Set to hit the stores on June 18th, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 FE 5G is an affordable version of the S7+. The acronym FE is known in some circles as the Fan Edition and is similar to the Lite series, holding lower specs than its regular editions. We expect the S7 FE to be priced at SG$1030 for the 6GB+128GB model, a good SG$750 lesser than the S7+ 5G. The FE comes with an S Pen and will be available in four colours but there has been no news surrounding the availability of a cheaper Wi-Fi version. The tab will be sold through Samsung’s authorised channels – their online and offline stores, Lazada and Shopee among others. Like other Samsung tabs, it will also be available on a contract basis with service providers like Singtel, M1 and Starhub (which already offer 5G services).
In a Nutshell
With a sleek, matte-finish body, the FE does not differ much from its predecessors in looks and feel. The 12.4” tab will be available in four colours: Mystic Black, Mystic Silver, Mystic Green and Mystic Pink. The Snapdragon 750G is set to bring a fast user experience with multi-tasking, 5G capabilities, and will support two memory combinations – 4GB+64GB and 6GB+128GB. The lack of a 256GB version will not be felt as the brand gives us an option to use up to 1TB of expandable memory (MicroSD).
The FE has an 8MP rear camera without flash that supports FHD recording, and a 5MP front camera. Although the front camera is a downgrade from the S7’s 8MP lens, it serves its purpose of video calling well along with 3 microphones embedded around the display. The TFT display outputs a resolution of 2560×1600 with a decent colour depth and supports 4K video playback. The S Pen is part of the package and makes writing and sketching quite enjoyable, thanks to its low latency level.
The absence of a better display or a superior processor benefits the powerhouse, as the 10,090mAh battery lasts for up to 12 hours while using the internet – fairing far better than premium models. You can restore 100% power to the battery within 90 minutes using its 45W Super Fast Charging adapter that, rather disappointingly, has to be bought separately. The box comes with a 15W charger, on which Samsung does not seem to be making any tall claims. Weighing 608g, the FE has all the usual sensors – Accelerometer, Gyro Sensor, Geomagnetic Sensor, Hall Sensor and Light Sensor – but does not possess a fingerprint sensor.
The slate runs on Android 11 and has all the software you could expect from a premium model, including a feature that turns your handwriting into text. Dual AKG speakers support Dolby Atmos, which brings out good sound output despite being less equipped compared to the quad-speaker setup on the S7+. In the box, you will find the gadget, a 15W charger and S Pen besides the user manual and warranty card. The 45W charger and keyboard has to be purchased separately.
Design & Display
The neat design language followed, seemingly inspired by the iPad Air, has flat surfaces all around except the curved edges and the camera bump. Samsung doesn’t get too creative with names of colours, terming all four of them – Black, Silver, Green and Pink – with the label of ‘Mystic’. The Korean manufacturers have made sure that the tab is durable and can sustain the knocks and falls it may be subject to, considering it is intended to be used by users on the move. The S Pen, which snaps to the side of the tablet magnetically, has the same colour and finish as the rear of the tab, and neither retain any fingerprints. The measuring scales have the dimensions at 185.0 x 284.8 x 6.3mm (HxWxD) and the weight at 604g, about 25g heavier than the S7+. The front camera fits well along with the black frame that elegantly borders the screen. The capacitive fingerprint sensor found on the S7+ is missing.
The TFT display has a refresh rate of 60Hz and a resolution of 2560×1600, which is more than suitable for streaming, video calls and sketching. The Super AMOLED with 120Hz used in the higher model feels amiss only while gaming although, the Adreno 619 GPU does a good job of making up for it. The LCD distinguishes between colours unexpectedly well and will also support UHD 4K video playback at 30fps. The S Pen on the S7+ is impressive, and we should not see much difference in the response rate since similar resistive touch technology is used to accommodate a stylus across different types of displays.
Software & Performance
The octa-core 750G Chipset has a Kyro 570 CPU that can clock up to 2.2GHz, and an X52 5G Modem that can support download speeds of up to 3.7Gbps. However, with a spotlight on 5G services in recent times, many users would have hoped for an 8 series Qualcomm chipset that would support double the download speeds, at 7.5Gbps. The tab is built for daily use and will suit students and office-goers, provided it is not required for heavy software. In terms of entertainment, there will not be any hitches while streaming videos and the audio output in Dolby Atmos through AKG’s dual speakers gives you an immersive experience. The graphics module handles most games well, but the ones which need an adaptive refresh rate or anything above 60Hz will not be supported.
