Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 FE Review: Great Value

But with plenty of room for improvements

Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 FE Review LTE tablet
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“Fan Edition” of existing products has been an astounding hit for Samsung. This was limited to smartphones until last year although it’s been expanded to tablets now. While the company’s primary philosophy of FE devices for smartphones consists of delivering a flagship-level experience on a relatively lesser asking price, things seem to have taken a turn in a different direction with the Tab S7 FE. Let’s learn more in this review of the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 FE.

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Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 FE Specifications:

  • Body: 185.0 x 284.8 x 6.3mm, 608 gm, All-metal construction
  • Display: 12.4-inches TFT LCD, 60Hz Refresh Rate
  • Resolution: WQXGA (2560 x 1600 pixels), 16:10 aspect ratio, 243 PPI
  • Chipset: Qualcomm Snapdragon 750G 5G (8nm Mobile Platform)
  • CPU: Octa-core (2×2.2 GHz Kryo 570 & 6×1.8 GHz Kryo 570)
  • GPU: Adreno 619
  • Memory: 4/6GB LPDDR4X RAM, 64/128GB storage (expandable)
  • Software & UI: Android 11 with Samsung’s One UI 3.1 on top
  • Rear Camera: Single (8MP sensor, 1080p/30fps videos)
  • Front Camera: 5MP sensor (1080p/30fps videos)
  • Audio: Dual stereo speakers (Tuned by AKG), Dolby Atmos audio
  • Security: Face unlock, No fingerprint reader
  • Sensors: Accelerometer, Gyro, Geomagnetic, Hall, Light
  • Connectivity: Single-SIM (Nano), WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (Dual-band), Bluetooth 5.0, GPS / AGPS / Glonass / Galileo / Beidou, USB Type-C, 4G LTE, 5G
  • Battery: 10,090mAh with 45W fast charging (15W adapter inside the box)
  • Color options: Mystic Black, Mystic Silver, Mystic Green, Mystic Pink
  • Price in Nepal: Rs. 69,999 (4/64GB | LTE)

Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 FE Review:

Before heading on to the review, I have to point out Samsung Nepal’s excellent pricing policy for the Galaxy Tab S7 FE. To note, this tablet costs Rs. 5,200 cheaper here in Nepal compared to what it retails for in India. This alone changes the value proposition for the Tab S7 FE.

Performance

  • Octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 750G 5G SoC (8nm)
  • 4/6GB LPDDR4X RAM, 64/128GB storage (expandable)
  • Android 11 with Samsung’s One UI 3.1 on top

Anyway, as the name suggests, this tablet takes its inspiration from Samsung’s Tab S7 series from 2020. But unlike how the Galaxy S20 FE borrows the premium chip from its non-FE sibling, the Tab S7 FE introduces a different trend altogether. Unlike Snapdragon 865+ on the regular Tab S7 duo, performance sees a big dip here with its Snapdragon 750G chip on board.

Therefore, the Tab S7 FE is definitely not for those who want a powerful do-it-all tablet—or something that could replace your laptop since it also supports DeX and keyboard input. Samsung has paired this 5G-ready mid-range silicon with 4/6GB of RAM and up to 128GB of onboard storage. I have the base 4/64GB variant with me and for the most part, its performance is fairly acceptable for everyday usage.

Galaxy Tab S7 FE - Display 1

Multitasking between lightweight apps is fine although keeping 4-5 apps open for a while will result in app-reload. Yet, with its big screen real-estate, multitasking on this tablet has been a delightful experience—despite the minor hiccups every now and then.

Samsung ships it with One UI 3.1 based on Android 11 and this time, the UI/UX feels a lot optimized while the minor visual changes are a welcome upgrade too—compared to One UI 2 on last year’s Tab S6 Lite. For instance, the volume slider now pops up on the side instead of making you drag your hand all the way to the top.

Multitasking madness

Still, the default system animations are a little heavy so I had to dial it down to 50% under the developer options for a smoother experience. Samsung also lets you utilize this big screen by allowing up to 3 apps to be opened at once.

