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Forget other specs, water resistance is the best part of the Galaxy Tab S9

If you're paying $800 for a tablet, it better be more resistant to the elements.

Published onJuly 27, 2023

From a faster processor to AMOLEDs on the entire line-up, the new Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 series packs a lot of all-around improvements, but nothing jumped at me as much as one particular new feature: IP68 water and dust resistance. I had to double-check that because I hadn’t seen water resistance on any good tablet in recent times and it’s one of the reasons I always babysit my Pixel Tablet and iPad Air.

There are surprisingly very, very few modern tablets with an IP rating.

After a lot of research, I realized my instinct was right: There are almost no modern tablets with an IP rating, 68 or otherwise. If you want a water-resistant tablet, your only options are bulky and unsightly. You either go for a gigantic rugged case for your regular tablet and hope it works, buy the Galaxy Tab Active 4 or, uh, well, dig into Oukitel’s portfolio for some options. Not Xiaomi, not OnePlus, not Apple, and not even Amazon with its Fire tablets for kids offer IP ratings.

Do you want to see more tablets with an IP rating?

125 votes
Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 port and speakers
Ryan Haines / Android Authority

This clearly sets Samsung’s new tablets apart. The Galaxy Tab S9 series are elegant, thin, high-end tablets, and they happen to be water and dust resistant too. Just like our modern phones! You won’t panic if it starts raining while you’re watching a video or reading a book. You will feel more at ease using it around the pool, while camping, during a house renovation, or even on a desert road trip. Heck, it might even be fine as a toddler’s dinner plate!

If I'm paying $800 or more for tablet, I want extra peace of mind while using it.

I’m kidding, obviously. And no, I’m not advising you to abuse your brand new $800+ tablet, but I’m saying that if you happen to use it in a rougher environment, it has a greater chance of surviving. Which is a good thing because you’re investing at least $800 in these tablets — ouch.

Pixel Tablet and Galaxy Tab S9 display portrait
Damien Wilde / Android Authority

Personally, I’ve spent the better part of the last month holding my breath each time I prop my Pixel Tablet on the kitchen counter while I cook or do the dishes. I know I’m playing with fire, but I can’t help it. And each time I do that, I wish Google had made its tablet water-resistance so I’d have more peace of mind. The same is true with my older iPad Air.

We hang on to tablets more than phones, so any feature that improves their longevity is welcome.

I want to see more tablets with an IP rating. Just like it happened with phones, this feature should slowly find its way down the price range so that more budget tablets become more resistant to the elements and to our abuse. After all, most of us hang on to tablets for far longer than we do phones, so any feature that improves their longevity is a welcome one. Tech shouldn’t be disposable and, although not a foolproof protection, better dust and water resistance is a great step in making tablets more durable.

All Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 models (Galaxy Tab S9, Tab S9 Plus, and Tab S9 Ultra) have an IP68 rating, which means they are heavily resistant to dust and water. They’re not fully waterproof, but they’re as resistant to water as modern smartphones. They can handle submersion in fresh water up to 1.5m for 30 minutes.

See price at Amazon
Samsung Galaxy Tab S9
Samsung Galaxy Tab S9
IP68 rating
Updated S Pen
AMOLED display
See price at Amazon
Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Plus
Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Plus
Excellent AMOLED 2X display
Premium, water-resistant build
Extensive update policy
See price at Samsung
Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra
Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra
Massive display
Wi-Fi 6E
IP68 rating

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