The newest Galaxy tablet has arrived and it is enormous! One of the largest slates available, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra features the best that Samsung has to offer in terms of design, screen, hardware, and pen input in 2023
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra is one of three tablets (S9, S9+, and S9 Ultra) that vary in size and camera count. They all have OLED panels, cutting-edge electronics, aluminium unibodies, and S-Pens included.
As a result, the Tab S9 Ultra has a 14.6-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X screen and is powered by the most powerful Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 CPU for Galaxy. It’s encased in a traditional aluminium unibody that’s IP68-rated for dust and water protection.
Among the Tab S9 generation, this tablet features the most cameras. At the back, it has a 13MP primary camera and an 8MP ultrawide camera. The front camera has a 12MP standard and a 12MP ultrawide image. The latter is to blame for the contentious screen notch.
With four loudspeakers, a big 11,200 mAh battery, a 5G connection, a microSD expansion slot, and a UD fingerprint scanner, the specs list is well-rounded. There’s also an IP68-rated S-Pen included, which recharges magnetically on the rear of the tablet. The Tab S9 Ultra is powered by Android 13, One UI 5.1, and DeX.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra specs:
- Body: 326.4×208.6×5.5mm, 732g; Glass front, aluminium frame, aluminium back; IP68 dust/water resistant (up to 1.5m for 30 min), Stylus, 2.8ms latency (Bluetooth integration, accelerometer, gyro).
- Display: 14.60″ Dynamic AMOLED 2X, 120Hz, HDR10+, 1848x2960px resolution, 14.42:9 aspect ratio, 239ppi.
- Chipset: Qualcomm SM8550-AB Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 (4 nm): Octa-core (1×3.36 GHz Cortex-X3 & 2×2.8 GHz Cortex-A715 & 2×2.8 GHz Cortex-A710 & 3×2.0 GHz Cortex-A510); Adreno 740.
- Memory: 256GB 12GB RAM, 512GB 12GB RAM, 1TB 16GB RAM; UFS; microSDXC (dedicated slot).
- OS/Software: Android 13, One UI 5.1.
- Rear camera: Wide (main): 13 MP, f/2.0, 26mm, 1/3.4″, 1.0µm, AF; Ultra wide angle: 8 MP, f/2.2.
- Front camera: Wide (main): 12 MP, f/2.2, 26mm; Ultra wide angle: 12 MP, f/2.4, 120˚.
- Video capture: Rear camera: 4K@30fps, 1080p@30fps; Front camera: 4K@30fps, 1080p@30fps.
- Battery: 11200mAh; 45W wired.
- Connectivity: 5G; Wi-Fi 6e; BT 5.3, dual-SIM (nanoSIM, eSIM).
- Misc: Fingerprint reader (under the display, optical); stereo speakers (4 speakers); Wireless Samsung DeX.
We believe the Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra has everything a modern tablet should have. In fact, it could have saved us a camera or two and we would still have stated the same thing.
Unboxing of Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra
The Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra retail box is so tiny for a reason: it contains only the 5.5mm tablet, an S-Pen, and a USB-C connector. Nothing else is in the box.
If you wish to use the Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra’s 45W fast charging, you’ll need to buy either a Samsung or a third-party USB-PD/PPS fast charger.
The Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra is a huge tablet, to be sure, but it’s also slender and well-balanced. Understandably, there is little room for experimentation in tablet design, so Samsung has been sticking to the basics for a while, and we believe it has discovered a truly timeless classic that it can safely employ for decades to come.
The aluminium unibody of the Tab S9 Ultra has rounded corners and flat sides. The massive 14.6-inch AMOLED is protected by a Gorilla Glass sheet, and everything else is metal with a matte finish.
The unibody’s frame is likewise flat and exceedingly thin – it’s only 5.5mm thick! Its somewhat sharp edges aid in a pleasant and stable hold regardless of the tablet’s orientation.
The Tab S9 Ultra is IP68-rated for dust and water protection, which is unusual for a tablet but always useful. You can work, read, browse, game, watch or listen to multimedia while relaxing in the tub or by the pool.