The area in which the S series excels is the software, and this has got users to willingly overlook its hardware limitations. The S Pen offers an experience that can turn your writing into text, and the whole process feels natural since it happens in real-time. Editing the text also becomes a simpler ordeal with the S Pen.
While making a list on Noteshelf, the app will automatically recommend titles and suggest hashtags. You can bring out your artistic side on the PENUP app, which lets you draw and also interact with other creative people. The Clip Studio Paint app is also offered free for 6 months, and lets you illustrate comics with tools like storyboarding and inking. Multi-tasking gets even better as the S7 FE allows the screen to be split 3-ways; making it possible to take notes while having a video call, for instance. This is enabled with the help of the Edge panel, where you can load the apps that you want to use while multi-tasking. The Samsung DeX feature is also integrated and can be used with a keyboard for the desktop experience. Users can also have an intergalactic experience by having Galaxy Buds simultaneously connected to their tab and their Galaxy phone, and receiving a call on the phone will instantaneously pause the movie playing on the tab and audio from the phone will be redirected to the Buds.
This tablet goes back to basics when it comes to the cameras. The 8MP rear camera can be considered just a courtesy, as you won’t have much use for it if you have a smartphone with even a slightly better lens. There is no flash available either. The front 5MP camera is just about sufficient for video calls and group selfies which you click for memory without uploading on social media. However, the video calling experience is enhanced by the central positioning of the camera and three microphones that are embedded around the screen. The rear camera does have Auto Focus that contributes to the video recording, which can be captured in FHD resolution (1920×1080) at 30fps.
The FE uses the same battery as the S7+: a 10,090mAh cell with a fast-charging provision. The FE however makes use of it for a lengthier duration owing to its downgraded hardware. Internet usage time increases by 4 hours on both mobile network and Wi-Fi, while talk time increases by 20 hours. The video and audio playback times remain similar at around 13-14 and 205-206 hours respectively.
The stock tablet comes with a 15W fast charger, but Samsung also offers a 45W fast charger which can be bought separately. The 45W adapter recharges the battery to 100% in 90 minutes. On a full charge, the battery should be good to last for an entire day and also spill over to the next morning. Users are unlikely to have a problem with it as it can handle an entire day of work or studies, followed by movie streaming to unwind before bedtime.
Who is this tablet for?
It is still not clear which fans have inspired the Fan Edition, but the tab seems to have the daily users in mind as a target audience. The tablet runs on Android 11, which makes it pretty simple to load it up with apps available on PlayStore.
That said, the tablet is for you if:
- You are working or studying in a non-tech domain and have daily-use requirements like creating documents or presentations
- You are in the creative domain but require only light hardware and software, limited to sketching and basic editing
- You need an affordable device to communicate with people and for entertainment purposes, such as music and streaming on OTT platforms
- You do not have high-end requirements but still want a gadget that is premium in terms of appearance and feel
The tablet is not for you if:
- You are working in the multimedia domain and need advanced gadgets and software to handle your projects
- You are a gaming enthusiast who wants to play all the latest games available
- You are someone who wants state-of-the-art technology at your fingertips
- You have a bigger budget to go for alternatives with a higher processor
To meet the competition in the market, Samsung has repurposed its premium model to fit into the SG$1,000 segment that has counterparts from almost all of the other brands – Huawei, Apple, Lenovo, etc. Looking beyond the price, this is one of the first tabs to also be equipped with 5G. With Samsung’s sights on the 5G market, we did hope to see a better processor on the tab which would support higher download speeds. However, to be fair, download speeds of 3.7Gbps are hardly dismissible, but heads are bound to turn towards the S7+ 5G which peaks at 7.5Gbps.
Tabs aren’t usually the go-to device for capturing photos or videos, and Samsung may be depending on this heavily, hoping users do not see it as a deal-breaking con. It does perform at par with its competitors when it comes to other forms of media, with a Full HD screen and AKG speakers with Dolby Atmos.
Whenever a manufacturer follows a premium model with a lower version, the most predictable reaction by the market is to expect it to reach any or all of the bars set by the higher version. Looking past this, the FE is an affordable tab that covers all your basic requirements, but also offers 5G as a cut above the others.