Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Plus Review: Here's to the trendy tablets

1comment
We may earn a commission if you make a purchase from the links on this page.
Galaxy Tab S9 Plus preview

Intro


If you're looking for a very capable Android tablet in 2024, then it's near impossible to pass up on the latest top Galaxy tablet, the Galaxy Tab S9 Plus. Unveiled alongside the Galaxy Z Flip 5, Galaxy Z Fold 5, the Galaxy Watch 6 and Galaxy Watch 6 Classic, Samsung’s 12.4-inch slate sits right between the compact Galaxy Tab S9 and the enormous Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra

The Galaxy Tab S9 Plus is actually my favorite new Samsung tablet. It strikes the perfect balance between a compact size and a display that doesn't feel too claustrophobic in terms of size' it's the happy middle ground in-between the Galaxy Tab S9 and the ginormous Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra. Compact but powerful, the Galaxy Tab S9 Plus is the ultimate Android tablet, with a superb display and surprisingly decent battery life. 

Overall, if I had to pick a non-iPad tablet in late 2023, the Galaxy Tab S9 Plus would comfortably sit at the very top of the list. 

Galaxy Tab S9 (128GB): save 19% at Amazon

You can now get the Galaxy Tab S9 with 128GB of built-in storage space for 19% off its price tag, which equates to $150. The awesome deal is up for grabs at Amazon.

Get the Galaxy Tab S9 (256GB), Beige and save $251

Grab the new Tab S9+ from Amazon with 256GB of storage in Beige for 20% off its price tag. This equates to as much as $251 in savings. The model in Graphite sells for $200 off.

Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra: up to $1,050 off with trade-in

The Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra with 12/256GB can be yours for $150 off before trade-ins. But if you provide eligible tablet or phone trade-in in good condition, you can save an extra up to $900.
$149 99
$1199 99
Buy at Samsung

What’s new about the device

  • Fast new Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy chipset
  • Galaxy S23-like rear camera design
  • IP68 water resistance
  • S Pen in the box
  • Louder speakers
  • Optional cellular connectivity
  • New 8MP ultra-wide camera

Table of Contents:

Galaxy Tab S9 Plus Unboxing



The Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Plus comes with not much inside the box. You won't find a charger inside, but you get:
  • Galaxy Tab S9 Plus tablet
  • S Pen stylus
  • USB-C charging cable
  • Leaflets and manuals

Galaxy Tab S9 Plus Specs

Little changes

The most significant change here is the inclusion of the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy, which is bringing its flagship performance to the Galaxy Tab lineup. The rest of the hardware specs are mostly similar to what we had on the Galaxy Tab S8 Plus.


Galaxy Tab S9 Plus Design & Colors

No major differences
 

If you’ve seen the Galaxy Tab S8 Plus, then you’ve seen most of what the Galaxy Tab S9 Plus has to offer. Samsung hasn’t been keen on introducing too many changes in terms of the overall design, and rightly so, as the sleek and slim footprint of the Galaxy Tab S9 Plus hardly needs any major overhauls. 

Made of Armor Aluminum, this tablet pairs a premium look with great endurance, so you can rest assured that it would handle bumps and scrapes well. It's still a 16:10 tablet, so it's decidedly narrower than an iPad, but is perfect for watching movies and TV shows. 

Thankfully, there’s still an S Pen in the box, so you can start taking notes as soon as you set up your new tablet. New here is the omnidirectional magnetic S Pen attachment strip at the rear of the device, which will charge up the writing accessory, no matter how you place it. This is a major win, as it eliminates some of the fiddling previously associated with charging the S Pen.

The Galaxy Tab S9 Plus is a sleek tablet. Extremely thin and lightweight given the size, and with just the right amount of side bezels for ergonomic usage, the Galaxy Tab S9 Plus is a device that's a joy to use and handle.



Unlike the Tab S9, the Galaxy Tab S9 Plus has actually retained both of its rear cameras, though their overall appearance has changed. Gone is the tiny camera island at the back, as the Galaxy Tab S9 Plus closely follows the Galaxy S23 series and features two cameras that simply pop out of the back.

New on the Galaxy Tab S9 series is the complete IP68 dust and water protection. The slate will survive just about anything liquid-related you might throw at it, especially if it involves freshwater and up to 30 minutes of soaking. Rest assured, you will be better off if you don’t have to find out just how good the IP68 ingress protection truly is.

Color-wise, Samsung is keeping things a bit more conservative this year, as the Galaxy Tab S9 Plus only comes in Graphite and Beige colors. Subtle and classy, but a bit boring. Previously, the Galaxy Tab S8 Plus was available in Graphite, Silver, Pink, and Gold, so definitely a loss on our part here.

Galaxy Tab S9 Plus Display

Never change a winning team!


Well, provided that you are enamored with 12.4-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X displays with super-smooth 60-120Hz refresh rate, high brightness, and decent resolution, then you’re lucky! Those are the exact Galaxy Tab S9 Plus display specs, and frankly, I don’t see why you could need more. 

Have in mind that just as before, the Galaxy Tab S9 Plus sports a 16:10 aspect ratio, so it’s wider and narrower than an iPad, but is perfect for watching movies and TV shows as they fill the whole screen and make for a very immersive experience. This is why the Galaxy Tab S9 Plus is probably one of the best tablets that a cinephile can consider in late 2023. 

In real life, the Galaxy Tab S9 Plus has a superb display, with great colors, high maximum brightness thanks to Vision Booster, and smooth scrolling that makes just about any content super enjoyable. Content just pops out, and consuming any media is simply a joy.

Display Measurements:



When it comes to biometrics, the Galaxy Tab S9 Plus relies on an in-display fingerprint scanner. It's fast and accurate, with a pretty wide detection area. As an additional convenience, Samsung has also thrown in face unlock, but it's merely picture-based, so you shouldn't rely on it too much. 

Galaxy Tab S9 Plus Camera

Little changes


The tablet comes with a 13MP main camera with autofocus, aided by an 8MP ultra-wide camera, an improvement over the 6MP one on the Galaxy Tab S8 Plus. Alas, as with most tablets, cameras are an afterthought here and Samsung hasn't devoted too many new features to the vital component. 

Main camera



The main camera does an okay job. Photos don't really pop up, and you might see some noise here or there, but overall, you shouldn't expect wonders out of a tablet.

Ultra-wide camera



The same applies to the ultra-wide camera––it fits more in the frame, but quality-wise isn't much better than the main camera.

Selfie camera



At the front, we get a single 12MP ultra-wide camera that’s arguably way more important because it’s the one you will be using during video calls and business meetings in Zoom or Teams. Selfies are okay, though they generally lack fine details and have some noise issues. 

Galaxy Tab S9 Plus Performance & Benchmarks

Snapdragon on steroids


Just like the Galaxy S23 series, the Galaxy Tab S9 Plus boasts the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy chipset. This one is a slightly improved version of the chip, which has a slightly higher maximum clock rate of 3.36GHz, a minor 0.16GHz increase over the standard Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip, which runs at 3.2GHz at the maximum. Keeping this one in check, at least thermally, is a new vapor chamber with two-way heat dissipation that allows the device to sustain its peak performance for longer periods of time. 

One thing is for sure: this chipset delivers excellent performance on top of a superb gaming experience as well. The Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 easily rivals Apple’s latest A16 Bionic chip in terms of graphics-crunching, so be more than content if you’re a gamer looking forward to Samsung’s next mid-sized slate. The tablet feels snappy and responsive, with tons of potential at your fingertips. 

Geekbench 6
SingleHigher is better
Samsung Galaxy Tab S9+2122
Samsung Galaxy Tab S92128
Google Pixel Tablet1468
Geekbench 6
MultiHigher is better
Samsung Galaxy Tab S9+5665
Samsung Galaxy Tab S95657
Google Pixel Tablet3866
3DMark Extreme(High)Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy Tab S9+3920
Samsung Galaxy Tab S93853
Google Pixel Tablet1858
3DMark
Extreme(Low)Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy Tab S9+3341
Samsung Galaxy Tab S93033
Google Pixel Tablet1848

In terms of storage, the Galaxy Tab S9 Plus comes with 12GB of LPDDR5X RAM and is available in both 256GB and 512GB versions. Interestingly, Samsung has opted to keep the microSD card slot so that you can pop one for some extra storage.  

Galaxy Tab S9 Plus Connectivity


Interestingly, the Galaxy Tab S9 Plus is the only new Galaxy tablet to have cellular connectivity on deck. Yes, even the Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra doesn't have optional cellular connectivity, which is weird. 

Recommended Stories
Still, you can get the Galaxy Tab S9 Plus with 5G support from AT&T, US Cellular, or Verizon, but have in mind that the only storage/memory combo available with cellular connectivity limits you to 12GB of RAM and 256GB of storage, so you can't pick the 512GB version in this configuration.  

Galaxy Tab S9 Plus OS / Android version



The Galaxy Tab S9 Plus arrives with Android 13 and Samsung's own One UI 5.1 interface running atop. Full of extra features and refinements over stock Android, Samsung's custom interface is definitely in its best state right now, with tons of features and functionalities and many useful additions that set it apart from the competition. 

With the S Pen that comes in the box, the tablet allows you to write notes, draw, and take creative screenshots. What’s more, Samsung is bringing some very intriguing apps exclusively to the Galaxy Tab series, including the previously iOS-only GoodNotes, LumaFusion, Clip Studio Point, and ArcSite. In fact, GoodNotes launches on Android exclusively on Galaxy Tab devices. 


Other fan-favorite features like the PC-like DeX Mode environment and Multi Window make a return, boosting the utility of the Galaxy Tab S9 Plus.

Samsung will grace the Galaxy Tab S9 Plus with four major Android updates and five years of security patches. This means that the upcoming tablet will receive Android 14, Android 15, Android 16, and Android 17. You will be able to rest assured that the device is secure from new-found vulnerabilities until 2028. 