The S-Pen that comes with the tablet has a special charging bed on the back with powerful magnets to keep it in place. The Pen can also be stuck to any of the long sides, but it cannot charge there.
By the way, Samsung has enhanced the S-Pen, making it dust and water-resistant to IP68 standards. It is an active one with low latency input (2.8ms).
And now for a quick walkthrough of the Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra.
The 14.6-inch AMOLED panel on the front offers a high resolution, 120Hz refresh rate, and HDR10+ support. It has a slight notch on one of its longer sides, unlike the other Tab S9 versions. Here are the two front-facing 12MP cameras, each with a wide- and ultrawide-angle lens. We can argue that it was completely unneeded, but that is what it is.
If you hold the tablet in portrait mode, there is also an under-display fingerprint scanner near the bottom, near the USB-C connector. Nowadays, most tablets lack a fingerprint scanner.
Two speakers are located on each of the Tab S9 Ultra’s short sides. Also, one of the short sides contains a USB-C port, while the other features a microphone.
The power/lock button, volume control, SIM and microSD slot, and two microphones are located on the long side that serves as a top when the Tab S9 Ultra is in landscape mode.
Keeping this in mind, the keyboard dock connector is located at the bottom / opposite long side.
Remember that the S-Pen is held in place by concealed magnets on both long sides.
Finally, the rear is flat, with a visible space for the charging bed of the S-Pen. The two rear cameras are surrounded by protruding metal rings. A single LED flash is also present.
The Ultra offers 5G connectivity, among other things, and its antenna is clearly visible around its body.
Without a doubt, the Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra is a big gadget. It’s terrific for watching movies and browsing, and it also works well with a wireless keyboard. Even with two hands, it is difficult to hold and use, but if you must have that size, you will gradually grow used to it, as we did after a few days.
The 14.6-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X display on the Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra features a resolution of 2,960 x 1,848 pixels and a 239 ppi density. It supports HDR10+ streaming and a dynamic 120Hz refresh rate.
The panel features a tiny notch, which is unusual for a tablet and is also contentious.
Although the specific revision is unknown, a piece of Gorilla Glass handles the display protection.
Although the screen does support a broad colour gamut, there is only a default 16.7 million colours available because there is no 10-bit colour depth. Since Samsung hasn’t yet introduced a 1B display, we didn’t anticipate it would do so with this tablet.
Let’s start with the dimensions of our display.
Vision Booster, a feature exclusive to this series of tablets, enhances text, images, and other materials in bright light. The screen brightness is increased, the contrast is improved, and the maximum brightness is up to 1,750 nits.
When we manually adjusted the brightness using the slider, we observed a maximum brightness of 353 nits. In Auto mode, the screen can reach a maximum brightness of 642nits in bright lighting. These are respectable figures for a tablet. We do believe it will go down because the screen gets brighter when the white surface gets smaller.
The Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra has two colour settings: Natural (standard colour, sRGB) and Vivid (wide colour, DCI-P3). The accuracy of both models is consistently high.
Although the Vivid option has a somewhat lower colour temperature than the Natural one, you may adjust it using a separate slider to get comparable effects.
If RGB saturation is your thing, you may also adjust it to your desire.
Adaptive and Standard are the two Motion Smoothness settings available on the Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra. The Adaptive model shifts between modes automatically and can operate at up to 120Hz, but the Standard model only operates at up to 60Hz to preserve battery life.
The screen supports three set steps—30Hz, 60Hz, and 120Hz—according to the device hardware scanning applications.
When utilising the adaptive mode, we saw that the UI, all compatible applications, and many games (except from those restricted to 60fps) used 120Hz on the screen. The programme often lowers down to 30Hz when the image is motionless.
Adaptive video streaming and playback are also used, depending on the video content. Videos at 24 and 30 frames per second and higher use a 60 hertz refresh rate, respectively.
The refresh rate operates similarly in Adaptive mode while using the Standard mode, but with a limit of 60Hz. It utilises 30Hz, thus when appropriate.
Streaming and HDR
All well-known streaming applications are compatible with HDR10+, which is supported by the Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra displays. And they can all stream 1080p HDR10 material without any trouble owing to Widevine L1 support.
