Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 vs Samsung Galaxy Tab A8: Same company, different target audience
The Galaxy Tab S8 and Galaxy Tab A8 only have a difference of a single letter in their name, but they’re two radically different tablets.
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The Galaxy Tab S8 and Galaxy Tab A8 only have a difference of a single letter in their name, but they’re two radically different tablets. The Galaxy Tab S8 is the flagship offering and is one of the best Android tablets you can buy right now. It was unveiled in January this year alongside the more premium Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra. The Galaxy Tab A8, on the other hand, is a budget-friendly option for those who just want a large screen device with good multimedia capabilities.
How do they stack up against each other, and which is best for you? We find out in this head-to-head comparison.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Vs Galaxy Tab A8: Specifications
- 11-inch LTPS TFT LCD
- WQXGA (2560 x 600p)
- 120Hz refresh rate
- TFT LCD
- 1920 x 1200 TFT LCD
- 8/12GB RAM
- 128/256GB storage
- microSD card support (up to 1TB)
- 3GB/4GB RAM
- 32GB/GB storage
- MicroSD card support
- 45W wired fast charging support
- 7,040 mAh battery
- 15W fast charger (inside the box)
Side-mounted fingerprint scanner
- Quad-speaker setup tuned by AKG
- Dolby Atmos certification
- 3 microphones
- Quad stereo speakers
- Dolby Atmos support
- Wi-Fi 6E
- Bluetooth 5.2
- 5G (optional, in some regions)
- Wi-Fi 5 (802.11 a/b/g/n/ac)
- Bluetooth 5.0
- GPSGLONASS, Beidou, Galileo
- LTE on select models
- One UI 4.1 based on Android 12
- Promised four Android OS upgrades
- Promised five years of security patches
- Android 11 with One UI 3.0
The Galaxy Tab S8 is a direct successor to the impressive Galaxy Tab S7, which we called one of the best tablets that team Android had to offer in 2020. The Galaxy Tab S8 is a premium tablet through and through, featuring a glass back, metal frame, and squared-off corners. Measuring 253.8 x 165.3 x 6.33mm and weighing 503g, the Galaxy Tab S8 is a bit heavier and taller than the regular M1-powered iPad Pro. On the back, you’ll find a dual-camera module in the upper left corner perpendicular to the black strip that holds and magnetically charges your S Pen. The power button, which also doubles as the fingerprint scanner, is placed on the right edge, while the bottom houses the USB-C port. There’s no headphone jack here.
The Galaxy Tab A8 features an all-plastic build, which is understandable given its price. It also has thicker bezels. The back only houses a single camera and discreet Samsung logo, giving the tablet a clean appearance. It’s slightly thicker and heavier than the Galaxy Tab S8. Physical keys are on the right edge, while the USB-C port and a 3.5mm audio jack are located at the bottom.
The Galaxy Tab S8 features a large 11-inch 2K LCD panel with a 120Hz refresh rate protected by Gorilla Glass 5. The Galaxy Tab A8 features a 10.5-inch TFT LCD panel with 1200 x 1920 resolution with the standard 60Hz refresh rate.
The Galaxy Tab S8 supports stylus input via the included S Pen. You can use it to draw, write, and sketch on the large display. The stylus is pressure-sensitive and has a very low latency of 6.2ms. The Galaxy Tab A8 doesn’t come with an S-Pen, nor does it support stylus input.
The Galaxy Tab S8 is powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chipset, making it one of the most powerful Android tablets on the market. That, together with 120Hz refresh support, means the Galaxy Tab S8 will fly through everything you throw at it, be it heavy gaming, video editing, or working on multiple apps side by side. The Galaxy Tab S8 also supports DeX mode, which gives you a desktop-like computing experience when you connect the tablet to an external monitor, keyboard, and mouse. You can also use DeX in standalone mode on the tablet by connecting it to Samsung’s Book Cover keyboard. It allows you to turn your Galaxy Tab S8 into a laptop or PC replacement.
Meanwhile, the Galaxy Tab A8 is powered by a starter mid-range Unisoc Tiger T618 chipset, featuring two Arm Cortex-A75 performance cores running at 2.0GHz and six Cortex-A55 efficiency cores clocked at 2.0GHz.
The base model of the Galaxy Tab S8 packs 8GB of RAM, with the top model having 12GB RAM. Storage options include 128GB on the base model and 256GB on the top variant. Meanwhile, the Galaxy Tab A8 comes in 3GB/32GB and 4GB/64GB variants.
On the Galaxy Tab S8, you get a total of three cameras: two on the back and one on the front. The rear camera setup consists of a 13MP f/2.0 primary shooter and a 6MP ultra-wide camera. And then there’s a 12MP ultra-wide shooter on the front with a new Auto Framing feature (similar to Apple’s Center Stage) that automatically adjusts the shot to keep you in the frame.
Hands on: Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 and Tab S8 Plus review
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 and Tab S8 Plus are remarkably limited upgrades compared to 2020’s Galaxy Tab S7 and Tab S7 Plus. If you’re after an Android tablet, this will likely be a top choice for 2022 – we’ll know at the time of full review. but it isn’t worth upgrading from Samsung’s last release.
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The Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 and Tab S8 Plus are probably going to be among our favorite tablets of the year, at least unless something surprising comes up, as they’re super-powerful Android slates with useful extra features.
These tablets were revealed alongside the Galaxy S22, S22 Plus, Galaxy S22 Ultra and the new Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra.
The Tab S8 products that we’re reviewing are the cheapest two members of the new tablet family that also includes that larger screen Tab S8 Ultra. Both these tablets are remarkably similar, so we’ve combined our coverage of each into one hands-on review.
