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Is it worth upgrading from the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 FE to the Galaxy Tab S9 FE?


Aside from Google, Samsung appears to be the primary advocate for viewing Android tablets as more than just devices for consuming media. Even their mid-range FE tablets are marketed as potential alternatives to laptops. For those who value the functionality of a tablet, how does the new Galaxy Tab S9 FE compare to the Galaxy Tab S7 FE? Is the upgrade worth the considerable cost?

Comparison

Comparison of Specifications: Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 FE vs Galaxy Tab S9 FE

Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 FE Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 FE
Display 10.9-inch LCD
WUXGA+ resolution (2304 x 1440)

The refresh rate is between 48 and 90Hz.

12.4-inch LCD
WQXGA resolution (2560 × 1600)
60Hz refresh rate
Processor Samsung Exynos 1380

The Qualcomm Snapdragon 750G is a processor used in 5G technology.
Wi-Fi: Qualcomm Snapdragon 778G

RAM 6GB/8GB 4GB/6GB
Storage 128GB/256GB
microSD (up to 1TB)
64GB/128GB/256GB

The microSD card can store up to 1TB of data.

Biometrics

The fingerprint scanner on the power button.

None
Audio

Dual speakers tuned by AKG with support for Dolby Atmos audio technology.

The device does not have a 3.5mm headphone jack.

The dual speakers of AKG have been calibrated and optimized for superior sound quality, and they also have Dolby Atmos technology for a more immersive audio experience.

There is no 3.5mm headphone jack.

Cameras Rear:
8MP main

Front:
12MP ultra-wide

Rear:
8MP main

Front:
5MP

Power 8,000mAh battery
45W wired charging
No charger included
10,090mAh battery
45W wired charging
15W charger included
Connectivity Wi-Fi 6
Bluetooth 5.3
USB-C
5G (on cellular models only)
Wi-Fi 5
Bluetooth 5.0
USB-C

The 5G capability is only available for the cellular model.

Software Android 13
One UI
Android 11 (upgradeable to 13)
One UI
Dimensions and weight 254.3 x 165.8 x 6.5mm
523-524g
284.8 x 185 x 6.3mm
608g
Colors Gray, Silver, Mint, and Lavender Mystic Black, Mystic Silver, Mystic Green, Mystic Pink
S Pen included Yes Yes

The primary contrast is that the S9 FE has a significantly smaller 10.9-inch screen, although it is still very sharp. This may be misleading because the S9 FE Plus offers a 12.4-inch display. However, for our comparison, we will be concentrating on the standard S9 FE model. All versions of the S9 FE have a dynamic refresh rate of 48-90Hz, which allows for smoother movement without using up excessive power.

The reduced size of the S9 FE standard version also comes with a smaller battery capacity of 8,000mAh, but we will discuss this in more detail later.

To match the screen size and battery of the S7 FE, you will have to spend additional money on the Galaxy Tab S9 FE Plus.

Please be aware that all editions of the S9 FE feature Samsung’s Exynos 1380 chipset, which is combined with an ARM Mali-G68 MP5 graphics processing unit. This results in a roughly 38% improvement in CPU performance compared to the S7 FE, and a 73% increase in GPU performance. However, do not anticipate being overly impressed, especially when compared to the customized Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 found in the standard Galaxy Tab S9. Nevertheless, for most uses, the S9 FE should offer sufficient speed.

Some other improvements we should mention are increased default memory (depending on your setup), a higher quality 12-megapixel front-facing camera, and a fingerprint sensor located on the power button. In contrast, the S7 FE does not have any biometric technology. Samsung has also made upgrades to Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.3, which could be important if you own compatible devices.

Comparing the design and size of the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 FE and Galaxy Tab S9 FE.

samsung galaxy tab s9 fe upright

Galaxy Tab S9 FE
Credit: Ryan Haines / Android Authority

As previously stated, the regular S9 FE (shown above) is noticeably smaller compared to the S7 FE as it reduces from a 12.4-inch screen to 10.9 inches. If you do not want to compromise on screen size, it is recommended to consider the S9 FE Plus instead.

