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samsung galaxy tab a9 plus display landscape
Ryan Haines / Android Authority
Samsung Galaxy Tab A9 Plus

Samsung Galaxy Tab A9 Plus review: Should you buy it?

If you want a tablet for under $250, then you can't get much better than this.
By

Published onMarch 3, 2024

Samsung Galaxy Tab A9 Plus

Samsung Galaxy Tab A9 Plus

Samsung's entry-level tablet is the best it's ever been, and with a lower base price on top. The Galaxy Tab A9 Plus holds onto many of the same design traits as the excellent Tab A8 series, but picks up an improved processor, a larger, 90Hz display, and benefits from the promise of even more software updates. If you want a tablet for under $250, then you can't get much better than this.

What we like

Larger, smoother display
Excellent, sturdy design
Lower base price
Cellular model option with 5G
Improved update commitment

What we don't like

No S Pen
Slow 15W charging
Weak front and rear cameras
Samsung Galaxy Tab A9 Plus

Samsung Galaxy Tab A9 Plus

Samsung's entry-level tablet is the best it's ever been, and with a lower base price on top. The Galaxy Tab A9 Plus holds onto many of the same design traits as the excellent Tab A8 series, but picks up an improved processor, a larger, 90Hz display, and benefits from the promise of even more software updates. If you want a tablet for under $250, then you can't get much better than this.

Samsung Galaxy Tab A9 Plus review: At a glance

  • What is it? The Galaxy Tab A9 Plus slots into the budget end of Samsung's Android tablet lineup in the US, replacing the Galaxy Tab A8 from 2022. It brings an updated Snapdragon 695 processor and a slightly larger 90Hz display to the table with a new, lower asking price, and Android 13 right out of the box.
  • What is the price? The Samsung Galaxy Tab A9 Plus starts at $219 with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage, or you can upgrade to 8GB and 128GB for $269. If you need a data connection, the 5G-ready Galaxy Tab A9 Plus costs $269.
  • Where can you buy it? The Samsung Galaxy Tab A9 Plus went on sale in early January 2024 after its October 2023 announcement, and you can pick it up directly from Samsung or through retailers like Amazon and B&H Photo. Samsung's 5G version of the Galaxy Tab A9 Plus is available through Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, and US Cellular.
  • How did we test it? I tested the Samsung Galaxy Tab A9 Plus for 10 days. Android Authority purchased the review unit.
  • Is it worth it? If you want a budget-friendly tablet with a large display and the convenience of a headphone jack, the Samsung Galaxy Tab A9 Plus is easy to recommend. It's both more powerful and more affordable than the previous Galaxy Tab A8, and the promise of additional software updates makes this a tablet you can keep around for streaming and light gaming, even if it's not quite powerful enough to replace a laptop.

Should you buy the Samsung Galaxy Tab A9 Plus?

Samsung Galaxy Tab A9 Plus playing video
Ryan Haines / Android Authority

Samsung’s previous budget tablet, the Galaxy Tab A8, earned a special place in our hearts as an affordable option for streaming. It paired a large display with four stereo speakers and added a headphone jack for good measure — we loved it. With such a great end product, it’s understandable why Samsung chose to wait a full two years before refreshing its entry-level slate, and even then, it has kept the changes to a minimum. In fact, outside of the new name (the regular Galaxy Tab A9 isn’t available in the US at the time of writing), you’d be hard-pressed to tell the Galaxy Tab A9 Plus apart from its predecessor unless you held them side by side, and that’s a good thing.

The reason you have to hold the two tablets next to each other to see a difference is that Samsung bumped its budget slate from a 10.5-inch display to an even 11 inches. It’s nice to have the extra real estate, but the more important tweak is that the Galaxy Tab A9 Plus now has a 90Hz refresh rate instead of the previous 60Hz, resulting in far smoother UI animations. Outside of that, though, the aspect ratio is still a landscape-loving 16:10, and the resolution is unchanged at 1,920 x 1,200, resulting in slightly fewer pixels per inch, but the untrained eye won’t notice.

It's not every day that you get more tablet for less money.

Outside of the refreshed display, the Galaxy Tab A9 Plus’ build is a tale of the familiar. It features a two-piece body made mainly of metal with a plastic strip surrounding the camera cutout, SIM tray, and buttons on the side. Though a unibody metal construction would have been nice, the continuation of the two-piece design is more in line with the tablet’s price tag. It allowed Samsung to save its upgrades for the display and the processor, the latter of which we’ll get to in a moment. Unfortunately, like its predecessor, the Galaxy Tab A9 Plus forgoes a fingerprint reader, meaning you’ll need a reliable PIN, drawn pattern, or software-based face unlock for security. Unlike the more premium Galaxy Tab S series, the tablet also doesn’t come with an S Pen, nor is there a spot to magnetically attach and charge one of your own.

Like its predecessor, the Galaxy Tab A9 Plus packs a quad-speaker setup that punches well above its price tag. You’ll find a pair of speakers with Dolby Atmos on each of the slate’s short sides, and they deliver a clean sound up to max volume. I noticed no distortion while catching up on Netflix’s Avatar: The Last Airbender adaptation (the show was less impressive than the tablet). The Galaxy Tab A9 Plus hangs onto a headphone jack, too, but it’s once again positioned precariously close to the corner of the device, right where it could be ripped out easily.

samsung galaxy tab a9 plus camera
Ryan Haines / Android Authority

By hanging onto most of the same design features, Samsung was also able to power its budget tablet with an improved Snapdragon 695 chipset. It replaces the little-known Unisoc Tiger T618 processor from the previous Galaxy Tab A8, bringing a more efficient 6nm process to the table and an optional 5G data connection. Although the Galaxy Tab A9 Plus still won’t hold a candle to Samsung’s Tab S9 series tablets with their Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy processors, it’s more reliable than its predecessor with higher CPU and GPU clock speeds for slightly better returns while gaming.

The Galaxy Tab A9 Plus’s upgraded RAM and storage should also help with performance under pressure. We felt like the previous 3GB of RAM in the base model wasn’t enough, as it quickly pushed background apps out of memory. Neither was the 32GB of onboard storage, so it’s good to see Samsung add an extra gig of RAM and double the storage. You can further upgrade to a model with 8GB of RAM for an extra fee, which might be worth considering if you plan to bounce between games on your Galaxy Tab.

Personally, I kept the gaming to a minimum with this one, as the 16:10 aspect ratio feels a bit too wide to play most titles comfortably on the 11-inch display. It fares better with slower-paced games like Railbound or Candy Crush, but I preferred the Galaxy Tab A9 Plus as a streaming and cooking partner. I use Mealime to guide my cooking, and the 11-inch display is easy to set up across the kitchen (I recommend grabbing a decent stand case like the one I have pictured in a few of these shots), where I don’t have to worry about splashing it with ingredients of any kind (which is good since this tablet isn’t IP-rated).

samsung galaxy tab a9 plus selfie camera
Ryan Haines / Android Authority

As a largely home-centric tablet, I haven’t had to worry too much about the battery life of the Galaxy Tab A9 Plus. I packed it for a skiing weekend with friends, figuring I’d use it to stream an episode or two of something here and there, and I came home with some charge left in the 7,040mAh cell. If you keep your usage light and sporadic, you can probably go between three and four days before reaching for a charger, especially if you stick to streaming music and shows over Wi-Fi. Of course, you’ll probably get worse returns from the 5G-ready version, but such is the price of convenience.

Unfortunately, when you drain the decently sized battery — which is smaller than that of the more premium Galaxy Tab S9 FE — you’ll have to spend a while next to an outlet. The Galaxy Tab A9 Plus only supports 15W wired speeds and takes around four hours to trickle from empty to full. This was, unfortunately, expected based on our experience with the previous tablet, but it doesn’t make tethering yourself to a wall any easier to stomach. Oh, and there’s no charger in the box, but we have several Galaxy-compatible chargers that we recommend.

Additional software updates make the Galaxy Tab A9 Plus an even better value year over year.

Thankfully, though, Samsung saw fit to upgrade the software update commitment on its affordable tablet lineup, adding a third year of Android version support and an extra year of security patches to boot. That should carry the Galaxy Tab A9 Plus to Android 16 and 2027 before it reaches the end of its life — though it won’t be first in line for any of the updates that do come along.

