While Samsung's Galaxy Tab S7 and Tab S7+ may be the company's most competitive tablets to date, they also raise questions about what the company might be cooking up for its next-generation slates.
While we haven't yet heard of an official name, it looks as though we're to expect three models, called the Samsung Galaxy Tab S8, Tab S8+ and – in a first for the line – the Tab S8 Ultra. Here's what we know so far.
When will the Samsung Galaxy Tab S8/S8+/S8 Ultra launch?
Using previous members of Samsung's Galaxy Tab S line as a guide is a tricky tightrope to walk, partly as a result of the more recent return to a multi-device strategy and partly because of how Samsung has viewed the Galaxy Tab S line and its purpose over the years.
Previous entries in the Tab S line have launched as early as March and as late as September, with 2020's Tab S7 and Tab S7+ making their debut in August; arriving as part of one of the company's own-brand 'Unpacked' events, alongside other productivity-focused devices, like the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra.
And while this seems like a logical strategy to continue, signs are now pointing to a 2022 launch for the Tab S8 family.
A leak from user 'Lanzuk', on South Korean social network Naver in early July 2021 first suggested that Samsung might be holding off releasing the Tab S8 line until next year.
Translated from Korean, Lanzuk's post claimed that Samsung would be moving the Tab S8 series' launch to early 2022, as more models (namely the 'Ultra' variant) were still en route to production. It's thought that the ongoing chip shortages being experienced by numerous OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) might have something to do with this latest delay.
Tab S8 + will be released with S22. SM8450, One UI 4.0，10090mAh battery. But this is not the best. There is “Ultra”. I won't say it first. Let's wait and see.— Ice universe (@UniverseIce) July 27, 2021
In a series of tweets posted in late July, tipster IceUniverse proclaimed that the Tab S8 series would be launching alongside Samsung's Galaxy S22 series smartphones – the anticipated successors to 2021's Galaxy S21 line, expected to arrive between January and March next year.
Prior to these revelations, it was thought that Samsung would showcase its new Galaxy Tab line at this Summer's Galaxy Unpacked event, however, the event instead yielded the Galaxy Z Flip 3 and Z Fold 3 foldables, alongside the Galaxy Watch 4 Series and Galaxy Buds 2.
How much will the Samsung Galaxy Tab S8/S8+/S8 Ultra cost?
In a monster leak that emerged at the end of May 2021, hosted in a since-deleted tweet (at the request of the source) by tipster FrontTron, it looks as though we can expect three devices in the line, rather than 2020's pair of Tab S7 entries.
While their names aren't yet official (the leak used codenames 'Basquiat 1', '2' and '3'), it looks as though Samsung has a Tab S8, Tab S8+ and Tab S8 Ultra to unleash upon the market; with the report including Korean pricing, split across three SKUs for each model: WiFi-only, 4G LTE and 5G (with approximate pricing directly converted to regional pricing in parentheses next to each value).
The base WiFi-only Tab S8 is listed at KRW₩829,000 (£530/€610/US$750), while the LTE version starts at ₩929,000 (£590/€685/US$840) and the 5G variant costs from ₩1,029,000 (£655/€780/US$930).
Then there's the larger Tab S8+ which starts at ₩1,149,00 (£730/€850/US$1,040), the LTE version is priced at ₩1,249,000 (£795/€920/US$1,130) and the addition of 5G raises the starting price to ₩1,349,000 (£860/€1,000/US$1,220).
Last but not least is the sizeable Tab S8 Ultra, which costs from ₩1,469,000 (£940/€1,085/US$1,325), ₩1,569,000 (£1,000/€1,160/US$1,415) and ₩1,669,000 (£1,065/€1,230/US$1,510) for the WiFi, LTE and 5G flavours, respectively.
Like its smartphones, the 'S' line of Samsung's Galaxy Tab family has always served as the flagship, the premium, the most feature-rich of its slate offerings and as a result, the one with the most demanding price tag.
Also, like its smartphones (and the wider market as a whole), the asking price for Tab S slates has been creeping up each year too, with notable spikes driven by leaps in networking technology - such as 5G.