Now that we’ve had some time with the Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 and Tab S8 Plus here’s everything we’ve learned so far about the tablets, along with our first thoughts of how each runs and what you can expect if you buy one.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 and Tab S8 Plus release date and price
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 is the cheapest member of this Android tablet family, starting at 699.99 / £649 / AU1,099 for a Wi-Fi only 128GB and 8GB of RAM version.
The Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus starts at 899.99 / £849 / AU1,499 with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. There are many different price options, which are all discussed in a chart below.
|Connectivity||US price||UK price||AU price|
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Pre-orders kicked off on February 9 (or February 10 in Australia) and the devices fully went on sale on February 25, though some people who pre-ordered found that their deliveries were a little late.
Design and display
These are both premium-feel tablets with a design that can rival iPad products and other top-end Android tablet options. It has a metal design, which feels high-end, and there are squared edges around the sides.
The rear of the tablets is relatively featureless with the camera and the S Pen charging point grabbing your eye when you see the back. Each tablet comes in three color options – Graphite, Silver or Pink Gold.
The bottom edge of the tablet has a charging port, and there are speakers on this edge as well as on the top of the tablet. That top edge also includes the power button and the volume buttons.
The display on the Tab S8 is an 11-inch, 2560 x 1600 resolution display that offers 276 pixels per inch. In our testing time, we found the display to be clear and bright. It has a high refresh rate of up to 120Hz, which means your images look smooth when scrolling or playing games.
The Tab S8 Plus has a 12.4-inch display that has a higher resolution of 2800 x 1752. The picture improvement isn’t instantly noticeable here, but we enjoyed the experience on this screen as well.
These screens don’t feel that big considering the Tab S8 Ultra features a 14.6-inch display. But it’s all relative, you may want to opt for a larger screen if you’re after the larger product, or you may prefer to carry a smaller device.
Camera and battery life
On the rear of the tablet is a 13MP main camera with a 6MP ultra-wide option for when you need more in your shots. We experimented with this a little during our testing time and the results were what you’d expect for a tablet of this type.
This photography won’t match Samsung’s smartphones, but it’s still strong enough for any social media pics or for other apps such as augmented reality experiences.
On the front is a 12MP ultra-wide camera, which again was good enough for video calls but can’t compare to the selfie cameras we’ve seen on the Galaxy S22 series.
We’ve yet to properly test the battery life of the tablets, but the Tab S8 features an 8,000mAh cell that we expect will work well. That matches the Galaxy Tab S7 from 2020, so we’d expect around eight hours of video playback from a single charge.
Expect slightly less if you’re multitasking, but that’s still a respectable result from a tablet of this type.
The Tab S8 Plus has a larger battery because it’s powering a larger screen. It’s a 10,090 mAh battery here. This battery is large enough for a full day of battery life, but we won’t know for certain until we fully test the tablet.
There’s also fast charging, which now goes up to 45W which should mean you can pump this up quickly.
Performance and software
It’s worth noting that the entire Galaxy Tab S8 line ships with an S Pen stylus in the box. Apple charges 129 for its Apple Pencil 2, but the starting price of the iPad Air 4th Generation is 699 (64GB).
So, yes, Samsung gets credit for including a lovely S Pen in each Tab S8 package, but the savings over a comparable iPad and Apple Pencil are essentially a wash.
Like the new Galaxy S22 line, all the Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 tablets are running the same 4nm Octa Core processor (Qualcomm Snapdragon or Exynos, depending on the market).
The Tab S8 and S8 Plus start with 8GB of RAM (only the Ultra offers up to 16GB of RAM). The Tab S8 and S8 Plus also offer support for Bluetooth 5.2 and Wi-Fi 6E.
While we didn’t have much time to test either tablet, it was clear that this is a high-quality and responsive screen. We did spend a little time drawing on the Tab S8 Plus. The response time from the moment we touched the S Pen to the screen and started drawing was impressive as the digital ink appears to flow out of the S Pen tip onto the Super AMOLED screen.
The S Pen, which is designed to work with the Tab S8 family, was comfortable to hold and use. Backed by the Wacom digitizing technology, the S Pen recognized pressure and tilt for a truly pleasurable drawing experience.
Each tablet comes running the latest Android 12 software, and Samsung’s own materials suggest it’ll be updating this product for the next four years. That’s better than previous Samsung tablets and should prolong the life of this device.
These are both lightweight, beautiful, and responsive devices. The wide-screen format might take some getting used to for iPad fans, but these are both slates to be reckoned with.
If you’re after a top-end device with a huge display, you may prefer the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra. If not, be sure to head back for our full review coming soon.
Samsung Galaxy Tab A8 review
Budget tablets don’t come any better built than the Samsung Galaxy Tab A8. Throw in a strong set of speakers and decent battery life, and you’re halfway to a top-quality affordable media player. A poor screen and slow charging hold it back from top marks, but it’s a good value option nonetheless.
Samsung is pretty much the undisputed king of an admittedly rather patchy Android tablet scene right now, with a range of solid slates available for all budgets.
At the opposite end of the scale to the ludicrously OTT Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra, there’s the Samsung Galaxy Tab A8. Featuring a classy design, one or two stand-out bells and whistles, and an immensely appealing starting price of £219/US229.
It’s a tempting option if your bank balance won’t stretch to anything like iPad or Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 territory. Our review sample was kindly provided by Box.
By far the most impressive thing about the Samsung Galaxy Tab A8 is how well it’s built. If you were to have handed this tablet to me in a powered down state, with no accompanying information, I would have assumed it was a mid-range tablet selling for at least double the price.
This is a full-sized tablet with a flat-edged yet slender 6.9mm body and relatively minimal bezels around the screen. It’s about as tall as an iPad in portrait view, but nowhere near as wide and a weight of 508g is about par for the course for a 10in slate such as this.
