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Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 home screen
Ryan Whitwam / Android Authority
Samsung Galaxy Tab S9

Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 review: Should you buy it?

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 is the best option for a premium Android slate.
By

Published onApril 25, 2024

Samsung Galaxy Tab S9

Samsung Galaxy Tab S9

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 is the smallest member of the Tab S9 family, but arguably the best one to get thanks to its lower starting price and balanced feature set. At 11 inches, it's still much larger than your phone while still being convenient to carry around. The AMOLED screen is excellent, and the included S Pen stylus is ideal for drawing, coloring, and taking notes.

What we like

Finally has an AMOLED screen
More compact than other models but plenty spacious
Includes S Pen stylus
Excellent performance and multitasking
Punchy speakers
Solid update guarantee

What we don't like

Awkward in portrait orientation
Expensive, mediocre official keyboard case
Android still lacking tablet-optimized apps
Most affordable Tab S9, but still pricey
Samsung Galaxy Tab S9

Samsung Galaxy Tab S9

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 is the smallest member of the Tab S9 family, but arguably the best one to get thanks to its lower starting price and balanced feature set. At 11 inches, it's still much larger than your phone while still being convenient to carry around. The AMOLED screen is excellent, and the included S Pen stylus is ideal for drawing, coloring, and taking notes.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 review: At a glance

  • What is it? The Galaxy Tab S9 is the smallest member of Samsung's new premium tablet lineup, sporting an 11-inch AMOLED display.
  • What is the price? The Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 starts at $799 for the version with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. You can upgrade to 12/256GB for $919.
  • Where can you buy it? The Galaxy Tab S9 is available directly from Samsung, as well as from retailers like Amazon, Best Buy, and more.
  • How did we test it? I tested the Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 for two weeks. The review unit was purchased by Android Authority.
  • Is it worth it? If you want a premium Android tablet and don't need it to be gigantic, the Galaxy Tab S9 is the one to get.

Should you buy the Samsung Galaxy Tab S9?

Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 and S Pen note taking
Ryan Whitwam / Android Authority
Galaxy Tab S9

Samsung is one of the few large OEMs that has consistently offered Android tablets, and even with new competition from the likes of OnePlus and Google, it’s still way out in front. Consequently, Samsung didn’t have to change much with its Galaxy Tab S9 family. In fact, the smallest member of the family, the Galaxy Tab S9, is the only model that saw a significant upgrade compared to the Tab S8 series. While the Tab S8 had the same 11-inch screen size, it was an LCD. Samsung gave the Tab S9 an AMOLED, matching the more expensive Tab S9 Plus and Tab S9 Ultra.

In the past, an 11-inch tablet would have seemed huge, but we live in a world of enormous phones and gargantuan tablets. The Tab S9 Ultra, for instance, has a whopping 14.6-inch screen. You can get phones that measure almost 7 inches, and a foldable like the Pixel Fold is 7.6 inches. If you’ve got one of these big phones, the 11-inch Tab S9 might seem a little small. It’s still plenty big enough to be useful, though it’s widescreen instead of a more square ratio like the OnePlus Pad or iPad. Even at 11 inches, that makes it somewhat awkward to use in portrait orientation.

The Galaxy Tab S9's new AMOLED panel is just as good as Samsung's other AMOLED tablets, just a bit smaller (and cheaper).

The new AMOLED panel is as good as Samsung’s other AMOLED tablets, just a bit smaller (and cheaper). It has excellent viewing angles, and it’s bright enough to use outdoors. The Tab S9 also has four Atmos-compatible speakers around the periphery, and they sound great for a tablet. In fact, they’re probably louder and clearer than the speakers on your laptop.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 back with S Pen
Ryan Whitwam / Android Authority

Unlike Samsung’s other 2023 tablets, the Tab S9 is compact enough that you won’t mind carrying it around. The durable aluminum chassis is just 5.9mm thick, and it weighs 498g (a little over one pound). There’s just enough bezel around the screen to hold the Tab S9 without accidentally touching the screen, and the lower mass makes it much more comfortable than the Tab S9 Ultra and S9 Plus (which are also impressively thin). The 8,400mAh battery is a bit larger than the one in last year’s tablet, and it does the Tab S9 good. It’ll last through a day of intense use with a little left in the tank. It’s not the most long-lived slate, but using it for an hour here and there will still get you multiple days of use, and it loses almost no juice sitting on the coffee table.

We’ve seen most Samsung phones gain water resistance over the years, but that’s still rare on tablets. Yet, the Galaxy Tab S9 does have an IP68 rating. It’s less likely to encounter water than a phone, but it’s still nice to have.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 USB and speakers
Ryan Whitwam / Android Authority

The Tab S9 is a good size if you need something bigger than your Android phone, and it has Samsung’s awesome multiwindow functionality to make the most of all that real estate. Android is still light on apps that are optimized for the big screen, but split-screen in One UI 5.1 saves the day. The Tab S9 is big enough that you can have three apps up at once, and they’ll all be usable. On foldables like the Galaxy Z Fold 5, the three-up layout can be a bit cramped. Samsung also lets you have your favorite app groups for easy access. That makes the Tab S9 a real multitasking powerhouse, though it’s not as compact as a Z Fold.

