The Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra arrives at a time when Android tablets are enjoying success, with the market showing significant growth. Samsung, aiming to solidify its position as a top player in this space, has unveiled a trio of tablets this year. Among these offerings, the Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra stands out as the flagship, boasting an impressive combination of size, power, and features.
While some might mistake the Tab S9 Ultra for a mere iteration of its predecessor, the Tab S8 Ultra, a closer examination reveals that it is more than just a refresh. The Tab S9 Ultra faces the challenging task of surpassing the exceptional performance and features of the Tab S8 Ultra, which was hailed as one of the finest Android tablets not only of its year but also in recent memory.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra: Video Review
|Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra
|Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2for Galaxy
|256GB, 512GB, 1TB
|14.6-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X, 60Hz - 120Hz
|13MP + 8MP
|12MP + 12MP
|Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.3
|12.85 x 8.21 x 0.21 inches (326.4 x208.6 x 5.5mm)
|1.62 pounds (734.8g)
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra arrives in a packaging that maintains continuity with its predecessor.
Upon unboxing, users are presented with the tablet itself, S Pen and USB Type-C cable, serving dual purposes of charging the device and facilitating seamless file transfers. It’s worth noting, however, that the packaging does not include a charger.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra: Design
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra defies expectations by embodying the concept of sleek minimalism. It measures a mere 5.5 mm in thickness and weighs in at a featherlight 732 g. These dimensions are astonishing, especially when considering the structural integrity of the device, which is constructed from reinforced aluminum and protected by Gorilla Glass.
The design refinements in the Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra are noteworthy. The camera module exhibits meticulous attention to detail, resulting in a more elegant appearance. This iteration separates the S Pen area, enhancing both the tablet’s aesthetics and the user’s overall experience. The S Pen itself attaches magnetically to the tablet’s rear surface, where it charges wirelessly.
Arguably, the most significant advancement from its predecessor is the inclusion of an IP68 certification. This marks a pivotal shift, rendering the Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra resistant to water and dust. Such durability caters to the needs of individuals who frequently work on the move, providing them with peace of mind and the ability to navigate various environments without compromise. Additionally, the tablet features a new dissipation system designed to effectively manage the Snapdragon 8 Gen2 SoC. This innovation contributes to impressive thermal management, with temperatures remaining well below 42 °C even under demanding benchmark scenarios.
The tablet’s display, though maintaining a 14.6-inch 16:10 aspect ratio with a resolution of 2960×1848 pixels and 120 Hz refresh rate, has undergone a transformative upgrade. The Dynamic AMOLED 2X panel technology brings forth enhanced color accuracy, reduced blue light emission, and superior brightness. With a peak brightness approaching 950 nits, the display guarantees remarkable outdoor visibility, a remarkable feat for a display of this magnitude.
Audiophiles are in for a treat with the Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra, courtesy of its quad speakers fine-tuned by AKG. These speakers deliver audio quality that ranks among the best in the realm of mobile devices. The tablet’s haptics provide a satisfying tactile experience, while the in-display fingerprint scanner ensures secure and convenient access.
One of the most significant upgrades of the Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra is the use of Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for the Galaxy SoC. Comparing this to its predecessor, the S8 Ultra, which housed the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, it’s akin to stepping forward by a generation and a half.
The Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy SoC operates at a slightly lower clock speed than its counterparts, such as the one found in the S23 Ultra. Nevertheless, the architectural foundation remains consistent, comprising a 1 x 3.2 GHz Cortex X3 core, 2 x 2.8 GHz Cortex A715 cores, 2 x 2.8 GHz Cortex A710 cores, and 3 x 2.0 GHz Cortex A510 cores, accompanied by the Adreno 740 GPU.
Boasting either 12GB or 16GB of RAM, the Tab S9 Ultra emerges as a formidable performer, particularly when used as an oversized Android phone. The “for Galaxy” label attributed to the Snapdragon chip signifies only a slight overclocking, which, in practice, translates to a marginal increase in performance. Interestingly, some forthcoming Android flagships set to launch later in the year will feature the same chip without the Galaxy branding.
