Among the five products that Samsung unveiled today at its Unpacked event are the new Galaxy Tab S7 and S7+. The company is one of very few Android tablet makers left, and the S7 and S7+ are the latest in its premium slate lineup. As has been the trend for the last few years, these tablets are designed to be 2-in-1s that could replace your PC. In fact, Samsung itself said the Tab S7 and S7+ “combine the power of a PC, the flexibility of a tablet and the connectivity of a smartphone.” These will be the first tablets to support 5G in the US, but they also come with 11-inch and 12-inch displays with a high 120Hz refresh rate.
The most important features that make a tablet suitable for multitasking and productivity are a good keyboard cover and useful software. Samsung continues to refine its tablet’s keyboard cover, which we found abysmal in the past. With the Galaxy Tab S7 and S7+ though, the company has updated its keyboard to feature a new row of function keys at the top and a wider trackpad than the cramped version from before. The trackpad also now supports multifinger gestures like pinch to zoom and triple-finger app switching.
When you snap the keyboard onto the Tab S7, the system will automatically load Samsung’s DeX desktop interface for Android. Although I still have my reservations about DeX mode, the company has updated its software to make it easier to use with multiple screens. Just like with the Note 20, DeX now works wirelessly, too, so you can use a compatible TV as an extension for your tablet or phone’s contents. Samsung also worked with Microsoft to integrate Word, Excel and PowerPoint into the Tab S7 and S7+ so you have better productivity apps built in.
Samsung’s recent tablets have all come with the S Pen, and the Tab S7 is no different. The company has refined its stylus to near-perfection, but this iteration brings about improved latency of 9ms, which puts it on par with the Apple Pencil. It’ll also support the Air Actions feature that let you use the S Pen as a remote control and do things like draw a circle in mid-air to switch camera lenses.
Along with the S Pen tweaks, Samsung also updated its Notes app to offer integrated PDF annotation for documents you import. You’ll be able to attach voice recordings and jot down notes that sync with specific timestamps on the audio, too. If you like your scribbles looking nice and neat, you’ll appreciate the new Auto Straighten feature that tidies things up for you. The file management interface in Notes also got revamped for better organization with customizable folder and page structures. Most of these Notes features are also available on the Note 20 and Note 20 Ultra.
One of the highlights of any Samsung device is its display and on the Tab S7+ this is a standout feature. The S7 has an 11-inch LCD screen while the S7+ sports a 12.4-inch super AMOLED. Both panels offer a 120Hz refresh rate, which should make scrolling and animations look very fast and smooth. Netflix binges should look sumptuous on the 12-inch version especially, and you should also expect good sound quality from the quad-speaker array. All of this is powered by the same Snapdragon 865+ processor that’s in the Note 20 and Note 20 Ultra, which is currently the fastest Qualcomm offering available, and will run Android 10. Both devices also come with dual rear cameras, microSD card slots and fingerprint sensors (on the side key for the 11-inch and in display for the 12-inch). You’re basically getting the highest-end components for your money, at least from a glance at the specs list.
Given these specs, it’s not surprising that the Tab S7 will start at $649 when it goes on sale this fall, while the S7+ will start at $849. Don’t forget you’ll have to pay separately for the keyboard and a data plan to get cellular connectivity. That’s still cheaper than the starting price for the 11-inch iPad Pro ($799) and the 12.9-inch version ($999). Samsung’s tablets will be available in three colors, one of which being the Bronze tone that appears across its device lineup this year.