Samsung’s Unpacked hardware parade continues with the Galaxy Tab S9. The tablet was destined to be something of an also-ran during an event that features a pair of new foldables and smartwatches. Much like the company’s non-folding flagship smartphones, the Galaxy Tab line is mature now, and most upgrades are destined to be somewhat iterative.
There is, however, one interesting surprise this time out. The S9 is the first entry in the series to attain an IP68 rating. That means it can handle dust and a dip in water. It’s the first Samsung tablet to hit that mark that wasn’t specifically designed for rugged use. (Apple’s iPads, by comparison, do not feature an IP rating.) All the tablets get OLED screens for this generation, whereas last year’s models were split across LED and OLED depending on size.
The other big update here is the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy. The chip was introduced for the Galaxy S23 handset earlier this year and was rolled to the Galaxy Z foldables line during today’s event. The chip is a customized version of the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, which brings some improvements to things like digital signal processing for photos. The quad speakers have been improved as well. They’re 20% larger than the last gen and feature Dolby Atmos sound.
The device once again comes in three main variations. There’s the Galaxy Tab S9 (11-inch), Galaxy Tab S9+ (12.4-inch) and Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra (14.6-inch). Different screen sizes mean different battery sizes (naturally), and those come in at 8,400 mAh, 10,090 mAh and 11,200 mAh, respectively. The S9 features a front-facing 12-megapixel ultrawide and rear-facing 13-megapixel camera. The S9+ and S9 Ultra add a second 8-megapixel ultrawide to the rear, while the Ultra also gets a second 12-megapixel selfie camera. All three ship with the new Galaxy S Pen, which — like the tablets themselves — is now rated IP68.
An optional S Pen Creator Edition “is designed with textured material for a comfortable grip and a wider tilt angle that makes creating more intuitive. Two types of pen-tips are also available, a hard type for natural drawing experiences and a soft type for paper-like writing experiences.”
The Tab S9 series goes up for preorder today and starts shipping August 11 (along with the rest of today’s devices). The S9 starts at $800 and 128GB of storage (upgradable to 256GB); the S9+ starts at $1,000 for the 256GB model (upgradable to 512GB); and the S9 Ultra starts at $1,200 for the 256TGB model (upgradeable to 512GB and 1TB). There’s also a 5G version of the S9+ that starts at $1,150.