Not long ago, it felt like Samsung was the only Android tablet maker worth talking about. Such was the iPad’s dominance, few other phone companies dared make slates of their own. Unless you wanted a Surface tablet running Windows, picking up a Galaxy Tab was your main alternative to Apple.
But that’s changed significantly in the last year or so. Competitive slates from the likes of Xiaomi, Realme and Nokia have all come to market – Samsung can no longer consider itself the default company for Android tablets.
The company needed to respond, and it’s done so in style at its February 2022 Unpacked event. The Galaxy S22 Series might have been the star of the show, but Samsung also revealed three new flagship tablets in the Tab S8 Series. Like its smartphones, this now includes three models – the Tab S8, Tab S8+ and the brand-new Tab S8 Ultra. There’s even a more affordable ‘FE’ version expected later in the year.
Here’s everything you need to know.
When will the Tab S8 Series be released?
- Announced on 9 February
- Available now in UK & US, from 10 March in India
- Tab S8 FE expected later in 2022
Samsung officially revealed the Tab S8 Series at its Galaxy Unpacked event on 9 February. All three new tablets are available to buy now in the UK and US, having gone on sale from 25 February.
- Buy the Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Series in the UK – trade in for up to £500 off, plus 12 months of Disney+ (new and existing customers) and Galaxy Buds Pro with Tab S8+ or S8 Ultra
- Buy the Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Series in the US – trade in for up to $450 off, plus free $100 Google Play Credit
However, we’ll be waiting slightly longer for the devices to be available in India. All three Tab S8 slates are available to pre-order there now, ahead of an on-sale date of 10 March.
Later in the year, we’re also expecting a more affordable fourth entry in the line-up. This will be a successor to the Tab S7 FE, so all signs point to it being known as the Tab S8 FE. Dutch tech site GalaxyClub simply says the device will arrive at some point in 2022, but Gizmochina is more specific. It suggests Q4 of 2022, which could be any time between October and December.
How much does the Tab S8 Series cost?
- Tab S8 and S8+ have slightly higher starting price than predecessors
- Tab S8 Ultra most expensive Samsung tablet to date
- Price includes S Pen but not keyboard cover
So far, we only have confirmed starting prices for the three new tablets, but they don’t come cheap. The regular Tab S8 and S8+ are both £30/$50 more than their predecessors, while the S8 Ultra is the most expensive tablet Samsung has ever made. We also now have confirmed Indian pricing for the three slates:
- Tab S8 – from £649/$699/₹59,000
- Tab S8+ – from £849/$899/₹75,000
- Tab S8 Ultra – from £999/$1,099/₹109,000
For context, that makes the S8 Ultra’s starting price identical to the latest 12.9in iPad Pro in the UK and US.
Learn more in our separate guide on where to buy the Galaxy Tab S8 Series.
When it gets announced, the Tab S8 FE is expected to be significantly more affordable. However, it’s not clear how much pricing will differ compared to the S7 FE’s £529/US$599 starting price.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 design & features
- All three powered by Snapdragon 8 Gen 1
- AMOLED displays and in-display fingerprint only on S8+ and Ultra
- Notched selfie camera only on Tab S8 Ultra
There’s plenty to talk about when it comes to the Tab S8 Series. Let’s start with what all three devices have in common.
Arguably the most exciting is the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor under the hood. It’s just two months since Qualcomm revealed its latest flagship chip, with the Tab S8 Series the first tablets to take advantage of its extra power.
While other display specs vary between models, all three tablets also have 120Hz screens. You also get the same dual rear cameras, consisting of 13Mp main and 6Mp ultra-wide. However, don’t expect them to rival the Galaxy S22 smartphones or most other flagship handsets for image quality.
Other features consistent across all three include Wi-Fi 6E and 5G support, fast charging (via USB-C) up to 45W, quad stereo speakers and an S Pen stylus in the box. However, the latter is unchanged compared to the Tab S7 Series.
There’s also been significant developments when it comes to software. All the Tab S8 devices run Android 12 out of the box, but Samsung has now committed to “up to four years” of OS updates, alongside a further year of security updates. That makes it one of the most generous Android manufacturers out there when it comes to software.
The Tab S8 Series are also expected to be one of the first in line for Android 12L, a version of the operating system specifically designed for tablets and foldables. This should help the software feel better optimised for the bigger displays, something Android tablets have often struggled with.
Tab S8 and S8+
The Tab S8 and S8+ are both cautious upgrades from Samsung, with the company reserving its more ambitious features for the S8 Ultra. An 11in, 2460×1600 LTPS display is unremarkable by flagship tablet standards, even if it is at 120Hz. Sticking with the same refresh rate, the S8+ steps up to a 12.4in, 2800×1752 AMOLED screen.
On both models, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 combines with 8/12GB of RAM and 128/256GB of storage, although the latter is expandable up to 1TB via microSD. The dual rear cameras are joined by a single 12Mp selfie lens, which also supports face unlock. However, you’ll probably want to use the fingerprint sensor instead – this is side-mounted on the regular S8, but in-display on the S8+.
The Tab S8+’s larger display means it gets a bigger battery – 10,090mAh vs 8,000mAh on the regular Tab S8. It’s also slightly heavier, although WiFi-only and 5G models of both devices weigh between 500g and 600g.
Tab S8 Ultra
First up is a 14.6in display, dwarfing even the largest iPad Pro you can buy. With a 16:10 aspect ratio, it comes in at 208mm tall and 326mm wide. It’s also relatively heavy, at 726g for Wi-Fi models and 728g if you want to add 5G.
The 120Hz AMOLED display here has a resolution of 2960×1848, although tiny bezels mean there is a notch for the selfie camera. This does at least include two sensors, with the 12Mp ultra-wide lens joined by 12Mp wide here.
Alongside the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chipset, you get additional options here for 16GB of RAM and 512GB of internal storage. Again, the latter can be expanded up to 1TB.
That extra screen real estate also requires a bigger battery – it’s an impressive 11,200mAh cell here.
In general, Android tablets have focused more on entertainment than productivity, partly due to software limitations. With the Tab S8 Ultra, it’s clear Samsung wants it to be a great device for getting work done too.
We discussed the Tab S8 Series in episode 101 of Fast Charge, our weekly podcast:
Tab S8 FE
The Tab S8 FE is yet to be announced – even the name isn’t official yet. Understandably, most of the recent news has focused on the flagship tablets, so there’s very little to talk about here.
In fact, aside from Dutch tech site GalaxyClub saying the device will also have Wi-Fi only and 5G options alongside an LCD display, it’s guesswork at this stage.
We’ll update this article once more is known. In the meantime, check out our round-up of the best Android tablets and best tablets overall to see what they’ll be up against.