If you’re looking for the best tablet in 2020, you’re likely looking towards an iPad – but Samsung would like to draw your attention to its brand-new Android tablet, the Galaxy Tab S7.
Announced alongside the larger Galaxy Tab S7 Plus at Samsung's virtual Unpacked event, the Tab S7 is designed to offer a premium experience to compete with Apple’s ever successful iPad range.
We’ve had the opportunity to briefly try out the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7, alongside the new Samsung Galaxy Note 20 and Galaxy Note 20 Ultra phones, and below you’ll find our first impressions of the new tablet.
- Also read our hands-on Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 Plus review
- Here's our hands-on Samsung Galaxy Note 20 review
- Check out our hands-on Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra review
- Read our Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 first look
- And our hands-on: Samsung Galaxy Buds Live review
Want to hear all about Samsung's Unpacked? These are the highlights of the Galaxy Tab S7 launch:
Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 release date and price
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 was unveiled on August 5 2020, alongside the Tab S7 Plus, the Galaxy Note 20 phones and the Galaxy Watch 3. We know it’s set to go on sale in the US, UK and Australia.
An exact Galaxy Tab S7 release date has yet to be confirmed, but it’s expected to be at some stage this year. The base model of the tablet with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage starts at $649.99 / £619 / AU$1,149.
In the UK, you’ll be able to buy a Wi-Fi only variant of the tablet but it seems that in the US you’ll only have the choice of a 5G-ready. There are a variety of pre-order deals for the tablet available, but these aren’t entirely clear at the time of writing and they’ll differ depending on where you live.
Design and display
The Galaxy Tab S7 looks similar to previous Samsung tablets, but the design has been refined, with the display technology in particular being improved for this latest edition.
We’ll start with the display, which is a 11-inch QHD display, which equals 274 pixels per inch. This isn’t the best tablet display out there in terms of resolution, but it still looked fantastic when we were watching video.
One of the big upgrades for this model is the introduction of a 120Hz refresh rate, and this means the on-screen image refreshes more frequently than on devices with a lower rate.
The display will be large enough for many users, but if you’re looking for an even bigger option you may want to opt for the Tab S7 Plus. Both tablets feature some hefty bezel around the edges of the display, but it feels appropriate for a tablet and we didn’t notice it when using the device.
The edges of this tablet are more squared than on previous iterations. It feels – and looks – more like an iPad Pro than ever before, but it still sits in your hands comfortably.
On the left-hand edge is the power key and there’s a volume rocker next to it. There are speaker grilles on the top and bottom edges of the tablet, and there’s a USB-C on the bottom edge as well.
If you want to be able to sketch or annotate documents with your tablet, you’ll be pleased to know that a stylus included with the tablet. That sits on the rear of the device to charge in a long line, which is a bold design choice that only some will enjoy.
Performance and software
Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 865 Plus chipset is inside the Galaxy Tab S7, and it appeared to work well in our limited time testing the tablet. It’s one of the best chipsets available on the market right now, so you should expect some top-end performance. We’ve found that apps opened snappily during our time with the tablet, and it should be able to play most games without any problems.
There’s 6GB of RAM onboard, which should be more than enough to run top games and more. Those in the US have the choice of either 128GB or 256GB of storage, while those in the UK just get 128GB.
The tablet comes with Android 10 software, overlaid with what Samsung is calling version 2.5 of its One UI – although exactly how that differs to the One UI 2 software seen on previous Samsung products isn’t clear.
Unlike a lot of other Android tablets, the Galaxy Tab S7 comes with 5G connectivity, allowing you to connect to next-gen mobile networks around the world. In the UK, there’s a Wi-Fi only variant of the tablet available but you can also get the 5G-ready version. We’ve yet to hear if the US will be able to buy the Wi-Fi only version.
Camera and battery life
If you’re looking for a tablet with a good camera, perhaps for work or study the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 looks a safe bet. There’s a 13MP main shooter on the rear of the tablet, alongside a 5MP ultra-wide and a flash module.
On the front, you’ll find an 8MP selfie camera for video calling and more. This has now been placed on the right hand edge of the screen, which makes it a better location for when you’re video calling with the tablet in landscape.
We briefly tried out the rear camera, and the results were about what you’d expect from a premium tablet – that is, photos aren’t going to look as good as what you’ll get from a smartphone like the Galaxy Note 20, but the colors looked strong in the images and everything we shot was clear.
The tablet is powered by an 8,000mAh battery. Samsung yet to specify a battery life figure, but based on our experience with previous Samsung tablets with a similar size battery, we’d expect this to last over eight hours and perhaps even longer.
There’s also 45W fast-charging technology here, but you’ll need a dedicated charger to take advantage of it – and you don’t get one in the box, so it’ll be an added expense.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 won’t be a major upgrade for anyone with a recent Android tablet or iPad, but it looks to be a solid product that could unseat our current best Android - the Galaxy Tab S6 - from the top of our definitive list.
Arguably its main competition is the slightly larger Galaxy Tab S7 Plus, but if you’re happy with a smaller tablet and don’t need the larger display, the Tab S7 is an impressive option at a slightly lower price.