Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra review: Smashing, superb, splendid

The Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra is the headliner in Samsung’s current lineup of the Tab S series. It boasts a whopping 14.6-inch sAMOLED screen, a monstrous 16GB of RAM and up to 512GB of internal storage, and a sizable 11,200mAh battery.

The tablet is surely getting some love. It sports the new Exynos 2200 chipset, equipped with powerful rear cameras that can shoot up to 4K video, and an improved S Pen.

What’s the fuss about?

When I had a sneak peek of the Galaxy Tab S8 series, I gave a nonchalant look. Until I saw the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra, standing out among its siblings enormously. I asked myself, “Who would need a tablet this big?”

Weeks later, I found the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra nestled on my desk. A month-long companionship helped me understand how to use this colossal device, and who can make the most out of it.

If you’re looking for a review based on the tablet’s specifications and technical capabilities, you’re better off reading elsewhere. In this review, we’ll explore how the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra fits into your lifestyle. Is the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra your GadgetMatch? Come, let’s find out.

Livin’ your Secretary Kim Mi-So and/or Secretary Cha Sung-Hoon dreams

My fascination with tablets stemmed from my long, incessant desire to be a hot, sexy secretary to a young, bachelor executive. I may be an artist who would greatly benefit from using tablets as drawing slates, but I take pride in my organizational skills which would make me indispensable to anyone I work with.

During my stint with the Tab S8 Ultra, I tried using this humongous device as a remote notebook to do work on the go. I know for a fact that this isn’t the size you’d normally bring and fit inside your briefcase, but I still gave it a try.

And boy, it proved to be challenging. Even though I’m used to lifting weights and carrying bulky cameras and other equipment, the Tab S8 Ultra isn’t the tablet to lug around while walking and checking your calendar.

That’s precisely the Galaxy Fold’s reason for existence, and it’s evident in Secretary Cha Sung-Hoon’s lifestyle in Business Proposal.

Work efficiently on the go

Kat Edison, Scarlet Magazine’s Social Media Director from the Hulu series The Bold Type, exhibited the best way to use a tablet at work.

In the show’s first season, Kat was seen carrying the tablet on her left arm while reporting about the analytics for their magazine’s website and social media accounts.

I’ve been doing the same manner in every tablet I’ve ever held, even something as big as the Tab S8 Ultra. I find it easy to look at the bigger picture, analyze the data, and present reports while carrying such a colossal slate.

Whenever I need to step away from my desk, I continue my work through the tablet. It performs just like my M1 Macbook Air and has a bigger display that can handle intense sunlight during the afternoon. I personally enjoy it since I tend to work outdoors or at an alfresco cafe, sipping cucumber lemonades or smoothies.

Moreover, I don’t have to worry about its battery. It’s got a humongous capacity and I can freely plug it into a power bank in case I ran out of juice. It’s still a tablet, right?

An extension of productivity

To make it the real productive device promised, Samsung offers the Book Cover Keyboard (PhP 17,599/SG$ 548) specifically for the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra.

It doubles as a protective cover for its back and as a keyboard to provide a laptop-like experience. The keyboard snaps easily through a magnetic pin, while the back cover latches magnetically.

There’s a protruding curve near the camera island, and that’s where you can safe-keep your S-Pen if you don’t want it magnetically attached to the tablet.

The trackpad is nearly as smooth as my Macbook’s, although the keys are incomparable. Sure, it travels smoothly and there’s a function key to turn on the backlight. However, I’m annoyed by the sound it makes every time I type since I prefer quiet keyboards, especially when writing long-form stories.

More importantly, the only advantage this Book Cover Keyboard has is its packaged offerings. A holder for your S Pen, protection for your tablet’s back and screen, and a backlit keyboard.

Other than that, I don’t think the pricing is justified considering there are other alternatives. But of course, if you have the means to do so, go ahead and buy it. Who am I to make decisions for you? I’m just a crumpled-up piece of paper lying here; a soldier who’s returning half his weight. Kidding. I’m just a Swiftie.

