Samsung Galaxy Tab S7FE: The tablet is feature-rich and perfect for work and play Google has given up making Android tablets, and has left it up its OEM partners to continue the torch.
In India, Samsung is still the leader in the launch of new Android tablets each year. The Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 FE is its latest launch.
It is similar to the FE series of phones but offers many of the same premium features as the Tab S7 Series, but at a lower price.
The top-end Samsung Galaxy Tab S7+ was reviewed by us late last year. It was quite good, but very expensive. Is the new FE model a good budget option? Let’s find the answer.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S7FE: Price and Variants
The price of the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7FE in India starts from Rs. Base variant: Rs. 46,999, 4GB RAM, 64GB storage. The second variant is priced at Rs. The second variant costs Rs. 50,999 and includes 6GB RAM and 128GB storage. Both models feature LTE (4G), connectivity for data calls and expandable storage via a microSD card up to 1TB.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S7FE: Design
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S7FE is similar to its more expensive siblings, the Galaxy Tab S7+ and Galaxy Tab S7+. This is because the design is heavily inspired by Apple’s iPad Pro tablet line.
This device feels premium with its all-metal body. It is available in multiple colours including Mystic Black and Mystic Silver. Samsung sent me a Mystic Black unit.
It looked more gunmetal-like than jet black but it still looks great and doesn’t attract fingerprints or smudges. It is heavy at 608g making it difficult to carry and use for extended periods of time.
All the connectors, ports, and buttons are located along the sides. The tablet also has exposed antenna bands for LTE reception. The Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 FE does not have a headphone jack.
This was the first thing that I noticed when I examined it. It’s trendy to take this out of smartphones nowadays, but with a tablet as large, it was a must.
If you look horizontally, the power and volume buttons are at one end. The SIM tray is at the other. This tray can hold one Nano-SIM or a microSD Card.
Two AKG-tuned speakers are included. They can be used in landscape orientation to provide stereo sound. Although this is less than the Tab S7 model, Dolby Atmos support is still available.
The bottom has a USB Type C port and contact pins and grooves to allow you to dock the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7FE with an optional keyboard cover.
It measures 12.4 inches diagonally and has a 16 to 10 aspect ratio, similar to the Galaxy Tab S7+. The resolution is 2,560×1,600 pixels, and the panel is LCD rather than AMOLED.
It also has a 60Hz refresh rate, which is disappointing. The panel is still bright and vibrant, the contrast is good, and HDR videos work well. The display’s bezels are uniformly thick and have rounded corners. This makes it easy to place your thumb on the tablet.
The front camera is placed so that it sits above all other iPads when the device is in landscape mode. Samsung didn’t include a fingerprint sensor in the Galaxy Tab S7 FE. This is a huge mistake. But we’ll get there later.
Except for a tiny camera bump at one corner, the back of this tablet is very simple. The S-Pen that comes with the Galaxy Note smartphones is much larger than the one included.
The flattened side allows you to align it magnetically with the back of your tablet near the camera module or the right side just below the volume key.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S7FE comes with an S Pen stylus and a USB Type A to Type C cable. It also includes a 15W charging adapter.
Samsung also sent me the Book Cover Keyboard Case, which can be bought separately for Rs. 14,999
Samsung Galaxy Tab S7FE: Software and Specifications
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 FE is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 750G SoC. The same SoC is used in other phones we reviewed, but this tablet can only work on 4G (LTE), cellular networks.
You can also make cellular calls with the Galaxy Tab S7 FE. Dual-band Wi-Fi AC, Bluetooth 5 and all other expected sensors and satellite navigation systems are some of the connectivity options.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 FE has a 10,090mAh lithium battery with fast charging support up to 45W. However, you will need to purchase a 45W charger separately.
Samsung’s OneUI 3.1, which is built on Android 11, runs on the tablet. You can expect the same experience and features as any Galaxy smartphone. The tablet is just larger than a regular Galaxy smartphone.
Split-screen mode allows you to open up three apps simultaneously using the standard interface. However, this process can be a little confusing. Once you have launched the first app you will need to open the second two via Edge Panel.
This is a floating carousel with shortcuts. This floating tray will need to be manually filled with apps.
You can also set up multiple apps to open together. Although it works well, initial setup can be tedious
Samsung Galaxy Tab S7: Book Cover Keyboard, S Pen, and Dex
You will most likely want to do much more with your Samsung Galaxy Tab S7FE or one of its siblings in S7 series. Let’s begin with the S Pen that comes with the tablet.
It’s well-built and charges automatically when attached magnetically to the tablet.
The S Pen works exactly as you would expect. The S Pen can be used to take notes and convert your written text into typed text. It can also be used in any location that has a text input area.
All your pen-friendly shortcuts and apps are available by pressing the button on the S Pen. Samsung includes a limited-time membership for some premium creative apps like Clip Studio Paint and Canva Pro along with some great note-taking apps like Noteshelf or Samsung Notes.
Although I am not a great artist, I found myself using the S Pen to write down notes during Zoom meetings. It’s easy to use the large screen for video calls and open your notes app on the other side.
Although the keyboard case can be a little expensive, you can still get it for a discounted price if you purchase it together with your tablet. The keyboard case is made of matte black plastic and has a flap that attaches magnetically on the upper part of the tablet.
