Samsung Galaxy Tab S7+ review: A capable iPad alternative
The fast, light and good-looking Tab S7+ is gunning for the iPad Pro – and in many ways it succeeds
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S7+ is clearly intended as a direct competitor to the recently refreshed iPad Pro. Just like its rival, it comes in two different screen sizes, with the regular S7 costing £619 and including an 11in screen. Here, we focus our attention on the 12.4in S7+.
This is the only model with the potential for 5G, but you’ll pay another £200 for the privilege. Unlike the iPad Pro, it comes with a bundled stylus – now even more responsive thanks to the 120Hz screen – and you can expand the Tab’s 128GB storage via the SD card slot by up to 1TB. But its real advantage is price. The entry-level 12.9in iPad Pro costs £969, with the Apple Pencil adding £119.
Both Apple and Samsung hope to squeeze more money out of you for a keyboard, but Samsung takes a more unconventional approach with its two-part keyboard option (£220). The first part comprises a cover that magnetically snaps to the back of the tablet. This has a Surface Go-style kickstand and a smooth hinge that lets you angle the tablet up to almost 180˚, plus a handy slot to store the S Pen stylus.
The keyboard part attaches to the magnetic three-pin connector on the tablet’s bottom edge, includes a touchpad and doubles up as a protective cover for the screen. Each key has a decent amount of travel and feedback. The spacing between each letter is just right too. You won’t hit your full touch-typing speed on it straight away, but nor will you make loads of mistakes.
What truly turns this machine into a makeshift laptop, though, is DeX mode: as seen on its Galaxy smartphones, this is a desktop-like user interface that can even be displayed on an external monitor. You can open multiple windows at once, drag and drop, and right-click for context-sensitive options. We were particularly impressed with how DeX managed incoming notifications – they appear in the bottom-right corner of the screen, as they would in Windows 10.
The Tab S7+ is also one of the first mobile devices to support Microsoft’s Project xCloud game-streaming service. From mid-September, if you have an Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription (£11 a month) then you can stream and play over 100 Xbox games straight to the tablet. This counters one of the perennial objections to Android tablets – the lack of apps compared to Apple – but that spectre still looms large. Sadly for Samsung, it’s also out of its hands.
What Samsung can control is the hardware and there’s much to like here, starting with the 120Hz, HDR10+ “Dynamic AMOLED” panel. The Tab S7+ uses a 2,800 x 1,752 display with a pixel density of 266ppi, matching the 12.9in iPad Pro’s 265ppi, and gives you the choice of “Natural” or “Vivid” colour profiles. These are aptly named. Natural mode is the most colour accurate of the two, with an average Delta E of 2, and it covered 93.5% of the sRGB colour space with a total volume of 94.5%. If you want rich, bold colours, switch to Vivid. The only slight disappointment is that brightness peaks at 367cd/m2, which falls behind the iPad Pro’s 520cd/m2.
Build quality is excellent, despite skinny bezels and a 5.7mm thickness. It still feels light, and whether you choose Mystic Bronze, Mystic Black or Mystic Silver finishes, you’ll be buying a stylish device - and a speedy one. Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 865+ pushed it to a single-core result of 965 in Geekbench 5, with a multicore score of 2,814; that’s twice as fast in multicore processing than our work laptop, a 2016 MacBook Pro with a dual-core Intel Core i5-7267U. An Adreno 650 graphics chip ensures games run smoothly, with 131fps in the off-screen Manhattan 3 test and 70fps onscreen.
Samsung supports Qualcomm’s latest chipset with 6GB of RAM and a beefy 10,090mAh battery. This lasted 11hrs 5mins in our standardised video-rundown test, which is a 36% decrease on the Tab S6’s (15hrs 6mins) but the battery should last a full work day without needing to be charged. You can squeeze out an extra couple of hours if you dial the screen refresh rate down to 60Hz.
There’s no denying that the iPad Pro is the more versatile tablet, whether that’s due to its extra features, range of apps or richer ecosystem of accessories. But the Tab S7+ is a great tablet for everything from working on Word documents to watching Netflix. And the price, which is considerably less than the iPad Pro equivalent, makes it a tempting purchase.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S7+ specifications
Qualcomm Snapdragon 865+ chipset
12.4in AMOLED screen, 2,800 x 1,752 resolution
8-megapixel front camera
Dual 13/5-megapixel rear camera
3.5mm headphone jack
USB connection type
Memory card slot (supplied)
285 x 5.7 x 185mm
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