The Samsung Galaxy Tab S8+ and the huge Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra want to conquer the Android tablet throne. In our test, we check whether they succeed. Surprising: The tablets, which look similar on paper, are sometimes suitable for very different purposes.
Design & processing: The size makes the difference
The backs of the two tablets look practically identical. The S Pen is the same. Image:
Externally, the tablets are like one egg to the other. The Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra with its 14.6-inch display is only noticeably larger, heavier and more elongated than the Galaxy Tab S8+ with its 12.4-inch display.
Our test devices have a back in the restrained color graphite. The Samsung logo can be seen at the top left, and there are black antenna strips on the top and bottom. An elongated, sleek S Pen cradle on the left magnetically holds the stylus in place, with the cameras resting in an oval housing at the end. There are four speakers at the top and bottom edges of the metal case.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra Buy now at
The Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra (left) is significantly bulkier than the Galaxy Tab S8+ (right). Image:
The fronts are also designed in the same way: slightly rounded screens at the edges, relatively thin bezels and the webcams on the right side. If you place the tablets horizontally for video meetings, the cameras are at the top. There is a bigger difference here: the Galaxy Tab S8+ only offers a webcam or selfie camera, the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra has an additional camera for group shots. In the larger model, the cameras are also accommodated in a notch, a notch that transitions from the frame to the display. Whether it bothers me is subjective, it didn't bother me when I was consuming the media.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S8+ Buy now at
The notch is reserved for the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra (above). Image:
The tablets make a very stable and high-quality impression. They can neither be bent nor dented – the iPad Air 2020 seemed a bit more fragile to me, the current iPad Air 5 is said to be even more sensitive according to user reports. But there is a catch: The Galaxy Tab S8 devices, like the Galaxy Tab S6 , use the magnetic pen holder on the back, this solution still doesn't make sense to me.
Ergonomically not very useful: The S Pen sticks magnetically to the back and is charged there. Image:
You cannot transport the tablet in this way, as the stylus could easily become detached in your pocket or with a careless touch. While it's convenient that the Bluetooth pen charges on the back, it would be safer in a lanyard or case. Since the stylus is quite large, it doesn't fit directly into the case like it does on the Galaxy S22 Ultra . So the magnetic holder seems to me like an emergency solution and not thought through to the end.
Verdict : The Galaxy Tab S8 devices look almost identical. Both score with a modern design and stable workmanship. The magnetic holder for the S Pen on the back is rather impractical.
Displays: Impressive AMOLEDs with streaming hooks
HDR videos look great on the Galaxy tablets (here the Galaxy Tab S8+), but… Image:
… only a few streaming providers and YouTube support HDR playback on the tablets. Image:
Both tablets offer sharp AMOLED displays with self-illuminating pixels. That means perfect black and enormous contrast. The refresh rate of 120 Hertz, which can be selected in the options, ensures smooth scrolling through apps and websites. The display of the Galaxy Tab S8+ has a resolution of 2800 x 1752 pixels, the screen of the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra has a resolution of 2960 x 1848 pixels. The pixel density is slightly higher in the smaller model, but both tablets display content sharply. After all, you aren't stuck to the screen like you are with your smartphone.
You select the refresh rate in the settings (here the Galaxy Tab S8+). Image:
The display brightness is sufficient for use in sunlight, but the Galaxy S22 Ultra smartphone has a much brighter display than the tablets. This is also reflected in the less impressive display of HDR content.
Annoying: The Amazon Video and Disney+ streaming apps cannot be used with the Samsung tablets in HDR, as was the case with my Galaxy Tab S4 . This only works with Netflix . Large AMOLED screens are particularly suitable for series and films in HDR, and the feature would certainly be one of the greater attractions of the devices for many users. HDR can be used with YouTube, but that's cold consolation. So for fans of HDR streaming, the tablets are n't much of a cinema , if I may allow myself the dig.
The Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra is basically very well suited for streaming films and series … Picture:
… but with Amazon Video and Disney+ this is only possible without HDR. Image:
Apart from this software-related weakness in media consumption, the displays make a powerful impression. Above all, photos and artistic works, such as your own creations with the S Pen, experience a worthy display with enormous contrast and bright colors.
Conclusion : The large AMOLED displays know how to impress. More streaming providers should also make them usable for HDR content.
Technology & equipment: Like a smartphone flagship
The tablets largely share the same technology. Image:
Inside, the tablets house the latest technology. Instead of an Exynos processor like in the Galaxy S22 Ultra , the even faster Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 takes care of the performance (on the topic of Game Optimizing Service see "Which tablet for whom?"). The Galaxy Tab S8+ is content with 8 GB of RAM, the Ultra model is available with 8, 12 and even 16 GB. In contrast to smartphones, the flood of working memory makes sense here, because several apps and browser tabs can be used in parallel in DeX desktop mode.
You can expand the internal storage of the devices with a microSD card. Image:
The tablets have batteries with a decent capacity, measuring 10,900 mAh in the Tab S8+ and 11,200 mAh in the Ultra model. The runtime is sufficient for one day, even if the tablets are not long-distance runners. They can be powered with a 45-watt charger, which has to be purchased separately. Bluetooth 5.2 and Wi-Fi 6E ensure modern connectivity, models with a 5G modem are also available. Very nice: you can expand the internal memory by up to 1 TB with a microSD card. With smartphones from Samsung, this is no longer a matter of course.
Conclusion : The Galaxy Tab S8 series is as strong and well equipped as current flagship smartphones.
Cameras & Sound: Great speakers
Thanks to the two webcams, the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra is well suited for video conferences. Image:
The two Samsung devices have cameras worth mentioning for tablets. The Galaxy Tab S8+ has a 13-megapixel main camera and a 6-megapixel ultra-wide-angle camera. At the front you look into a 12-megapixel camera for selfies and video conferences. The image and video quality is okay and is roughly on par with current mid-range cell phones.
