Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 FE Review - Toned down beast?

In this article, we share our experience with the Samsung Tab S7 FE after a month of use.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 FE Notes app

We take a look a closer look at the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 FE. The tablet originally debuted globally in the first half of 2021 and arrived in the Philippines in July 2021.

To recap, the tablet features a large 12.4-inch WQXGA TFT LCD display. Inside is the 8nm Qualcomm Snapdragon 750G, Adreno 619 GPU, 6GB RAM, 128GB of storage and a 10,090mAh battery with 45W Super Fast Charging 2.0. It runs on Android 11-based OneUI 3 and comes in Mystic Black, Mystic Green, Mystic Silver and Mystic Pink.

In the Philippines, the Tab S7 FE starts for PHP 29,990 for the WiFi-only without Keyboard configuration.

Let's dive in!

Build Quality/Design

rear
rear

As expected from the tablet is made of a combination of metal and glass. The display features a glass front panel while the frame and back seem to be a single block of metal with antenna lines, Samsung and AKG branding and the camera bump.
Netflix on the Tab S7 FE
Netflix on the Tab S7 FE

The glass feels solid but is a fingerprint smudge magnet while the metal frame and back panel feature a matte texture. This texture makes it less slippery and less prone to fingerprint smudges.

Because of the 12.4-inch display, the tablet is rather large with a measurement of 284.8 x 185 x 6.3mm and weighs 608 grams. It is impressive how many features are packed in the slim form factor. It is lighter than the 12.8 inch iPad Pro that weighs 684 grams.

There is no mention of water and dust resistance and upon looking at the SIM tray, there is no rubber gasket present.

At the back are a ton of antenna lines, Samsung and AKG branding and rear-facing cameras. In between the Samsung logo and the rear cameras is a magnetized area where the S Pen is intended to stick to. 
Top side
Topside

On top are the antenna lines, power button, volume rocker, microphone ports and the SIM tray. This tray houses one nano-SIM and one microSD card. Around the area of the SIM tray is also magnetized so the S Pen can stick to this area.
Left and Right sides
Left and Right sides

While on the left is the left speaker grill, antenna lines and a microphone port while on the right are the right speaker grille, USB-C port and more antenna lines.

Overall, the tablet is surprisingly well lightweight given the size. But we did notice a bit of back panel flex in the middle part. This may be the result of weight reducing techniques.

Multimedia Experience

Full-screen experience?

In front is the eye-catching large 12.4-inch TFT LCD display with a 60Hz refresh rate and 2560 x 1600 resolution. It supports multi-touch at up to 10 fingers at a time. This makes it ideal for games or multitasking. 

The image produced by the panel is bright enough to be readable indoors but it is just borderline readable under direct sunlight when outside. It is a great screen tho with high detail, tack sharpness, punchy colors and good contrast. 

Surrounding the display are equally sized bezels that are just thick enough for the user's fingers to fit when holding the tablet securely. The tablet is meant to be used in landscape and as such, the front-facing camera is near where the power and volume button is located.

There is no 3.5mm headphone jack on the phone but it does have stereo speakers on both the left and right sides. At max volume, the sound produced is loud enough to fill a small room. The stereo makes good use of the left and right channels which offers an added level of immersiveness. The sound quality produced has decent clarity and decent separation. What is surprising is that even at max volume, the sound quality is nearly the same as the lower level but with a higher volume.

It has multiple microphones that help with sound pick-up and sound cancelling which results in good audio recording and good video call quality. The microphone is able to pick up sound effectively within a meter away from the tablet.

Cameras

rear cameras
rear cameras

At the back of the tablet is a single 8MP camera with Autofocus. The stock camera app has the following modes: Photo, Video, Single Take, Pro,  AR doodle, Panorama, Food, Night, Portrait, and Hyperlapse.

The pro mode allows for control of ISO (100-800), White Balance and Exposure Compensation (+-2). 

The rear cameras are rudimentary and are not the focus of the tablet.

