Android tablets have waned in popularity over the past few years, leading many companies to all but abandon them. But no one gave Samsung the memo: It regularly releases new tablet options every year with killer hardware while channeling its Android know-how into respectable software.
There are a few things to look for when picking the best Samsung tablet. These include screen size, processing power, and of course, price. You’ll find many of the same features across all of Samsung’s high-end tablets, while the more budget options offer a slightly more traditional experience.
Whether you choose our top overall pick — the Galaxy Tab S8+ — or any other option in this roundup, the best Samsung tablets all have plenty to set them apart compared to iPads, Fire tablets, and other popular brands.
What are the best Samsung tablets?
The Galaxy Tab S8+ takes the winning formula from the Galaxy Tab S7+ and makes subtle improvements to keep its place as the best Android tablet money can buy. It has the same 12.4-inch AMOLED 120Hz display, a lightweight design (for its size), quad Dolby Atmos speakers, and dependable battery life. To improve, it adds the same flagship processor as the Galaxy S22 series, a wider selfie camera, Wi-Fi 6E support, and an extra 2GB of RAM.
Then again, both the Galaxy Tab S8 and Tab S8 Ultra share most of these perks. The Tab S8+ lacks the laptop-replacing size and memory upgrades of the desk-bound Tab S8 Ultra and the superior portability and price of the 11-inch Galaxy Tab S8. So why do we consider the Tab S8+ the best of the lot?
Primarily thanks to One UI 4, which added a ton of seamless multitasking tools. Android apps blown up to tablet size look fairly ugly, but the new OS lets you slide pinned apps from a hidden taskbar onto the display, side-by-side with one another so you can use three (or more) at once. Or you can use DeX mode, which uses a PC-like interface and works best with a laptop and mouse.
Whichever mode you prefer, you’ll want a large display that gives several apps room to breathe. Both the Tab S8+ and S8 Ultra fit the bill here, but the Tab S8+ is just compact enough that you can also use it as a handheld tablet — while the Ultra is way too large.
For that reason, the Plus-sized Tab is the model we wholeheartedly recommend as the best Android tablet available today.
One major upside of the Galaxy Tab S8 series, compared to Samsung’s usual strategy with its phones, is that it doesn’t reserve as many premium features for the most expensive models. The base Tab S8 has the same 120Hz refresh rate, quad speakers, Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 with 8GB of RAM, a 12MP wide-angle selfie camera for video calling, and thin bezels as its more expensive siblings. All while costing $200-$400 less than the Plus and Ultra.
In exchange, you downgrade to an LCD display that doesn’t have quite the color fidelity as an AMOLED. But there are several benefits to an LCD: the Tab S8 actually gets 100 nits brighter than the S8+, and its battery life actually beats the larger Tabs despite a much smaller capacity. And in terms of resolution, it actually has the highest pixels-per-inch of the family.
The true downside here, as previously mentioned, is that you have less room for multitasking on the Tab S8. It’s better for casual use like streaming and gaming in bed than it is for DeX mode, and you may not want to pay a premium for that. But if you keep in mind that it’ll get five years of support, this Tab will give you more than its money’s worth over time.
Most Samsung FE devices maintain the excellence of flagship phones at a discounted price, like the flagship-killing Galaxy S20 FE. But the “Fan Edition” of the Galaxy Tab S7 series doesn’t quite live up to the label. Instead, Samsung took elements of the S7 and S7+ and jammed them into a massive tablet that’s more affordable than both, but made some significant compromises to justify the price drop.
The Galaxy Tab S7 FE gives you tons of perks for a mid-range tablet, tempered with price-cutting compromises outshone by the other S7s. It has the same massive 12.4-inch display as the S7+, but you get a TFT LCD instead of AMOLED and 60Hz instead of 120Hz. It comes with an S Pen and supports DeX mode for productivity, but its Snapdragon 750G chipset limits its performance compared to the S7’s 865+. And even though its cellular version offers 5G, its speeds will be limited by its 4GB of RAM.
The Galaxy Tab S7 FE beats other older, cheaper offerings on this list, like the Tab S5e and S6 Lite, while crushing the Tab A series. It falls well short of the Tab S8 in most specs except for its extra display size but will fit the bill for anyone who wants a massive slab for streaming but can’t afford the Tab S8+.
If you can do without 120Hz — and many people won’t notice the absence unless they’re already used to the feature — this tablet looks plenty bright and colorful and will last 13 hours per charge whether you’re at home or on the road.
When it comes to the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra, you’re getting something no other Android tablet can come close to offering. At 14.6 inches, you get an incredible amount of display space with the same smooth refresh rate as a much-smaller flagship phone. There’s a tiny notch that you’ll quickly grow accustomed to ignoring, and with extra RAM, it’s perfectly equipped for productivity in DeX mode or while juggling multiple apps.
Our reviewer particularly loved using the Tab S8 Ultra as a second screen with his other devices, and its size works well for that. Or, on its own, it can work as well as any laptop, with the same thin bezels you’d see on a much more expensive device. And you get the benefit of the S Pen, which has super-low latency and works great for note-taking or swiping through information.
But you’ll have to accept some obvious downsides with a device of this size. The official Book Cover Keyboard accessory is extremely expensive on top of the Tab S8 Ultra’s already-high price. Regular apps look extremely blown up and ugly when not multitasking, not taking advantage of the space. If you’re normally spending this much on a device, you’d want a more polished experience like Windows or Chrome OS.