My sample model comes in a very professional-looking Graphite (think dark metallic grey), but it also comes in Silver and Pink Gold.
It’s not just the way the Samsung Galaxy Tab A8 looks that’s impressive though. It feels reassuringly solid in the hand, with a body that’s primarily made of metal.
There’s a plastic strip along the edge that houses the power and volume keys, as well as presumably enabling network communication (there are both Wi-Fi and LTE models available).
Talking of buttons, one of the biggest omissions here is a fingerprint reader. You’ll have to rely on a clunky passcode entry system or an insecure and flaky facial recognition system if you want to lock your tablet. Neither is particularly great.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab A8 packs in a 10.5in display with a 1920×1080 resolution – the very definition of Full HD or 1080p.
It’s sufficiently sharp for a budget tablet this size, but in going with a TFT LCD panel, it’s not particularly vibrant or colour-accurate. IPS LCD panels produce better colours and viewing angles.
Sure enough, a gamut coverage of 82% sRGB, 60% Adobe RGB, and 63% DCI P3 really aren’t great and an average Delta E of 4.39 is way off the very best. Just to make that last point clear, the closer to 1 the better, and even a semi-decent display will get to around 2.
A peak brightness of 327 nits is ok but nothing special. You certainly won’t enjoy using the tablet outdoors in even relatively bright conditions.
Elsewhere, a basic 60Hz refresh rate means that it’s not especially fluid either. But then, Apple is still sticking with 60Hz for all of its non-Pro iPads, so far from expected in such a cheap tablet.
It’s the quality of that picture output that’s the real weak point here, especially given that Samsung is really positioning this tablet as an affordable media player. Indeed, it’s gone above and beyond in equipping the Tab A8 with a quad speaker set-up and Dolby Atmos support.
Sure enough, audio is loud and clear, whether watching a film on the preinstalled Netflix app or TV and podcast content on the similarly preinstalled Samsung Free app.
It’s just a shame that Netflix content doesn’t look very good, with flat colours and no HDR support.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab A8 runs on a Unisoc Tiger T618 processor, together with either 3GB or 4GB RAM. This isn’t the most familiar chip on the market and you might expect Samsung to use one of its own Exynos chips but it runs reasonably well for a budget tablet.
In benchmark terms, a Geekbench 5 multi-core score of 1250 pitches it just above the Nokia T20 and about level with the Galaxy Tab S6 Lite. In GPU terms, it consistently scores 1 frame or two higher than the Nokia T20, as well as the older Galaxy Tab S6 Lite and Galaxy Tab S5e.
Check the scores below compared to rivals as well as the more expensive Xiaomi Pad 5 to highlight the extra performance available if you did spend more.
That’s not to say that things are silky smooth in general navigation, with the occasional pause or stutter when moving around between apps and even home screens and menus. It’s far from unusable, but I was never in any doubt that I was using a cheap tablet so some patience is needed at times.
When it comes to more intensive tasks like games, it’ll run Slay the Spire just fine, except for a telltale lengthy pause just before your character dies. Indeed, the Samsung Galaxy Tab A8 is a better way to play such 2D fare (as well as the likes of Kingdom Rush) than any £1,000 flagship phone.
Don’t expect the tablet to perform equally well with 3D games, however. I was unable to run my usual Genshin Impact stress test, as there simply wasn’t enough storage space left over from an initial 32GB once Samsung and Google had taken their considerable system slice.
There’s a strong case for going the 64GB route, though there is the potential for up to 1TB of microSD expansion. In the US, you can also buy the Tab A8 in a 128GB capacity if you think you need it.
I was able to run the well-optimised League of Legends Wild Rift, which ran adequately on low settings. Old warhorse PUBG Mobile, meanwhile, loaded up with HD graphics (the third lowest of six) and a High frame rate, which isn’t bad. The performance in-game wasn’t too great, though, especially with those fuzzy textures blown up to 10.5in, but it was playable.
The camera doesn’t tend to be the FOCUS of any tablet, and nor should it ever be. That goes doubly for cheap tablets. So, I won’t waste too much time talking about the Samsung Galaxy Tab A8’s camera offering, except to say that it isn’t very good at all.
You’re getting just a single 8Mp rear camera here, with no flash, and with no ultra-wide or telephoto back-ups, of course. That solitary sensor takes shots that are full of noise, lacking depth and dynamic range and often woefully overexposed.
The 5Mp selfie camera proved borderline unusable on the morning of my test shots, seeming completely unable to handle the moderately bright conditions of the day. You can see the hideously blown-out results for yourself in the gallery. Still, it’ll serve its intended function as a Zoom camera perfectly adequately.
Nine times out of ten, if you’re looking to take shots with any tablet, I’d suggest you reassess your life choices. But if you insist on pointing and shooting with your 10in device, then know that even a super-cheap smartphone will turn out better results than the Galaxy Tab A8.
Battery Life Charging
The Samsung Galaxy Tab A8 packs in a decent-sized 7040mAh battery, which will last you days of light usage.
Step things up with lots of intense tasks and that figure will drop quite dramatically. In our standard PCMark World 3.0 battery life test, the Galaxy Tab A8 scored a middling 8 hours 49 minutes.
That’s a lot better than recent budget rival the Nokia T20 (6 hours 39 minutes), but just beats its older brother, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite, on 8 hours and 35 minutes.
While it supports 15W charging, Samsung has only bundled its budget tablet with a 7.8W charger in the box. That’s more than it does with even its most expensive smartphone, but given the size of that battery, it takes an absolute age to get to full.