A large 11,200mAh battery powers the Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra. It allows for 45W quick charging.
On our web browsing test, the Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra recorded 7 hours and 45 minutes, which is a respectable result for a tablet. Given the huge OLED screen that requires lighting up, the bright backgrounds of many of our pages have a considerable negative impact on test results.
When viewing looping films in full-screen mode, the Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra lasted 10 hours and 28 minutes until the battery level fell to 10%.
Since standby battery consumption is taken into consideration in our calculation for phones, we do not compute ratings for tablet endurance. We concentrate on the active screen-on testing rather than using the same technique for tablets with their bigger batteries because their sleep power use is negligible.
Up to 45W of rapid charging are supported by the Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra. The tablet does not come with an adapter. For our test, we utilised a Samsung 45W PD+PPS charger.
The empty 11,200mAh battery was recharged by the 45W adaptor to 17% in 15 minutes and up to 32% in 30 minutes. It took 2 hours and 8 minutes to charge fully.
The battery settings offer choices to activate or disable quick cable charging as well as Power Saving mode and Adaptive Battery, which automatically puts some apps to sleep. In order to extend the battery’s maximum lifespan, the Protect Battery option restricts the battery’s maximum charge to 85%.
The four Dolby Atmos-compatible speakers on the Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra are pretty loud.
Our test for loudness resulted in an Excellent score for the slate. The Tab S9 Ultra not only has remarkable volume, but also excellent audio quality, with a full range of tones from the lows to the highs.
We conducted the test with Dolby Atmos activated. When we tested it again without Dolby Atmos, we discovered that the speakers sound very similar but a little quieter.
At launch, the Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra runs Android 13 and One UI 5.1. You may quickly switch between tablet and DeX modes at any moment thanks to the interface’s support for both.
The S9 Ultra’s tablet view is the default setting. This is the mode in which you will operate the tablet unless you actively switch to desktop (DeX) mode. The interface and icon scaling, the appearance and functionality of the homescreen, and the multitasking process are a few of the key changes between tablet and desktop views.
Therefore, the One UI tablet view is essentially a larger version of the One UI that we have all seen on the newest Galaxy smartphones. Let’s look at it.
The UI’s fundamentals are the same as they are on any other Samsung device running One UI 5. You may add widgets, widget folders, and apps to the homescreen pages. There is also an app drawer. The Google Feed may be seen on the leftmost page. The notice area is also well-known, although it’s larger than typical. The dock from One UI 5 is a brand-new feature that displays favourite and open apps. Using the gesture line (touch and hold), you may conceal and expose it.
The Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra has two types of biometric security: fingerprint authentication and face recognition. Although at first, we found the slate’s optical under-screen fingerprint reader to be a weird feature, we must say that we have come to appreciate it. Insofar as these sensors are concerned, it is incredibly quick and precise. A more simple (though perhaps less secure) way to reach your home screen will also be provided via face recognition.
The Task Switcher is used in tablet mode to multitask, the same as on contemporary Galaxy smartphones. Simply press an app icon while in the task switcher to switch between Split Screen view and Pop-Up view. Although not all apps can support pop-up mode, the majority can.
The Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra has edge panels, allowing you to rapidly open a variety of apps in any mode, including split-screen and pop-up.
Before we end this section, just a quick reminder that everything on the Tab S9 Ultra is optimised for landscape view and will function just as well. This includes the home screens, configuration menus, and all the loaded applications. We have used the Tab S9 Ultra mostly in portrait mode.
The Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra’s DeX mode, which should not be confused with the wifi DeX option, has a desktop-oriented user interface. The Notification Centre or Settings are where you may activate the DeX view. Your Android OS will change from tablet to desktop-friendly mode and the Samsung logo will show up.
And it truly is as the name implies. The Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra only has a desktop that looks like Windows in landscape mode, where you may install programs. With the toggles now in the bottom right corner, the Notification Centre is simple to access with your right hand.
The taskbar, which is located at the bottom, contains all of the open applications. Your apps won’t shut down or lose your progress while switching from tablet to DeX or vice versa. If you prefer not to have the taskbar constantly displayed, you may select to have it auto-hide.
