Monday, May 20, 2024
Smart Phones

Galaxy Tab S9 Plus vs Galaxy Tab S9: What are 1.4 inches between friends?


Samsung’s got a trio of new tablets on the market, helmed by the large and spectacular Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra, but the rest of the lineup isn’t half-bad either. 

In fact, I can wholeheartedly recommend either the Galaxy Tab S9 Plus or the Galaxy Tab S9 over the gargantuan and unwieldy Tab S9 Ultra, as both will serve you just fine. But which one to choose? What’s the difference between the two new Android-powered tablets in Samsung’s fold, and is the difference merely the actual size of the slates? Moreover, which one should you actually get?

Let’s unravel the whole story!

Galaxy Tab S9 Plus vs Galaxy Tab S9 in a nutshell:

  • 12.4-inch vs 11-inch display
  • 12GB vs 8GB RAM
  • Cellular version vs n/a
  • 256GB vs 128GB storage
  • 10,090mAh vs 8,400mAh battery
  • 8MP ultra-wide camera vs n/a
  • $999 vs $799 starting price

Table of Contents:

Design and Display Quality

Peas in a pod

Welp, might as well put it out first: there’s little to no general difference between the Galaxy Tab S9 Plus and the Galaxy Tab S9. Sure, one is slightly smaller and lighter, but it should come to no surprise that the design and build quality are pretty much the same. 

The sleek Armor Aluminum and Gorilla Glass sandwich with sharp edges and thin relatively thin makes for a premium design experience. Both tablets are extremely thin and lightweight considering their respective sizes; the Galaxy Tab S9 Plus is slightly thinner, but you’ll never notice that.

Now, of course, the Galaxy Tab S9 Plus is slightly larger and has a larger 12.4″ screen in comparison with the more compact 11″ Galaxy Tab S9, but the difference isn’t that big. What’s palpable, however, is just how manageable the small tablet is and just how lighter it is in comparison. From a usability standpoint, the Galaxy Tab S9 definitely wins. 

Both tablets are IP68-rated, which means you can use them around pools and other bodies of water with the peace of mind that they will survive any ordeal.

You won’t find a wall adapter in any of the boxes of the two tablets; instead, you’ll find a charging cable and an S Pen stylus. The tablets are both available in Graphite and Beige.

Speaking of displays, both the Galaxy Tab S9 Plus and the Galaxy Tab S9 employ 16:10 screens, which are perfect for watching movies, TV shows, and YouTube videos. Unlike previous compact Samsung tablets, the Galaxy Tab S9 now finally comes with a 11″ Dynamic AMOLED display, which ensures for superior contrast, vivid colors, and high brightness. The same applies to the Galaxy Tab S9 Plus, which has a 12.4″ display of the same type.  

Display Measurements:

Biometrics-wise, both tablets have fingerprint scanners built into the screens. These have wide detection areas and are quite accurate and snappy, at least in my experience. If you don’t want to go through the hassle, you can always resort to using the picture-based face unlock on deck.


Performance and Software

The power of the Snapdragon

The hardware setup of the Galaxy Tab S9 Plus and the Galaxy Tab S9 is pretty much the same, with a few exceptions.

The Galaxy S23’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy chipset is running the show here, and it’s pretty much the best one performance-wise you can get on an Android device right now. Unlike Samsung’s phones, however, the tablets have a much larger footprint, which allows for better heat dissipation and therefore longer sustained peak performance.  

And sustained performance is exactly what you get, as either of the two new tablets has seemingly tons of performance in reserve. Interface navigation and regular everyday tasks work like a charm, while gaming is spectacular thanks to the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2’s superb graphics-crunching capabilities. As an added bonus, gaming rarely leads to thermal issues: the Tab S9 Plus and the Tab S9 might get slightly warm, but nothing too out of the ordinary. Perfect choice for gamers!

