In 2022, Samsung released an extra-large tablet, the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra. This 14.6-inch power monster exceeded the size of the most compact computers at the time. With its hybrid design that combines a keyboard and an S Pen, Samsung's stylus, it was a bold proposal to compete with the PC market and, above all, to create a rival worthy of the name against Apple's iPad Per.
A year later, buoyed by the critical success of this supercharged Tab S8, the South Korean manufacturer is making another attempt by putting the Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra at the top of its tablet range.
Never change a winning team. This therefore adopts most of the features of its predecessor. Few adjustments are made and a more powerful processor, better photo sensors and better water resistance are used. The less good news is that the price has also been adjusted… upwards.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra © 01net
A price worthy of an iPad Pro
With the same configuration, the Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra is sold more expensively than the Tab S8 Ultra. A difference of €30 compared to the model with 12GB of RAM and 256GB of storage.
Note that, unlike its predecessor, the Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra is not available with 8GB of RAM. The same goes for the 128 GB of storage, which falls by the wayside. In fact, the starting price is higher: €1,349. And if we push all the sliders all the way, we get 1749 euros for 16 GB of RAM and 1 TB of storage space.
And for this price you only get the tablet, an S Pen and a USB-C cable. The power supply is optionally available, as are the covers. The ability to turn the Tab S9 Ultra into a PC – with a keyboard and touchpad – adds €399.90 to the bill!
A refinement of the design of the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra
If the Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra looks like an update of the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra, you can see it right down to the curves. Its design is very similar to the old version, we can even play the game of seven differences. However, this is not a defect, as the handling and lines of these tablets are successful.
It's extremely rewarding to hold a 14.6-inch screen in your hands for only 734 grams. Its weight is balanced and allows for comfortable handling, even in portrait format. Made of brushed aluminum, the Tab S9 Ultra's body exudes solidity, despite its enormous thickness of 5.6 mm, which is less than many smartphones!
If there was one criticism it would be the position of this pen. The magnetic charging port is on the back. Without a shell, it's difficult to put down without fear of it rolling away and coming loose.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra © 01net Brushed aluminum surface © 01net Naughty notch © 01net A beautiful finesse © 01net
Physically, the Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra and Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra have two differences:
- The Tab S9 Ultra is now IP68 certified. It is water and dust resistant and can be easily used in the bathtub or by the pool.
- The photo modules have been revised. While the S8 Ultra united them with the flash and the S-Pen charging port, the S9 Ultra separates all these elements for a more sober and elegant look.
A fingerprint sensor placed under the panel ensures security. We can associate facial recognition with this. The latter can be moody and requires you to keep your head straight in front of the screen.
Does the Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra replace a PC?
For the price of a good PC, the Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra can replace one of them thanks to the Galaxy Book Cover Keyboard, a case with an integrated keyboard and touchpad.
Apple already offers this type of use for its iPad Pros, which appeals to more and more professionals, particularly as a checkout tool like the ready-to-wear brand Sézanne. The Android counterpart therefore makes perfect sense.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra and its Galaxy Book Cover keyboard © 01net
We played the game by adopting the Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra as our only device for two weeks, Mac and PC were put in the closet.
Google Workspace provides us with all the software we need to work with Sheets and Docs. The mobile version of Lightroom is perfect for editing photos. The addition of the S-Pen (also IP68) and its significantly finer tip than that of an Apple Pencil is a real plus for precise work in this area.
The S Pen is very thin © 01net
And Samsung gets to the point with its Dex. This interface, activated in the settings, turns the tablet into a system similar to a PC or Mac. In addition, two modes coexist: the new one, reminiscent of macOS, and the classic one, which has a Windows-style menu bar. When you start Samsung Dex, applications no longer open in multitasking, but in a window, like on a classic computer. The user is free to move these anywhere on his “desktop”.
It has everything that makes a PC © 01net
In operation and with its additional keyboard, the Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra advantageously replaces a PC for those who do not have overly specific application requirements. We gain compactness and the hybrid format of this tablet is ideal for removing the tablet from the keyboard base to watch a movie or series on the beautiful Oled screen.
The only criticism is that it's complicated to use the tablet-keyboard combo without a stand. We are currently typing this test with the device on our knees and it is not very stable, which is due to the soft hinge of the Galaxy Book Cover keyboard. Additionally, when you place your wrists on the keyboard, it bends and the touchpad clicks…
A hinge that deserves to be less soft © 01net
A great screen, a little too bright
Samsung equips its Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra with a Dynamic AMOLED 2X panel. It is compatible with 120 Hz and displays a resolution of 2960 x 1848 pixels.