A decrease in size results in a tablet that is lighter and easier to carry. The S9 FE weighs just under 1.16 pounds, while the S7 FE (shown below) weighs 1.34 pounds. This difference may not seem significant, but it becomes more important if you need to hold your tablet for extended periods of time while reading, watching videos, playing games, or working on the go.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 FE rear panel with S Pen

Credit: Eric Zeman / Android Authority

Both tablets have an attractive design. However, it should be noted that the S7 FE has a specific magnetic patch on the back for holding the S Pen, while this feature is missing on the S9 FE. Instead, the S9 FE uses edge-based magnets (which are present on the S9 FE Plus). You may prefer one over the other in terms of convenience or visual appeal, but keep in mind that your S Pen may not stay attached if your tablet is moving around in a bag.

Comparing the battery life and charging capabilities of the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 FE and Galaxy Tab S9 FE.

samsung galaxy tab s9 fe usb c port

Credit: Ryan Haines / Android Authority

Samsung claims that the S9 FE’s battery, with a capacity of 8,000mAh, can provide 18 hours of continuous video playback. However, we will need to conduct a thorough review to determine its actual performance in everyday use. It is likely that for the majority of users, the tablet will be able to last for at least two days while handling various tasks.

The tablet has a significantly lower capacity than the S7 FE. However, due to its smaller screen, it also uses less power. Interestingly, the S9 FE Plus has the same 10,090mAh battery as the S7 FE, indicating a connection between screen size and battery capacity.

One thing to note is that although both tablets are compatible with 45W USB-C charging, only the S7 FE includes a charger in the package. However, the included charger is only 15W, so if you want a complete recharge within a reasonable timeframe, you will need to use a stronger charger.

Comparing the prices and availability of the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 FE and the Galaxy Tab S9 FE.

It can be difficult to make a direct comparison for a few reasons. The 5G version of the S7 FE is not available for purchase on Samsung US’s website and the S9 FE does not come in a 64GB option. Additionally, the S7 FE is a larger device at 12.4 inches and its successor is the S9 FE Plus.

In addition, Samsung has been secretive about when the S9 FE will be available in different regions and the prices for the US market. The tablet is expected to be released on October 10, 2023 in the US with a starting price of $449 for a 128GB Wi-Fi model with 6GB of RAM, but there is no information on other storage options. The price for the S9 FE Plus is also unknown. For some individuals, the cost may influence their decision on whether to invest in the larger screen or stick with the standard model.

Is it worth upgrading from Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 FE to Galaxy Tab S9 FE?

samsung galaxy tab s9 fe camera

Credit: Ryan Haines / Android Authority

If you are content with your S7 FE, there is no pressing need to upgrade. While there may be improvements in performance, display, and connectivity, this is simply Samsung’s attempt to keep up with competitors such as Apple and Google. These updates are minor rather than groundbreaking.

This could be precisely what you’re looking for, especially if you’re worried about how well apps with high demands, such as image editors or 3D games, will perform. The increase in performance may make previously slow apps feel much smoother, particularly on a 90Hz screen.

Once you’ve surpassed that obstacle, you’ll still need to make the decision between the S9 FE or S9 FE Plus. If you can’t tolerate the decrease in screen size from 12.4 inches to 10.9 inches, then saving up for the Plus may be the best option. However, for the majority of individuals, a 12-inch tablet is not a necessity. In fact, in certain scenarios such as traveling, the 10.9-inch model may be superior. It’s much more convenient to pack and easier to access during security checks or while watching a movie like Dune on a long flight.

Frequently Asked Questions about the Comparison Between Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 FE and Galaxy Tab S9 FE

When was the release date of the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 FE?

The initial release of the S7 FE was in May of 2021.

Can the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 FE and Galaxy Tab S9 FE withstand water?

The S7 FE does not have an IP68 rating, but the S9 FE does. This means it can withstand being submerged in fresh water up to 5 feet for 30 minutes. However, it is still not recommended to bring it into a shower or pool, and if it comes into contact with liquids, it should be dried off.

Do the keyboards come included with the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 FE and Galaxy Tab S9 FE?

Unfortunately, this device does not come equipped with a physical keyboard. Your only option for typing will be through the touchscreen unless you purchase a separate keyboard accessory.

Does the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 FE and Galaxy Tab S9 FE come with a slot for an SD card?

Both tablets have a microSD slot that can accommodate cards up to 1TB.

Do both the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 FE and Galaxy Tab S9 FE come with a slot for a SIM card?

Both have cellular versions available, with a SIM slot included.

Can the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 FE and Galaxy Tab S9 FE be used for drawing effectively?

It is possible that either the S9 FE or the S9 FE Plus would be a better choice, as both come with S Pens included. These models have dynamic refresh rates of 48-90Hz, allowing for faster visual response.