Got Zoom meetings? The Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra is your new best friend
Samsung's newly announced high-end tablet comes with a display so massive, it's pretty much an Android laptop.
Joshua GoldmanManaging Editor / Advice
Managing Editor Josh Goldman is a laptop expert and has been writing about and reviewing them since built-in Wi-Fi was an optional feature. He also covers almost anything connected to a PC, including keyboards, mice, USB-C docks and PC gaming accessories. In addition, he writes about cameras, including action cams and drones. And while he doesn't consider himself a gamer, he spends entirely too much time playing them.
ExpertiseLaptops, desktops and computer and PC gaming accessories including keyboards, mice and controllers, cameras, action cameras and dronesCredentials
More than two decades experience writing about PCs and accessories, and 15 years writing about cameras of all kinds.
Samsung's new Galaxy S22 Ultra, S22 Plus and S22 phones were the main attraction at its Unpacked event on Wednesday, but they were joined by another set of devices with much larger screens: the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra, S8 Plus and S8. Many details about these tablets were leaked before the Unpacked event, but that doesn't make them any less interesting. Especially the top-of-the-line Ultra, which is more like an Android laptop.
A lot of people turned to their tablets in the past two years for work, school, gaming and video. And apparently those people are yearning for larger screens: Sales of large-screen tablets grew 24%, Samsung said, based on analysis from NPD Group. So Samsung is giving the people what they want with the new Tab S8 line, which includes the giant 14.6-inch S8 Ultra.
Like the Galaxy S22 Ultra, the Tab S8 Ultra is not only the largest but the most feature-packed of the three new devices. The display is hard to ignore: a 14.6-inch Super AMOLED screen with a 2,960x1,848-pixel resolution at 240 pixels per inch and a 120Hz refresh rate. By comparison, the largest iPad Pro at the moment is 12.9 inches with a 2,732x2,048-pixel resolution at 264ppi.
A display that size, while great for streaming video and gaming, is going to be equally good for getting work done, whether that's paired with its backlit keyboard cover (not included) or used as a secondary wireless touchscreen monitor for your Galaxy phone or a Windows PC.
A big reason tablets were popular during the past couple of years was video chat, so Samsung put dual 12-megapixel cameras in the Ultra along with intelligent autoframing software that sounds similar to Apple's Center Stage. The Ultra also has three mics with noise cancellation and quad speakers. Combined with the cameras, they should make this a videoconferencing star.
While the 14.6-inch Ultra might be the biggest, its two linemates aren't exactly small. The Tab S8 Plus has a 12.4-inch, 2,800x1,752-pixel Super AMOLED display while the regular Tab S8 has an 11-inch 2,560x1,600-pixel LED panel. Both are capable of a 120Hz refresh rate.
Memory on the S8 and S8 Plus is 8GB and storage is either 128GB or 256GB; the S8 Ultra will be available with 8GB, 12GB or 16GB of memory and up to 512GB of storage. Another difference: Instead of two front-facing cameras, these models have just one 12-megapixel ultrawide camera. Also, the tablets have more battery capacity, but those are the main differences between the models.
A lot in common
Much of what you'll find in the Ultra, you'll also get in the base Tab S8, which is itself impressive. For example, all three tablets have a 4-nanometer octa-core processor that Samsung says is the fastest it's ever put in a Galaxy Tab. Samsung made the tablets from what it calls Armor Aluminum, which, compared with the Galaxy Tab S7, makes them 30% more scratch-resistant and 40% less prone to bending. They all have quad speakers with Dolby Atmos, can all capture 4K video and all have microSD card slots that support up to 1TB. Their batteries can be used to charge other devices with a USB-C cable. The Tab S8 series has fast-charging that gets the tablets up to 100% in 90 minutes.
The Tab S8 models have Wi-Fi 6E (2.4/5/6GHz) and Bluetooth 5.2, though currently only the S8 Plus will be offered with optional 5G. You'll be able to unlock them with facial recognition or a fingerprint scan -- on the display for the Ultra and Plus and on the power button for the regular Tab S8. And all three will come with a Samsung S Pen in the box.
All together now
Samsung has made a big effort to ensure its Galaxy devices work together in the past couple of years, and that continues with these tablets. They're able to act as second displays for a Samsung phone or laptop. Content can instantly sync between your Galaxy phone and tablet better than it ever has, and Galaxy Buds can automatically switch between the two as well without needing to go through a pairing process. And now Samsung Galaxy Watch users will be able to sync Samsung Health stats with the Tab S8 to view them on a larger display.
The Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra is available for preorder in graphite and starting at $1,100 (£999, AU$1,799). The Galaxy Tab S8 Plus and S8 are also available for preorder now in graphite, silver and pink gold, starting at $900 (£849, AU$1,499) for the S8 Plus and $700 (£649, AU$1,099) for the S8. It goes on sale Feb. 28.
It's worth noting that Samsung says the Galaxy Tab S8 series will be supported by up to four generations of Android OS upgrades and five years of security updates. This is fantastic news for anyone considering these pricey Android tablets, as continued Android support has always been a concern compared with Apple's iPad support.