Still, as an Android tablet, the Tab S8 Ultra has no rivals for truly premium performance.
The Galaxy Tab S6 Lite is older and smaller than the S7 FE, but the Tab S6 Lite has a few strong attributes worth mentioning for students — and a much lower price.
Regarding its display, the S6 Lite boasts a 10.4-inch LCD panel with a 2000×1200 resolution. Whichever app or game you’re running will look good here, and thanks to the included S Pen, you have a perfect canvas for taking notes in class or drawing during your free time. For comparison, cheap Galaxy Tab A tablets don’t typically come with an S Pen and often drop to HD resolution.
Pair its stylish display with excellent stereo speakers and a 3.5mm headphone jack, and the S6 Lite gives a lot for a small amount of money.
Samsung does drop the ball with the Tab S6 Lite’s performance; its Exynos 9611 chipset leaves a lot to be desired. There’s also the fact that you don’t get a fingerprint sensor of any kind, which is annoying if you use banking apps and password managers. But it’s a great middle-ground purchase for students who want an affordable, relatively compact tablet for class.
Picking a Samsung tablet is simple: Go for the Tab S8 series for premium quality or the Tab A series for budget quality. But there is a third option: Forego the Android ecosystem altogether and buy one of the best Chromebooks that pulls double duty as a laptop and tablet. Samsung’s Android skin does a great laptop-lite experience with DeX mode, but ChromeOS is a more tailored experience overall than One UI.
The Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2 has a 13.3-inch 1920 x 1080 QLED touchscreen display, which is absolutely stunning. It’s also extremely attention-grabbing, courtesy of its fiesta red design. It’ll make a statement whether you’re using it in laptop, tablet, or tent form.
Beneath the surface, you’ll get a 10th Gen Intel Core i3, up to 8GB of RAM, and 128GB SSD — very solid specs for a Chromebook. In exchange, you’ll have to accept a higher-than-average price and lower-than-average battery performance compared to other Chromebooks.
Unlike an Android-based tablet, which will only get you a few years of support at most, you’ll get seven more years of updates with the Chromebook, so it should last you a good long while. But you’ll still be able to enjoy the best Android apps thanks to the Play Store arriving on ChromeOS a few years ago.
Just as with Samsung smartphones, Galaxy S tablets typically crush their Galaxy A Tab counterparts. But if you’re in the market for a cheap Android tablet that doesn’t make too many compromises, the Galaxy Tab A8 is your best bet to compete with Amazon or Lenovo tablets built for the budget market. It’s incredibly affordable, with the excellent app library Fire Tablets lack, plus the Samsung tools and tricks you know and love.
Keep in mind that this is truly a “budget” tablet. Its Unisoc T618 Processor chipset is solid but nothing to write home about. With a 1920 x 1200 TFT display, you’ll miss out on a higher-quality display compared to others on this list. But Samsung also slimmed down the bezels to bring the design more in line with the likes of the Tab S8.
You’ll get decently long-lasting battery life, dual stereo speakers, 15W fast charging, expandable storage up to 1TB, Android 11 out of the box, and up to 4GB of RAM — equal to the base RAM of more expensive Samsung tablets. The biggest downside is that the Tab A8 isn’t compatible with the S Pen, but considering this is more for casual users, it’s not a complete deal breaker.
How to choose your next Samsung tablet
When it comes to picking the best Samsung tablet, there are a few key factors to consider. Arguably the biggest factor comes down to how you plan on using your tablet. If you want something to replace an aging laptop, then you wouldn’t want to pick something like the Galaxy Tab A7 Lite. And in the same vein, if you just want to read books or play some of the best Android games, the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra might not be right for you.
There’s also the question of software features and support. Compared to other Android tablets on the market, Samsung is without a doubt the industry leader in both departments. Many of the latest Samsung tablets include an S Pen in the box, giving you a tool to jot down notes, navigate the interface, or draw on, without needing to buy something extra. And with Samsung DeX Mode, you can take that boring Android interface and transform it into something akin to a traditional desktop like you would find with a Windows or macOS computer.
You’ll also want to take into consideration the available accessories for any given device. There are plenty of great case options for the Galaxy Tab S8, given its popularity, but the same can’t be said for other tablets on this list. Before you hit that “purchase” button, you’ll want to make sure you have the right questions with the right answers to make your decision.
How we test Samsung tablets
When using and reviewing each of these tablets, we put them through a series of tests, with the goal of sharing how they work in the “real world.” This includes things like battery life, seeing how long it takes for the tablet to get juiced back up, and trying out different workflows to find out how hard you can push a tablet’s performance.
Considering that Samsung makes some of the best Android tablets, it’s important to put these devices through their paces with various apps. But there are also other “intangible” features to look for, such as whether you can use DeX mode, or the type of S Pen is included, if applicable. All of these play a part in deciding what Samsung tablet you should consider.
Samsung’s lineup of Android tablets is rather impressive, seeing as hardly anyone else supports the form factor. Looking through its list of available options, we have to give our highest recommendation to the Galaxy Tab S8+.
The Tab S8+ has a great set of specs with plenty of power to back up the massive 2960 x 1848 resolution of the display. This hardware bundles these components up in a really nice design and comes in at a price tag that’s pretty fair when you consider everything you’re getting — a 120Hz display, high-quality S Pen, Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor, and so on.
There are other options out there if you have different tastes and budgets, but overall, the Galaxy Tab S8+ strikes that balance of being the Samsung tablet to get, especially if you’re already used to the way Samsung’s platform works.