Samsung’s Galaxy Tab S7 is the company’s second-best tablet, but is it better than Apple’s iPad 8 after upgrading to more storage and a stylus?
Samsung‘s Galaxy Tab S7 is the smaller size of its top-of-the-line tablet, but since Apple is the tablet leader, it may be useful to compare it to the company’s cheapest offering, the iPad 8. Just how good is the iPad and can the entry-level model match a more expensive tablet from chief competitor Samsung? By checking the hardware, the operating system and the ecosystem, the relative value of these two tablets can be better understood and compared.
The history of the tablet is long and complicated, but the idea is probably as old as chiseled stone, a way of storing and using information in a portable form that is big enough to be useful, but not so large as to be cumbersome. Science fiction authors proposed something similar to modern tablets at least as far back as 1951 when Isaac Asimov wrote about the Calculator Pad in Foundation. There were some small PDAs (personal digital assistant) that preceded the smartphone, but the need for something larger was clear. A few Tablet PCs based on Windows tried and failed, largely due to being overly bulky and not well enough supported. Fast-forwarding to 2010 and the thin and light iPad stood out as the device that finally made sense. Once again, Apple was late to the market but managed to correct enough of the early errors to find success. Later that same year, Samsung answered with its first Galaxy Tab.
Samsung launched four tablets in 2020 segmented into the mid-range Galaxy Tab A and the high-end Tab S series. The Galaxy Tab S7 and S7+ are quite similar, but the plus has better screen technology and is larger at 12.4-inches. The Tab S7 has the same Qualcomm Snapdragon 865+ processor, S Pen, 120Hz display refresh rate and a microSD card slot. With an 11-inch screen and optional detachable keyboard with trackpad, it can convert from tablet to laptop mode with an easy to read screen size. Samsung’s Galaxy Tab S7 is among the best Android tablets available. If unsure whether Android is the right choice, comparing it to an iPad 8 may prove useful. Apple’s lowest-cost tablet, the iPad 8 has a smaller 10.2-inch screen with a 60Hz refresh rate and an A12 processor which, despite being designed in 2018, still matches up well with the Snapdragon 865+ in Geekbench CPU speed tests. The iPad 8 is compatible with the Apple Pencil, but it is not included. An optional detachable keyboard is available and iPadOS now allows use with a mouse or trackpad. The base model iPad 8 includes 64GB storage, but a 128GB version is available.
Galaxy Tab S7 Vs iPad 8: Best Value
Starting at $650 for the base 128GB version, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 offers good value for anyone looking for a powerful and expandable Android tablet. Apple’s iPad 8 starts at just $329, but that is with only 32GB of storage. Not to mention, the only expansion possible is via the Lightning port which means an adapter is required to connect a USB drive. Instead, it makes more sense to choose the 128GB option which raises the cost to $429, although that’s still about $230 less than Samsung’s tablet. However, the Galaxy Tab S7 includes the S Pen. Adding the cost of the $129 Apple Pencil to the iPad 8 raises the total price to $558 and the comparison gets more interesting. Currently, the Galaxy Tab S7 is on sale for $570, bringing the two tablets within $20 of each other. As the sale price won’t last, it’s best to consider the base-model of Samsung’s Galaxy Tab S7 as costing $92 more than an iPad 8, with an equal amount of storage and a pressure-sensitive stylus included.
This begs the question of whether the Galaxy Tab S7 has enough added value to justify the extra expense? The operating system and ecosystem may play a factor in the decision, of course. Anyone owning an iPhone or a Mac will appreciate the ease of integrating an iPad into their life. The same is true for Samsung owners or anyone using an Android phone, as most apps can be used on tablets within the same operating system family. The microSD storage expansion available with the Galaxy Tab S7 is far more appealing and useful than the iPad 8’s requirement of an adapter and USB drive. So those needing more onboard storage should consider Samsung’s tablet. In fact, the Galaxy Tab S7 can be purchased with up to 512GB of internal storage and the microSD card still allows the possibility of a total of 1TB. The Samsung tablet also has a larger and nicer screen with smooth 120Hz scrolling and a wide-gamut color. Overall, it has better hardware and unless the ecosystem appeal is pushing a shopper towards Apple, the Samsung Galaxy S7 offers better value, when compared to a similarly equipped Apple iPad 8.
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