Update support on Android tablets is a real crapshoot — even “important” devices like Lenovo’s flagship Tab P12 Pro, which was one of the few with an Android 12L beta, have languished on old versions of the OS. Samsung’s tablets get the same general update guarantee as its phones: five years of security patches and Android OS updates. The first major update brought One UI 6.0 and Android 14 at the end of 2023, though further updates will likely slow down as time rolls on.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 multitasking
Ryan Whitwam / Android Authority

Samsung includes the S Pen stylus with the Tab S9, making this device a great canvas for drawing, coloring, and taking notes. The S Pen is super-responsive thanks to the 120Hz display refresh, and it’s a joy to write on the screen. The S Pen’s soft tip is much easier to control on the glass display than the Apple Pencil on an iPad. However, you’re mostly limited to the S Pen-enabled apps that ship with the tablet. Very few apps in the Play Store will work properly with the S Pen.

Samsung includes the S Pen stylus with the Tab S9, making this device a great canvas for drawing, coloring, and taking notes.

The S Pen works as a stylus whether or not it’s charged, but keeping it topped up will enable some additional features like button shortcuts and gestures. Neither are must-haves, but it is easier to keep the pen charged with the Tab S9. Samsung made the magnetic S Pen holder on the back of the tablet work in either orientation, a nice upgrade from the confusing magnetic mount on the Tab S8.

Samsung sells a keyboard case for this tablet, which makes it almost a miniature laptop. The keys are a bit wobbly, and vertical travel is minimal, even for a laptop-style keyboard. It’s faster than typing on the screen, but the case does add a lot of bulk if you’re just looking to protect the tablet when not in use. The keyboard case is $140, and it will most likely only work for this tablet generation. That makes it a tough sell.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 and keyboard case
Ryan Whitwam / Android Authority

All versions of the Tab S9 have the latest Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Samsung, which is clocked a touch higher than non-Samsung versions of the chip. Some Samsung phones throttle too heavily when they heat up, but the company’s tablets have a lot more thermal headroom. The Tab S9 only loses a little speed when it warms up, making it a good option for gaming, though peak performance for multitasking and professional design work is not remotely comparable to the Apple M-series iPads.

The Galaxy Tab S9 starts at $799 with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. A version with 12GB of RAM and 256GB of storage is available for $920, but we suggest you stick with the base model. You could spend more on the Tab S9 Plus or S9 Ultra, but you’re just getting the same experience in a larger, less convenient footprint.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S9Samsung Galaxy Tab S9
AA Recommended
Samsung Galaxy Tab S9
IP68 rating • Updated S Pen • AMOLED display
MSRP: $799.99
The smallest member of the Galaxy Tab S9 family gets some big upgrades
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 gets an AMOLED makeover. The new display plus a premium aluminum frame, large speakers, Wi-Fi 6E connectivity, and Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy chipset all make for a capable tablet.

What are the best Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 alternatives?

Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 comparison
Ryan Whitwam / Android Authority
Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 (top) with Tab S9 Ultra (bottom) and Z Flip 5 (left).

Samsung makes several versions of the Tab S9, but there are a few non-Samsung tablets you might also consider if you don’t need the most premium piece of hardware.

  • Google Pixel Tablet ($499 at Amazon): Google’s first tablet in years offers the slick Pixel interface with Android 13 (soon to be Android 14). It’s also $300 cheaper than the Tab S9 and can double-up as a pseudo-smart display thanks to the bundled speaker dock. However, the display is a run-of-the-mill 60Hz LCD, and it doesn’t come with a stylus.
  • OnePlus Pad ($399.99 at Amazon): The OnePlus Pad is the company’s first tablet. It’s fast, attractive, and has a solid 144Hz LCD screen. There’s an included stylus, but it’s barely supported in software. The latest version of Oxygen OS lacks the advanced multitasking features of the Galaxy Tab S9, though.
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Plus ($999 at Amazon): The Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Plus is essentially the same as the Tab S9 with a larger screen and higher price. Unless you need a tablet larger than 11 inches or a model with 5G support, there’s no reason to upgrade.
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra ($1119 at Samsung): The Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra is the largest member of the Tab S9 lineup, with a 14.6-inch AMOLED screen. It also has two front-facing and rear cameras. If the Tab S9 and Tab S9 Plus are both too small for what you have in mind, this $1,200 tablet is for you.
  • Apple iPad Pro M2 ($786 at Amazon): The 11-inch iPad Pro requires a transition to iPadOS which doesn’t play quite as nicely with an Android phone, but it makes up for it with laptop-grade power and a more comprehensive software suite with exceptional app support and compatibility.
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 FE ($449 at Amazon): The Galaxy Tab S9 FE takes everything good about the full-spec tablet and brings it to a more budget-conscious audience. It’s still IP68-rated and has a sizable 8,000mAh battery to chug through your day, along with Samsung’s in-house Exynos 1380 processor to keep the lights on.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 specs