In the UK, 2017's Galaxy Tab S3 and 2018's Tab S4 both cost £600, the Tab S6 pushed the price to £619, which is the starting mark for the current WiFi-only Tab S7, while adding 4G costs £100 more and adding 5G costs £200 more (using the Tab S7+ as a guide). Based on the leaked Korean pricing, Samsung isn't placing as large a premium on the cellular models, with smaller price hikes between variants.
What features could the Samsung Galaxy Tab S8/S8+/S8 Ultra offer?
Samsung doesn't readily push either Tab S7 as a laptop replacement to the same degree as Apple does its iPads or Microsoft its Surface 2-in-1s, however, they're still some of the most capable slates out there, especially in the Android camp; which is sorely lacking in decent competition.
While some details remain a mystery, the table of leaked specs, initially shared by FrontTron, confirms returning features like quad speakers, S Pen support and 45W fast charging across the range.
Tab S8+ SM-X806x 10090mAh— Ice universe (@UniverseIce) July 27, 2021
Tab S8 Ultra SM-X906x 11500mAh
The Tab S8 is said to centre around a 120Hz 11in LTPS TFT display, while the Tab S8+ and Ultra will benefit from 120Hz AMOLED panels, instead; with the Plus measuring in at 12.4in and the Ultra an expansive 14.6in.
There's also mention of a dedicated keyboard accessory for each model, priced at ₩198,000 (£125/€145/US$180), ₩220,000 (£140/€160/US$200) and ₩320,000 (£205/€235/US$290), respectively. The notable price hike of the Ultra's keyboard dock relates to an apparent versatility not afforded to the other two Tab S8 entries.
Samsung's One UI user experience already handles features like multi-window Android interaction fairly well but better app support is really the key to getting the most out of the tailored hardware and software the Tab S8 line will have on offer. As such, it's Samsung's responsibility to work with third parties to bring better app support for its features and to its devices, such as its low latency S Pen, come Tab S8 launch time.
All three Tabs reportedly feature a dual 13Mp + 5Mp rear camera setup, while the Tab S8 Ultra's front 8Mp snapper is accompanied by a secondary 5Mp ultrawide, which is shown in home fitness and video conferencing use cases.
RAM and storage across the small and medium-sized slates is comparable, while the Ultra also benefits from the option of a 12GB RAM/512GB SKU not afforded to the base or Plus models.
More storage was just one of the features we'd hoped to see in this next Galaxy Tab S line, so we're crossing our fingers that these specs hold water when these devices do eventually launch.
One important detail that's easy to miss in Ice Universe's July tweet (but doesn't feature in the initial FrontTron leak at all) is the silicon on which these tablets will likely be running. In that initial post, Ice Universe makes mention of the 'SM8450' – the expected successor to Qualcomm's current Snapdragon 888 line of flagship chips.
All Snapdragon 898, Not Exynos2200 https://t.co/0mnJ95hNvT— Ice universe (@UniverseIce) August 19, 2021
Adding fuel to this particular fire, they then posted again in mid-August clarifying that, for whatever reason, there's little chance of the Tab S8 family resorting to Samsung's own expected 2022 flagship mobile SoC – the Exynos 2200 – and instead will come powered by the Snapdragon 898 (which could also potentially launch as the Snapdragon 895, the name is unconfirmed at this stage).
This next-gen Qualcomm chip isn't expected to be unveiled until December 2021 or January 2022 at the earliest, by which point, we'll no doubt have learnt even more about the Galaxy Tab S8 line.
Contrary to the above leak, however, FrontTron picked up a post shared to South Korean message board Clién in September that suggests that at least the Tab S8 Ultra will run on an Exynos 2200, while the Snapdragon 895/898 will power the Plus model (there was no mention of the standard model's silicon in the post).
Release schedule will not be a big difference with the S22 Series.— Tron ❂ (@FrontTron) September 6, 2021
As the previous rumors indicated, Tab S8+ model will be equipped with Snapdragon 898 in both Wi-Fi and LTE models.
The post also references the Tab S8's potential arrival with or near that of the company's Galaxy S22 smartphones sometime in early 2022, just as Ice Universe claimed back in July 2021.
If you can't wait until the Tab S8 line's arrival, here's everything you need to know about the new Galaxy Tab S7 FE.
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