Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra review: More than just a tablet

After Samsung unveiled the Galaxy S23 sequence earlier this 12 months, sans any tablet bulletins, I used to be stunned to see the Tab S9 lineup introduced alongside the Galaxy Z Fold 5 and Flip 5. A number of it is because the Tab S8 Ultra was already just about the right tablet, save for a few annoyances which have been remedied in subsequent software program updates.That being mentioned, I’m a sucker for big-screen tablets, so I could not wait to get my palms on the Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra. The concept of having the ability to use a tablet for the whole lot from taking part in video games or watching movies to utilizing it as a desktop alternative is what I get pleasure from probably the most. And whereas some fairly spectacular tablets have been launched for the reason that Tab S8 Ultra hit the market, I could not wait to see what Samsung had up its sleeve this time.On the floor, there aren’t many upgrades, however we’ll dive a bit deeper to see if Samsung has achieved sufficient to warrant spending your hard-earned money on the costliest Android tablet.Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra at Samsung for $1,199.99Today’s finest Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra offersSamsung Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra: Price and availability(Image credit score: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)Much like its predecessor, there are three totally different configurations to select from when deciding on which model of the Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra to get. The base mannequin comes with 12GB of RAM and 256GB of expandable storage and is available in at $1,199. If you wish to double the interior storage, it will set you again $1,319 whereas retaining the identical 12GB of RAM. And if you’d like probably the most RAM and storage present in an Android tablet right this moment, it will value an eye-watering $1,619 for 1TB of storage and 16GB of RAM.Unlike the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra, this 12 months’s Tab S9 Ultra is available in both Graphite or Beige, and there aren’t any limitations on storage or RAM relying on what coloration you decide. All of those fashions are at present out there out of your favourite retailers, whether or not or not it’s on-line or in shops.Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra: What I like(Image credit score: Andrew Myrick / Android Central)Something you will shortly discover is that there’s a lot of overlap between the Tab S9 Ultra and its predecessor. That’s merely as a consequence of the truth that there are solely a few variations between the 2. This begins from the large 14.6-inch laptop-like Dynamic AMOLED show, full with its 120Hz variable refresh charge.Swipe to scroll horizontallyCategorySamsung Galaxy Tab S9 UltraDisplay14.6-inch Super AMOLED (120Hz), 2960 x 1848ChipsetQualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for GalaxyMemory12GB / 16GBStorage256GB, 512GB, or 1TB (expandable through microSD)Front Cameras12MP (vast) + 12MP UWRear Cameras13MP AF + 8MP UW + FlashBattery11,200mAh Li-Ion with 45W Fast ChargingAudioQuad Speakers + Dolby AtmosBiometricsFace Unlock, on-display fingerprint sensorConnectivityWiFi 6E (6GHz), Bluetooth 5.3S Pen✔️ (2.8ms latency)microSD card slot✔️ (as much as 1TB)3.5mm headphone jack🚫Water resistanceIP68Dimensions12.85″ x 8.21″ x 0.22″Weight1.61 lbColorsGraphite, BeigeSoftwareOne UI 5.1 (primarily based on Android 13)Simply put, this factor will not be solely huge, but it surely’s completely gorgeous to take a look at, offered that you do not undergo from PWM like my colleague Nick Sutrich, however extra on that later. I’ve been utilizing the Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra for the previous couple of weeks and I hold discovering totally different causes to select it up and use it.(Image credit score: Andrew Myrick / Android Central)The display screen will get extra than vibrant sufficient, even if you happen to’re sitting within the passenger seat in your manner residence from trip on a sunny day. If something, it is a bit too vibrant, even if you happen to dim the display screen all the best way down as to not disturb your accomplice after they’ve fallen asleep, however you wish to end a stage on a sport that you simply began.When it involves processing energy, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy is on the helm, so there’s actually no shock to see a increase in efficiency. The actual story of this newest chipset is in effectivity, which is necessary for many who plan on utilizing the Tab S9 Ultra with the Book Cover Keyboard as a laptop computer alternative. I’ve been pleasantly stunned to have the ability to go away the tablet in my backpack, solely to search out that there is nonetheless loads of juice to go to the espresso store.(Image credit score: Andrew Myrick / Android Central)I’ve been slowly getting again into the world of emulation due to my affinity for the Steam Deck, ROG Ally, and different gaming handheld gadgets. So what higher approach to put the Tab S9 Ultra to the check than making an attempt to see what this beast can deal with? On the intense facet, I have not run into any points loading up some favorites from the N64 and even the PS1.The solely hassle I’ve run into was once I strive loading up Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom in Yuzu. I’m in a position to make it via the start of the sport, however I’m met with a few crashes shortly after that, making me return and tinker round with the graphical settings. Unfortunately, I have not been in a position to get a secure 30fps, however I chalk that as much as Yuzu for Android nonetheless being in early growth and do not actually put the onus on the Tab S9 Ultra.Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra: A real laptop computer alternative(Image credit score: Andrew Myrick / Android Central)I’m a sucker for a good tablet, and there is been a little bit of a renaissance within the Android tablet house over the previous 12 months. Google, OnePlus, and even Amazon have launched some unbelievable tablets, however none of them have actually been in a position to dethrone the Galaxy Tab S8 lineup. It in all probability would not come as a shock, however I do not assume Samsung has something to fret about from another firm moreover Apple on this house.My cause for this mind-set comes merely comes all the way down to Samsung DeX. Using the Tab S9 Ultra with the “conventional” Android interface is nice, but it surely’s positively fairly comical. It’s an on the spot reminder that Android wasn’t designed with bigger shows in thoughts, not to mention one which’s as huge as what Samsung has included with its flagship tablet.