Samsung and Apple share the same percentage of market share in the tablet market in India and the recent release of the Tab S8-series could be Samsung's attempt at taking a lead. The Galaxy Tab S8 is the vanilla version of the S8 Ultra and S8+ models. But it tends to stand on its own feet, seeing how its placed in the price portfolio.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 is priced at Rs 70,999, which is for the 5G variant. If you can settle for the Wi-Fi model, you can save a whole lot as it costs Rs 58,999. But that choice comes at the cost of convenience. Either way, both tablets are the same in configuration and have Graphite, Silver, and Pink Gold shades to choose from. Samsung sent us the Graphite 5G variant of the Tab S8 and here's our review.
Though the S-Pen is part of the package, there's a QWERTY keyboard accessory, which we found to be a must after using it. It costs Rs 7,300 and makes it easy to type on the move. To get the same Tab S8 as in this review, it would cost you Rs 78,300.
Samsung Galaxy S8 doesn't go for any major makeovers as compared to its predecessor. But there's no compromise on the premium nature of the tablet as metallic material is used to wrap up the slim tablet. We found the Tab S8 to be extremely handy and the 11-inch display makes it easy to work and play on the go. Let us remind you, the Tab S8 Ultra has a 14.6-inch display and its marvellous. But we are talking convenience, portability and utility here, so the Tab S8 is ideal.
Samsung Tab S8 gets flat sides, akin to the iPad Air, so it's aesthetically pleasing. The Graphite shade is elegant but beauty is in the finer details.
The Tab S8 has a power button that doubles as a fingerprint scanner on the top edge of the tablet alongside the volume controls and the microSD card slot along the same side towards the right. The USB Type-C port is on the right side of the tablet and the 4-way speaker can be found on both sides, which is the ideal positioning.
On the back of the tablet, there's a pill-shaped dual camera module, which is so slightly elevated. There's also a mirrored magnetic strip that runs below the camera module, which is appealing to the eye and of great convenience while using the S-Pen. Like it, there are two more places where the S-Pen sticks.
There's a magnetic strip on the top right and the entire bottom side can be used to holster the S-Pen, which is practical while using the stylus on and off. And if you get the keyboard case, there's a much more secure place to hold the S-Pen between the hinges.
Practically, the Tab S8's design is incredible. The graphite hue looks elegant and the overall feel of the tablet is quite premium.
The Galaxy Tab S8's display configuration may come off as disappointing when compared to the likes of Tab S8+ and Tab S8 Ultra. There's an 11-inch 2560x1600 LTPS TFT LCD display, but don't be disappointed just yet. Samsung knows its displays at the back of the hand and that is surely reflected in the Tab S8.
The Tab S8's display is every bit good unless you compare it with Super AMOLED counterparts side by side. For your daily use, from gaming to multimedia, the Tab S8 lives up to the expectations. Between Standard and Vivid mode, there's a difference of night and day and the latter mode throws the competition away. With a peak brightness of 565 nits, it's the brightest panel you'll get on a tablet.
Under direct sunlight, the visibility would naturally get hampered due to reflection, but it can easily be used outdoors and indoors at peak brightness. All in all, don't go by the on-paper specs of the Tab S8, as it exceeds expectations with real-world delivery.
The 120Hz refresh rate panel is every bit good. Its true potential can be felt while using it with a stylus. It's so smooth and nice.
Performance and audio
Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 is powered by Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chipset, paired with 8GB RAM and 128GB storage, which may be sufficient for most users except for those who use onboard storage. The Tab S8 is capable of delivering optimum performance, but it doesn't compare against Apple's M1-powered iPad Air.
Using the tablet for everything from multimedia to internet browsing and some official work, we didn't encounter any lags or glitches. Switching between apps was as seamless as it could be in the real world. If you're capable of handling your games like BGMI on the tablet, the Tab S8 can handle its frames at the highest settings.
We watched several TV shows and movies on the tablet and it emerged a winner. The stereo speakers are simply delightful. There are eight 2W stereos with Dolby Atmos, which deliver audio better than most laptops. The speakers easily fill up a room and even remains clearly audible in bigger halls too.
The software on the tablet is Android 12, but the level of enhancements is impressive, particularly what Samsung has done with Samsung phones, smartwatches and earbuds integration. What really struck us is the DeX support, which brings the convenience of a desktop to tablet.
There's a split-screen view for seamless multitasking, Quick Share mimics AirDrop quite well and the Dual Front Camera is excellent for video calls.
The fingerprint scanner works efficiently and takes you to the home screen in a flash. The UI is well organised to use from the get-go. Overall performance and software on the Tab S8 is reliable, but if you're on the iOS ecosystem, the iPad Air makes more sense.
S-Pen and keyboard
S-Pen and keyboard are accessories not everyone needs, but it's every bit useful. The keyboard helped us type out this entire review with ease. We got accustomed to the keyboard in no time and typing was seamless from there on. The base of the keyboard doesn't allow it to sit on the lap, but if you can find a hard surface like a table or even the armrest of a sofa, it will let you get your work done. We literally spent 90 per cent of our typing on the tablet using the physical keyboard rather than the virtual one.
The S-Pen comes with the tablet for free and it makes more sense to get familiar with it for various tasks. The precision that S-Pen offers is unmatchable and doesn't return any lags while drawing or writing. It offers natural writing and drawing strokes as much as it can. But unless you have the keyboard-cum-case, there's no secure silo to hold the S-Pen. The magnetic strip on the tablet isn't strong enough to hold the S-Pen when it hits obstacles.
The Galaxy Tab S8 has an 8,000mAh battery but the weight distribution is impressive. All-day battery life is almost guaranteed, even for the most intensive users. But if your usage is light, you can easily run it for days. Initially, we used the tablet extensively for writing and multimedia. Later on, after the review was completed, our usage was limited to watching videos and doodling for fun. The tablet's battery life was anywhere between 12 hours to 24 hours (spread across two days).
The tablet also supports 45W fast charging, but you need to buy the adaptor separately. It took an hour and a half to fully charge the tablet at its full speed. The decision to exclude the adaptor is for the environment, which is generously reflected in the packaging using recycled materials.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 comes with a dual rear-camera setup, combining a 13MP wide-angle sensor and a 6MP ultra-wide lens. On the front is a more capable 12MP ultra-wide front camera, which gives video conferencing a boost.
The rear cameras do not offer flagship-level camera quality, but it is appropriate for scanning documents with impressive details.
The new Galaxy Tab S8 is a fantastic tablet for those looking into the Android ecosystem. And if you have Samsung devices, like phones and smartwatches, it's an unmatched bonus. The Tab S8 gets many things right, from premium build and design to fantastic display and more. The iPad Air gains an edge in the performance and software aspect, but there are areas where Tab S8 excels such as S-Pen, dual-camera setup, DeX mode support, and seamless keyboard integration.
The Tab S8 is ideal for multimedia use, light productivity work and browsing the web. The strong software backing, i.e. four years of Android OS updates and an additional year of security updates, make the Tab S8 great for long-term use.