There’s a Samsung tablet that I really want – and if I find a Black Friday deal that drops the price enough, I won’t be able to stop myself from buying one. It’s the Galaxy Tab S7+, and it sits in the middle of Samsung’s confusing tablet lineup – but it's quietly the most desirable tablet Samsung makes, and it reminds me of the best Samsung tablets ever.
Wait, before I start expounding on the virtues of Samsung’s legendary tablets of yore, didn’t I recently apologize to Samsung before saying the iPad was the only tablet worth buying? Yes, I did, and if you're new to tablets I would recommend checking out the best iPads first. They get everything right without frustration or compromise, while even the best Android tablets have issues that make them seem like they're playing second-fiddle to Android phones.
The Galaxy Tab S7+, on the other hand, reminds me of the best Samsung tablet ever, the Galaxy Tab 7.7. This was a Verizon exclusive in the US, and it included one of the biggest OLED displays yet produced for a mobile device, well before OLED TVs hit the market. It’s the classic Corvette of tablets – not as fast as today’s supermodels, but with a look that still turns heads when you see that dazzling display.
I want an AMOLED tablet, and that means I want a Samsung
If you know what you want in a tablet, and you want what Samsung does best, then the Galaxy Tab S7+ is a fantastic tablet. I want a great screen, but not just any great screen. I want a great OLED display. I want the near-infinite contrast that only OLED can provide, with colors that pop to the point of being dreamlike, and deep, inky blacks that make the screen disappear in the dark.
There’s no doubt that the retina displays on Apple iPad, or the LCD displays on many Samsung tablets, are bright and colorful, and accurate to the point of being professional-grade. Still, there's something different about an OLED screen.
I use my tablet for plenty of tasks, including web browsing, playing games, and video chats. My favorite thing to do with a tablet is to lie in bed, or lean back in my train seat, and watch videos. I binge shows and movies, I catch up on Reels and TikToks, and I check out video reviews from friends at other sites.
I don’t need a superpowered processor in my tablet. I don’t need access to Apple’s walled garden. I just want the greatest display imaginable, and the Galaxy Tab S7+, with its big 12.4-incher, refreshing at a fast 120Hz, looks amazing. If you're into tablets for the big screen, it’s the sleeper hit among the crowded tablet pack.
How to read the Samsung Galaxy Tab family tree
Samsung’s tablet lineup can be very confusing. The company sells two different families of tablets, the Galaxy Tab S and the Tab A families, and just as with Samsung phones, the Tab S are flagship models, while the Tab A slates are bargain models that look similar to the flagships.
Unfortunately, Samsung has a habit of keeping older models in the family, so while the Galaxy Tab S8 is the current device, you can still find a hodgepodge of tablets going back to the Galaxy Tab S6. There are Plus, Ultra, Lite, and Fan Edition (FE) versions of each family, and even Kids bundles, if you look hard enough.
Samsung doesn’t pack its tablets with laptop-class processors, or even the fastest mobile chipsets, so processing power is not the biggest differentiator. The things to look for are improvements in the display, and advances in the cameras – and cameras don’t matter as much on tablets, so that leaves the display as the big difference.
I want an OLED display, or AMOLED, as Samsung brands it, and that leaves the Galaxy Tab S7+, the Tab S8+, and the Tab S8 Ultra. All of Samsung's other tablets use LCD, and while I like Samsung LCD screens over most manufacturers, I really want the special look that OLED delivers.
The Galaxy Tab S8+ and Tab S8 Ultra are priced much higher than I’d like, and even if they get a great Black Friday deal, I’m still looking for a price tag closer to the base model Apple iPad 10.9 (2022), which starts under $500 in the US (specifically, it's $449 / £499 / AU$749). That may be tough, because the Galaxy Tab S7+ is a much nicer device than Apple’s base-model iPad.
Why I want the Galaxy Tab S7+ instead of the newer iPad Air
In design and features, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7+ is most comparable to the iPad Air (2022). The iPad Air has a stronger chipset than the Samsung. The Apple M1 chip in the iPad is also used in laptop machines; the Samsung Galaxy Tab gets a Qualcomm Snapdragon 865+ that isn’t even as fast as the base model Galaxy S22. That’s fine, as I said, I don’t need the fastest chip.
The Galaxy Tab S7+ gives you a 1.5-inches larger display diagonally versus the 10.9-inch iPad Air, but that’s a bigger difference than it seems. In terms of screen area, the Galaxy Tab is almost 25% larger than the iPad Air, with a smaller bezel than the iPad. That makes it seem like a much more substantial display.
The iPad Air starts at $599 / £569 / AU$929, versus $699 / £799 / AU$1199 for the Galaxy Tab S7+, but the iPad comes with only 64GB of storage space, and that is hardly enough for hardcore video binges. The Galaxy Tab comes with 128GB of storage, and also includes a microSD card slot, a feature the iPad has always lacked. To get more storage on the iPad Air, you’ll need to bump up to 256GB with a massive price jump to $749.
How low can Samsung go on its sleeper-hit best tablet
This is why I’m hoping for a great deal on the Galaxy Tab S7+. For my needs, the Galaxy Tab is already the better choice, but it’s hard to justify buying a two year old Samsung tablet over a brand new iPad, when it arguably costs more. Sure, you also get a Samsung S Pen, while Apple charges $129 / £139 / AUS$199 for an Apple Pencil 2 that works with the iPad Air. I won’t use the S Pen enough to justify that benefit.
If the Galaxy Tab S7+ drops to $500 or less here in the US, I’ll likely drop the hammer on a purchase, and I’ll tell my movie-watching friends in the market for a great tablet to do the same. I don’t need an accessory bundle with a keyboard or a cover, though I may buy those eventually. I just want a great price on this tablet. I want this unquestionably to be a better buy than the comparable iPad.
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Phil Berne is a preeminent voice in consumer electronics reviews, having reviewed his first device (the Sony D-EJ01 Discman) more than 20 years ago for eTown.com. He has been writing about phones and mobile technology, since before the iPhone, for a variety of sites including PCMag, infoSync, PhoneScoop, and Slashgear. He holds an M.A. in Cultural Theory from Carnegie Mellon University.
Phil was the internal reviewer for Samsung Mobile, writing opinions and review predictions about top secret new devices months before launch. He left in 2017. He worked at an Apple Store near Boston, MA, at the height of iPod popularity. He has been a High School English teacher at Title I schools, and is a certified Lifeguard. His passion is smartphones and wearables, and he is sure that the next big thing will be phones we wear on our faces.