In my testing, 30 minutes got it from 0 to 10%, while after 3 hours and 15 minutes it hit 80%. Not that speedy charging is as big a deal with a tablet as it is with smartphone, of course, but still this is very slow when the Lenovo Yoga Tab 11 gets to 43% in 30 minutes.
Samsung’s latest budget tablet runs on the now out-of-date Android 11 OS, with Samsung’s own One UI handling front of house duties.
Samsung’s software seems to be a real love it or hate it affair. It’s not my particular cup of tea, thanks to its overly fussy nature, somewhat gauche menus, sluggish animations and abundance of home-brewed and third-party apps. But I’m well aware plenty of people view it as the quintessential take on Android, even more so than stock Android.
Whatever your view, it can’t be denied that One UI has been reasonably well optimised for tablets. Using two apps simultaneously in split-screen works well in particular, despite the limited hardware underlying it all.
The new Screen recorder function, accessed through the drag-down shortcut settings menu, lets you record whatever’s on your display, together with commentary if you so wish. This has potential benefits for the Galaxy Tab A8 as a teaching and learning tool.
There’s no S Pen compatibility here, however, unlike with the Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite. I understand that budgets were tight, but it feels like a missed opportunity given the Galaxy Tab A8’s likely audience.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab A8 landed in the US and here in the UK on January 4, 2022.
Pricing starts from £219 for the 32GB Wi-Fi model. You can add LTE to that for £259, or double your storage and up the RAM to 4GB for £249. The top model gives you 64GB of storage, 4GB of RAM, and LTE for £289.
As mentioned earlier, the US also has a 128GB model should you want that much storage. Here’s the price breakdown (RRPs) for all models via the Samsung store:
- 32GB Wi-Fi – £219/229.99
- 64GB Wi-Fi – £249279.99
- 128GB Wi-Fi – 329.99
- 32GB LTE – £259
- 64GB LTE – £289
In the States, you can buy it from Samsung as well as Amazon, BestBuy and even Dell.
In terms of an alternative, the Nokia T20 will offer you an even cheaper full-sized Android experience from £180, and with cleaner software and a superior IPS screen to boot. Its performance isn’t very good at all, however.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab A8 is another solid budget effort from the king of Android tablets. Its premium design and loud, clear sound are unusually accomplished for a very affordable price – if 32GB is enough storage for you that is.
However, the tablet’s TFT display is disappointingly flat and washed out, compromising its potential as an affordable media player. The lack of reliable biometric authentication is another downer but not essential and the Tab A8 has a surprisingly excellent sound system.
Performance, while far from spectacular, is perfectly adequate for a tablet of this price, and battery life is very good. It’ll take you an age to get back up to 100% from empty with the bundled charger, but that’s not such a pressing issue in the tablet world.
Samsung Galaxy Tab A8: Specs
- Android 11
- 10.5in, FHD, TFT, 60Hz, flat display
- No fingerprint sensor
- Unisoc Tiger T618
- 3GB/4GB LPDDR4 RAM
- 32GB/64GB storage
- 8Mp main camera
- Up to 8K @ 30fps rear video
- 5Mp front-facing camera
- Quad Dolby Atmos speakers
- Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
- Bluetooth 5.0
- 7040mAh battery
- 15W charging support, 7.8W in box
- 246.8 x 161.9 x 6.9 mm
- Launch colours: Graphite, Silver, Pink Gold
Samsung Galaxy Tab A8 Review
The Galaxy Tab A8 is an affordable tablet that’s got a decent screen and reliable battery life. However during our tests we found the performance levels are very underwhelming, the camera isn’t great, and it takes a while to charge back up. This makes it a mediocre option in today’s tablet market.
The Galaxy Tab A8 is Samsung’s pitch to the budget end of the tablet market – a far cry from the luxury of all-singing, all-dancing Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra.
If you splash out on this device, you’ll get a 10.2-inch screen with a large 7040mAh battery for an affordable price – but does it perform its key functions well, or does it amount to less than the sum of its parts?
In keeping with most tablets on the market, the Galaxy Tab A8 is not a flashy device in terms of its colour or design. Our review sample has a dark grey rear panel, and the only hint of any flair is a slightly lighter-toned stripe running along one edge. Other than that and the camera lens, it just appears as a large grey slate. Most crucially, it has a matte rather than glossy finish on this back panel, so that it doesn’t act as a magnet for fingerprints and smears.
However, while it’s a growing trend for big-screen devices to cut down on the bezels around the side of the screen, this one still has rather significant black bars at the edges, and though they are at least uniform in size (unlike the iPad 9), it would look more appealing with a minimal frame around the edges. Having said that, we have at least been spared the unsightly in-display notch that was unfortunately present on the brand’s flagship tablet, the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra.
The tablet still retains the 3.5mm headphone jack for wired audio playback that has long since been dropped by many premium smartphones, including Samsung’s own Galaxy S22 series, and it’s got a dedicated MicroSD card slot too if you need to expand the storage or transfer photos from your camera more easily. This latter feature may prove especially useful given that, of the base-level 32GB storage, only 18.2GB is actually available to use after system requirements and pre-installed apps are taken care of.
When it comes to unlocking the tablet, you’ve got the options of using a PIN, a pattern, or face unlock. All of these methods worked responsively for me, without irritatingly long delays or false negatives. The tablet also did a fairly decent enough job of reorientating itself when moved from a landscape position to portrait and vice versa, although this could be choppy and did sometimes leave me waiting an extra few second for the right orientation.
Unfortunately, the Galaxy Tab A8 doesn’t have an IP rating, so we can’t be exactly sure of how it would manage with exposure to water or dust. What’s more, the manufacturer has not stated whether the display is made of Gorilla Glass or a similarly scratch-resistant material. However, the frame still felt physically robust and did not flex under duress, so I don’t think you’ll need to worry about your child breaking the device unless a very large amount of force is exerted.
