Samsung help! We need a Galaxy Tab mini to save small tablets

Samsung Galaxy Tab on newspaper
(Image credit: Future)

You probably remember the first Apple iPad, but do you remember the first Android tablet? The original Galaxy Tab was not what you’d expect from Samsung. It wasn’t a copy of Apple’s design; it wasn’t even close. The first Galaxy Tab was a mini tablet, which is weird because I checked recently and Samsung doesn’t offer any new mini tablets these days, even though it invented the category. It’s sad that the iPad mini is the only small tablet worth buying, because even the iPad mini’s future seems uncertain. 

When I say mini tablet, I mean a tablet with a screen that is between seven to nine inches, diagonally. With that in mind, it’s easy to see why these tablets have mostly disappeared. The first iPad mini launched in 2012 with a 7.9-inch display. At the time, the iPhone 5 had a 4-inch screen. 

That’s a diagonal measure, so the iPad mini wasn’t just twice as big. It actually offered more than four times the screen area of the iPhone 5. Today, the Galaxy S24 Ultra has a display that is 6.8-inches. The iPad mini only gives you around 60% more screen space than that huge phone.

OnePlus Open with Techradar.com on the web browser

That's more screen than an iPad mini inside the OnePlus Open (Image credit: Future / Philip Berne)

A mini tablet was a great proposition when it was 400% larger than the best phone you could buy. If it’s only 60% larger, why bother? To put the final nail in the mini tablet coffin, the OnePlus Open, which is my favorite tablet-sized foldable phone, gives you even MORE screen area on its internal display than you’ll find on a new iPad mini. Might as well just buy a foldable phone.

A tablet is different than a phone ... and cheaper

Except for one big difference – the price. The OnePlus Open is also the most affordable foldable tablet phone, but it costs $1,399 in the US, and that’s if you have a phone to trade. If not, you’re paying $1,699 / £1,599. A new iPad mini from Apple costs $499 / £479 / AU $749. Even a cellular-connected model is only $649 / £619 / AU $979.

There’s a big difference between the capabilities of a powerful foldable phone like the OnePlus Open or Galaxy Z Fold 5, and a mini tablet like the iPad mini. The iPad doesn’t have great cameras, and of course it lacks the second display. The latest iPad mini only has a respectable A15 Bionic processor, which is very fast but won’t top the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon mobile phone processors.

In other words, the mini tablet needs an update. I’d love to see Apple offer a new iPad mini with an M1 or M2 processor, to match the latest iPad Air at least. You know what I’d like even more? Apple fans, cover your eyeballs...

Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 (7.0) in hand

The second Galaxy Tab still had only a 7-inch screen (Image credit: Future)

I want a Samsung Galaxy Tab mini. I want a premium 8-inch tablet from Samsung, with all of Samsung’s best Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra technology inside. I want the latest S Pen, a fast Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, and the same IP68 water resistance. Samsung’s latest tablet lineup, from the Tab S9 Ultra down to the Galaxy Tab S9 FE models, are all waterproof enough to take in the bath or sit in the shallow end of the pool. Apple doesn’t make any iPad water-resistant.

Even better, I want all of Samsung’s bananas-overboard features. The overwrought toolbars, edge panels, and settings menus that I complain about on the phone would be palatable on a tablet. I’d have more room to read everything, at least. Samsung has too many ideas to fit into even the largest phone screen. Maybe a mini tablet is what’s needed.

The latest Samsung tablets do things the iPad cannot

I would love a mini Galaxy Tab from Samsung with an S Pen included, a nice keyboard cover for typing, available in some of the latest Galaxy S and Galaxy Tab colors. Apple does a fine job with the iPad mini for an entertainment tablet, but a Samsung Galaxy Tab mini, with DeX to connect to a big monitor and keyboard, would be a great productivity tool that I could shove in a deep coat pocket or slip in a smaller shoulder bag.

Apple iPad mini 4 in hand

Like this, but with more ... Samsung (Image credit: Future)

There’s nothing else like it on the market, not at the moment. You can still find smaller old tablets from Samsung, like the Galaxy Tab A 8-inch tablet, or the 8-inch Galaxy Tab A8 (yes, those are two different tablets) at Amazon, but Samsung has no brand new, premium-spec tablets available for sale on its own site.

It’s time! Give me a Galaxy Tab S9 mini, Samsung, and I’ll carry it everywhere. I’ll give it a shot and see if it’s time for the mini tablet to make a comeback. I have a hope that a powerful, small tablet will make a comeback, and Samsung has the right tools to make it.

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Philip Berne
US Mobiles Editor

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.