(Image credit score: Andrew Myrick / Android Central)Because of this, I spend about 90% of the time in DeX mode, even when the keyboard cowl is not related. Windowed apps just make extra sense when utilizing this display screen, and it is a extra pleasing expertise except you are watching YouTube or Netflix or just wish to use an app in full-screen.Samsung has additionally been making little tweaks right here and there to enhance the general expertise, comparable to bettering the taskbar to point out controls that you simply wish to see and conceal those that you do not. But with the keyboard connected, it actually does really feel like a common laptop computer, albeit a particularly costly one.Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra: What I do not like(Image credit score: Andrew Myrick / Android Central)Frankly, the Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra is not the tablet that almost all of individuals ought to contemplate if they need the very best Android tablet. For one, the 14.6-inch display screen is relatively unwieldy, except you might be utilizing it as a laptop computer alternative. And utilizing it as a “common” tablet is comical, with the caveat of this being unbelievable as a note-taking gadget or drawing tablet.Then there’s the query of value, because the Tab S9 Ultra begins at $1,199 and goes as much as extra than $1,600. For the bottom mannequin value, you might seize the Pixel Tablet, Pixel 7 Pro, and have cash left over for another equipment like a stylus and circumstances for each your telephone and tablet. Even higher, you might seize the Pixel 7 and the most effective Chromebooks, just like the Acer Chromebook Spin 714. Putting it merely, you are higher off searching for different options if in case you have the cash and are searching for a laptop computer alternative.I might even be remiss if I did not make point out the PWM or Pulse Width Modulation points that plague most of the finest Android telephones and tablets. For the unaware, here is Nick’s clarification on the matter:”If you’ve got ever been your telephone late at night time and puzzled why your eyeballs ache, it is in all probability not since you’re drained. As most fashionable telephone screens dim, they flash an increasing number of typically, leading to your eyeballs perceiving the show as getting dimmer.The actuality is that your show probably is not “dimming” in any respect — not the best way you’ll count on an outdated incandescent lightbulb to. Instead, your telephone is flickering between the brightest the LED diodes can get and the darkest they’ll get, normally at a charge of a whole lot of instances per second.”(Image credit score: Andrew Myrick / Android Central)While I do not undergo from these issues, that does not imply it would not exist, which means that even a subset of customers cannot get pleasure from gadgets just like the Tab S9 Ultra, Galaxy Z Fold 5, and different gadgets. So hold that in thoughts if in case you have been experiencing points along with your gadgets, because it is perhaps the show itself.The final criticism I’ve with the Tab S9 Ultra is one thing that I’ve already lined. Samsung launched the Book Cover Keyboard with final 12 months’s Tab S8 Ultra, and I’m extraordinarily disillusioned to search out that I am unable to just use the identical keyboard with the brand new tablet. And it is all as a result of the rear digicam module was barely altered, which means that I am unable to reap the benefits of the built-in kickstand of the case.Even if I discover a totally different approach to prop up the Tab S9 Ultra, I’m instantly prompted with a warning message letting me know that “the related keyboard is not designed for this tablet, so you might get sudden outcomes.” It’s merely silly that it’s best to should spend one other $350 just due to some minor design adjustments, turning final 12 months’s keyboard cowl into e-waste for no cause.Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra: The competitors(Image credit score: iMore)The stiffest and most evident competitors to the Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra is Apple’s 12.9-inch iPad Pro. Of course, Samsung will get the nod with the bigger show and utilizing AMOLED versus mini LED. But the iPad Pro is unequalled by way of efficiency, and with iPadOS 17, Apple is seemingly figuring out the annoyances of Stage Manager to supply a multi-windowed expertise. On the opposite hand, Samsung presents a microSD card slot, so except you actually need 16GB of RAM, you may get away with 256GB of storage and just add your individual extra storage after the very fact.From there, the one competitors within the “flagship” Android tablet house comes from Lenovo, of all firms, with its Lenovo Tab Extreme. Currently, this is not out there for buy, but it surely options a 14.5-inch show, together with 12GB of RAM, and 256GB of storage, and Lenovo even consists of a new keyboard and stylus. We’re at present reviewing the Tab Extreme and can present a extra concise comparability as soon as that evaluate is full.Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra: Should you purchase it?(Image credit score: Andrew Myrick / Android Central)You can purchase this if:You’re searching for probably the most highly effective and performant Android tablet.You need an Android tablet that doubles as a laptop computer.You have already got (or plan to get) different Samsung gadgets.You should not purchase this if:You’re on a finances.You want a laptop computer, as there are higher choices for much less.You do not plan on utilizing this with Samsung DeX.You need a tablet with mobile connectivity.I’m sort of in a bizarre spot in the case of the Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra. On the one hand, I plan on utilizing this for the foreseeable future when I’m not testing new Chromebooks or different tablets. It’s a powerhouse of a gadget that may pull double-duty as a laptop computer once I wish to go sit in a espresso store or if I wish to have one other display screen for my desktop PC at residence.But the truth is that almost all of individuals are going to be higher suited with both the Galaxy Tab S9 or the Tab S9 Plus. For one, each of these gadgets are a lot inexpensive than the Ultra whereas providing most of the identical expertise. Samsung even presents keyboard circumstances, and you may nonetheless discover the S Pen within the field, so you will not lose something however display screen dimension with these smaller gadgets.That being mentioned, if you happen to’re somebody who actually desires probably the most highly effective Android tablet that cash should purchase, then you definitely’ll be extra than glad with the Tab S9 Ultra. Just be ready to empty your pockets for it and a keyboard case.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra

Mammoth display screen, even higher efficiency
There’s a lot to love in regards to the Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra, from its 14.6-inch show to the assorted software program options comparable to Samsung DeX. But at this value, you are in all probability higher off searching for a Chromebook or “common” laptop computer and saving some cash. 

Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra: Price Comparison

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