A photo taken with the main camera of the Galaxy Tab S8+… Image:
… one with the ultra wide-angle lens … Image:
… and one with the selfie camera. Image:
The Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra has slightly better camera equipment. It offers a 13-megapixel main camera and a 6-megapixel ultra-wide rear camera, plus two front cameras: a 12-megapixel webcam and a 12-megapixel group shot camera. You can also take great photos with this camera.
A photo taken with the main camera of the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra, showing our photographer Oliver in our studio… Image:
…a photo with the main camera showing the Galaxy Tab S8+… Image:
… a photo of me with the selfie camera … picture:
… a photo of me with the wide-angle selfie camera … Image:
…and a photo taken with the ultra wide-angle camera on the back of the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra. Image:
The Galaxy Tab S8+ is equipped with very powerful and loud quad speakers with a pronounced stereo effect for music and movies. Media fans will be happy about clear voices, a strong bass for a tablet, and highs that don't overdrive. External speakers are not absolutely necessary. The Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra ups the ante with an even more powerful, powerful bass, and it also has a more spatial sound. I didn't miss my stereo in the kitchen.
Verdict : The cameras are on the good level of mid-range cell phones, and the four speakers can even replace external speakers.
Which tablet for whom?
With the Galaxy Tab S8+ you can surf comfortably on the couch … Picture:
… with the large and heavy Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra, this becomes uncomfortable after a short time. Image:
The size, format and weight mean that the two otherwise similar tablets are suitable for different purposes. The Galaxy Tab S8+ is ideal for casual surfing on the internet on the couch, the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra is too bulky and heavy for that. On a stand or in the keyboard case In general, the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra feels most comfortable.
The exception: you put it on the table to draw on it with the S Pen. For drawing, design and photo editing, the big is a real joy. The S Pen is very precise and pressure-sensitive, and the lines get thicker the harder you press. The only limitation is the small supply of professional Android apps, which might not be enough for some professionals.
With the S Pen you draw very precisely on the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra. Image:
The usual S Pen functions are back on board. Image:
For productive purposes, the tablets are better than smartphones thanks to DeX mode and large screens. With the desktop mode DeX you can display app windows side by side on the displays in different sizes, similar to Windows. This is sufficient for writing texts, drawing and blogging, but as a Windows replacement more apps suitable for the desktop would be required – after all, Android apps are optimized for smartphones. However, programs such as Google Docs and Spreadsheets as well as Office 365 can be used well on the tablets. A Windows laptop is a better choice for productivity, but for basic purposes the Samsung tablets will suffice.
DeX mode is similar to Windows. Image:
You can side-by-side different apps like Chrome and YouTube. Image:
After all, the tablets are also strong gaming machines. They also have the notorious Game Optimizing Service that throttles performance in many apps, but thanks to an update, it can be disabled. This works in the settings of the Game Booster app under "Labs > Alternative game performance management". Only in the event of overheating does the throttling switch back on. A performance reduction is annoying for flagship devices such as the Galaxy Tab S8 models, but in practice there are hardly any games as graphically demanding as "Genshin Impact". The most popular games also run on weaker devices, and apps usually do not need a lot of computing power. So whether the throttling bothers you depends on your favorite games.
However, it should be considered that the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra is too big and too heavy for playing many Android games. It is better suited for streaming games, such as via Xbox Game Pass with a connected Bluetooth controller. And for construction and strategy games like "Jurassic World: The Game", where the tablet can remain on the table. The Galaxy Tab S8+ is also a good choice for other Android games.
The Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra is good for streaming games… Image:
… like "Halo Infinite" … picture:
… and for building games like "Jurassic World: The Game", where the tablet can also be placed on the table. Image:
Conclusion : The large and heavy Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra is intended for use on a table, a stand or with a keyboard. Artists enjoy the big digital canvas, streaming fans enjoy the even stronger sound of the Ultra model and the larger screen for working in DeX mode. On the other hand, the Galaxy S8+ is better suited for typical tablet purposes such as surfing the web and playing games on the couch. Aside from the size factor, drawing and other applications work equally well on both tablets.
Nice: The tablets will receive an update to Android 12L, which is optimized for tablets and foldables, at a date that is not yet known.
Conclusion: The tablet kings of the Android world
The Galaxy Tab S8+ and S8 Ultra have my blessing. Image:
The Galaxy Tab S8+ and S8 Ultra are two of the best Android tablets out there. The large and massive build of the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra makes it ideal for use on a table or stand, while the Galaxy Tab S8+ lets you surf comfortably on the couch. Thanks to the cameras, the devices are very well suited for video conferences, and the quad speakers are awesome.
The high-contrast AMOLED screens show photos and S Pen works in impressive quality, but more streaming providers should release them for HDR content – otherwise a piece of potential is wasted. Anyone looking for a high-quality Android tablet will do everything right with both models. However, the prices are at Apple level.
|I liked that||I liked that less|
|+ Large AMOLED displays||– no HDR with Amazon Video & Disney+|
|+ Powerful speakers||– no power supply included|
|+ Precise S-Pen operation||– high prices|
|+ Decent cameras|
Alternatives : Apple has the iPad Pro tablets, with the 12.9-inch model offering a mini-LED display for high-contrast display. As an Android alternative, we recommend the Lenovo Tab P12 Pro with a 12.6-inch AMOLED display and the Precision Pen 3 stylus. If you primarily want to be productive and don't want to do without an OLED display: the good Windows laptop Asus ZenBook 13 OLED costs half as much as the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra.