Mobiles & Tablets

Samsung Tab S7 FE: Create, learn, work

Mala Bhargava June 23 | Updated on June 23, 2021

A newly-configured tablet more affordably priced for these tough times

Many homes have felt the need for an additional computing device during the pandemic. That device could be a laptop, specially if someone who will use it needs specific Windows-based software. But a laptop isn’t always versatile. It could be an iPad from the many options that Apple has, but everyone isn’t keen on jumping into Apple’s ecosystem or are just unfamiliar with it. That leaves Android tablets, of which there are really very few options. Samsung dominates with the main series being the Tab S7 right now.

In September of last year, we reviewed the Tab S7+ tablet, the most expensive of the line-up at ₹79,999. The regular S7 tablet is also out of reach for money at ₹63,999. Samsung has now offered a new configuration of the S7 tablet which has been priced much more affordably at ₹42,999. And yet, it brings some of the more advanced features to this price point. That’s where the FE suffix comes from, assuming fans want some specific features for a price they can accept.

The form factor of the Tab S7 FE is very landscape rather than portrait — much as is the case for Samsung’s other tablets. It’s a 12.4-inch tablet which is almost laptop sized. It’s not suited to reading a book, which is one of my favourite things to do on a tablet, but is just right for watching movies, video calls (with the camera in the right place), and for typing with the keyboard, which isn’t provided in the box but has to be bought separately. It’s quite a comfortable keyboard and certainly not cramped in any way. The one that’s meant for this tablet also doubles up as a cover onto which the tablet clamps on magnetically. The package does include Samsung’s famous S-Pen, the digital stylus that gives this tablet its versatility.

Putting pen to paper

The S-Pen probably makes this tablet a great tool for children in the family. It’s very easy to use. First of all, it clamps on to the tablet and the keyboard case because it has a magnetic side. Unlike in previous versions of the tablet, the pen sits tight in a place where it doesn’t easily fall off. Nothing is needed to active it: pick it up and start writing or drawing or marking.

Held in the portrait orientation and resting it on one’s lap or on a surface, it’s easy enough to use it for writing. The sheer length of the tablet gives a nice long legal-size page to work on. The tablet supports the pen writing on the blank black screen which is the quickest way of writing. There’s a nice loud sound of pencil on paper which may distract a small number of people but which I thought was really nice and satisfying.

There’s plenty of things one can do with the S-Pen, both for children and adults. Taking notes, writing (with conversion from handwriting to text), marking documents, designing, drawing and sketching (with various apps and Samsung Notes to support it) and even navigating. Pressing the tiny button on the S-Pen triggers a special menu for features that go with the pen including translation, and taking notes etc.

On the work front, the tablet supports DeX which is how advanced Samsung devices connect and communicate to computers. How easy you find it to use for work depends very much on what you do and what software you need. But all the usual Android apps are there including all the basic versions of Microsoft’s most-used.

Strong colours & angles

The S7 FE tablet doesn’t have one of Samsung’s great AMOLED screens but a TFT LCD. But it’s rather a good one with nice strong colours and excellent viewing angles. The refresh rate is 60Hz.

The display is large, so there’s a lot of real-estate there The bezels are a size you would expect on a laptop rather than on a phone, but pretty good to work with. Movies cane into their own on this display and I went on quite a bit of binge watching.

The tablet runs on Snapdragon 750G, a processor we see on mid-range phones. It comes with 4 or 6GB of RAM and 128GB storage. It works on Android 11 with Samsung’s OneUI 3.1. You won’t find the tablet as snappy and blazing fast as smartphones tend to be and it’s even a little stuttery if pushed too far. Keep it lean on apps and multitasking and you’ll have a better experience specially if you maintain it well and clean out truckloads of ageing files and media.

Big battery

This tab has a particularly big battery: 10090mAh and it really holds up well under usage. For sure it’ll last the day even with a good amount of usage. It also supports fast charging.

If there’s one thing I would have liked to see do much better it’s the front camera. The 5MP shooter should have been more capable in this time of video calls. It may as well have traded places with the 8MP rear camera which in any case is of limited use on this huge tablet.

Alongside the S7 FE Samsung also launched an A7 tablet which is strictly for those on a tight budget.

Published on June 23, 2021

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