By now you’re probably aware that Samsung held its second annual Unpacked event today, 26 July. If you’ve been paying attention, you’ll already know all about the Galaxy Z Fold 5, Galaxy Z Flip 5, Galaxy Watch 6, and Galaxy Watch 6 Classic. Joining those are three refreshed Galaxy Tab models.
Samsung isn’t known for making drastic changes lately unless absolutely required which is why this year’s range of tablets closely resemble those launched last year. Except for the number on the end getting bigger, obviously.
Meet the Galaxy Tab S9, Galaxy Tab S9+, and the Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra.
0% caffeine, 100% tab
This year you’re getting more or less the same deal between the three tabs, with the display size being the main difference. The flagship Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra features a 14.6in AMOLED X2 display with an adaptive refresh rate of up to 120Hz, support for HDR10+ content, and something called Vision Booster for increased brightness. The S9+ and base S9 get all the same display features and trinkets as the S9 Ultra, only in smaller packages – 12.4in and 11in respectively.
Internal specs are also copy-pasted across the range. All three come packing the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 ‘for Galaxy’ chipset that Samsung debuted in its Galaxy S23 devices. It’s the same chipset born from Samsung’s partnership with Qualcomm and is supposed to be better than the regular SD 8 Gen 2 chipsets the chipmaker sold to everyone else. It’s an incredibly capable chip in the S23 Ultra so we’d imagine the same to be true in these tablets.
While they’ll be manufactured with a few RAM and storage options, Samsung will only bring one of them to South Africa. All three tablets sold in SA will pack 12GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. That means we won’t be laying our hands on those 16GB RAM/1TB Galaxy Tab S9 models that other countries will have access to.
Nothing new means no new mistakes
One conspicuous change we did notice was that the dual rear cameras on the S9+ and S9 Ultra look like those on Samsung’s S23 smartphones. The same is true for the base S9, but it only gets one rear camera this year. Although, if losing a rear sensor is the trade-off for a better display, we’ll take it.
If a tablet is your primary device for taking photos, the photography authorities have your letter of admonishment and would like a word. If you really have no other option, and you can’t be happy just remembering the moment, you’ll have to make do with the 13MP (+8MP ultra-wide) on the tablets’ backs, with the front showing off a 12MP and 12MP ultra-wide on the S9 Ultra and S9+. The base S9 just has the 13MP shooter heading up the device’s rear, while the front is sporting a 12MP ultra-wide.
As with last year’s Galaxy Tabs, all three S9 Tabs will juice up with 45W of wired charging and an advertised 82 minutes for 0-100%. Looks like we’ll have to wait for next year to see if Samsung can catch up in the charging department.
If you’re not wanting anything too fancy, you’ll have to make do with the base S9’s 8,000mAh battery. If you’re willing to spend a bit more, you’ll have to make do with the S9+’s 10,090mAh battery. And finally, the cream of the crop, the S9 Ultra, housing an 11,200mAh battery inside.
Galaxy Tab S9 price and availability
Prospective Galaxy Tab S9 buyers must wait a little longer than the smartphone and watch buyers before they’re able to pick up their new toy. Samsung reckons the new Tabs should be arriving at some point in September this year. At least that gives you time to adjust your finances and find a buyer for your kidney. When they do eventually land, the Galaxy Tab S9 series will cost R25,000 for the base model, R28,000 for the S9+, and R33,000 for the S9 Ultra.