primary usage or a deal-breaker. The front camera can record videos up to Full HD and the rear camera can go up to 4K @ 30fps.

With the Samsung camera app, you get Live Focus for portraits, Pro Video, Night and Single Take that records a short video and then creates multiple clips and images out of it with different aspect ratios. Other features include Panorama, food mode, night mode, pro mode, hyper-lapse, Bixby vision (similar to Google lens) and a bunch of AR filters and stickers in the AR zone.

Camera samples

Battery

(Image credit: Srivatsa Ramesh)

The Galaxy Tab S7 is packed with an 8,000mAh battery which is quite good considering that the tab is only 6.3mm thick and weighs in at 500 grams. The battery life with my usage was very good and I was happy with it. My usage on the tablet included watching videos on YouTube, using it for taking notes, scrolling through social media, managing emails and Slack for work. With this workload, the tablet could last a day easily with around 6 to 7 hours of screen time. 

The tablet supports 45W fast charging but Samsung doesn't bundle that here. Instead, you get a 15W charger in the box, which is quite disappointing. For a premium tablet that costs over Rs 50,000, Samsung should have bundled the fast charger, in my opinion. With the big battery and 15W charger that fills in via Type-C port, you will have to wait for around 2.5 hours to completely charge the device. For those who are interested in getting the 45W fast charger for Rs 2,999 (opens in new tab)

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 Plus sports a much bigger 10,090mAh battery with AMOLED screen which should offer battery life. 

Accessories

(Image credit: Srivatsa Ramesh)

With the Samsung Tab S7 or the S7 Plus, the only accessory you get is the S Pen. For those who want to take advantage of the big screen and use the tablet as a workstation, you can purchase the keyboard and cover combo. The price of the keyboard cover is pretty high and is almost 3x the price of Tab S6’s keyboard. However, Samsung is currently offering Rs 10,000 flat off on the same which brings the price drastically down. You will be spending Rs 5,999 for the Tab S7 keyboard cover and Rs 7,999 for the S7 Plus keyboard cover after the discount. 

The book cover and keyboard are two separate products that come in a single package. You will have to purchase both as a combo only. The book cover comes with a magnet inside and outside, it is made up of premium leather material. The book cover snaps very well to the back of the Galaxy Tab S7 and it sits quite firmly. Once it is snapped, you will be able to access the S Pen by flipping the top of the cover. The cover has a bump to hold the S Pen and cutout for the rear cameras which gives protection to the same as well. 

The book cover also doubles up as a kickstand when you need. It lets you set the right angle you need for your viewing. I found this useful while watching the videos. The kickstand flap itself is pretty strong and can hold the tablet tightly in place.  

Next up, the keyboard. You can connect the keyboard with the magnetic pogo pins that are present below the tablet. Just like the book cover, the keyboard also fits in nicely and tightly. The keyboard itself is pretty neat with nice key travel and feedback. They are spacious and you also get the full set of keys along with numeric and function keys for shortcuts to change volume and brightness levels as well as for navigating Android. The keyboard layout is pretty standard here, just like most of the laptops but with one additional Dex mode key next to the backspace. 

Typing on the keyboard was quite enjoyable and fun. However, one thing that's worth mentioning is the fact that the keyboard works well on the flat surface but while kept on an uneven surface, the keyboard won’t be enjoyable and often it frustrates you. Also, they lack backlight which means working in the dark is difficult and you’ll have to rely on your muscle memory. For a premium keyboard that costs over Rs 15,000, Samsung should have taken care of backlighting. 

The trackpad is slightly better than what we’ve seen on the Tab S6. It is just usable in most of the scenarios. We found it hard to use for the drag and drop function. But, for clicking and scrolling the trackpad works fine. It supports three-finger gestures that allow for the same functionality as Android's navigation gestures. 

Adding both the book cover and keyboard to the tablet and then turning on the Dex mode will give you a complete laptop look. Do keep in mind that the process of attaching the accessories also adds to the weight. But, it won't be as hefty as most of the laptops. 

Verdict

(Image credit: Srivatsa Ramesh)

Buy it if…

You are looking for a good Android tablet 

Samsung is still one of the best in business when it comes to making Android tablets. In fact, it is the only one who is taking on the likes of Apple iPad in India. The Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 series is the company's latest and greatest offering to date. For anyone who’s looking for a great tablet without much compromise, this one's for you.  

Consume a lot of content

The Tab S7 comes with an 11-inch LCD screen with great colour and viewing angles. The 16:10 aspect ratio makes the viewing experience better. What makes the device even better for media consumption is the audio output that it can put out with quad firing speakers. 

You like the features brought by a stylus

For those who want to take advantage of the bigger screen, S Pen is a blessing. If you are a person who takes up a lot of notes, draws on screen, or even you like the concept of a stylus, the Tab S7 will be a perfect companion for you. 

Don’t buy it if..

You are in the market for a cheaper tablet

With premium design, build, and internals, the cost of the tablet also goes up and it is not affordable by any means. If you are looking for cheaper ones, you can take a look at Samsung’s S6 Lite (opens in new tab) or others here (opens in new tab)

You plan on using it for work

With so much powerful hardware that’s ended with smooth screen and software experience, there are so many limited apps that support tablets in the Android space. If you are looking for a productivity powerhouse, you will have to move to a new ecosystem like iOS or even some 2-in-1 (opens in new tab)Windows laptops. 

Srivatsa Ramesh
Srivatsa Ramesh

Srivatsa is a prolific writer who spearheads the core writing team on tech news, buying guides, reviews, and all gadget articles. He is passionate about technology.