The pandemic may just have given tablets a new lease of life. People want them for work-from-home or for their kids to learn-from-home. As testimony, the two tablets Samsung just launched have apparently instantly sold out.
The Tab S7 and Tab S7 Plus were launched along with the Note20 series. One wonders why Samsung didn’t reset their numbers to 20 as well. Today, we’re looking at the Plus, which is a 12.4-inch device or more or less a laptop.
I’ve been following the Tab S series from the time it began and have one of my own from several generations ago: the Tab S3. I still use it but have long since given up comparing because this category of tablets has taken a different direction. The S3 was a lean-back tablet, but over the years, this tablet became taller, more landscape-oriented, and now is more like a notebook that can sometimes be a tablet than the other way around. Now, it goes head-to-head with Apple’s iPad Pro and offers a major alternative for those who don’t want to enter the Apple ecosystem.
So now, the Tab S7 Plus is best with its keyboard, which you need to buy separately. It also acts as a case and is ever so much better constructed than previous tablet keyboards from Samsung, specially the disastrous one that came with the Tab S5. That had an adhesive bit that was supposed to stick to the tablet and hold it up while you typed, but the adhesive was so weak, it would just collapse or even fly off one’s lap. A neighbour of mine solved the problem by simply super-gluing the case to the tablet once and for all. But back to the present day: the keyboard is in two segments. There’s one part that’s attached magnetically to the back of the tablet and it’s nice and strong. The other’s attached magnetically and with connectors to the bottom of the tablet to form the keyboard. The back has a good strong kickstand which you pull out to make the tablet stand upright notebook-style. Another trick up the case’s sleeve is that it has an inner sleeve for the S-Pen, the famous digital stylus which is bundled free with the tablet and which does quite an impressive job of many things. The S-Pen sticks to a magnetic strip that runs along the back of the tablet, so it’s nice and secure in its ingenuous slot.
This tablet has 6GB RAM and 128GB storage. It runs on the Snapdragon 865+. It should have had more storage.
Overall, the S7 Plus is very solidly built and looks flat and really great. However, it’s too heavy and unwieldy to hold in portrait mode, but hey, you can have a go, and read books or web pages or documents on the spacious screen.
Screen meets pen
The screen is stellar. SUPER AMOLED in that size is just a feast for the eyes. It has 1752×2800 resolution and supports HDR-10. Netflix is wonderful on it, specially as it has pretty good speakers. But it doesn’t just sit there looking good, the screen is super responsive because it has a 120Hz refresh rate and feels really fluid. The tablet has excellent quad stereo speakers tuned by AKG and with Dolby support.
The screen feels particularly superb when you use the S-Pen, not just for writing, scribbling, drawing and other creative stuff but for the full complement of other software features Samsung has for this stylus. It has improved latency and feels much better, specially when I compare it with the one on my old Tab S3. It makes a lovely pen-on-paper sound, which you can turn off, but which delights me. If there’s one thing it needs, it’s to perhaps be a little bigger and heavier and have a better tactile button that you don’t have to search for whenever you want to use a function. The software also needs to enable somewhat better palm rejection while using the stylus to write or draw.
An important aspect of the Tab S7 Plus is the wireless DeX connection it can make to a PC, acting as a second screen, or continuing on a PC where one leaves on the tablet. Samsung’s partnership with Microsoft on this front makes the two, a Windows PC and the Android tablet, work together nice and seamlessly.
This is a great tablet and one that Samsung could easily have priced higher, but thankfully didn’t. It seems there’s a tech god out there.
Pros: Amazing sharp brilliant fluid screen, greatly improved S-Pen, great build and looks, good quad speakers, notes app now sophisticated, good price, good integration with Microsoft apps, good primary camera
Cons: S-Pen needs better button, palm rejection could be better, inadequate charging adaptor