[Review] Good But Not "Fan Edition" Powered: The Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 FE
Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 FE
+ Outstanding battery life
- Slow charging speed
+ Great speakers
- Only 60 Hz refresh rate
+ Gorgeous big display
- No fingerprint sensor
+ S Pen included
+ Expandable storage
The Galaxy Tab S7 FE is Samsung's latest mid-ranged tablet, featuring the most impressive features of the S7 series at a lower price point but with a less powerful chipset to run the device.
Let's dive in to see how it's performing compared to its flagship siblings!
At first glance, it looks like the Galaxy Tab S7+ as both share the same huge 12.4" display. Taking it out of the box, I'm a little surprised that it only measures 6.3 mm of thickness as I expect it wouldn't be light upon seeing how huge its size is. As expected, it's not a lightweight device, weighing at 610 g, but I think it's normal for a tablet of this size.
Well, you might be taken aback by its weight and hesitate if it's convenient to bring it around. To be honest, with its size, it's only natural if you use two hands to handle it but it's not as heavy as you'd expect. Its slim design and brushed aluminum body give the tablet a completely solid and premium look.
We received the Mystic Black version of the device, which looks pleasantly professional. There's also the Mystic Silver one that can fit into any professional workplace. If you prefer a more fun colour, there's also Mystic Pink.
In portrait orientation, you'll find a speaker grille and a microphone on top. The left side has magnetic pins for the book cover keyboard. On the right, where it's the most crowded, we have the power button and volume rocker next to each other, along with a second microphone at the middle as well as a SIM tray at the bottom right. Finally, the USB-C charging port and another speaker grille are located at the bottom. Sadly, the 3.5 mm headphone jack is missing on this device.
Samsung probably designs this tablet with working professionals in mind, the selfie camera is placed in the middle when you hold it horizontally. It's most likely meant for video calls and Zoom meetings so that you can stay at the center of the frame and look just nice during the virtual calls. This also means taking selfies would be awkward as you'll have to look at the center of the screen instead of the usual top placement. You'll face the same problem if you try to unlock the tablet with Face ID when you hold it vertically. I've tried many times and I still feel awkward especially when taking selfies.
Besides the single rear camera, the antennae lines are clearly visible on the back too. You will also find a third speaker just right below the camera. Samsung definitely makes sure that you can listen to and speak clearly during your Zoom meetings. There's a magnetic holder for the S Pen next to the camera, which is not visible but if you place the S Pen near it, the stylus will stick nicely into place. Another hidden magnetic holder is located on the placement of the second microphone and SIM tray.
As it's called the "Fan Edition", I'd expect a pretty AMOLED panel but apparently, Samsung has the LCD panel in mind, protected by Gorilla Glass 3. Thanks to the QHD resolution, the screen is still quite sharp and the colours are crispy.
The bezels are uniform on four sides although they are rather thick, in my opinion. For security protection, you will only get the normal options like pin, pattern, password, and Face ID. You won't find a fingerprint sensor for higher security on this device.
I'm more disappointed that this unit has lost the 120 Hz refresh rate found on the Galaxy Tab S7 series, and got only a standard 60 Hz refresh rate instead. I would even appreciate it if Samsung gives it a 90 Hz.
The unit we receive is powered by the Snapdragon 750G processor, along with 6 GB of RAM and 128 GB of storage. Storage is expandable up to 1 TB via the MicroSD card. It does well enough when I'm browsing websites and social media. I decided to give the device a try on Genshin Impact and as expected, it can still manage on low graphical settings but that's only about it. Don't expect to try anything further than that.
Audio is outstanding on this device as the speakers are tuned by AKG and support Dolby Atmos. While there are only two speakers, they are really loud and can fill a medium-sized room. And since they are placed symmetrically on the shorter sides, you will be able to enjoy a balanced audio experience regardless of the orientation you're holding the device.
I am very pleased with the 10,090 mAh battery which can last me all day of website browsing, social media, a few hours of Netflix watching, and a couple of hours of gaming. Unfortunately, charging it up gets excruciatingly slow with the bundled 15 W charger, which tops up from 9% - 61% in 101 minutes.
While the 8 MP rear camera and 5 MP selfie camera are basic, they are good when you're in need of one to snap if you don't have your phone around with you.
One UI and Samsung DeX
The tablet runs on One UI 3.1 at launch, which is based on Android 11. If you're a multi-tasker, you will love the split-screen view and pop-up view. While not all apps support the pop-up view, most can handle the split-screen view. You can have up to 3 apps running at the same time on both view modes. The split-screen mode allows you to divide the screen for up to three windows, while the pop-up mode works like a floating window. It can even work when you're in split-screen mode, which means you can have a floating window that can move around the screen with the other two apps running in the background.
One of the key features of this tablet is the Samsung DeX mode, which brings a desktop interface like Windows and macOS to its mobile operating system. It can be launched easily from the settings or the Notification Center. When enabled, the interface will look like a Windows-like desktop interface where you place your apps. In this mode, you'll see a familiar taskbar that houses the app drawer, navigation shortcuts, active apps, notification center, status bar, as well as volume and screenshot shortcuts.
Additionally, the device also supports wireless DeX mode so you can easily pair it with a compatible smart TV. Once connected, you'll be able to turn your tablet into a trackpad to control what's on your TV screen. If your TV cannot connect wirelessly, you can also run the software by connecting the two devices with an HDMI cable.
The Samsung DeX mode is definitely convenient for those who want to turn the device into a laptop to work more comfortably.
Included in the box is an S Pen stylus for taking notes, drawing, and also navigating the interface without smudging the large screen. Since it's a standard S Pen, you won't be getting Bluetooth connectivity for remote apps control nor any air gestures. It also has low-latency support in selected apps. Regardless, it's still comfortable to use and handy for those who need to scribble or take notes quickly.
Samsung has pre-installed some user-friendly apps that you will need to use the S Pen, such as Live Messages, AR Doodle, and PENUP. It also comes in handy for Samsung's Notes app as well as Screen Write. You'll also get third-party apps, including Clip Studio Paint, Canva, and Noteshelf pre-installed for enhanced drawing and writing experience. Purchasing this tablet will give you access to a 6-month free trial for Clip Studio Paint and a 30-days free trial for Canva Pro.
Buy or no buy?
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 FE is a good tablet while missing out on premium perks like an OLED display and a higher refresh rate. Despite its drawbacks, it comes with a huge screen, impressive sound quality, great battery life, and the included S Pen experience. If you're looking for a laptop replacement solution for basic work productivity, this tablet will fulfill your needs.
At RM2,199, you can get a free Book Cover and a Smart Keyboard Trio 500 if you buy this unit by 31 October. If you only need to do some very basic work, you can get the 4 GB + 64 GB variant at RM1,899. You'll also get a free Book Cover if you purchase it within the aforementioned period.
So, what do you think of the Galaxy Tab S7 FE? Does any of its pros sound interesting to you to get your first tablet?
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