Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra



Availability

UKRRP: £999
EuropeRRP: €1219

With the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra Samsung has crafted an absolutely massive, tech-filled tablet that I am sure will likely be misunderstood.

With a 14.6-inch display, the Tab S8 Ultra is one of the biggest consumer tablets around. It’s bigger than the iPad Pro and it’s probably bigger than your laptop too. That makes it a very niche proposition for many. It’s also a noticeable step up on its more traditionally sized siblings, the Galaxy Tab S8 and Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra.

For me, I think this size is what makes this slate interesting and while I don’t doubt it’ll be lamented for being ‘too big’ the fact is that I have been hankering for an iPad Pro with a screen this size for a long time.

Of course, a big screen like this comes with a very big price tag. The base price here is £999 for Wi-Fi, 128GB storage and 8GB RAM. Pay £1149 and you can add 5G support. If you’re after more storage and more RAM, then you can pay £1249 (Wi-FI) and £1399 (5G) for 512GB and 16GB RAM. 

Screen and Design

Huge 14.6-inch OLED displayAtmos audio and three micsSingle Graphite hue

Having such a big screen on a tablet that’s so incredibly thin (it’s just 5.5mm thick) offers up an odd first impression. It doesn’t quite feel real, more like a dummy of a futuristic tablet someone dreamed up a decade ago. The bezel around the screen is tiny too, meaning you’re basically just holding your content without any distraction. Well, aside from that little notch poking itself into the panel.

If you’re an artist who wants a portable canvas then this is going to be ideal, simply because you’ve got so much space to play with. It’s stunning for watching movies on, too, based on my early tests streaming video on the device.

Samsung will, of course, sell you a keyboard case for turning this into some sort of laptop replacement. Again, the screen size makes this very tempting, even if the wider aspect ratio isn’t quite as productive, at least for me, as an iPad’s squarer panel.

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The screen isn’t just big, but it looks great too. The OLED panel renders perfect blacks and vivid, punchy colours (even more so with HDR content) while the 2960 x 1848 resolution gives an incredibly sharp 240ppi.

Like all good tablets, the screen can refresh at 120Hz for smooth scrolling and gaming. It supports a stylus too, in the form of BLE S Pen, which Samsung includes as standard in the box. As most will use the S Pan a lot here, it makes so much sense to include it. Writing and drawing on a screen this big is a joy and the pen is very responsive with a natural feel.

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At 726g (728g for the 5G model), this is not a light tablet – but the weight is spread evenly and the Tab S8 Ultra is well balanced. Slip it in a bag and the weight shouldn’t make too much difference, especially compared to a similarly-sized laptop.

Screen aside, the design here is very simple. The Tab S8 Ultra has an aluminium build and comes in a single moody graphite finish that gives it a sleek, tasteful look. There’s a USB-C port for charging, a few magnets to attach the S Pen too and some pins for the docking keyboard.

A lot will be said about the notch used here to house two front-facing 12-megapixel cameras. Samsung should rightly be derided for once making an actual TV advert poking fun at Apple’s inclusion of the notch and then adding one to its product, but in reality on such a large screen it is barely noticeable. The benefit of having a very good set of selfie cameras offsets the mild garish design.

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Paired with these two front cameras are three directional mics, making this a potent setup for video conferencing.

Performance and Battery Life

Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chipset and up to 16GB RAMExpandable storage5G option

Unlike with the European versions of the Galaxy S22 series, there’s no Exynos-powered variant of the Tab S8 Ultra. Instead, all models are powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chipset. This should (and I will stress I haven’t used the tablet long enough to properly judge performance) lead to strong performance both for productivity tasks and gaming.

The excellent iOS video editing app LumaFusion will be making its way over to the Tab S8 series, so budding video editors will be able to push that CPU and GPU. While having a fast chipset is great it’s almost pointless without any tentpole apps to really push it.

RAM options range from 8GB to 16GB, while storage ranges from 128GB to 512GB. There’s expandable storage too, so popping in a Micro SD card (up to 1TB) will be a cheaper way to bump up the amount of content able to be stored offline.

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There’s a 11200mAh inside the Tab S8 Ultra and Samsung says it supports charging up to 45w – though you’ll need to pick up one of those chargers separately. I’ll need to spend a lot more time with the device to really judge battery life.

Software

No huge differences between this and the other Tab S8 modelsAndroid 12 and One UI 4.1

As good as the spec lists on Android tablets can be, it tends to be the software that lets them down. This is because Google develops the operating system with mobile in mind, so most apps UI aren’t optimised to run on such big screens. Samsung has done a good job in the past few years at rigging Android to work better on the big screen, mostly with its Dex software.

The Dex software here gives you a desktop-like experience, with apps that open as windows and more shortcuts. I like it, but you’ll still run into app incompatibility. There are also just more, and better, apps available for the iPad and this isn’t really something Samsung can do anything about. Getting support for LumaFusion is a start, though.

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Samsung hasn’t really added anything to One UI to make the most of this big display. You can have three apps open at once and all visible, however the smallest 11-inch Tab S8 is capable of the same. The same can be said for external display support so you can use this as a secondary monitor for your PC.

First Impressions

I love that a tablet this large exists, especially one as feature-packed as the Tab S8 Ultra. It’s not going to be for everyone, but those who appreciate the hefty canvas will find a lot to love here.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra

UK RRP

EU RRP

Manufacturer

Screen Size

Storage Capacity

Rear Camera

Front Camera

Video Recording

IP rating

Battery

Fast Charging

Size (Dimensions)

Weight

Operating System

Release Date

Resolution

Refresh Rate

Ports

Chipset

RAM

Colours

Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra

£999

€1219

Samsung

14.6 inches

128GB

13-megapixels

12-megapixels

Yes

Not Disclosed

11200 mAh

Yes

208.6 x 5.5 x 326.4 MM

726 G

Android 12

2022

2960 x 1848

120 Hz

USB-C

4nm 64-bit octa-core processor

8GB

Graphite

A ‘hands on review’ is our first impression of a product only – it is not a full test and verdict. Our writer must have spent some time with the product to describe an early sense of what it’s like to use. We call these ‘hands on reviews’ to make them visible in search. However these are always unscored and don’t give recommendations. Read more about our reviews policy.



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