Can it be a laptop alternative?

Let’s address the elephant in the room. The Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra retails for US$ 1100, SG$ 2,188 in Singapore, and PhP 77,990 in the Philippines. Honestly, this costs way too much than my 13-inch M1 Macbook Air.

For its price, I highly believe this tablet isn’t made for those looking for a laptop. Or those dreaming of having both a laptop and a tablet, and happened to find one that has similar functions.

If you’re in dire need of a laptop, there are far better options in the market that specifically performs tasks meant for such gear.

Personally, tablets are meant to support your daily activities. An extension of your digital space; a tool to help you stay connected when you’re out and about in between meetings and events.

The Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra can help augment your everyday activities with laptop-like capabilities. Besides, there’s more to the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra.

When MJ becomes Oh Mi-Joo!

If you’re fond of K-dramas filled with healthy character dynamics, add Run On to your watch list. The series explored Oh Mi-Joo’s life as a hustler translating films and being an interpreter. The woman has plenty of skills and has a familiar setup as we do. Think: Monitors, laptops, keyboards, and more.

When the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra arrived, I was in the midst of juggling multiple activities. In between work, meetings, coverages, and other personal affairs, I was also studying and completing my courses at the Ateneo Graduate School of Business.

The tablet felt like a divine gift, helping me multitask when I’m pressed with deadlines. At times when I’m really overwhelmed by everything that’s going on in my life, the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra helped lighten my load.

A multitasker’s companion

Sometimes, I use the tablet for Zoom meetings, due to its dual front-facing cameras that are better than my Macbook’s built-in webcam.

Sometimes, the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra is an extra working space when my Macbook is swamped with work. When I plugged a USB-C cable connected to my Huawei MateView, the tablet instantaneously switches to Samsung DeX.

The Huawei MateView can act as an external display that mirrors the tablet’s content, but it can also act separately through Samsung DeX. Occasionally, I use the tablet for my Zoom classes, and then I use the keyboard and the trackpad to navigate Samsung DeX for my assignments and seatworks.

Using Samsung DeX separately can get sluggish when typing or even using the cursor. The same goes for the tablet where there are one-second delays when opening a new app but switching is still seamless as ever. It lives up to its ‘Ultra’ moniker.

As an entertainment device

On days when I feel liberated from my responsibilities, I use the Tab S8 Ultra to watch the latest episodes of Business Proposal and Forecasting Love and Weather. With a near-borderless sAMOLED display bigger and better than my Macbook’s, what’s a better way to use it than indulging in lighthearted K-dramas?

Coupling it with four speaker grilles on both top and bottom sides, or left and right when using the tablet horizontally, it easily becomes an entertainment device.

The colors are vibrant, there are deep blacks, and the overall experience is immersive. It’s like watching on a Samsung QLED TV albeit smaller.

Nurturing your Inner Child

A tablet has always been described as a productivity device. But for the creative community, tablets are executioners of our wills and ideas. iPads are still the gold standard when it comes to tablets, especially with a plethora of apps working seamlessly with the iPadOS. Par exemple, Procreate.

Samsung is trying to put a dent in it, building a tablet that also promotes other creative apps that most artists and designers know too. There’s AutoDesk’s Sketchbook, and this year, Samsung tightened its long-standing partnership with Clip Studio.

Samsung also improved the S-Pen, bringing its latency to 2.8ms so driving, writing, and overall use of the stylus are seamless and smooth.

I certainly had fun doodling during meetings and sketching my favorite Pokémon, recent animé obsessions, Kemonomimi, and memories I just want to paint. I would share some of my drawings here, but they’re somewhat considered lewd and erotic.

A household gadget

Mmkay, let’s be real about this. Plenty of tablet users are considered the uncle and/or aunties in the family. Sometimes, even your abeoji and eomeoni have one. Or better yet, your halmeoni and harabeoji use it as their daily driver.