Nonetheless, if you’re buying this I’d still recommend getting a case for a few reasons. Firstly I did notice a couple of scuffs on one of the corners after my week with it (see above), which could otherwise have been avoided. Secondly, it does have a large screen that could be vulnerable to scratching if it’s not covered up. Thirdly, a case with a built-in support would allow you to prop this 508g device up on a table or your lab without you needing to hold it yourself for the duration of a film, for example.
The screen measures 10.2-inches, and I found this to be a fairly good size for watching films and TV series when it’s propped up in front of you, and when it’s lying flat on a table top it’s also a good size for reading through articles or webpages without you having to move it closer to your face.
The display is LCD rather than OLED, which means that the contrast isn’t perfect and you’ll miss out those majestic deep blacks that characterise OLEDs. Samsung is usually a Champion of OLED screens, even on its budget smartphones, so it’s a bit of shame that it hasn’t brought that expertise to bear on this device. The display supports over 16 million colours, which is a good level of colour depth, and the resolution is 1200 x 1920p.
While this quality would be very good for a smartphone of the same price, you are more aware of its shortcomings on a larger-screened tablet as it’s not as super-sharp as you might be used to when watching the same content on a high quality living room TV, for instance.
I spent hours using this device to watch films and TV shows, and though the screen is not the very best around it is still high enough quality to enjoy what you’re watching. Whether watching glossy Netflix documentaries, block-coloured animated movies, or lushly photographed artsy films, this tablet gave a decent account of them that was good enough to keep me entertained. I never found myself particularly frustrated by the screen’s limitations in this context.
When this tablet catches the light, it does unfortunately reflect quite a significant amount of it, so that if a door or window opens near you on a sunny day then you could suddenly be treated to a blazing chink of light in the middle of you screen that reveals a few fingerprint smears or your own face staring back at you.
The display’s brightness isn’t strong enough to overcome this problem, which means that it’s not the best for watching something outside – you’d be better off just using it indoors.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab A8 runs on a Unisoc Tiger T618 chipset. I’d never come across this 12nm silicon before, and frankly I’d be happy if I never came across it again.
The performance levels of this device are pretty miserable, and this is visible both in industry benchmarking tests and in real-life usage. I used the base model, which has just 2GB of RAM and 32GB of storage space.
I put this tablet through Geekbench 5 benchmarks, to measure its CPU power (which dictates general performance), and 3DMark tests, to measure the output of its GPU (which relates to its gaming potential). Below you can see the results in a table, and you can slide across to see how it stacks up against its peers.
Samsung Galaxy Tab A8 Benchmarking Comparison
The 3D Mark Wild Life Stress test has no value for the Tab A8 because it simply couldn’t run. While this tablet does outperform the cheaper Galaxy Tab A7, as you should expect, it can’t hold a candle to the performance of iPads or premium Android tablets.
What’s more, these benchmarking tests aren’t just theory; in practice, the tablet often struggles to perform. Demanding games are a no-go.
There’s juddering lag when you’re playing racing games like Asphalt 9 that is highly distracting, and if you happen to have other apps running in the background at the same time then the hitches make the game nigh-on unplayable. This shortcoming is quite a shame, because playing racing or action games on a tablet should feel like a fun and immersive experience.
When playing light games, such as online chess, I didn’t notice any problems at all, and once again the form factor of a larger screen greatly enhanced my enjoyment; puzzle games can be a bit of a fiddle even on large-screen smartphones, but the size here was just right and gave me a similar feeling to playing a physical tabletop game. I also never noticed problems with lag or freezing when using the interface of streaming apps such as Netflix or MUBI.
However, when flicking between apps, there was noticeable lag and even a couple of times when the screen just froze for a few seconds. Closing one app and entering another sometimes necessitated a pause and on occasion the screen would register that you’d touched a different app. Even searching the device’s own Settings menu took an age. Using the camera app became torturous because it was so juddery. If you’re planning to use your tablet for anything more than light web browsing, simple apps, and video playback, then you should buy one with a bit more muscle, such as the iPad 9 or its successor.
Another concern was that I noticed that my Wi-Fi connection occasionally dropped out on this tablet while concurrently remaining strong on my smartphone and laptop. The variant we tested was Wi-Fi only, lacking mobile connectivity, and so any outage was very frustrating.
As for this device’s software, it runs Android 11. This is not the best software system for Android, since apps are often poorly optimised for the larger-screen experience on tablets, and tend to make poor use of the extra available space. However, it does at least grant you access to all the many apps on the Play Store, including your favourite social media apps, streaming services, and mobile games.
There are few frills that come with Samsung’s One UI overlay either, aside from the addition of a few extra apps on start-up, like the Galaxy Store, Samsung Notes, and other proprietary programs. One touch that I did particularly like was the option for dynamic lock screens. Simply swipe left on the lock screen and you’ll be given a menu of image libraries from which you can choose a theme (shown above). Then, every time you start up the tablet there will be a different picture to greet you. This looks especially good on the Tab A8’s 10.2-inch screen, and can help unexpectedly brighten up your day.
Battery life is one of this tablet’s key strengths, and that’s especially great news when you’re taking on a long-distance trip such as a cross-country coach trip or a long-haul flight.
I did the latter, a nine hour transatlantic flight, and over the course of that long sleepless journey I watched three hour-long documentary episodes and two full-length feature films. Afterwards the battery was still on 60%, having started the trip at its full complement. It’s highly reassuring to know that you can count on this device for endurance.
To break down its battery performance into more specific examples, I found that one hour of streaming Netflix took the battery down by 6%, and half an hour of light gaming took it down by 3%. The only element where it struggled, and this likely won’t surprise you given how it performed, was intensive gaming; half an hour knocked 8% off the battery, giving another reason to avoid playing demanding video games on this platform.