Our Galaxy Tab A9 Plus is running Android 13, though we expect the Android 14 update and One UI 6 to arrive in the first quarter of 2024 based on previous generations and their respective software update rollouts. In the meantime, Samsung’s large-scale Android experience remains one of the best, with a convenient taskbar and simple multitasking controls. It doesn’t have any of the Galaxy AI features that Samsung introduced with its Galaxy S24 series, nor does it seem likely it will get them, but the Galaxy Tab A9 Plus feels well-matched to cover the basics in your everyday life.

samsung galaxy tab a9 plus port and headphone jack
Ryan Haines / Android Authority

I’ll also mention the cameras as they’re, well, there, but they remain unchanged from the Galaxy Tab A8. That means you’re working with a front-facing 5MP sensor in the top bezel and a single 8MP shooter on the back. Both cameras are incredibly soft when used indoors, turning in images that look more like you tried to pause a video and take a screenshot rather than intentionally capture stills. The selfie camera is acceptable for the occasional video call, especially if you want to use wired headphones, but you probably won’t be sharing any images from this tablet if you have a remotely capable smartphone on hand.

All told, the Samsung Galaxy Tab A9 Plus is an excellent value if you’re searching for a budget-friendly tablet. It picks up right where its predecessor left off, yet picks up key upgrades to the display, processor, and software outlook while sinking to an even more approachable price. Though it lacks some of the finer features of its premium cousins, it’s easy to recommend the Galaxy Tab A9 Plus as a do-almost-everything slate you don’t have to worry about.

Samsung Galaxy Tab A9 PlusSamsung Galaxy Tab A9 Plus
AA Editors Choice
Samsung Galaxy Tab A9 Plus
Larger, smoother display • Excellent, sturdy design • Lower base price
MSRP: $219.99
Samsung's entry-level tablet is the best it's ever been.
Samsung's budget-friendly Galaxy Tab A series gets even better with an upgraded processor, smooth 90Hz display, and a new, lower price.

What are the best Samsung Galaxy Tab A9 Plus alternatives?

Samsung Galaxy Tab A9 Plus with iPad and Galaxy Tab S9 FE
Ryan Haines / Android Authority

The budget tablet scene is crowded, and while the Galaxy Tab A9 Plus definitely stands at the top of the pack, you may ultimately decide that it isn’t for you. If that’s the case, we recommend several others at similar price points. Here are just a few:

  • Amazon Fire Max 11 ($179.99 at Amazon): Amazon’s top-end Fire tablet is about as close to the Galaxy Tab A9 Plus as you can get without shopping from Samsung itself. It offers a matching 11-inch display, identical storage, and a slim aluminum design for a comparable price. Of course, you’ll have to adopt Fire OS, but it’s a good option if Alexa is your go-to voice assistant.
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 FE ($449 at Amazon): Samsung’s Fan Edition tablet takes the Galaxy Tab A9 Plus’ base experience and kicks it up a notch. It offers a sharper display, a more powerful processor, S Pen support, and an IP68 rating against water and dust — though you’ll wind up paying twice as much to bring it home.
  • Apple iPad (9th Generation) ($269.99 at Amazon): Apple is already onto its 10th generation of the base iPad, but we still recommend the previous model for most people. Although it doesn’t have a modern design with even bezels, the 9th-generation iPad is significantly more affordable than its successor and still holds onto comforts like a home button with TouchID. Apple’s software support is as good as it gets, too, so you’ll be able to hold onto the iPad for years to come.

Samsung Galaxy Tab A9 Plus specs

Galaxy Tab A9 Plus
Display
11-inch
1920 x 1200
90Hz
LCD
Processor
Qualcomm Snapdragon 695
RAM
4/8GB
Storage
64/128GB
microSD (up to 1TB)
Audio
Four stereo speakers
Headphone jack
Dolby Atmos
Cameras
Rear:
8MP

Front:
5MP
Power
Li-ion 7,040mAh
Authentication
No fingerprint sensor
Software
Android 13
Dimensions / weight
257.1 x 168.7 x 6.9mm
480g (Wi-Fi)
491g (5G)
Colors
Silver, Navy, Graphite

Samsung Galaxy Tab A9 Plus review: FAQ

Yes, if you buy a 5G-ready version of the Galaxy Tab A9 Plus, it will come with a SIM tray and ejector tool.

No, the Galaxy Tab A9 Plus does not include an S Pen.

The Samsung Galaxy Tab A9 Plus isn’t our first choice for drawing due to the lack of S Pen and the slightly lower resolution display.

Yes, the Galaxy Tab A9 Plus supports SD Card expansion up to 1TB.

No, the Galaxy Tab A9 Plus is limited to 15W wired charging via the USB-C port.

Yes, the Galaxy Tab A9 Plus has a headphone jack on the corner next to the USB-C port.