As a result, I could be reading an article on the web, watching a YouTube video about it, and taking notes—all at the same time. And if that’s not enough, you can even add floating apps over the three, control their transparency/size, minimize/maximize them for the “productivity beastmode” moments.

But honestly, it just ends up looking like those horrifying multi-toolbar setups on Internet Explorer so I never really got around using it. Say you use a certain combo of apps often, there’s the option to pin them on the Edge Panel for quick launch too.

What about gaming?

Moving on, the gaming performance of this tablet is pretty respectable as well. Relatively less demanding titles like Asphalt 9 and Mobile Legends: Bang Bang play at their highest setting pretty smoothly.

Similarly, Call of Duty Mobile is playable at High graphics and Very High frame rate with practically zero frame drops or stutters whereas PUBG Mobile renders smooth gameplay under Balanced graphics and Ultra frame rate. While its large chassis ensures efficient heat dissipation, continuously gaming for about an hour or so gets it warm near the front camera module.

Galaxy Tab S7 FE - Gaming

Yet, the aforementioned wide chassis makes sure that the heat doesn’t spread to the other edges of the tablet. All in all, the Galaxy Tab S7 FE is definitely not a winner in terms of its performance. For its price, I strongly believe Samsung should’ve gone with something like the Snapdragon 870 or even Snapdragon 860—at least.

The older UFS 2.1 storage protocol also shows its age when it comes to stuff like opening apps and such. Having said that, if your workload revolves around simple note-taking, attending online classes, or sketching, this tablet performs with flying colors.

S Pen

  • Bluetooth-free stylus
  • Less than 30ms latency

Moreover, Tab S7 FE’s S Pen differs from the one you get with its more expensive siblings as well. First off, there’s no magnetic strip at the back of the tablet to charge this stylus. Instead, this standard, Bluetooth-free stylus clips onto the side. It does come bundled inside the box, which is great.

Now, I’m no artist by any means so its <30ms latency wasn’t an issue for me under regular usage like note-taking, scribbling, and the likes. To compare, Samsung ships an active S Pen with an impressive 9ms latency on the flagship Tab S7 series.

Even so, I tried doodling a thing or two here and found that the advertised latency is barely noticeable. But I’m sure professional digital artists will disagree. Regardless, this screen’s palm rejection works wonders and I didn’t notice a single instance of accidental touches.

Comfortably helpful

Because of the tablet’s large form factor, I often found myself reaching for the S Pen to get around it. This stylus is more than lightweight enough to dismiss any notion of discomfort, while its touch response is great as well.

Galaxy Tab S7 FE - S Pen

It is pressure-sensitive too, meaning you can switch the intensity of a brush on the sketchpad depending on how hard you press on it. Likewise, the side-button also doubles as an eraser when you’re making edits via Samsung Notes. Or, it can trigger the stylus shortcuts, provided that you have it pointing to the screen pretty closely.

Anyway, there are multiple standout features to talk about here. The one I like the most is called “S Pen to Text” which is similar to Scribble on iPadOS 14. Basically, this transforms every text input field into a writable area and converts your handwriting to text.

Throughout my usage, this feature has worked well despite my fairly rough handwriting. Oh, and for some reason, Samsung disables “S Pen to Text” by default so you’ll have to manually enable it. Other useful things this stylus can do include text translation, smart selection, and more.

Design

  • 185.0 x 284.8 x 6.3mm, 608 gm
  • Metallic construction, glass front
  • Separate Keyboard Folio accessory

Okay, getting to the design—the Galaxy Tab S7 FE cuts no corners. Apart from the missing magnetic strip for a stylus at the back, its all-metal body is indistinguishable from the flagship Tab S7 series. A minimalistic Samsung logo sits parallel to the camera module at the back, while there’s a “Sound by AKG” branding on the bottom center.

