Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra vs Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra

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Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra vs Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra

Intro


In 2022, Samsung jumped with both feet into the "oversized tablet" category with the bold and beautiful Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra. For some — an overkill tablet, for others — a great workhorse of a machine.

The 14.6-inch monster seemed like an odd decision at first, but it seems the tablet was met with positivity from the userbase — a good third of all Galaxy Tab S8 sales were of the Tab S8 Ultra. So, Samsung decided to re-do the launch with a new Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra. And it's basically a redux of the 2022 model, just adding some quality of life improvements, like water-resistance and enhanced cooling, as well as the newest chip available.

We are curious if Samsung will be coming up with a Galaxy Tab S10 series this summer — refreshing these once per year may be a bit overkill. Even Apple slowed down the iPad Pro upgrade cycle.

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

Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra vs Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra expectations:
  • Same big 14.6-inch display
  • Upgrade to UFS4.0 and LPDDR5X
  • Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 Made for Galaxy
  • Tab S9 adds IP68 water- and dust-resistance
  • Tab S9 has a new vapor cooling chamber
  • Tab S9 has a slightly upgraded ultra-wide camera

Table of Contents:

Design and Display

Too big to handle

The Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra is already massive — with a footprint of a laptop, it's definitely not a "one hand device". You will more often have it laid on a table or propped up with a keyboard to do work (or binge Netflix).

The Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra looks exactly the same. A huge canvas, included with an S Pen and a magnetic strip for charging the stylus on the device. The extremely thin and high-tech, but without a headphone jack.


We are greeted by the same, huge, 14.6-inch AMOLED panel with vibrant colors and 120 Hz refresh rate. And even the same notch for the selfie cameras.

Display Measurements:



They even have the same screen comfort options, where you can choose between punchy or realistic colors, blue light filtering, and fine-tune temperature if you so wish.

Performance and Software

One UI squared

Obviously, a new device will have the newest hardware — the Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra has the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 Made for Galaxy like the Galaxy S23 phones that launched in early 2023. It's a slightly overclocked Snapdragon that Samsung has developed in partnership with Qualcomm. Plus, the Tab S9 Ultra has an all-new vapor chamber for cooling its hardware, providing cooler operation during sustained loads.

That aside, though, the Tab S9 Ultra also gets an upgrade to UFS 4.0 storage — which is twice as fast as the previously used UFS 3.1. And LPDDR5X RAM, which is slightly faster than the non-X equivalent.

Performance Benchmarks:


3DMark Extreme(High)Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra3905
Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra2117
3DMark
Extreme(Low)Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra2997
Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra1577

And, as you can see, in raw benchmark tests, the Tab S9 Ultra crushes it — great upgrade, for sure!

That won't instantly make the Tab S8 Ultra obsolete, no. Rest assured, it was a beast of a tablet on launch and will continue to be one. But, if you are just now shopping for one, maybe the Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra's future-proof hardware will be more enticing.

Camera


Tablets — especially ones of this side — aren't really used as cameras a whole lot. You want really good front-facing ones for video calls, yes, but the rear camera module isn't of much importance so long as it can capture the details in documents.

That said, the Tab S8 Ultra has a duo of 12 MP cameras on the front for wide or ultra-wide view. Of course, a face tracking option was also included. There's the very same setup on the Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra's front side as well.

On the back, we have the same 13 MP main cameras. And then, the ultra-wide camera saw a small upgrade — up to 8 MP from the old 6 MP.

Audio Quality


Quad speakers in stereo setup and massive sound. That's what the Tab S8 Ultra had and we get the same setup on the Tab S9. They sound big, loud, spacious, and detailed. Great speakers for either watching a show or even enjoying music. Naturally, talking head YouTube videos sound just fine on them.

Unfortunately, we don't get headphone jacks on these massive slab tablets.

Battery Life and Charging

Déjà... it's the same

With the very same 11,200 mAh battery inside the Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra, we were holding hope that the new Smapdragon 8 Gen 2 Made for Galaxy and the new UFS 4.0 storage might extend the battery life due to their efficiency. In reality, we get very similar battery endurance from both. Thankfully, those huge batteries do provide a lot of charge, and we are happy to report that they hold a lot of percentages when in standby, too.

PhoneArena Battery Test Results:


Web Browsing(hours)Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra9h 54 min
Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra7h 55 min
3D Gaming(hours)Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra5h 48 min
Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra6h 9 min

Specs Comparison


Here are the core specs compared. For a full sheet, check out the Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra vs Tab S8 Ultra specs comparison page.


Yep, the Tab S8 Ultra doesn't drop in MSRP, it just becomes slightly cheaper with the entry-level 128 GB variant being $100 below the Tab S9 Ultra's 256 GB tier. We are unsure why anyone would choose to buy a 256 GB Tab S8 Ultra over a 256 GB Tab S9 Ultra, though.

Summary


A Galaxy Tab Ultra is a long-term investment for sure. These tablets do not come cheap, but thankfully, have the powerful hardware and a commitment for 4 years of Android updates to keep them ticking for a while.

All that said, we have a feeling that owners of the Tab S8 Ultra will be just fine for quite a while. If you find one at a massive discount — don't worry about pulling that trigger.

But by all means, if there's no deal on the horizon, just go ahead and pick up the Tab S9 Ultra. Even the 256 GB model will give you plenty of upgrade in speed and performance thanks to that UFS 4.0 chip, the internal cooling, and the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 Made for Galaxy.



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