The taskbar has the apps that are open right now in the middle, the status bar (and notification centre) on the left, and the app drawer and navigation shortcuts on the right. Here, you may also obtain shortcuts for volume and screenshots.
The DeX view has right-click capabilities everywhere, including the taskbar, desktop, and system programs. Naturally, a mouse or the customary touch-and-hold method may also be used to activate it.
All programmes open in window mode when you are in DeX mode, and the recognisable trio of __ will be at the top. The majority of programme windows in DeX mode support native full screen, but even in those cases, the One UI will let you know and the app will still maximise effectively in full screen; it might simply need to be refreshed. We had no problems with the full-screen option in any app, whether it was optimised (did not require a refresh) or incompatible (did require a reload).
Like on Windows and macOS, several windows may be stacked on top of one another. Similar to Windows, you can also snap windows in Split View.
The Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra offers wireless DeX mode, so connecting to a Smart TV screen or projector no longer needs the DeX dock. Screen Mirroring has to be supported by the device in question. Your results may vary because not all TVs enable Screen Mirroring, but as a general rule, you should be right with a Samsung or LG HDTV and less so with an AndroidTV.
Once your tablet is connected to a TV or monitor, you may keep using it in Table View with the DeX view on your TV functioning completely independently. You could converse on the tablet while navigating slides on the TV with the S-Pen, for instance. Neat!
Additionally, you can use the tablet to control your TV and act as a touchpad (and keyboard, if necessary) without bringing any additional peripherals.
Last but not least, if you own a Samsung PC, you can connect the tablet to your computer wirelessly and use it as a second monitor or drawing pad. Additionally, you may drag and drop files across your Samsung devices using the Samsung Flow app.
It is simple to use if you are familiar with the S Pen from earlier Galaxy Notes. Every time a new gadget is released, a few additional features are included. The new Air Actions immediately come to mind. Additionally, certain programs enable low latency.
The always-visible S-Pen shortcut is highlighted while tinkering with the screen with the S-Pen. When tapped, it will display the battery level and offer a few fast options, including Translate and the options to Create Note, View All Notes, Smart Select, and Screen Write. You may either add or delete shortcuts like Write on Calendar, Magnify, Glance, and others.
You may also use the S-Pen’s Air Actions to operate the tablet while holding it at a distance.
The Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy, which was once exclusive to Samsung and features an overclocked CPU and GPU, powers the Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra. Recently, a few other manufacturers have been allowed to purchase this chip.
One 3.36 GHz Cortex-X3 prime core, two 2.8 GHz Cortex-A715 powerful processors, two 2.8 GHz Cortex-A710 medium processors, and three 2.0 GHz Cortex-A510 power-saving processors are all included in this chipset. The fastest component in comparison to the standard chipset is the primary Cortex-X3 core, which operates at 3.2GHz.
The Adreno 740 GPU runs at 719MHz in the Galaxy phones as opposed to 680MHz in devices using the standard Snapdragon 8 Gen 2.
The Tab S9 Ultra features UFS 4.0 storage chips and 12GB or 16GB LPDDR5X RAM. Three storage capacities are offered: 256GB (ours), 512GB, and 1TB.
Finally, let’s look at the results of the stress tests.
The Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra received an outstanding score of 87% for CPU stability. Then it reported 60% GPU stability, which isn’t fantastic, but no game would use its GPU to its full potential for so long.
Overall, the Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra offers the greatest hardware on the market for the mass market, and its temperature stability is reasonable. The performance is excellent; we never encountered a game that caused the device to become heated enough to throttle, which is a good thing.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra is an unusual tablet. It has two cameras on the rear and two more on the front, hidden behind a notch.
The rear cameras are standard fare: a 13MP primary with a 23mm f/2.0 lens and autofocus, and an 8MP ultrawide with a 13mm f/2.2 lens and fixed focus at infinity.
The front-facing cameras have two 12MP sensors. The first has a 25mm f/2.2 lens, while the second has an ultrawide-angle 15mm f/2.4 lens. Both cameras have a fixed focus.