Galaxy Tab S7 FE - Design 1

Besides this, antenna lines run across the top and bottom edges of the back panel. As of now, Tab S7 FE is only available in the LTE/5G variant while the company says a WiFi-only option is dropping later on. Nevertheless, I’m all here for this metal construction as the tablet is extremely well-built and feels premium.

You can choose from four soft hue finishes and this Mystic Silver option that I have with me looks quite classy. Weighing 608 grams, it is most definitely not the comfortable thing to hold though. In fact, it is even heavier than the Tab S7+ which maxes out at 575 grams.

Hold it steady

Holding it for a while on a single hand had me searching for reinforcement—or someplace to mount this tablet steady. So yeah, this muscle exercise will definitely take some time to get used to. For easier handling and added productivity, Samsung also offers a Keyboard Folio that magnetically attaches to the side.

While I haven’t gotten around using it, its trackpad-less design immediately raises doubts about seamless productivity. Regardless, holding the Tab S7 FE with two hands is no problem—thanks to the excellent weight distribution and chamfered edges. Measuring 6.3mm in thickness, this tablet is pretty thin too.

Galaxy Tab S7 FE - Design 2

Here, the company has installed all the buttons on the top-right frame while the hybrid SIM tray sits below it. Over on the top, you’ll see a primary microphone and a speaker grille whereas the left frame includes the keyboard connector. Finally, the bottom of the tablet completes the dual-speaker setup and hosts a USB-C port.

Some minor misses

Despite all this, I do have a couple of minor complaints on the design front. You see, Samsung has omitted a fingerprint reader on the Galaxy Tab S7 FE—leaving you with 2D face unlock for biometric verification.

On top of its security flaws, face unlock sometimes fails to work here when you have the tablet in portrait orientation since the front camera is on the side. Additionally, the decision to skip a headphone jack baffles me as well.

Display

  • 12.4-inches WQXGA TFT LCD screen
  • 60Hz refresh rate, 16:10 aspect ratio

Over on the display, Samsung has installed a big 12.4” screen here. This size is similar to what you get with the Tab S7+ but the similarity between the two ends there. Unlike the vibrant Super AMOLED panel, this Fan Edition device opts for a TFT panel instead. As a result, things don’t look nearly as vibrant as they would on an OLED display.

Plus, this screen doesn’t incorporate a 120Hz high refresh rate either—unlike the other entries in the Tab S7 series. So, the noticeable jitter/delay when scrolling through the UI is a lot pronounced on this 12.4” display. Tuning down the animation scale under developer options does help a lot though.

Anyway, Tab S7 FE enjoys a 16:10 aspect ratio for a tall viewing experience. Unlike the squarish 4:3 aspect ratio of practically every iPad, this results in a lot less letterbox (black bars) when streaming videos. Packing a 2560×1600 WQXGA resolution and a 243 PPI pixel density, the contents look pretty sharp here.

Galaxy Tab S7 FE - Display 2

From icons, texts, to other UI elements, I couldn’t notice pixelation on this screen.  However, maybe it’s the GPU’s inefficacy of pushing enough pixels, games being under-optimized for such large screens, or it’s the relatively low pixel density, graphics in games like PUBG, COD looks slightly jaggy—even with anti-aliasing turned on.

Quite vibrant TFT panel

Moving on, Samsung has certainly tried to spice up this TFT panel. I mean, colors look extra punchy here—to the point where it looks oversaturated. But if you prefer vibrant colors, I doubt you’re gonna complain. Still, it obviously can’t match the contrast, colors, energy efficiency of an AMOLED panel.

I would’ve also liked to dial down the red levels here but the option for that is missing in the settings. In terms of brightness, the Tab S7 FE delivers respectable visibility even when you’re outdoors.

Viewing angles are fine as well although I did notice mild IPS glow in the bottom left edge of the screen. This is visible when the dynamic combo of dimly-lit content in a dark room comes together. Yet, I couldn’t tell this apart under most of my regular usage so it’s not that big a deal, I guess.

