This past week, Samsung hosted its annual Unpacked 2020 event. The keynote took place exclusively online due to COVID-19, but that didn’t get in the way of a few pretty big announcements.
We got two new Note phones, a new foldable device, a pair of bean-shaped earbuds, and a new smartwatch. We also got the company’s latest attempt at an iPad Pro competitor in the form of the Galaxy Tab S7 and S7 Plus. Both tablets focus on including great specs for optimal performance while trying to deliver an experience that can compete with most laptops.
The Tab S7 has a 11-inch LTPS TFT 2560×1600 display while the Tab S7 Plus gets a 12.4-inch Super AMOLED 2800×1752 display. The former sticks with a standard 60Hz refresh rate, but the latter gets a 120Hz refresh rate which should greatly improve the overall smoothness of the device.
Under the hood, both tablets get a Snapdragon 865 processor, up to 8GB of RAM, and up to 512GB of storage. The Tab S7 has an 8,000mAh battery with 45W Super Fast Charging while the Tab S7 Plus has a 10,090mAh battery with the same charging speed. You also get quad stereo speakers, a microSD card slot, a fingerprint scanner (on the side of the S7 and in the screen of the S7 Plus), and dual rear cameras (one standard and one ultra-wide).
Most importantly, the new Tab S7s have 5G connectivity. Samsung is emphasizing this as one of the tablets’ biggest features, so if you’ve been looking for an always-connected tablet with 5G, these new options from Samsung might be what you’ve been waiting for.
Of course, you get an S Pen with both tablets which Samsung says is bigger and comes with a few new features. It magnetically attaches to both tablets on their backs. Another magnetic accessory: the new Book Cover Keyboard. It’s a separate purchase, unfortunately, but it adds that critical keyboard functionality a lot of people crave nowadays.
Rounding things off, the Tab S7s come in three colors (Mystic Black/Silver/Bronze) and ship with aluminum enclosures. Overall, these seem like some of the finest Android tablets you can buy.
So what’s holding them back?
In one word: Android.
Historically, Android hasn’t been great on tablets. Google never gained the market share necessary to convince developers that making a tablet-optimized version of their app was worth the effort. That’s led to a significant disadvantage compared to something like the iPad. Without proper app support, it’s hard to tell consumers that buying this tablet for this price is worth it.
Then there’s the fact Google has pretty much stopped caring about Android on tablets. The company itself pulled out of the business last year and now only focuses on helping its partners ship tablets with the OS onboard. It did so with Samsung to get the Tab S7s to market.
Mind you, with heavy customization, you can make Android on a tablet feel good. Samsung tends to do a pretty good job with its skin which includes enhanced multitasking utilities (like DeX), improved layouts for system apps like settings, and more. The layout of the Android operating system on a larger display is never really an issue nowadays.
But when you turn on an Android tablet and you try to start using its apps, you’ll immediately realize that it feels like less of a hassle to just use them on your phone. Android developers just don’t care about tablets anymore.
Here’s the icing on this depressing cake: Samsung wants you to use the Galaxy Tab S7 or S7 Plus as you would an iPad Pro. One of the only reasons the iPad is so successful is its vast library of optimized applications. Android doesn’t share that benefit. Unless you know precisely what apps you’re going to use and you’ve been using them for years, I just can’t see anyone actually buying an Android tablet to get work done.
I might be wrong and you might be screaming at your computer screen “Max, you just don’t get it! I LOVE my Android tablet!” If that’s the case, please reach out to me. I genuinely want to hear why you think that. I’ve never been able to convince myself to use an Android tablet full time, even if I’m just gonna use it to watch Hulu or something.
If you’re the type of guy/girl to use an Android tablet daily, you’ll want to keep in mind the Tab S7 will start at $649.99 and the Tab S7 Plus will start at $849.99. Both will go on sale this fall.
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