I was also relieved to see that the Galaxy Tab A8 did not significantly discharge overnight, losing just 2% of battery after around nine hours on standby.
However, the flipside to this good battery life is that recharging does take quite some time – about one hour and forty minutes from empty to full, with this tablet’s 15W power equipped.
This means that if you suddenly realise that you’ve forgotten to charge your tablet before a trip, then frantically plugging in before your departure is unlikely to do much good, and you’ll only get about 5% of charge every ten minutes. Generally speaking tablets do lack the fast-charging chops of smartphones, so this device is far from the only offender, but it still could be a potential frustration. Naturally, there’s no wireless charging option either.
Your tablet’s camera quality may not have even been a ping on your radar in previous years, given that most people rely on their smartphones for taking snaps. However, since the pandemic we’ve seen a dramatic rise in video calling, and tablets can often be the most convenient device to use for this function.
We still don’t expect tablets to meet the high standards of modern smartphone photography, but they should at least be usable.
The above picture was taken by the 5-megapixel selfie camera, the snapper you’re most likely to use regularly on your tablet, and it’s grainy and washed-out; this effect is even worse in video mode, where harsher light sources can completely flood the lens, making it harder to see your face.
You will be able to hold a video call on this device, and it may even be better than your laptop’s webcam (though that says more about the computer than the tablet), but the quality is still weak and certainly won’t get you looking your best when you’re talking on Skype or on Zoom. If you’re thinking of using the video call function in a professional setting, rather than just calling family and friends for a chat, then I’d particularly recommend you take a look at higher-end tablets, especially the iPad or the iPad Air.
As for the rear camera, I’d expect that you’d only use this in a tight pinch if you found yourself temporarily away from your smartphone or camera, so its performance does not greatly affect my assessment of this tablet. The pictures above were taken with the 8-megapixel rear camera, and they’re nothing special – but if you just wanted to make a visual note of something for future reference or to share quickly with friends, then it will do the job.
Should you buy it?
If you’re looking for an affordable tablet to watch videos on and complete basic tasks then this one’s not bad, with the battery life being a particular highlight.
If you want to play games or use other demanding apps on your tablet – and if you’d look at your best on video calls – then you should avoid it.
The Galaxy Tab A8 is by no means a tour de force of a tablet, and its miserable performance standard is a particularly disappointing low note. It also won’t be the best for video calls, given the underwhelming font-facing camera, and it takes quite a long time to charge back up.
However, if you’re just looking for a modestly-priced travel companion to watch videos on, or use simple apps, then you could do far worse than this one; the screen is still good enough quality to enjoy films and TV shows, and the battery life offers impressive endurance that will comfortably see you through long-distance voyages.
How we test
Unlike other sites, we thoroughly test every product we review. We use industry standard tests in order to compare features properly. We’ll always tell you what we find. We never, ever accept money to review a product.
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Does this device have an IP rating? There’s no official IP rating, so we’re not sure how it would react if exposed to water or dust
Trusted Reviews test data
You can see a full breakdown of all the test data we collected reviewing the Tab A8 and how its scores compare to its predecessor and more expensive Plus sibling.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S8: Your complete buyer’s guide
Choose between the portable-but-powerful Tab S8, the laptop-replacing Tab S8 Ultra, or the just-right middle child Tab S8.
The Galaxy Tab S8 series took the stylish design, gorgeous displays, and reliable battery life of the superb Tab S7 series, added a top-class processor and more RAM, and made other improvements that maintained Samsung’s Android tablet supremacy.
Alongside the familiar 11-inch LCD Galaxy Tab S8 and 12.4-inch AMOLED Galaxy Tab S8, the first-of-its-kind Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra is a 14.6-inch behemoth with the highest screen-to-body ratio we’ve seen in a tablet and a tiny notch that shouldn’t affect your browsing experience. The Ultra is the only model to offer upgraded RAM options in exchange for a hefty price increase.
If you’re in the market for one of the best Android tablets, we’ve labeled the three Galaxy Tab S8 models as the top three available across all brands. While the Galaxy Tab S9 could arrive in 2023, there’s no guarantee; so unless you’re excited by the Pixel Tablet or want to switch allegiances to the iPad, there’s little reason to wait.
But which of the three Galaxy Tab S8 slabs should you choose? We’ll compare the specs and designs to help you decide which to buy.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S8: and deals
Samsung announced the Galaxy Tab S8 series on February 9, 2022, at Galaxy Unpacked and released its new tablets on February 25.
It followed the same pricing scheme as the Galaxy S22 series, making each respective upgrade cost you 200. The Galaxy Tab S8 and S8 cost 700 and 900, just 50 more than their predecessors, while the new Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra clocks in at 1,100.
Each tablet defaults to 128GB of storage, though you can install a microSD card for up to 1TB more. Galaxy Tab S8 or S8 buyers can pay an 80 surcharge to get 256GB storage, with no RAM upgrade. With the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra, you pay 100 extra to jump to 12GB/256GB memory (1,200) or 200 extra for 16GB/512GB (1,400).
Only the Galaxy Tab S8 Plus has a 5G cellular option for 1,100 through Verizon, T-Mobile, ATT, or USCellular. This model is restricted to 128GB of storage.
If you’re interested in any of these tablets, the holiday season is a great time to buy one. For instance, Samsung is selling the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra for up to 400 off, while the Galaxy Tab S8 and S8 are 100 and 150 off. And if you have anything to trade in, you’ll get enhanced credit to slash the price.
