SAMSUNG Galaxy Tab S9 FE+ Review

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The Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 FE+ has emerged as a compelling choice in the tablet market, particularly for users seeking a balance between affordability and performance. This tablet, available in two sizes, competes directly with the iPad, offering substantial value without the exorbitant price tag. Samsung’s commitment to diverse color options enhances the aesthetic appeal of the tablet, with a notable focus on a refreshing minty green variant.

The tablet, priced between $450 and $600 for the base models, strikes a fair balance, considering the features it brings to the table. While it may lack the OLED display found in the standard S9 series, the IPS display it offers is of high quality. The resolution, only slightly lower than the regular S9, contributes to a visually pleasing experience.

Notably, the tablet includes the S Pen, a feature often absent in similarly priced competitors, providing an excellent Wacom EMR stylus experience with tilt and pressure sensitivity.

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The tablet boasts a 90 Hz IPS display, with sizes ranging from 10.9 inches to 12.4 inches, paralleling the standard S9 series. This size consistency allows for the interchangeability of accessories, such as the keyboard cover, between the FE+ and the S9 Plus. Additionally, wireless accessories like the new Buds Fe are compatible, creating a seamless experience for users invested in the Samsung ecosystem.

The user interface on the tablet is consistent with Samsung’s design language, offering familiarity to users already accustomed to Samsung phones. The One UI 5.1 is responsive and user-friendly. While the tablet ships with Android 13, an upcoming update to Android 14 is expected shortly. Despite the delay, Samsung promises four major OS upgrades and five years of security software updates, ensuring a relatively long software support lifecycle.

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In comparison to other Android tablets, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 FE+ stands out due to its mature and feature-rich software. Competitors like the OnePlus pad and Google Pixel tablet are viable alternatives, but Samsung’s software, multitasking capabilities, and application launcher bar offer a more refined experience.

The tablet’s performance is driven by the Exynos 1380 processor, which, while not the fastest, is more than competent for its price range. Benchmarks indicate a 40% improvement over the previous generation FE, and real-world usage supports its capability to handle tasks ranging from gaming to video and photo editing.

Despite enthusiasts often preferring Qualcomm Snapdragon processors, the Exynos 1380 performs admirably. Games such as Civ and Genshin Impact run smoothly, demonstrating the tablet’s competence in demanding applications. However, it’s acknowledged that the iPad ecosystem and its extensive range of applications remain unparalleled, posing a challenge for Android tablets.

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The Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 FE+ offers a compelling package for users seeking a cost-effective tablet without compromising on performance. Its aesthetic appeal, feature-rich software, and competent performance make it a strong contender in the Android tablet market, particularly for those already invested in the Samsung ecosystem. While it may not outpace the iPad in terms of the app ecosystem, it provides a viable alternative for users who prioritize affordability and a well-rounded tablet experience.

When delving into the software realm, the discussion naturally turns to Samsung DeX, a feature appreciated by many users for its ability to provide a desktop-like experience for tablets. The Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 FE+ incorporates this functionality, enhancing its versatility.

The presence of a USB-C port, specifically a 3.2 Gen One port, ensures compatibility and facilitates DeX connectivity to an external display. This expands the tablet’s utility beyond its internal screen, contributing to a more dynamic and productive user experience.

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Audio quality is a noteworthy aspect of the Galaxy Tab S9 FE+. Boasting stereo AKG-tuned speakers, the tablet delivers impressive sound quality characterized by fullness and volume. It raises the question of why some 13-inch laptops struggle to match the audio prowess exhibited by certain tablets, underlining the achievement in audio engineering achieved by Samsung in this device.

The camera setup on the tablet includes a 12-megapixel front camera, primarily intended for video conferencing, given the prevalent remote communication landscape. On the rear, a dual 8-megapixel configuration featuring a main and an ultra-wide lens offers versatility. While these cameras may not excel in low-light conditions, their competence is more than sufficient for the tablet’s intended use, especially in the context of video conferencing.

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A remarkable feature setting the Galaxy Tab S9 FE+ apart from conventional tablets is its IP68 water and dust resistance rating. This level of durability, often associated with flagship smartphones, is an unusual and welcome addition to a tablet. The tablet’s water resistance makes it suitable for usage scenarios where exposure to water or moisture is a possibility, adding a layer of reassurance to users.

In terms of storage options, the tablet aligns with its Fe line classification, offering configurations with either 128GB or 256GB of built-in storage. While this may not match the storage capacities available in the higher-end S9 series, the inclusion of a microSD card slot enables users to expand storage affordably. This flexibility allows users to tailor the tablet’s storage to their specific needs without compromising on budget considerations.

RAM capacity varies depending on the chosen configuration and size model. For the Plus model, which is the focus here, options include 8GB of RAM paired with 128GB of storage or 12GB of RAM with 256GB of storage. This flexibility provides users with choices based on their performance requirements, ensuring that the tablet remains sufficiently future-proof for the next few years.

The tablet’s battery life is supported by an 8,000 milliamp-hour battery for the standard model and just shy of 11,000 milliamp-hours for the S9 Plus variant. These battery capacities align with expectations for tablets of this size, offering a balance between size, brightness, and power efficiency.

The tablet’s IPS display, capable of reaching up to 700 nits of brightness, contributes to the overall multimedia experience. Battery life, as expected, varies based on usage patterns, with gaming-intensive activities shortening it, while casual usage scenarios can extend it to multiple days.

Considering the tablet’s suitability for multimedia consumption, its vibrant display ensures an enjoyable experience for activities such as movie watching. The inclusion of keyboard cases by Samsung further extends the tablet’s functionality, making it suitable for productivity tasks on the go. Users looking to balance entertainment and productivity will find the Galaxy Tab S9 FE+ to be a versatile companion.

In the landscape of Android tablets, potential competitors include the OnePlus pad and Google Pixel tablet. However, Samsung’s mature software, multitasking capabilities, and familiarity for users accustomed to the Samsung ecosystem position the Galaxy Tab S9 FE+ as a strong contender. The choice between iPad and Android tablets often boils down to user preferences, and the Samsung tablet caters to those who prefer the Android ecosystem.

Performance-wise, the tablet is equipped with the Exynos 1380 processor, which enthusiasts may view with some reservations compared to Qualcomm Snapdragon processors. However, Samsung asserts a 40% improvement over the previous generation FE, making it a competent performer. Benchmarks showcase its capabilities, indicating that it can handle tasks such as gaming, video editing, and photo editing. While it may not match the speed of Apple’s fastest CPUs in the iPad lineup, the tablet provides satisfactory performance for its price range.

In a market where users often have strong brand preferences, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 FE+ emerges as a compelling option for those seeking a balance between affordability and performance. Its feature-rich software, robust audio quality, water resistance, and flexibility in storage and RAM configurations make it a versatile choice.

The discussion on potential competitors brings attention to Samsung’s own last-generation Tab S8 and S8 Plus, which, despite being discounted, may offer advantages such as a Snapdragon processor and an OLED display. This suggests that users should explore all available options, considering individual priorities and preferences.

In conclusion, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 FE+ stands as a commendable offering in the Android tablet market, appealing to users who value a well-rounded experience without breaking the bank. Its strengths lie in its multimedia capabilities, water resistance, and the inclusion of features like Samsung DeX. While not without competition, especially from within Samsung’s own lineup, the tablet manages to carve a niche for itself, offering an attractive package for users seeking a reliable and versatile tablet experience.

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Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 FE+
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