Samsung has revised its playbook for the Galaxy Tab S8 series. Instead of sticking with two models, as with the Tab S7 and Tab S7 Plus, it has now split the series into three. This means users have the Galaxy Tab S8, Tab S8 Plus, and Tab S8 Ultra to choose from, with the Ultra going all-out to yank the tablet crown away from the latest iPad Pro. This division leaves both the Tab S8 and Tab S8 Plus in an interesting position, insofar as the Plus is no longer that much more of a premium experience compared to its standard model.
Still, there are differences between the two tablets, with the larger display and bigger battery being the most obvious features of the Galaxy Tab S8 Plus. However, does this make the Tab S8 Plus a better tablet overall than the Tab S8? Is it worth the extra $200? We find out in this head-to-head versus article, which compares the specs, displays, performance, cameras, and software of each device.
|Samsung Galaxy Tab S8||Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Plus|
|Size||253.8 x 165.3 x 6.3 mm (9.99 x 6.51 x 0.25 inches)||285 x 185 x 5.7 mm (11.22 x 7.28 x 0.22 inches)|
|Weight||Wi-Fi: 503 grams (17.74 ounces)
LTE: 507 grams (17.88 ounces)
|Wi-Fi: 567 grams (20 ounces)
LTE: 572 grams (20.18 ounces)
|Screen size||11 inches||12.4 inches|
|Screen resolution||2560 x 1600 pixels (274 pixels per inch)||2800 x 1752 pixels (266 ppi)|
|Operating system||Android 12, OneUI 4.1||Android 12, OneUI 4.1|
|Storage space||128GB, 256GB||128GB, 256GB|
|MicroSD card slot||Yes||Yes|
|Processor||Qualcomm SM8450 Snapdragon 8 Gen 1||Qualcomm SM8450 Snapdragon 8 Gen 1|
|RAM||8GB, 12GB||8GB, 12GBG|
|Camera||Dual 13-megapixel wide and 6MP ultrawide rear, 12MP front||Dual 13-megapixel wide and 6MP ultrawide rear, 12MP front|
|Video||4K at 60 fps, 1080p at 30 fps||4K at 60 fps, 1080p at 30 fps|
|Bluetooth version||Bluetooth 5.2||Bluetooth 5.2|
|Fingerprint sensor||Yes, side-mounted||Yes, in-display|
|App marketplace||Google Play Store||Google Play Store|
|Network support||All major carriers (cellular version only)||All major carriers (cellular version only)|
|Colors||Graphite, Silver, Pink Gold||Graphite, Silver, Pink Gold|
You may not be surprised to learn the Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 and Tab S8 Plus feature identical designs, even though the Plus is noticeably bigger. This means they both sport a tidy edge-to-edge display with narrow bezels, and their minimalist rears are defined by the black magnetic strip used to dock the S-Pen (included with both models). While they are visually identical, the Tab S8 Plus is understandably heavier (by just over 60 grams/0.10 pounds), which may make holding it for extended periods of time a touch more fatiguing than holding the Tab S8.
The standard Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 packs an 11-inch TFT screen, with a resolution of 2560 x 1600 pixels (or 274 pixels per inch). The Tab S8 Plus, by contrast, offers a 12.4-inch Super AMOLED display, which boasts a resolution of 2800 x 1752 pixels. While the pixel-per-inch count is very similar for both devices, the S8 Plus’ use of Super AMOLED technology makes its screen noticeably richer and more vibrant. Fortunately, each device supports a 120Hz refresh rate, so even if the Tab S8 Plus is more impressive, you’ll still enjoy the Tab S8.
Both devices are housed in aluminum, giving them a fair amount of durability. However, neither carries an IP rating, so best to keep them away from water.
Winner: Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Plus
In terms of performance, there’s no difference between the Galaxy Tab S8 and the Tab S8 Plus. Both are powered by the new Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor, which uses 4nm transistors for some very fast computation. Coupled with 8GB of RAM as standard, it will handle any task you could possibly want to use it for, while also letting you multitask like a pro.
Both devices also provide the same amount of internal storage: 128GB. Spending more will get you 256GB of internal memory, and both also contain a microSD card slot. In other words, you should have little problem storing anything you want to store.
As far as specs go, you might expect the Tab S8 Plus to last longer between charges. Its 10,090mAh battery is larger than the Tab S8’s 8,000mAh cell, implying greater day-to-day stamina. That said, it’s important to bear in mind that this larger battery is powering a larger screen, so the difference may be more subtle. We haven’t yet given either device a full review yet, so it would be premature to declare the Tab S8 Plus the winner in this respect.
Cameras are another area of similarity, and both the Galaxy Tab S8 and Tab S8 Plus use a dual-lens rear setup. It’s comprised of a 13-megapixel wide-angle lens and a 6MP ultrawide lens, as well as a 12MP ultrawide selfie camera lens, for more inclusive video chats.
Neither the Tab S8 nor S8 Plus takes truly outstanding photos. In the main, both devices capture decent enough pics with their wide lenses, which are characterized by a good level of detail and balanced colors (at least in sufficient natural light). On the other hand, the ultrawide rear lens isn’t as useful as the ultrawide lenses you find on contemporary smartphones, so most users are likely to use it all that much.
Much the same goes for the 12MP ultrawide selfie lens, which is perfectly serviceable when it comes to video chatting. However, when you try to use it as a serious photography device, you realize it doesn’t really compare to similar lenses on Samsung’s phones.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 and Tab S8 Plus operate on Android 12 with OneUI 4 running over the top. OneUI is one of the best Android skins around today, enhancing the basic Android experience with colorful large icons, intuitively laid-out menus, and a very high level of customizability.
Possibly one of the best features of the Tab S8 and Tab S8 Plus is the fact that Samsung has committed to four years of core software updates, as well as an extra year of security updates. This will keep both devices viable for noticeably longer than their predecessors, and it’s entirely conceivable that most people will get the itch to upgrade long before either device becomes obsolete.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 and Tab S8 Plus come with the S Pen out of the box, marking a departure from previous series, when only the more premium Plus model included the stylus. Needless to say, this is a very useful addition, and the pen makes both tablets more versatile as productivity devices.
Each Galaxy Tab also supports Samsung’s now familiar DeX mode, which basically gives you the layout of a desktop PC, including resizable windows and many of the same apps. Once again, it’s very welcome from a productivity standpoint, although you will need to invest in a keyboard and a mouse to make the most of it.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 starts from $699 for the 128GB model and bumps up to $779 for the 256GB version. It can be pre-ordered from Samsung and will be supported by AT&T and T-Mobile in the near future. It will almost certainly be stocked by most major electronics retailers.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Plus begins from $899 for the 128GB version and rises to $989 if you want double the internal memory. It can also be pre-ordered straight from Samsung and will be supported by the same carriers.
It’s a narrow victory, but the Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Plus is a better device overall than the standard Tab S8. Admittedly, the main difference is the display, but since many people like to watch films and TV on their tablets, the Plus’ larger Super AMOLED screen really does make a big difference. Otherwise, both tablets offer the same great performance, a sharp design, very reliable software, and some useful special features. Of course, there is a $200 price difference between the two Tabs, so if you’re not that bothered by having a more impressive display, you may want to save some money and go for the still-excellent Tab S8.
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