Galaxy Tab S9 Plus Battery

Very decent battery life


Samsung has graced the Galaxy Tab S9 Plus with the same-sized battery as the one that made an appearance inside the Tab S8 Plus. A 10,090mAh battery keeps the lights on, which paired with the new chip on board allows the tablet to last for a long time.  

In our custom battery tests, which have the devices' displays always set at 200 nits of brightness and conducted while connected to a Wi-Fi network, the Galaxy Tab S9 Plus outlasts the smaller Galaxy Tab S9 in our web browsing and 3D gaming tests and delivers a very decent endurance. 

It loses to the Pixel Tablet in the video streaming test as that one has a less power-hungry LCD screen, but crushes it in our web browsing and 3D gaming tests. I'd rather use the Galaxy Tab S9 Plus instead of the Pixel Tablet, though.  

In my personal experience, the Galaxy Tab S9 Plus will easily last you a day, consisting of mixed mostly media-centric usage. You might get enticed to boost the brightness all the way up while watching videos, and I get it, that's perfectly fine, but the tablet really goes through its battery fast in such situations. So, if you're serious about your media, have a charger nearby.  

PhoneArena Battery Test Results:


Video Streaming(hours)Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy Tab S9+6h 21 min
Samsung Galaxy Tab S96h 25 min
Google Pixel Tablet9h 12 min
Web Browsing(hours)Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy Tab S9+8h 44 min
Samsung Galaxy Tab S98h 6 min
Google Pixel Tablet6h 48 min
3D Gaming(hours)Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy Tab S9+8h
Samsung Galaxy Tab S97h 23 min
Google Pixel Tablet6h 37 min

Galaxy Tab S9 Plus Charging Speeds


Speaking of charging, the Galaxy Tab S9 Plus supports 45W charging speeds, just like its predecessor, which provides more than decent charging speeds. The Galaxy Tab S9 Plus charges up fully in roughly two hours, which is on the slower side, so you simply have to put up with it. There's no charger in the box either, so you have to supply your own. 

PhoneArena Charging test:


hoursLower is better
Samsung Galaxy Tab S9+
2h 4 min
Samsung Galaxy Tab S9
1h 48 min

Galaxy Tab S9 Plus Audio quality and haptics


Samsung has opted to put 20% larger speakers on the Galaxy Tab S9 series, the Galaxy Tab S9 Plus included. The device has full Dolby Atmos support and the sound is tuned by Samsung partner AKG. These larger speakers deliver louder sound; however, it's lacking some depth in the lower frequencies, making the tablet sound a bit too tinny. Don't get me wrong, you are very likely to enjoy consuming media on the device, I just hoped for even better and fuller sound. 

Just like the Galaxy Tab S9, the Galaxy Tab S9 Plus comes with an awful haptic feedback vibrator motor. It's slow, muddy, and inaccurate, and even though you can control the vibration intensity, no available setting can rectify this unimpressive aspect of the tablet. Oh, there is––turning haptic feedback completely off ultimately did the trick for me. Samsung should totally "steal" Apple's haptic feedback and employ it on its future tablets. 

Galaxy Tab S9 Plus Competitors


The Galaxy Tab S9 Plus is certainly beefing up with multiple devices, and interestingly, many of these are also Samsung-made. 

Chief among the competitors are a selection of iPads, chief among which is the iPad Pro 12.9-inch. With a slightly larger display, it's a Pro device with superb performance, a very decent 120Hz mini-LED display, and finally, Apple Pencil support as well as an optional Magic Keyboard accessory. Definitely a worthy competitor to consider.  

The iPad Air 5th Gen, with the M1 chip inside, is another potential rival. But so are Samsung's older Galaxy tablets, like the Galaxy Tab S8 Plus and the Galaxy Tab S7 Plus. Even though they might not come with the latest hardware, both of those older devices are still very, very capable of handling most tasks you might throw at them, including all of your media and productivity needs.

Finally, there's Google's interesting Pixel Tablet, which doubles as a smart monitor of sorts. It also beats the Galaxy Tab S9 Plus when it comes to overall endurance in video streaming, but the Galaxy Tab S9 Plus is decidedly a much more premium device, however with a more premium price.

Galaxy Tab S9 Plus Summary and Final Verdict



The Galaxy Tab S9 Plus is a minor but successful refresh of Samsung's existing tablet lineup. It's not a bad thing at all: little changes were needed, as previous Galaxy Tab Plus devices were already at the top of their game, so minor improvement here and there actually go a long way.

While I've always technically liked the mid-sized Galaxy tablet, this year I'm head over heels enamored with the more compact Galaxy Tab S9, which packs the same hardware and lovely screen in a more compact package. Surely, the Galaxy Tab S9 Plus is by no means a worse device, it's just slightly bigger but also more expensive, so I don't really see why you should pick this one in favor of the smaller Galaxy Tab S9

Pros

  • Large and vivid AMOLED screen
  • Superb performance
  • Great battery life
  • Functional interface and S Pen
  • Cellular version available

Cons

  • Bad haptic feedback
  • Loudspeakers could have been better
  • Camera is mostly average

PhoneArena Rating:

8.5

Recommended Stories

Loading Comments...
FCC OKs Cingular\'s purchase of AT&T Wireless