When delivered, the display is spacious, with bright colors, almost fluorescent. A feature that is often found on Samsung and appeals to consumers. Thus, the average DeltaE determined by our laboratory in standard mode is 5.72. It's too high. For higher colorimetric accuracy we switch to natural mode. There we drop to 2.70, a value sufficiently limited to deceive the human eye.
Great 14.6-inch OLED screen © 01net
The contrast is obviously infinite since we use Oled technology. Black people are really black too. The gray tones are also well done.
When it comes to the brightness of this Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra, we are more reserved. At 677 cd/m² it's not bad per se, but it's weighed down by the high reflectivity of the glossy glass that covers the screen. We would rather limit it to indoors.
Four speakers and honest sound
For the sound part we have four speakers, which are placed on both sides of the screen. The Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra is Dolby Atmos compatible. If the volume amplitude is good, the signature will change when you press the slider. Above 70% the bass breaks down so as not to overwhelm small speakers.
Nevertheless, we enjoyed watching films with the Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra, including the very good film “Gold and Blood” by Jalmari Helander, even if we usually wear earphones or headphones for better immersion.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra © 01net is equipped with four speakers
An anecdotal photo series
Although it is far from important on a tablet, Samsung has decided to develop its photography part.
We still have four sensors: two in the front and two in the back.
- 12 MP main sensor
- 12 MP ultra-wide-angle sensor (6 MP on S8 Ultra)
- 13 Mpx selfie sensor (12 Mpx on the S8 Ultra)
- 8MP ultra-wide-angle selfie sensor (12MP on S8 Ultra)
A double rear sensor, effective for a tablet© 01net
Overall, the photos are correct for this type of device. The main sensor offers beautiful rendering with vibrant colors, a Samsung hallmark. The photos are flattering. With the ultra wide-angle sensor, we lose details especially at the edges that are too blurry and the brightness decreases there. We also observe a gray haze over the entire photo, which is most problematic with this ultra wide angle.
Wide angle / ultra wide angle
Same observation in dim light. The main sensor performs better in terms of colorimetry and delivers a less noisy result. On the other hand, it tends to absorb too much light, even if it burns out some details, like card 7 of the Tarot in this photo.
Low light: wide angle / ultra wide angle
At the front, the 13-megapixel selfie sensor does a good job. The portrait mode leaves a lot to be desired and sometimes severely distorts the subject. As for the ultra-wide-angle sensor, it is wiser to limit it to video conferencing. The display is too uneven and too dark.
Despite a mixed photo review, it's important to remember that this is a tablet and not a camera phone. We will therefore not be as demanding as with a smartphone. The Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra can be very useful if you only have it on hand, have time to record a scene, but still prefer its main sensors.
The most powerful Android tablet
The Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra is equipped with a Snapdragon 8 Gen 2. While we wait for the first smartphones to release the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3, like the Xiaomi 14 and OnePlus 12, this 2023 processor remains the most powerful on the market. And as if that wasn't enough, Qualcomm is supplying Samsung with a “for Galaxy” version designed specifically for the brand's high-end devices.
This Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra is very well equipped in this area. To support we find 12 or 16 GB of RAM. Our test model has 12 GB.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra © 01net
The benchmarks do not disappoint the hopes we had for them. It clearly dominates the entire market. It is more efficient than all current tablets. Only an iPad Pro 12.9″ 2022 in M2 defends itself against this in certain points.
And this power monster is not just limited to theory. In this situation we were able to submit it to Genshin Impact, which remains a reference among the most demanding mobile games today. Pushing all the graphics options sliders all the way makes the gacha run beautifully at 60 frames per second. There is no sense of slowdown.
But after a 30-minute session, the Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra really turns up the heat. And since it's not very thick, the heat is noticeable. Fortunately, the heating point is located in the charging area of the pen, an area that is rarely touched. During use the temperature rises to 41.2°C.
Powerful and autonomous
With 14.6 inches, Samsung had space to install a large battery. So we're entitled to 11,200 mAh to power the beast. It took no less, as it lasted 12 hours in video streaming and 13:30 hours in multi-purpose use (gaming, video, navigation). And that means it comes very close to the excellent battery performance of the 12.9-inch iPad Pro from 2022, which lasts 14 hours with mixed use.
A port that loads in both directions © 01net
As soon as the battery is exhausted, it slowly charges to the first percent, a classic. It takes an hour to reach 50% and 2 hours and 30 minutes to reach 100%. This load can be optimized by not falling below 10%. Note that the fast charger or any other charger is not included with the Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra. Its USB-C port supports reverse charging. Practical for adding more fun to your smartphone or headphones.
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