Galaxy Tab S9Galaxy Tab S9 PlusGalaxy Tab S9 Ultra
Display
Galaxy Tab S9
11-inch Dynamic
2,560 x 1,600
AMOLED 2K
120Hz refresh rate
Galaxy Tab S9 Plus
12.4-inch Dynamic
2,800 x 1,752
AMOLED 2K
120Hz refresh rate
Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra
14.6-inch Dynamic
2,960 x 1,848
AMOLED 2K
120Hz refresh rate
Processor
Galaxy Tab S9
Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy
Galaxy Tab S9 Plus
Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy
Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra
Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy
RAM
Galaxy Tab S9
8GB/12GB
Galaxy Tab S9 Plus
12GB
Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra
12GB/16GB
Storage
Galaxy Tab S9
128GB/256GB
microSD up to 1TB
Galaxy Tab S9 Plus
256GB/512GB
microSD up to 1TB
Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra
256GB/512GB/1TB
microSD up to 1TB
Connectivity
Galaxy Tab S9
5G/LTE
Wi-Fi 6E
Wi-Fi Direct
Bluetooth 5.3
USB-C
Galaxy Tab S9 Plus
5G/LTE
Wi-Fi 6E
Wi-Fi Direct
Bluetooth 5.3
USB-C
Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra
5G/LTE
Wi-Fi 6E
Wi-Fi Direct
Bluetooth 5.3
USB-C
Audio
Galaxy Tab S9
Quad Stereo Speakers with Sound by AKG
Dolby Atmos
Galaxy Tab S9 Plus
Quad Stereo Speakers with Sound by AKG
Dolby Atmos
Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra
Quad Stereo Speakers with Sound by AKG
Dolby Atmos
Cameras
Galaxy Tab S9
Rear:
13MP AF

Front:
12MP UW
Galaxy Tab S9 Plus
Rear:
13MP AF + 8MP UW

Front:
12MP UW
Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra
Rear:
13MP AF + 8MP UW

Front:
12MP + 12MP UW
Power
Galaxy Tab S9
8,400mAh

Galaxy Tab S9 Plus
10,090mAh
Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra
11,200mAh
S Pen
Galaxy Tab S9
Included
Galaxy Tab S9 Plus
Included
Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra
Included
Durability
Galaxy Tab S9
IP68 rating
Galaxy Tab S9 Plus
IP68 rating
Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra
IP68 rating
Authentication
Galaxy Tab S9
In-display Fingerprint Sensor
Galaxy Tab S9 Plus
In-display Fingerprint Sensor
Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra
In-display Fingerprint Sensor
Software
Galaxy Tab S9
Android 13
Galaxy Tab S9 Plus
Android 13
Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra
Android 13
Dimensions / weight
Galaxy Tab S9
165.8 x 254.3 x 5.9mm
498g
Galaxy Tab S9 Plus
185.4 x 285.4 x 5.7mm
581g
Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra
208.6 x 326.4 x 5.5mm
732g
Colors
Galaxy Tab S9
Beige, Graphite
Galaxy Tab S9 Plus
Beige, Graphite
Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra
Beige, Graphite
Additional accessories
(Sold separately)
Galaxy Tab S9
S Pen Creator Edition
Book Cover Keyboard
Book Cover Keyboard Slim
Smart Book Cover Outdoor Cover
Notepaper Screen Privacy Screen
Galaxy Tab S9 Plus
S Pen Creator Edition
S Pen Creator Edition
Book Cover Keyboard
Book Cover Keyboard Slim
Smart Book Cover Outdoor Cover
Notepaper Screen Privacy Screen
Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra
S Pen Creator Edition
Book Cover Keyboard
Book Cover Keyboard Slim
Smart Book Cover Outdoor Cover
Notepaper Screen Privacy Screen

Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 review: FAQ

The Galaxy Tab S9 was released on August 11th, 2023.

Yes, the Galaxy Tab S9 has a microSD card slot supporting up to 2TB of added storage.

No, the Galaxy Tab S9 Plus is the only variant of Samsung’s 2023 flagship tablets with a mobile data (5G) option.

The Galaxy Tab S9 has an 11-inch AMOLED screen.

The Galaxy Tab S9 measures 254.3 x 165.8 x 5.9 mm and 498g.

Nope, the USB-C is the only port on the Galaxy Tab S9.

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