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Tab S9 takes tablet to a premium

An IP68-rated S Pen, Dynamic AMOLED 2X displays and Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor give the new Galaxy Tab S9, S9+ and S9 Ultra a new edge, but at a price, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK.

Samsung wants to disrupt the tablet segment, it declared in both word and deed at yesterday’s Galaxy Unpacked launch event in Seoul., South Korea.

TM Roh, president and head of the mobile experience business at Samsung Electronics told the packed audience: “The Galaxy Tab S9 intends to cause disruption in its category – it is able to deliver experiences that users love most about tablets in one complete premium design.”

And sure enough, the S9 series arrives as a premium tablet portfolio that redefines the tablet landscape, and brings Samsung neck-and-neck in the race with Apple and its iPad Pro. In several key categories, it takes a clear lead.

The series includes three models: the Tab S9, Tab S9+, and Tab S9 Ultra. All three feature a Dynamic AMOLED 2X display with a 120Hz refresh rate, ensuring smooth and responsive visuals, especially for demanding movie gamers. They are also powered by the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 Mobile Platform for Galaxy, which underpins their powerful performance for gaming, streaming, and productivity.

All three models support Dolby Atmos sound, so it brings an immersive experience to movies, streaming TV, and games. Most significantly, the Tab S9 Ultra boasts a huge 14.6-inch display, with a 16:10 aspect ratio ideal for TV and movies, leaving the largest iPad Pro, at 12.9-inches, in the dust.

Talking of which, the Tab is IP68 rated for water resistance and dust-proof durability. The IP68 rating extends to the accessory that truly sets the Tab S9 range apart: the S Pen, Samsung’s versatile stylus that comes standard with the tablets.

Spacious audio is delivered through AKG’s 20% larger quad speakers.

There wasn’t much time to try the devices at the launch, but a feature that caught the eye, so to speak, was its dynamic refresh rate, which automatically calibrates from 60 to 120Hz to balance smooth responsiveness with optimised battery efficiency. It’s not obvious, but means the device will only kick-in the high refrsh rate when it is needed for performance, as in in games. We could detect no obvious lag effect or artefacts in the game movement.

Eye Comfort is now built in to reduce eye strain, with blue light reduced by more than 70%. That’s not just good on the eyes, but also on the dispaly: it sharpens details to in photography, documents and animation. Vision Booster technology automatically detects bright lighting conditions and adapts to keep the screen vivid.

A Smart Book Cover stands on its own, allowing the user to adjust the device to portrait or landscape format.

And then there is the matter of heat, a significant challenge for the iPad Pro and its Apple M2 chip, which strains to cool the unit.

The Galaxy tablets employ a range of innovative technologies, starting with an internal vapour chamber engineered for high-intensity demands, and helped along by two-way heat dissipation.

There’s only one problem with all this innovation and competitive differentiaton: it costs. The Ultra starts at R32,999; the S9+ at R27,999 and the Tab S9 R24,999. That means Samsung will have to do some hard marketing to persuade users that it is better value than a high-end laptop. However, do a range of professional uses, especially in the worlds of design, architecture and planning, it will prove its value.

For example Multi-Window, allows up to three apps to be displayed as an organised grid of adjustable windows.

“Do research in a browser, reference an image from Samsung Gallery and sketch out ideas in Samsung Notes, all simultaneously in one view,” says Samsung. “Or with Pop-Up View, apps can be viewed as floating windows while still showing the full home screen.”

The Book Cover Keyboard and DeX Mode can simulate a desktop experience with tablet portability , with adjustable angles and backlit keypad giving it the feel of a lightweight PC. Meanwhile, DeX Mode has Second Screen capabilities to mirror or extend a PC screen to the tablet.

“Designed to inspire spontaneous productivity as well as enhance creativity, the Galaxy Tab S9 series is a powerhouse for creative portfolios with new and enhanced apps for every personal passion,” says Samsung.


The Galaxy Tab S9 series are available for pre-order now, with general availability starting from August 18. The series comes in a premium Graphite colour, and three sizes: 14.6-inch on Tab S9 Ultra, 12.4-inch on Tab S9+, and 11-inch on Tab S9.

The premium experience is supported by four generations of One UI and Android OS upgrades, and by a guaranteed five years of security updates. Users will be able to claim a free Premium keyboard cover and 45W Super-Fast charger via the Samsung members application during the pre-order and launch period.

* To learn more about the Galaxy Tab S9 series, visit

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