However, it’s worth acknowledging that the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy still falls short of Apple’s M2 chip, as found in Apple’s latest iPad Pro. The disparities are most apparent when tackling tasks like video editing, graphic-intensive work, or scrutinizing benchmark figures. While day-to-day app usage might not reveal stark differences, the M2 chip showcases its prowess in scenarios demanding substantial computational strength.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra offers a software experience that redefines productivity and multitasking on a tablet platform. With the introduction of One UI 5.1.1 based on Android 13, the tablet integrates the best features from the Galaxy Folds, enhancing the overall usability and convenience for users.
A standout addition to the software experience is the revamped taskbar, which elevates the tablet’s multitasking capabilities. Users can swiftly navigate through their favorite and recently used apps, streamlining interactions and boosting efficiency. This taskbar can be conveniently hidden when not needed, maintaining a clutter-free interface while providing easy access to essential functions, especially on the expansive screen real estate.
Perhaps the most notable feature of the Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra’s software repertoire is the incorporation of Samsung DeX. This functionality, combined with the tablet’s optional keyboard cover or standalone keyboard and mouse, transforms the tablet into a versatile 2-in-1 device that somewhat emulates a traditional notebook experience.
The One UI’s extensive customizations empower users to make the most of apps, even those not optimized for tablets, without compromising usability. This customization capability creates an environment where the tablet can excel in catering to a variety of tasks, from content consumption to creative endeavors, all the while capitalizing on the device’s larger screen.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra boasts a well-thought-out camera setup that caters to both front and rear photography needs.
At the forefront, nestled within the notch, lies a 12-megapixel dual camera setup that comprises both a Wide and an Ultra Wide lens. This arrangement allows users to capture a broader perspective, making it suitable for video calls, selfies, and even immersive group shots. While the megapixel count might not be groundbreaking, the camera setup functions efficiently and is particularly adept at catering to tasks like video conferencing, where the Ultra Wide lens proves useful for accommodating multiple participants in frame.
Moving to the rear, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra retains its dual-camera configuration, with a 13-megapixel Wide sensor and an 8-megapixel Ultra Wide sensor. Although the bump from a 6-megapixel to an 8-megapixel Ultra Wide sensor might seem subtle, the underlying performance remains consistent, capturing images and videos that meet the needs of the average user.
The tablet’s strength, however, lies in its array of smart features, particularly within the dual front camera setup. The automatic face tracking functionality, for instance, enhances video call experiences by ensuring that users remain in focus even as they move around during conversations.
Under the hood of the Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra is a 11200 mAh battery. When it comes to video playback, the Tab S9 Ultra showcases its prowess by delivering approximately 11 hours of uninterrupted viewing pleasure. For those engaged in work and productivity tasks, the tablet readily endures for around 8 hours. Even in the realm of gaming, where resource consumption tends to be more demanding, the Tab S9 Ultra maintains its stride for a commendable 6 hours and change.
The tablet’s endurance is particularly evident when watching videos. At a screen brightness of 60%, the device draws just 7-9% of battery per hour. This translates to a remarkable capacity to run several feature-length movies during a lengthy flight without running out of juice.
Charging the Tab S9 Ultra is a swift affair, facilitated through its USB-C port. Although wireless charging is not a feature, the tablet supports rapid charging of up to 45W. In practical terms, a battery replenishment from 7% to full takes approximately 75 minutes.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra: Conclusion
From its slim and lightweight design to its awe-inspiring display, the tablet embodies modern aesthetics and functional design. The introduction of the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy SoC ensures not only superior performance but also improved efficiency, resulting in a seamless and dynamic user experience.
In the realm of software, One UI 5.1.1 based on Android 13 adds a layer of customization and efficiency that caters to a diverse array of tasks and user preferences. The integration of Samsung DeX further enhances the tablet’s utility, transforming it into a versatile 2-in-1 device that blurs the lines between tablet and laptop.
The Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra’s camera setup, while not revolutionary, serves its purpose effectively, particularly in the context of video calls and multimedia engagement. The tablet’s audio quality, with quad speakers tuned by AKG, contributes to a captivating audio experience that amplifies entertainment and content consumption.
Perhaps one of the most notable upgrades is the IP68 certification, transforming the tablet into a robust and dependable device that can withstand the rigors of various environments.
With its superior display, robust performance, thoughtful software enhancements, and versatile features, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra establishes itself as a powerhouse within the Android tablet landscape.