The cover folds up to provide decent protection for the tablet and is held in position with magnets so that it doesn’t fall open while being carried around. The hinge has a slot for the S Pen. This is very handy.
When the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 FE is docked to a keyboard, it sits at a 60-degree angle. This was very comfortable for me. The keys are clicky, even a little noisy to an extent, well spaced and easy to type on.
Samsung also sent me the Book Cover Keyboard Case, so I decided to swap my daily driver laptop with this tablet to see if it could replace my regular laptop.
Writing, editing photos, emailing, Slack and general Web surfing are my typical days. The whole thing was a little heavy on my lap so I found it difficult to use. However, I found that it was easy to use on a table or on the couch.
This keyboard cover has a few flaws that are worth mentioning. The keyboard cover is not backlit and the letters don’t glow in dark, so it can be difficult to use under dim lighting.
The trackpad is not available so you will need to reach for it every now and again to adjust the Dex mode window or to start typing.
It was a trackpad on the keyboard case for Samsung Galaxy S7 Tab+. So it is puzzling that Samsung didn’t make a new one for the Tab S7 FE. The Fn button is required to access the shortcuts for volume, brightness, Dex and other functions.
This really annoyed me. It would be nice if it was the other way around. Or at least to have the option of selecting the default trigger for the function keys.
When I went back to work, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7FE felt very laptop-like. Everything feels like Windows or macOS. The taskbar is located at the bottom of your screen. This allows you to pin your favorite apps and create shortcuts to them.
There’s also a system tray that displays the time, notifications, and other information. My USB Type C hub was correctly recognized, and I was able, via the My Files App, to copy files from and to pen drives, copy photos from my SD card to the tablet, as well as use other devices like a wireless mouse.
Although I was able get the Samsung Galaxy S7 FE behave like a laptop, it took me some time to adjust my workflow to accommodate Android’s limitations. A
lthough I was able access all my work tools in a browser, editing photos in Photoshop Express and other desktop apps is not possible. It was difficult to find a solution for the apps that I use on the desktop.
I found myself reaching for my laptop when I needed to do time-sensitive work. However, Samsung Dex still feels like a desktop experience on an Android tablet.
You can open any app from a window and many of them are resizable. You can “snap” a window to fit the size of one side and then choose another open app for that other side.
There are limitations, however. These are mostly due to the way Android was built. While you can open multiple apps at once in different windows, if you return to an app you opened before, it will “relaunch” in the same window.
There’s also the problem of certain apps not adapting to large displays. Slack, for example, is terrible to use on an Android tablet. You can’t guarantee that your apps will be available when you exit Dex mode.
Dex can still be a little rough around the edges. For instance, Dex doesn’t show you what apps are running behind your dock, even though they’re pinned to it.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 FE: Performance and Battery Life
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 FE performed well with all standard tablet tasks. The Qualcomm SoC was strong enough to handle UHD video playback, and games.
Asphalt 9: Legends, Battlegrounds mobile India, and other similar games ran flawlessly. Although the tablet did heat up, it was not too much. The videos looked great and I found myself using the tablet a lot to watch on-demand content.
A fingerprint sensor is the one thing I missed. Low light is not ideal for face recognition. It’s slow and almost impossible to use in slow light.
To make face recognition work, the user must be directly in line of sight with it. This is difficult if you are not at a desk. This problem could have been solved by a capacitive fingerprint sensor on the power button.
If you are willing to pay for a data package, the LTE functionality on the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 FE will be very useful. You can still use your phone as an Internet hotspot.
But seamless switching between Wi Fi and LTE on a Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 FE ensures that you are always connected. This is especially important if you do sensitive work that needs reliable Internet access.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 FE’s cameras are easily serviceable. The 5-megapixel front camera can be used for video conferencing, and it is far better than any average laptop webcam.
Although the 8-megapixel rear camera can’t be used for photography, it is very useful for scanning documents. A LED flash would have been a great option for this use case, especially if you need to scan documents at low light.
The battery life was excellent. With Chrome and Netflix, with between 8-10 hours screen-on time, I was capable of using the tablet for nearly a full day without a charge.
Although I can drain the battery faster if I play a lot of games I was happy with the runtime of the tablet. Our HD video loop test was completed. It lasted 13 hours and 47 mins, which is less than I expected.
It took three hours to charge a large battery using the 15W charger. However, it charges faster when connected with a USB PD charger of higher wattage.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 FE: Verdict
The 6GB version of the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 FE costs Rs. It costs Rs. 50,999 and comes with a stylus. The Book Cover Keyboard Case is less expensive than buying an Apple Pencil (8th Gen), 128GB iPad (8th Generation), and Smart Keyboard.
Samsung is my choice because of its LTE support, superior stylus functionality and more productive environment due to Dex.
However, things aren’t perfect. It was really disappointing not to have a fingerprint scanner, as face recognition is very poor. It was also unnecessary to take out the headphone jack.
A higher refresh rate display and an LED flash for your camera would have made the experience more enjoyable.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S7FE with optional keyboard case is a good choice if you need a replacement laptop for basic productivity tasks.
Although it is not perfect, you will need to adjust your workflow around Android’s limitations. However, this tablet has the most features you can find at this price.
Also Read: Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5g Review