Samsung released its newest tablets in February 2022 with the Galaxy Tab S8 family. Alongside the Galaxy Tab S8+ and Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra, the baseline Galaxy Tab S8 offers an impressive list of flagship specs/features for $699. However, it has stiff internal competition. A few months prior, Samsung released the $529 Galaxy Tab S7 FE. It offers a fairly similar user experience to the Tab S8 — and it does so for almost $200 cheaper. If you’re stuck deciding which tablet to get, here are a few pointers to help you out.
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As with most comparisons, let’s start with the display. On the surface, the Tab S8 and Tab S7 FE look very similar here. Both have TFT LCD display panels, 2560 x 1600 resolutions, and similar screen sizes (11 inches for the Tab S8 and 12.4 inches for the Tab S7 FE). However, the Galaxy Tab S8 has a huge advantage in that its refresh rate is 120Hz instead of the 60Hz found on the Tab S7 FE. This means the Tab S8’s display refreshes twice as fast as the Tab S7 FE, making all interactions feel noticeably smoother and more fluid. Both tablets support Dolby Atmos for enriched audio, but where the Galaxy Tab S8 has four stereo speakers, the Galaxy Tab S7 FE only has two. One nice perk of both tablets is that each one comes with a free S Pen in the box — allowing users to take notes, draw, and doodle without spending any extra cash. The Galaxy Tab S8’s S Pen has less latency for a more natural drawing experience (6.2ms vs. 9ms), but it shouldn’t be too noticeable by anyone but professional artists.
More Differences Between Tab S8 & Tab S7 FE
The also some noteworthy internal differences — namely the processor. The Galaxy Tab S8 has the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chipset, and the Tab S7 FE has the Snapdragon 778G. Both are very good in their own right and are capable of running most apps and casual games without a problem. That said, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 in the Tab S8 is considerably more powerful. It has a faster CPU clock speed, more capable graphics, and a more energy-efficient design. Combine that with substantially more RAM (8GB on the Tab S8 and as little as 4GB on the Tab S7 FE), and the Galaxy Tab S8 is easily the better choice for power users.
Interestingly enough, the Galaxy Tab S7 FE has the advantage with battery life. Thanks to its larger display and body, the Tab S7 FE gets a generous 10,090 mAh battery. The Tab S8, by comparison, has a much smaller 8,000 mAh battery. Both tablets support 45W charging and do so via a USB-C port. However, the Tab S8 isn’t outdone that easily. Galaxy Tab S8 owners are treated to a fingerprint sensor embedded into the power button, allowing them to easily unlock banking apps, password managers, and other sensitive information. The Tab S7 FE supports face unlock for bypassing the lock screen, but it has no use beyond that. And then there’s the software situation. Where the Galaxy Tab S7 FE shipped with Android 11 and is still running that software, the Galaxy Tab S8 offers Android 12 right out of the box. The Tab S8 also touts four years of major Android updates, besting the three years of updates promised for the Tab S7 FE.
If $529 is the most you have to spend on a new Android tablet, the Galaxy Tab S7 FE is a good device for the price. The screen looks nice, its processor is powerful enough for most scenarios, and its larger battery is a really welcome touch. If you can scrounge up another $170 to spend, though, it may be worthwhile going all out for the Galaxy Tab S8. The faster refresh rate will make a huge difference in day-to-day use, as will the processor if you play a lot of games or run demanding apps. Combined with the fingerprint sensor, extra RAM and storage, and better software support, the Galaxy Tab S8 does a lot to justify the increased price. Think about what you need out of a tablet, consult your budget, and choose the Samsung tablet that makes the most sense for you.