The biggest discount we’ve seen on any Samsung tablet, you can save 400 on the 16GB/512GB version, essentially making it cost 200 less than the 8GB Ultra at full price. This is the version we tested and liked as a possible laptop-replacement, but it was hard to recommend at that price. That’s not the case at this price!
Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Design
Anyone who has used a Galaxy Tab S7 or Tab S7 will find that their 2022 counterparts look and feel remarkably similar. Both the Galaxy Tab S8 and S8 have the exact same dimensions, weight, display quality, magnetic S Pen strips, and stylistic etchings along the back edges as their predecessors.
Even the color options are remarkably similar: the S7 series offered Mystic Black, Silver, Bronze, and Blue, while the S8 comes in Graphite (aka black), Silver, and Pink Gold (which looks near-identical to the Bronze S7).
Samsung does tout one design upgrade: it claims the aluminum material used with the S8 is “30% more scratch-resistant and 40% less prone to bending” than the S7 material, so it’ll handle scuffs and rough handling better than before. Samsung also partially constructed the Tab S8 with “plastic components repurposed from discarded fishing nets” as part of a sustainability push.
Of the three Tab S8s, the 11-inch, 1.1lb. LCD Tab is most likely to be comfortable to use for casual use away from a desk while still offering plenty of screen real estate compared to most budget tablets.
The 12.4-inch, 1.27lb. Galaxy Tab S8 is not quite portable or comfortable to hold for long periods. Still, it’s actually thinner than the Tab S8 and isn’t nearly as ungainly as the Ultra. The massive AMOLED display gives you richer colors and more space for using multiple apps at once; it’s a perfect fit with a keyboard cover for DeX mode.
As for the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra, it has extremely thin bezels that maximize the 14.6-inch display to nearly reach the edges of the tablet. That does mean the Ultra has a small notch for the selfie cameras, but in most cases, you won’t find it particularly noticeable.
What’s more frustrating is that those minuscule bezels make it extremely precarious to hold without accidentally touching the screen or straining your hands. Add the 1.6-pound weight, and it’s obvious the Ultra is a tablet you’ll want to use on a desk with a keyboard cover and kickstand at all times.
Galaxy Tab S8 vs. S8 vs. S8 Ultra specifications
|Snapdragon 8 Gen 1||Snapdragon 8 Gen 1||Snapdragon 8 Gen 1|
|11-inch LCD (120Hz), 2560 x 1600||12.4-inch Super AMOLED (120Hz), 2800 x 1752||14.6-inch Super AMOLED (120Hz), 2960 x 1848|
|8GB||8GB||8GB, 12GB, or 16GB|
|128GB or 256GB||128GB or 256GB||128GB, 256GB, or 512GB|
|13MP AF 6MP UW Flash||13MP AF 6MP UW Flash||13MP AF 6MP UW Flash|
|12MP UW||12MP UW||12MP FF 12MP UW|
|8,000mAh Li-Ion with 45W Fast Charging||10,090mAh Li-Ion with 45W Fast Charging||11,200mAh Li-Ion with 45W Fast Charging|
|Quad Speakers Dolby Atmos||Quad Speakers Dolby Atmos||Quad Speakers Dolby Atmos|
|Face Unlock, fingerprint on power button||Face Unlock, on-display fingerprint sensor||Face Unlock, on-display fingerprint sensor|
|Wi-Fi 6E (6GHz), Bluetooth 5.2||Wi-Fi 6E (6GHz), Bluetooth 5.25G (optional)||Wi-Fi 6E (6GHz), Bluetooth 5.2|
|️ (6.2ms latency)||️ (2.8ms latency)||️ (2.8ms latency)|
|️ (up to 1TB)||️ (up to 1TB)||️ (up to 1TB)|
|9.99″ x 6.51″ x 0.25″||11.22″ x 7.28″ x 0.22″||12.85″ x 8.21″ x 0.22″|
|1.10 lb||1.27 lb||1.60 lb|
|Graphite, Silver, Pink Gold||Graphite, Silver, Pink Gold||Graphite|
How Tab S8 differs from Tab S7 and iPads
Tab S7 or Tab S7 owners may be wondering if it’s worth upgrading to the Tab S8, given how similar they look and perform to one another. We have guides on the Galaxy Tab S8 vs. S7 and Galaxy Tab S8 vs. S7 to help you decide, but we’ll summarize the main points below.
In terms of what hasn’t changed, the Tab S8 and S7 share the same display resolution and brightness, battery size — though the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 will be more efficient than the older Snapdragon 865 — charging speed, quad speakers, expandable storage, and weight. The same applies for the plus-sized models.
As for what has changed, you get 2GB extra RAM, an upgraded 12GB UW selfie cam for improved video call quality, Wi-Fi 6E support instead of Wi-Fi 6, shorter S Pen latency with faster responses, the aforementioned scratch-resistant finish, and (most importantly) the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 performance upgrade.
Are these changes enough to recommend buying the newer model? We’d argue yes, especially if you can get one on sale. While the Snapdragon 865 remains respectable by today’s standards, it will start to fall short for more demanding apps moving forward, especially with just 6GB of RAM. And the Galaxy Tab S7 received its last major OS update — Android 13 — while the S8 series will eventually hit Android 16. Yes, the Tab S7 will still get security updates through 2024, but for access to the latest features, you’ll probably want to upgrade if you can afford it.
The real battle is between the Tab S8 and iPad (2022), or the Tab S8 Ultra vs. the iPad Pro. Apple’s iPadOS has remained the most popular tablet ecosystem for both consumers and app developers for years, but Samsung’s DeX mode has proven more reliable for productivity than Apple’s notoriously buggy Stage Manager.