Rear Camera Samples

Rear camera daylight
Rear camera daylight

In daylight, the image from the rear camera looks sharp, detailed and vibrant. It has good contrast and color reproduction.
rear camera indoors
Rear camera indoors

Indoors, the image remains sharp, detailed and vibrant. In some cases, some grain is introduced and it softens a little otherwise its great.
Rear camera low light!

In low light, the camera struggles so much that it needs a longer shutter speed which is prone to shake and blur. The colors are good but the light sources are often overexposed.
Rear camera Night mode
Rear camera Night mode

The Night mode is able to remedy the softness, noise and shake which results in significantly sharper and detailed images while maintaining good color and contrast. If the subject is not moving, we recommend using night mode.

The rear camera is great for daylight and indoors but struggles in low light. Night Mode is essential in low light.
Selfie camera
Selfie camera

On the top bezel is the front-facing 5MP camera with no flash. The stock camera app includes mode likes Photo, Video, Single Take and Panorama.

Selfie Camera Samples

Daylight selfie
Daylight selfie
Indoor selfie
Indoor selfie
Low light selfie
Low light selfie

The Selfie camera performance is great in daylight and decent indoors but it struggles in low light. The daylight selfie is sharp, detailed with good color. The indoor selfie is softer with more noise while the low light selfie is soft and the light sources are overexposed. 

We recommend using the selfie camera in well-lit areas for the best quality especially when used for video calls.

We hope that Samsung improves the rear and selfie cameras in the next generation.

The tablet's rear and front-facing cameras can record up to 1080p at 30fps. The resulting footage is sharp and detailed in daylight. However, the footage is incredibly shaky.

Performance

AnTuTu and GeekBench

The Tab S7 FE's 8nm Qualcomm Snapdragon 750G with 6GB RAM and 128GB of storage managed to score 343,363 in AnTuTu and managed to score 635 in single-core and 1757 n multi-core Geekbench tests.
3DMark and CPDT
3DMark and CPDT

In the 3DMark Wild Life benchmark, the tablet managed to score 1,103 overall scores and had an average of 6.6 fps. 

While the internal storage managed to get a result of 114.09 MB/s for the sequential write speeds and a score of 625.88 MB/s in sequential read speeds.

356.53 MB/s in sequential write speeds and a score of 659.27 in sequential read speeds. The sequential write speeds are expected but the sequential read speeds are impressive. It is one of the fastest read speeds we've seen on a smartphone yet.

In terms of synthetic benchmarks, the Tab S7 FE is effectively a mid-ranger. 
Genshin Impact
Genshin Impact

In Genshin Impact, the Tab S7 FE managed to unlock the lowest graphics setting as the default which is expected with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 750G.

When playing Genshin Impact with the default graphics setting, the gameplay is smooth at first. It becomes choppy when there are a lot of enemies and animations in the frame. 
Call of Duty: Mobile
Call of Duty: Mobile

In the latest version of Call of Duty: Mobile, the Snapdragon 750G managed to unlock the Max Frame Rate setting and the Very High Graphics setting. This is impressive for a mid-ranger. However, you can not have the Max Frame rate and the Very High graphics at the same time.

We recommend playing on Max Frame rate with the graphics set to Medium or High. This allows for the smoothest gameplay for fast-paced first-person shooters.

There is no fingerprint scanner on the Tab S7 FE.

While the Face Unlock camera is also easy to set up and works 9 out of 10 times. It detects my face and unlocks the phone instantaneously in both well-lit and poorly lit environments. The screen brightens up when in a darker environment too. 

The phone works with OTG when the feature is enabled manually. The WiFi, Bluetooth 5.2, 5G and LTE connections are fast, stable and reliable. The GPS acquires our location immediately and accurately.
PCMark battery test and usage tests
PCMark battery test and usage tests

Inside the tablet is a large 10,090 mAh battery with support for up to 45W Super Fast Charging 2.0. It managed to last for over 12 hours and 55 minutes in our usual PCMark battery benchmark. While in our daily use of the device with a ton of web surfing, social media Video streaming and drawing, it managed to last for more than a day. It has great 2-day battery life.

