A little over a year ago I bought an Android tablet on a whim. I liked it so much I’ve already upgraded it, trading up from an Samsung Galaxy Tab S5e to an S7+. It’s kind of a dumb time to be buying this, Samsung is likely to announce the S8 line in a few weeks. But I got a good price on the 256GB storage model.
Really what I wanted was a bigger screen. The S5e has an excellent 11″ screen (245x160mm) but the S7+ has a 12.4″ screen (285x185mm). iPad Pro size, not iPad size. They’re both excellent AMOLED screens but the extra inch in each direction is great for media consumption. The real thing that put me over the top was reading comic books; juts a little small for old eyes on the 11″.
Other than that the S7+ is just an upgrade all around. More storage, more RAM (get the 256GB storage at least; the 128GB has less RAM), faster CPU (8 cores, good lord). Great battery; lasted 5 days with 8 hours of the screen being turned on. Fingerprint sensor hidden under the screen which is a nice improvement. Really it’s just a great piece of hardware. There’s a common meme that the Android tablet market is dead. It’s true there are fewer manufacturers than there used to be but Samsung is doing such a great job it’s fine.
Still reasonably happy with Samsung’s software, or rather the way it gets out of the way when you don’t use it. I switched to Nova Launcher again for the launcher and the rest of Samsung’s stuff mostly disappears. Except the parts I want, like the facial recognition unlocking. Samsung’s a little slow with Android releases, I think about 6 months behind? But they do get there and have a decent track record of support longevity.
And then there’s the S-Pen. I don’t know what to say about the S-Pen. This is Samsung’s big innovation, they’ve been at stylus support for a lot longer than Apple. It’s quite good at drawing, the pressure sensitivity is nice. Mostly it seems to serve to augment the UI, there’s all these gestures you can make with the pen both on screen and in the air to do magic things like take screenshots and scribble on them, zoom the camera, etc. I guess it’s kind of neat? But it requires you hold a pen in your hand; I’m perfectly happy with the touchscreen, thanks. And the pen gets in the way. It magnetically attaches nicely to the back of the screen but there it is sitting out. I have a case that holds the pen on the side and that’s OK too only the pen is thicker than the tablet, so everything’s unnecessarily bulky. I’ve already put the pen away permanently and now am looking for a case that doesn’t make any effort to leave room for it. Maybe if I were drawing art on my tablet I’d be excited to use it.