The iPad Pro has the most powerful performance by far, its laptop-quality M1 chip benchmarks far surpassing anything the mobile Snapdragon chip can offer even with 16GB of RAM. The Tab S8 Ultra gives you much more screen space, but the iPad Pro has a more manageable size for portable use and more affordable accessories. Both have similar resolution and brightness with 120Hz refresh rates, but we’ve found iPadOS seems to take better advantage of it.
As for the entry-level tablet battle, the latest 10th-generation iPad is more affordable than the Galaxy Tab S8 with comparable cameras, display resolution, and software support paired with much better performance. On the other hand, you do have to accept some downgrades like a 60Hz display and inferior audio. You can upgrade to the iPad Air M1 for a closer battle, though that ends up being slightly more expensive if you pay for more than 64GB of storage.
In the end, your decision will depend on whether you use Apple or Android products; the Tab S8 will pair much better with whatever Android phones or Windows tech you own, while the iPad will obviously sync perfectly with an iPhone or MacBook.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S8: S Pen and accessories
All three Tab S8 models ship with an S Pen. You’ll find magnetic strips on the top and back of the tablet, and some of the keyboard cover accessories should have an S Pen slot. Still, it can be easy to lose track of if you’re not careful.
If you choose the Tab S8 or S8 Ultra, you’ll get a “new and improved S Pen that uses a prediction algorithm for ultra-low latency.” Specifically, you’ll get a latency speed of 2.8ms, whereas the Tab S8 offers 6.2ms and the Tab S7 series offered 9ms.
Otherwise, none of the Galaxy Tab S8 tablets ship with a charger, keyboard, or case in the box. Particularly with the Galaxy Tab S8 and S8 Ultra, they’re too large to regularly use in handheld form, so you’ll want to buy a case with a kickstand and a keyboard for productivity. But even for the Tab S8, you’ll want some protection against damage and a way to store your S Pen if you’re taking it on the road.
Our guides on the best Galaxy Tab S8 cases, Tab S8 Plus cases, or Tab S8 Ultra cases will get you started depending on which model you chose to buy.
You can buy the official Tab S8 Book Cover Keyboard in all three sizes; it’s expensive, especially for the Ultra version with backlighting and a trackpad, but it lets you connect or disconnect instantly while bypassing a manual Bluetooth connection. Otherwise, you can save a lot of money with a Bluetooth keyboard.
All three tablets offer 45W charging, so you’ll want a charging block and cable capable of hitting that mark. We’ve chosen nine reliable Tab S8 chargers that hit that spec if you need one.
Also, whether or not you buy a case, you’ll want to protect your massive, gorgeous display from scratches and damage. Galaxy Tab S8 screen protectors or Tab S8 Ultra screen protectors will ensure your visual experience on the tablet isn’t ruined without disrupting your S Pen responsiveness.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 software
All three devices launched with One UI 4.1 based on Android 12. Samsung has promised four OS upgrades, meaning it should receive One UI 8 (or Android 16) in 2026. They’ll also receive five years of security updates through 2027.
One UI 4 on the Galaxy Tab S8 offers a new tool to “split your screen into three Windows with four layout options, and even adjust to the exact height, size, and layout you need for any given task.”
You can pin your favorite apps to a hidden taskbar on the top-right of the display. After you open one app, simply drag the S Pen to reveal the taskbar, then plop a second (or third) app onto the display to split up the screen space between them. You can slide the borders between the apps to give one more space than the rest.
Or, you can pin a small pop-up app above another full-screen app, then minimize that app when you’re done with it. Whatever multitasking method you prefer, Samsung’s software may support it.
Of course, you can also use your tablet as a second screen with your Windows computer if you simply need more display space. Or, you can use Samsung’s DeX Mode to rely on a traditional desktop UI instead of Android, so long as you have a mouse and keyboard to connect to it.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S8: Which should you buy?
You can’t necessarily go wrong with any of the Galaxy Tab S8s, given all three have the same processor, high-resolution displays with smooth 120Hz refresh rates, quad stereo speakers, comparably high battery lives, and low-latency S Pens. So which should you pick?
The standard Galaxy Tab S8 is both the most affordable and the most comfortable to hold for long periods. If you want something for streaming content in bed, the smallest tablet may be your best bet. Even if you’re downgraded to an LCD display instead of an AMOLED, you’re losing richer colors but gaining a brighter display and longer battery life.
Still, we recommended the Galaxy Tab S8 as the one to buy over the Tab S8 and not because of the display upgrade. Frankly, all of the Tab S8 series are too expensive to buy just for casual streaming. If you’re buying one, you’ll want to use its productivity features and multitasking software; and for that, 11 inches is too small. The 12.4-inch Tab S8 nearly matches most laptops in display size, giving you enough room to work without straining your eyes.
For the best productivity experience, you’ll want the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra, given you can buy one with up to 16GB of RAM and its 14.6-inch display gives you all the work space you need. But the Tab S8 Ultra is too large to work as a portable device at all, whereas you can use the Tab S8 in handheld mode without too much discomfort.
Our Senior Editor for Tablets, Andrew Myrick, described how he uses the Tab S8 Ultra in day-to-day life, from Steam Link and xCloud gaming to photo editing and video meetings. It’s certainly a device we enjoy using. As a desk-bound tablet, the Ultra is a compelling choice.
It’s up to you whether you want to fully upgrade to the most powerful Galaxy Tab possible, “downgrade” to a powerful 11-inch tablet that’ll check multiple boxes, or choose the comfortable middle ground with the Plus. While we recommend the Tab S8, something more compact or more powerful may serve as a better fit. Or, you could wait for the rumored Galaxy Tab S8 FE if you want to prioritize saving money above all else.
Once you choose which to buy, bookmark our guide on the first 10 things to do with your Tab S8 to help you settle in with your new tablet.