Samsung has proof that big tablets like the Tab S9 Ultra really do help productivity

Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra display
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra is less niche than you might think (Image credit: Future / Axel Metz)

Samsung’s $1300 Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra may seem like an overpriced entry into the Android tablet market – but there’s a pretty good reason Samsung released such an expensive device. It sells better than you’d expect.

According to Samsung in an interview with TechRadar, the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra accounted for 30% of the Tab S8 series, with most users opting to use it for productivity over consumption, at least in comparison to the Tab S8 and Tab S8 Plus.

Samsung’s Junho Park, VP (Director of Global Product Planning), told Techradar, “Customers are using the S8 Ultra for both productivity and entertainment, but the proportion of customers using the tablet for productivity is higher than the equivalent figure for the rest of the Tab S8 series.”

In other words, while the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra accounted for a third of total Tab S8 sales (Despite its price difference), users who selected it were intentional with their choice. Samsung says that people were more likely to be productive on the Tab S9 Ultra than other devices. And if you check out our Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra review, it’s pretty obvious why. Samsung did a great job of building an iPad Pro rival. The optimized One UI software, powerful hardware, and elegant keyboard accessory all came together to build a competent laptop replacement. There’s just one problem: laptops still exist.

Can a tablet really be productive?

With the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra and the Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra, Samsung certainly hopes you think the answer is yes. Whether it’s true or not will depend on you. In my experience, tablets can be productive in a pinch. I’m not opposed to the concept. I have a OnePlus Pad with a keyboard and full access to Android apps. I've used a BlackBerry PlayBook to write school essays. I was a big advocate of being productive on a tablet with Microsoft’s Surface Pro. Excellent as the Surface Pro 9 and the (short-lived) Surface Pro X were, I’m now a big believer in the right tool for the job.

When it comes to productivity, laptops have an inherent advantage. They are built for working first and foremost. They come with keyboards and trackpads. They have access to peripherals and all sorts of extensible ports. They can run all software ever, whether directly as on Windows, or through systems like Parallels if you’re using one of the best MacBooks or best Chromebooks. More than a Tab S9 Ultra can ever dream of, a real computer like the MacBook Pro or the Surface Laptop is a versatile workhorse.

Michael Allison
Staff Writer, Phones

A UK-based tech journalist for TechRadar, helping keep track and make sense of the fast-paced world of tech with a primary focus on mobile phones, tablets, and wearables.

When not writing on TechRadar, I can often be found reading fiction, writing for fun, or working out.