Bought what is said to be the most worthwhile purchase in this iteration of Samsung products, the Galaxy Tab S9.

Among all the products in this iteration by Samsung, what attracted me the most was the Tab S9 (the smallest one).

My primary use for a tablet is: watching videos (online and with local players), recording meetings, basic office tasks (sharing documents on WeChat Work), scrolling through social media, and using Telegram. I prioritize screen quality, handwriting feel, battery life, and a suitable size.

The Tab S9 (smallest variant) received upgrades in its screen quality, hardware, and maintains a moderate size and weight. Moreover, it’s been said that Samsung’s S Pen feels better than the Apple Pencil, and I’m eager to experience it.

Upon getting it, my first impression of the screen was not particularly dazzling, perhaps because I’m used to OLED screens. However, compared to my iPad Pro 11 from a few years ago, it’s significantly better. The overall build quality of the device is excellent, although the bezels around the Tab S9 (smallest variant) are slightly wider, which I don’t mind.

Let’s talk about the main improvements of the Galaxy Tab S9:

Samsung has made several important hardware improvements to the Galaxy Tab S9. The most significant is the addition of a new AMOLED display, which offers excellent contrast, vibrant colors, and impressive brightness. This marks the first time Samsung has used an AMOLED screen on a regular Galaxy Tab; previous models all used LCD screens. Additionally, the CPU has been upgraded to the flagship Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy chip, delivering outstanding performance.

For those who have used the Galaxy Tab S8 or even the Galaxy Tab S7, the design will feel familiar. It’s a slim, rectangular tablet with a sleek appearance, not particularly groundbreaking.

The bezel size is just right, ensuring a comfortable grip without hindering usage. Some may find reasons to complain, but the bezel size isn’t an issue for me.

Compared to the previous generation, the S9 has downgraded the cameras. One of the rear cameras has been removed, leaving only one. The design of the single camera is simpler, unlike the camera islands found on many smartphones nowadays.

The magnetic strip for connecting the S Pen stylus to the device is still located on the back, allowing you to attach the stylus magnetically to the back of the tablet or use it as a makeshift stand. Previously, you had to insert the S Pen in a specific direction to charge it, but with the Tab S9, you can charge it regardless of orientation, which is much more convenient.


Samsung has equipped all Galaxy Tab S9 tablets, including the smallest variant, with complete IP68 dust and water resistance. This protection level allows you to submerge the tablet underwater for up to 30 minutes, although we typically don’t recommend such tests. Nonetheless, having IP68 protection on any device provides a sense of security.

In terms of color options, the Galaxy Tab S9 is available in Graphite and Beige only, two fewer choices than the Tab S8 series, which offered Graphite, Silver, Pink, and Gold.


Apart from the switch from LCD to OLED, the screen’s basic specifications have not changed significantly. The display remains 11 inches with a smooth 120Hz refresh rate for ultra-smooth scrolling and content viewing. Additionally, the screen supports HDR10+, and both HDR and non-HDR content look excellent.


Cameras are not the most critical hardware for tablets; they are usually considered an added feature rather than a significant selling point. Don’t expect the Galaxy Tab S9 to change this perception, as Samsung’s latest, most compact tablet is equipped with just one decent rear ultra-wide-angle camera and a 12-megapixel front selfie camera.

The S9 features a 13-megapixel ultra-wide-angle main rear camera with autofocus and 8x digital zoom, which is decent. However, it lacks the powerful capabilities of flagship smartphone cameras, and in most cases, it can take passable photos, albeit with some noise and a lack of detail.

On the front, hidden within the Galaxy Tab S9’s bezels, is a 12-megapixel ultra-wide-angle selfie camera with up to 8x digital zoom. This could be more important for everyday use, as you might occasionally use the S9 for video calls. Like the rear camera, the front camera is not particularly outstanding and may produce some noise in less-than-ideal lighting conditions.

Both front and rear cameras can capture UHD, FHD, and HD videos, but the maximum frame rate is 30fps, so smooth 60fps videos are not possible. Therefore, it’s not suitable as a video creation tool.


The Galaxy Tab S9 is equipped with an 8400mAh battery, which is 400mAh larger than the battery in the S8. Paired with the highly efficient Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy chip, the battery life is excellent. The S9 can easily support a full day of frequent use.

The Galaxy Tab S9 supports up to 45W charging, which is fast enough for most users. With Samsung’s 45W charger, the Tab S9 can fully charge in about one and a half hours, which is decent.

Sound Quality and Haptic Feedback:

Samsung boasts that the Galaxy Tab S9 series has speakers that are 20% larger than the previous generation, and they support Dolby Atmos. While the volume is indeed loud, the sound quality lacks depth, especially in the lower frequencies.


Finally, the S Pen stylus. I tried the S Pen experience on the Samsung tablet, and the written words are closer to the effect of writing with an ink pen. It even simulates a rustling sound when writing, although the stroke feel is slightly inferior to writing with an Apple Pencil in the Apple Notes app or OneNote (purely subjective). However, writing on the Tab S9 feels closer to writing in a book. Since I may let my child use it, I pasted the official $199 screen protector. I’m not sure if it enhances or diminishes the writing experience, but overall, I’m satisfied.

App Experience:

I first downloaded a VPN tool from GitHub, imported the VPN configuration, enabled Google services, installed the Play Store, and added Google apps, Telegram, MX Player Pro, and Bilibili from Samsung’s app store, which offers tablet-adapted versions. So far, these apps all work well in landscape mode, providing a perfect full-screen experience after hiding the navigation bar. However, there are still many apps that open in portrait mode and are immediately uninstalled. Unfortunately, the Play Store has removed nPlayer, and I can’t get a refund. Overall, most of the apps I’ve used can adapt to landscape mode, but the tablet-optimized version of Tencent Video is still missing. Also, there is no Android version of Infuse; I plan to install Plex to see how it performs.

Overall, it can replace my old iPad Pro for work scenarios that meet my personal requirements. However, for home use, I personally don’t recommend it for a couple of reasons: Firstly, Samsung’s initial pricing is not cost-effective; secondly, the Android tablet software ecosystem still has room for improvement, making it less cost-effective.