Tablets offer a bigger alternative to smartphones so that people with poor eyesight don’t have to squint their eyes to read the texts on their screen.

The Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra might seem too much for your grandparents, since most of them have weaker arms and fragile bodies, they’re better off with a base Tab S8 or the Tab S8+.

However, if the tablet is situated on a desk together with a book cover keyboard to act as an occasional laptop, then the Tab S8 Ultra might be worth considering, too. Nevertheless, it’s a good household device that the family can use for communication, entertainment, or productivity purposes.

Is it okay to take photos using my tablet?

Taking photos using a tablet feels hilarious to me. I suddenly remember the uncles and the aunties during holiday festivities, taking photos of the guests and the food.

There was always clamor about tablets having cameras. Should manufacturers stop doing it? Are they really that annoying? (Well, yes, during concerts.)

Tittle-tattles I hear are mostly about how no one really needs it or uses it — which I beg to differ. Just because we don’t need it, doesn’t mean other people won’t.

People with vision impairment use tablets as their daily drivers to make it easy to communicate and do their everyday activities.

It’s actually easier to check the photo (or capture the subject) if the display is big, although the output might lose its actual resolution to fit the expanded screen.

Using it that way looks absurd to the eyes of many, especially when you do it in restaurants or other public places. But the plight of impaired vision is real, and to them, a tablet as colossal as the Tab S8 Ultra can be quite a blessing.

Moreover, Samsung slapped its cameras with the ability to record 4K videos and I’m still baffled by how you can produce a 4K film with this tablet, let alone capture 4K clips that you probably won’t be able to watch properly.

Finding the answers is beyond me, I won’t even. I’m certain Samsung has reasons, but I dare not to tread that path.

Is this your GadgetMatch?

Some people believe they deserve the best and finest things in life. If you’re that type of person, you can skip this review and proceed to the nearest Samsung Experience store.

In a nutshell, the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra is the best Android tablet on the market right now. Especially if you can afford it. But if you’re still wary about the purchases you make, then continue reading.

Samsung slaps the word ‘Ultra’ like a hotcake. But they’re right in doing so. The Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra houses the best of what Samsung can offer. The experience — whether as a tablet or a productivity device — is as seamless as the Galaxy S22 Ultra.

Everything you’d expect from Samsung’s high-end devices, the Tab S8 Ultra delivers.

The drawbacks are something you can ask yourself if you can live with it. For example, a 45W wired charging speed that you’ll rarely get, apps that aren’t optimized for tablet use, and the strain that its weight can put on your arms when lugging it around.

What are my alternatives?

If you still believe that you deserve the best of the best, then most likely, it is your GadgetMatch. If you’re still on the fence about the Tab S8 Ultra, consider the Tab S8 or the Tab S8+ instead. The experience is pretty much the same, and the compromises are inconspicuous. You’ll barely notice and the size is apt for your everyday use, as well.

The Galaxy Tab S8 WiFi (8GB/256GB) retails for PhP 41,990 and is available in Silver and Pink Gold. Meanwhile, the Galaxy Tab S8 5G (8GB/256GB) retails for PhP 49,990, available in Silver.

On the other hand, the Galaxy Tab S8+ 5G (8GB/256GB) costs PhP 63,990. It comes in Graphite. There’s a stark difference in its price points, but it’s still the Galaxy Tab S series you’ve known.

Whatever you decide to get, just know that they’re still the best Android tablet you can purchase at the moment. And if you’re getting the Tab S8 Ultra, just remember that you can use it as protection against the sun if you forgot to apply your sunscreen during the day. Kidding. I’m just having fun with a device that’s not going to be my GadgetMatch.

Have fun looking at these colossal slates on Samsung’s Experience store, Samsung’s Online Store, and authorized retailers.

The post Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra review: Smashing, superb, splendid appeared first on GadgetMatch.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra review: Smashing, superb, splendid Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra review: Smashing, superb, splendid Reviewed by Telenor Editorial on April 23, 2022 Rating: 5

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