The 13MP Hynix Hi-1337 sensor with 1.0m pixels powers the 13MP rear and two ostensibly 12MP front cameras. The rear 8MP ultrawide camera is powered by an 8MP Hynix Hi-847 sensor.
The camera app is the same as it is on any other Samsung device. It contains Auto HDR and Scene Optimizer, a Night Mode for the main camera, and a Pro mode, however, the latter does not have a shutter speed choice. Portrait mode is also available on the primary and regular front cameras.
The 13MP regular camera on the Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra’s rear captures outstanding daylight images with a lot of fine detail, good sharpness, a wide dynamic range, and vivid colours. The loudness is acceptable, and the contrast is appealing.
The 8MP ultrawide camera has a significantly broader field of vision. The detail is sufficient, the dynamic range is once again broad, and the colours are less saturated and more true to life.
The primary camera captures good low-light photographs that are detailed, crisp, and have a wide dynamic range. The colours are accurate. The Night Mode increases the dynamic range, and produces more rich colours, but decreases the contrast. We’re not sure if we like these better than the normal ones.
The 8MP ultrawide cam photos are adequate at night, although we doubt anyone would utilise them. There is no Night Mode in this game.
The images taken with the basic front camera are fantastic – the subject is well-exposed, very detailed, and devoid of noise. The colours are correct and the dynamic range is good
Except for the back ultrawide camera, all can record 4K videos at 30 frames per second. The 8MP UW rear camera has a maximum resolution of 1080p @ 30fps.
Electronic stabilisation is available for the back camera at all resolutions, but only at 1080p@30fps for the front cameras. When activated, the stabilisation does an outstanding job with little impact on video quality and only a small loss of FoV.
The largest and most powerful Android tablet available right now is the Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra. It makes use of all the current capabilities that Samsung has for tablets and does it well. The Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy performs admirably under strain, the AMOLED screen is stunning, and the Vision enhancer is a wonderful feature.
An IP68-rated tablet with an exceptionally thin metal unibody is the Tab S9 Ultra. Its included S-Pen, an active pen with low latency input, is also water-resistant and of the highest quality. We are grateful that it is in the retail packaging.
We can argue that having so many cameras was a pointless marketing ploy, and we think that customers who wanted it for its size would have bought it either way. But perhaps Samsung was wiser.
The most recent Galaxy Tab S9 tablet is unmatched by any Android device. They currently represent the most potent, luxurious, and diverse offers on their market.
Of course, the iPad Pro models pose the greatest threat to the Galaxies. But what distinguishes the Tab S9 Ultra from the iPad?
DeX! While Apple consumers must go through several hoops and loops in order for their iPad to mimic a desktop, Samsung merely needs a compatible mouse and keyboard. It’s really that simple.
And perhaps this is the most significant distinction between the iPads and the Galaxies: the first was never planned or developed as a laptop replacement, but rather as a niche product in its own right, whereas the Galaxy was made for both. And the Tab S9 Ultra excels at both.
Another significant difference between the iPad and the Galaxy is the inclusion of the S-Pen. While Apple will cheerfully charge you for the smallest hint of an accessory, the pen is included here. And it’s of excellent variety, with the capacitor and wireless connectivity.
Overall, if you’re looking for a powerful and versatile tablet right now, the Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra, which starts at around €1,100 for the 256GB Wi-Fi edition, is a wonderful alternative. It can nearly always replace your laptop, which should be sufficient for most users. However, its excellent all-around hardware and software features would undoubtedly seal the decision.
Pro’s & Con’s
- Bright, HDR10+ Dynamic AMOLED display.
- The market’s fastest chip, with excellent stability.
- The four speakers provide excellent loudness and sound quality.
- 5G connectivity, a microSD slot, and a UD fingerprint scanner are all included.
- The active S-Pen is fantastic, including low-latency mode and remote control via Air Actions.
- One UI 5.1 in tablet and desktop modes is fantastic for both entertainment and work.
- Wireless DeX mode is pretty effective.
- There is no audio jack.
- There is no charger in the box.
- That notch in the screen was superfluous.