After using it as our primary device, we bring you our impressions of the Galaxy Tab S7 FE used with the Samsung Smart Keyboard Trio 500.
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Samsung has a fantastic range of products of all kinds, but as technology enthusiasts, our eyes are always drawn to the highest-end ones. Naturally, these are less accessible, but for that, the company has its Fan Edition models, “trimmed-down” versions of its best Galaxy devices, offering an excellent balance of quality and price. Hence, they become a tremendously attractive option for the average consumer.
A few months ago, I had the chance to bring you the review of the Galaxy S20 FE 5G, and I couldn’t have been more delighted with the experience. Precisely because I had tried it, I was eager to see how the new Galaxy Tab S7 FE 5G, a tablet launched this year, would perform. The premise is the same: to release a slightly scaled-down version of the Tab S7 (which is currently Samsung’s best tablet) with a considerable reduction in price.
I’m going to try to tell you as best as I can about my experience with it. Over a little more than two weeks, it has become my primary device for EVERYTHING. I have always been very skeptical of those who claim that a good tablet can replace a full computer, but this Galaxy Tab S7 FE has silenced me from the very beginning, whether for gaming, consuming multimedia content, or work (which I was most concerned about).
Technical Specifications of the Galaxy Tab S7 FE 5G
|Display||12.4″ LCD, 1600 x 2560 pixels (16:10), 243 PPI|
|Processor||Qualcomm Snapdragon 750G|
|Rear Camera||8MP f/1.9|
|Front Camera||5MP f/2.2|
|Audio||2 stereo speakers|
|Connectivity||WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 5.0, GPS, USB-C 3.2|
|Battery||10,090 mAh – fast charging up to 45W|
|Operating System||One UI 3.1 out of the box|
|Price||€649 (5G, 4GB RAM/64GB) / €699 (5G, 6GB RAM/128GB)|
A Striking Design
Samsung has been creating very minimalist packaging for quite some time, but it adds an incredible touch of elegance to what’s inside. With this Tab, the same thing happens, and once you remove the protective wrapping, you find a very attractive product that feels great to the touch. It’s a product with top-quality materials and a metallic finish. Don’t think that just because it’s a “Fan Edition,” Samsung has made something of lesser quality. Not at all.
Something that surprises from the very beginning is its weight. Although it’s true that this isn’t a very heavy device (608 grams), it took me a few hours to get used to it. Once that “courtesy period” has passed, the feeling of weight disappears, which is very important because we’re dealing with a genuinely large device, measuring 284.8 millimeters in length by 185 in width (with a depth of 6.3).
The button layout on its sides is quite common. On the right side, we have the power button and just below it, the volume up and down buttons. On the same side, you’ll also find the micro-SD card slot and, in our case, the nano-SIM card slot. The left side is much simpler, as it only contains connectors for attaching the keyboard cover. You’ll find a speaker at both the top and the bottom, along with a USB-C connector at the bottom. Finally, an important detail to note about this Tab is that it is not dust or water-resistant.
Surprisingly High-Quality Display
The display of the Galaxy Tab S7 FE is one of the things that surprised me the most, and in a good way. The screen is an LCD (unlike the S7’s Super AMOLED) with a size of 12.4 inches and a resolution of 2560 x 1600. One of the most interesting things here is that the screen has a 16:10 aspect ratio, which is a bit different from what we usually see on other tablets. Similar to the weight aspect, it might take some time to get used to, but it’s actually appreciated, especially when consuming multimedia content.
Despite the downgrade of using an LCD panel compared to Super AMOLED, there are very few complaints about this screen. The display offers pretty good image quality that never disappoints. The only drawback I can find with this screen is its refresh rate, which is 60 Hz. While 60 Hz is commonly accepted in many devices, it’s far from the 120 Hz refresh rates we see in many 2021 devices, even from Samsung. Having a 90 Hz refresh rate would have been appreciated.
Good Security System with Some Caveats
Biometrics for smartphone security have become crucial in recent years. Gone are the days when we only used a numerical code or a complicated pattern to unlock our devices. That’s why it’s surprising that Samsung hasn’t included a fingerprint sensor on the Tab S7 FE, not even under the screen. Therefore, the only way to use biometric security is with facial recognition, but it’s not a panacea in this case.
Don’t get me wrong; it’s not a disaster. It serves its purpose correctly without any frills. The problem is that it relies on a front camera that, as we’ll see later in this review, is nothing extraordinary. In well-lit conditions and at the right distance, there shouldn’t be any issues using your face as the “key” for your device’s security. The problem is that we won’t always be in well-lit environments, and if we get too close to the device, it might not recognize our face.
The Two Cameras: The Main Weakness of This Fan Edition
The Galaxy Tab S7 FE features two cameras that are quite appropriate for the type of device we have here. This means that we usually don’t use a tablet as our primary device for taking photos; we almost always prefer a smartphone for that. If you’re someone who intends to use the S7 FE for photography, I’ll tell you right away that you might want to look at a more advanced model. While not bad, these cameras can struggle in certain circumstances.
On the back, there’s an 8 MP wide-angle camera, while on the front, there’s a 5 MP camera. I have to admit that the rear camera does a decent job when there’s sufficient light, even when using some optical zoom. However, since there’s no flash, we should avoid dark areas. When it comes to recording, it has a decent result, recording at 1080p and 30 fps (missing the 60 fps option). The front camera works fairly well for video calls, but obviously, we can’t expect much more from a 5 MP camera.
Excellent User Experience for Work and Play
As I mentioned earlier, the main drawback of this Tab is in its cameras, but things change dramatically when we focus on the user experience. Let me make it clear from the start: the Galaxy Tab S7 FE has more than enough power.
Its Snapdragon 750G processor has eight cores, divided into two clusters: the high-performance cluster contains 2 ARM Cortex-A77 cores at 2.2 GHz, and the high-efficiency cluster has 6 Cortex-A55 cores at 1.8 GHz. This, which might sound like technical jargon, is enough for daily use in most cases.
Although its processor is significantly less powerful than that of the Tab S7, the truth is that it is quite surprising. This is largely due to the excellent efficiency work done by Samsung with One UI 3.1, which comes as standard. One of the things I liked the most is its seamless integration with Samsung DeX, allowing you to almost turn the Tab into a PC. In fact, to analyze it, we’ve been using it with the Smart Keyboard Trio 500, and believe me when I say that you won’t find other tablet and keyboard combinations of such quality (especially at that price). And let’s not forget the S-Pen, which works perfectly for both drawing and taking notes.
Of course, not everything in life is about work, and the truth is that this Galaxy Tab S7 FE performs remarkably well when it comes to gaming. I’ve mainly tested it with Asphalt 9, and I have to say that I’ve been quite impressed with it. It’s true that I’ve only experienced occasional frame drops in very few instances, but I can’t complain much when it comes to gaming.
Great Battery Choice, Not So Great Charger
The battery chosen by Samsung for this Tab is 10,090 mAh, which translates to a large battery. If you use the Tab exclusively for work and avoid more “battery-intensive” tasks, you can easily go 2-3 days without charging your device. In my tests, I wanted to see how long the battery lasted with the screen on and at a fairly high brightness level that didn’t reach 100%, and to my surprise, it lasted for 8 hours and was still “alive” (though barely).
The charger that comes in the box is the downside of the good battery. While the Galaxy Tab S7 FE is compatible with 45 W fast charging, the charger that comes with it only supports 15 W. This means that it will take a little over 3 hours to fully charge, which could have taken 90 minutes.
At this point, I can only say that Samsung has done it again. After falling in love with the S20 FE, this Galaxy Tab S7 FE is an excellent option for anyone looking for an all-around tablet with good features and an appropriate price. Obviously, it’s far from being a perfect product, as certain features like its cameras or the implementation of biometric data for security leave something to be desired.
However, unless you’re a professional video editor, I find it very hard to say that this Tab can replace any work equipment we have. It’s a very versatile Tab that, thanks to Samsung DeX and its S-Pen, will allow us to do almost everything when it comes to work or study (and even more if we add the Smart Keyboard Trio 500). However, once we’re done with our obligations, we can easily use it to play our favorite games (it works wonderfully with Xbox Game Pass) or watch some multimedia content.
In conclusion, the Galaxy Tab S7 FE is one of the most well-rounded Tabs the company has produced to date and possibly one of the best options on the market for 2021.