Performance Benchmarks:

In terms of storage, the Galaxy Tab S9 is available with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage at its entry-level $799 price point, but you can also have it with 12GB of RAM and 256GB of storage if you opt for the $920 version. Meanwhile, the Galaxy Tab S9 Plus can be had with 256 or 512GB of storage, both of which come with 12GB of RAM on deck. Prices are $1000 and $1,120, respectively. 

Both slates have microSD card slots for further storage expansion, which is kind of a rarity these days. 

In terms of connectivity, only the Galaxy Tab S9+ is available with a cellular version, and then again, if you opt for the 5G-ready version of the tablet, you can only have it in the 12GB RAM/256GB storage flavor, with the price creeping up to $1,150. The Galaxy Tab S9 has no cellular version. 


Dual vs a single camera, but does it even matter

Let’s face it: pretty much nobody cares about tablet cameras. 

The big difference between the two tablets is the single wide-angle camera on the Galaxy Tab S9, while the Galaxy Tab S9 Plus scores a dual-camera setup with a new 8MP ultra-wide snapper. 

Quality-wise, don’t expect wonders out of either tablet’s camera. They’ll get a usable picture most of the time, though don’t expect pristine image quality: noise and imperfect dynamic range might be a common sight. 

Main camera

As mentioned, the main camera of the two tablets delivers pretty much similar results. Can’t say I’m a big fan of the image quality, but it should be just enough for the casual picture here or there. 

Selfie camera

Galaxy Tab S9 Plus selfie camera samples

Galaxy Tab S9 selfie camera samples

Selfies are good on both. Selfies don’t shine with anything with particular, but they aren’t half-bad either. In any case, you’d look mostly okay during video calls!

Audio Quality and Haptics

Both Samsung tablets feature larger loudspeakers than the previous generation, but alas, the AKG-tuned sound system lacks oomph and doesn’t have a particularly good audio definition in the base frequencies. 

Moving on to another common flaw on both tablets, we are moving onto the haptic feedback of the Galaxy Tab S9 Plus and the Tab S9. Suffice to say that both are quite terrible, offering mushy and totally unsatisfying haptic feedback. I lasted a few minutes before turning it totally off for good. 

Battery Life and Charging

Not bad!

The Galaxy Tab S9 arrives with a 8,400mAh, slightly larger than its predecessor, while the Galaxy Tab S9 Plus retains the 10,090mAh battery of the previous Galaxy tablet. This is another area where the two new slates differ. Thanks to the efficient Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 on board, both tablets have great battery life, which is confirmed by our own battery tests. 

In the PhoneArena battery tests, which are all conducted at 200 nits of manually set brightness, the Galaxy Tab S9 generally lags behind the Galaxy Tab S9 Plus by a little, which is logical given the larger battery on the Plus tablet. The only major difference is in our video streaming test, in which the two slates score pretty similar results: the benefit of the larger battery is mostly offset of the larger and power-hungrier display.

PhoneArena Battery Test Results:

Charging wise, both devices support 45W fast charging, but you will have to supply your own charger. The Galaxy Tab S9 has the upper hand when it comes to charging, with the Galaxy Tab S9 Plus lagging slightly behind. 

PhoneArena Charging test:

Specs Comparison

Summary and Final Verdict

All things considered, Samsung’s new compact tablets are two excellent offerings, and you can safely consider them to be completely interchangeable. What does this mean? 

With the exception of optional cellular connectivity, both the Galaxy Tab S9 Plus and the Galaxy Tab S9 will treat you to the same general experience, with similar battery life, performance, camera image quality, and display properties. 

Surely, with the Galaxy Tab S9 Plus you get a little more, but the differences aren’t that big. 

From a usability perspective, I’ve been enjoying the smaller Galaxy Tab S9 more, as it’s easier to handle and fit into my daily usage habits. No beef with the larger tablet, but it’s often too unwieldy.

Price-wise, the Galaxy Tab S9 is also much more affordable, so it’s ultimately a much better value. Overall, if you have to get a new Android tablet these days, I’d wholly recommend opting for the Galaxy Tab S9


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