It won’t be long before we expect to see the debut of the Samsung Galaxy S22. The Galaxy Unpacked event that’s been confirmed for February will be one of the biggest launches of the year, but as much as I’m keeping an eye out for S22 news, I’ll be much more interested in hearing about the Galaxy Tab S8 lineup.
I like the look of the Galaxy S22 upgrades, but predict I’ll be more distracted by the Tab S8 if it appears at the same rumored event, and especially the new top model, the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra . This is a tablet like we haven’t really seen before, and it could mark the opening of a new category if it catches on.
First off, the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra is bigger than any tablet we’ve seen before. At 14.6 inches, it’s over an inch and a half over the already large 12.9-inch iPad Pro. It’s still bigger than the screens of some laptops, but it’s supposed to be both lighter and thinner than the iPad Pro.
Additionally, the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra’s screen is considered a bright and efficient AMOLED panel. This should give the Tab S8 Ultra a big advantage over other similar tablets if not the iPad Pro mini-LED, although the Tab S8 Ultra’s resolution apparently doesn’t match Apple’s premium tablet.
Samsung also said it would equip the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra with dual 12MP front cameras in a notch, again something we haven’t seen on tablets before. The main/ultrawide combo could use some special features though, perhaps something like the center stage of the iPad range, to make its invasion of the display area interesting.
The Tab S8 Ultra shouldn’t lack computing power either. With the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, or possibly Samsung’s Exynos 2200 depending on which rumors you read, you won’t find a better chip in any Android device. Now, these aren’t going to offer similar performance to the laptop/desktop-grade Apple M1 chip that Apple uses in the iPad Pro, but the Tab S8 Ultra should easily be the fastest Android tablet to this day.
Although it apparently shares the same chipset as the other Tab S8 models, you can expect a very large amount of memory in the Tab S8 Ultra. Rumors say up to 16 GB of RAM and 512 GB of storage. Plus, you’ll likely still get a Samsung S Pen in the box, as with previous Tab S series tablets, giving you one of the best accessories for any high-end tablet without paying extra. Apple charges $129 for the Apple Pencil 2.
The last notable spec is an 11,200mAh battery. That would be big enough considering the size of the tablet and would be about 5% larger than the 12.9-inch iPad Pro’s battery. Hopefully that huge capacity means you’ll still get long battery life, even with that huge screen.
All together, these supposed specs could add up to a monstrously capable tablet, even when compared to the already well-specced tablets already on sale. And it is this difference that caught my attention. The Galaxy S22, S22 Plus, and S22 Ultra, while poised to be better than their counterparts from last year, would still inhabit the familiar classes and price ranges of recent smartphone years. There’s nothing like the rumored Tab S8 Ultra that you can currently buy.
And that’s where we come to the ultimate question for the Tab S8 Ultra: will anyone want a tablet like this? The success of the Galaxy Tab S7, and more so the iPad Pro, shows there’s an appetite for big, powerful tablets, but we don’t know if there’s a limit to what consumers expect. of their slates. Is a new wave of super-premium tablets ready to take over from laptops? Or does the increased practicality of laptops mean they’ll always be a better buy than a tablet for most people, no matter how good the specs are?
In some ways, the rumored Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra is a pretty obvious thing for Samsung to develop since it introduced the Ultra suffix with the Galaxy S20 Ultra in 2020. However, unlike its Ultra phones, it seems be more space for Samsung to make noise with an Ultra tablet.
Faced with the current 12.9-inch iPad Pro and the rumored 15-inch iPad Pro in development, Samsung has a high bar to jump. But Samsung already makes the iPad’s best rivals. So if anyone can challenge the iPad Pro with a tablet — and maybe laptops, too — it’s going to be Samsung.