Cameras

  • Single rear camera setup (8MP sensor)
  • 5MP selfie camera (landscape layout)

Let’s now shift our gears to the cameras. Unfortunately, Samsung’s downgrade drift continues on this department as well—although it’s not one I’d classify as a dealbreaker. While the standard Tab S7 duo features a dual-camera arrangement at the back, the Tab S7 FE skips the ultrawide sensor and brings an inferior 8MP camera instead of the 13MP sensor.

Over on the front, it has a 5MP camera in a landscape layout. And for a tablet, the quality of these cameras is pretty good. I attended multiple Zoom meetings with my friends and family and received no complaints regarding the video quality. Audio pickup from the microphone leaves no room for criticism either.

Once again, this landscape camera layout is a great design choice and therefore makes attending online classes a merry experience.

Now, if you’re one of those “dads with iPads” who takes pictures from a tablet, you’ll be glad to know that Tab S7 FE’s dual cameras shoot half-decent photos.

Yet, images from the primary lens look a bit oversaturated while details turn out soft as well. It even supports the “Single Take” mode for taking multiple artistic shots at once.

On the other hand, the selfie camera dials down saturation by a lot although it can’t capture well-detailed shots either.

Audio

  • Dual stereo speakers
  • Dolby Atmos audio

Similarly, this tablet could be a good multimedia consumption device thanks to its dual-speaker setup. While this is still a rank below the quad-speaker array on the regular Tab S7 series, I found myself enjoying its output.

It can get more than loud enough to fill an average-sized room and the mids and highs sound quite clear—although it does sound a little distorted when cranking up the volume to max. Also, don’t expect too much from the bass department. Tuned by AKG, these speakers also support Dolby Atmos audio for an even more immersive listening experience.

Battery

  • 10,090mAh battery with 45W fast charging
  • 15W power adapter provided inside the box

In terms of battery, the Galaxy Tab S7 FE features a mammoth 10,090mAh cell—just like the Tab S7+. Samsung says this tablet can last up to 13 hours of video streaming and with that benchmark, I was expecting at least a day or two of endurance.

Galaxy Tab S7 FE - Charging

With a couple of sessions of everything, including gaming, web browsing, streaming videos, and attending video calls, I managed to get around 6-6.5 hours of screen-on time here—with the brightness level set to 60 – 70% on average. This is a fairly respectable endurance while it does fall a little short of my expectations. But the bigger disappointment here lies on the charging front.

Even though the Tab S7 FE supports 45W fast charging, Samsung has been greedy enough to ship a mere 15W adapter inside the box. With it, you’ll gonna have to wait around 3 hours and 4 minutes before this tablet fully juices up to 100%. I also tested out its charging speed with a 25W connector and that brought the number down to a little over 2 hours.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 FE Review: Conclusion

To wrap up this review, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 FE is a great value-for-money tablet—especially in Nepal. Its closest competitor, the iPad 10.2 (2020) is costlier considering how this LTE-ready variant of Tab S7 FE also comes with a free stylus. So, if you’re in the market for a sub-premium Android tablet in Nepal, this is the one to get.

Having said that, the Galaxy Tab S7 FE is far from perfect. One major thing that’s disappointed me here, is the lack of a flagship-grade chipset. Despite its potential to replace a laptop for many, the relatively underpowerful silicon keeps it from achieving its true potential. Still and all, Snapdragon 750G is a more-than-capable mid-range chip that will get you through your everyday lightweight workloads.

  • Watch our video review of the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 FE.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 FE Review: Pros & Cons

Pros:

  • Great value for money
  • Premium all-metal design
  • One UI 3 is well-optimized
  • Free stylus inside the box
  • Acceptable camera quality
  • Loud dual stereo speakers

Cons:

  • Relatively inferior chipset
  • Missing AMOLED display
  • No high refresh rate support
  • No 45W charger on board
REVIEW OVERVIEW
Design & Build
9.5
Display
7.5
Performance
8.5
Back Camera
7.5
Front Camera
7.5
Software & UI
8.5
S Pen
8.5
Battery
9
Audio
9
Value for Money
8.5