Our biggest concern is that Samsung only includes the 15W charger inside the box. The faster charger is sold separately. In our experience, it takes longer than 3 hours to fully charge the tablet with the 15W charger. When we used the 25W Samsung charger, it manages to speed it up to exactly 3 hours.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 FE's One UI
Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 FE's One UI

For software, it is running on the latest Android 11-based One UI 3.1. It features several key upgrades from the One UI 3 that smoothes the large display experience. It runs as expected. Visually, it is tweaked and much more elegant than the previous One UI 2. We also found that the animations are prettier. We did experience some lag when opening multiple apps at the same time. They don't crash but they slow down the tablet.

Samsung has significantly improved its multitasking features making them more stable and less prone to crashes. We hope that Samsung updates the Tab S7 to the One UI 3.1.1 found on the Z Fold3 5G which further expands multi-tasking.
Multi-window support
Multi-window support

Otherwise, this a decent mid-range tablet with access to the Google Play store and its extensive app collection. 

We just hope Samsung updates the software of the tablet more frequently.

The included S Pen works as what one would expect from a Galaxy Note series. Handwriting and hand drawing on the tablet is a breeze and a fun experience. The pen even detects the levels of pressure applied which adds dynamic handwriting and hand drawing experience.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 FE Specs

Display: 12.4-inch TFT LCD screen w/ 60Hz refresh rate, WXGA+ 2560 x 1600 resolution at 266 ppi
CPU: 2.2GHz 8nm Snapdragon 750G octa-core processor
GPU: Adreno 619
RAM: 6GB
ROM: 128GB expandable via microSD card slot up to 1TB
Back Camera: 8MP w/ AF
Selfie Camera: 5MP
Battery: 10,090mAh battery w/ 45W Super Fast Charging 2.0
OS: Android 11
Connectivity: WiFi (2.4GHz/5GHz), 4G LTE, Bluetooth 5.0, GPS, GLONASS, Beidou, Galileo, nano-SIM
Others: Face unlock, Dolby Atmos, AKG stereo speakers, FREE Keyboard Cover, USB-C, Colors: Mystic Black, Mystic Green, Mystic Silver (online-exclusive), Mystic Pink (online-exclusive)
Dimensions: 284.8 x 185 x 6.3 mm 
Weight: 608 g
Price: WiFi without Keyboard - PHP 29,990, LTE without Keyboard - PHP 34,990, LTE with Keyboard - PHP 39,990

Pros - Eye-catching design, large display, S Pen, long battery life
Cons - 15W charger included in the box, cameras are underwhelming, No fingerprint scanner

Verdict

Browsing with the Tab S7 FE
Browsing with the Tab S7 FE

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 FE is a toned-down and more affordable version of the impressive Tab S7 which makes it an interesting option for PHP 29,990.

Our favourite feature of the Galaxy Tab S7 FE is the large display with accurate and responsive touch. We also can't stop praising the bright, vibrant, and detailed images the display produces. The experience is augmented by the pinpoint accuracy and responsiveness of the S Pen which allows for a deep level of handwriting and sketching.

We love that the tablet also has an impressive battery life that would last for several days but it only comes with a 15W charger even though it supports up to 45W Super Fast Charging 2.0.

In terms of performance, the Tab S7 FE is decent but is pushing it at the PHP 29,990 price point.

We miss the fingerprint scanner as there is only Face Unlock on the Tab S7 FE.

Another concern with the Tab S7 FE is the lack of focus on the cameras as virtual work and virtual education have become a necessity in recent times.

We strongly recommend that users choose wisely between the three configurations: WiFi without Keyboard, LTE without Keyboard and LTE with Keyboard.

What do you guys think?

Build/Design - 4
Multimedia Experience - 4
Cameras - 3
Performance - 3.5
Average - 3.625/5

Do you agree with us?
Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 FE Review - Toned down beast? Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 FE Review - Toned down beast? Reviewed by Telenor Editorial on December 16, 2021 Rating: 5

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