Probably hundreds or even thousands of sites posted a Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 Review when it came out earlier this fall (2020). So, why does the Internet need another one? It doesn’t! Thanks for stopping by.
Actually, I’ll publish one anyway, because I want to focus on how I use the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 in my ministry. My Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 Review will focus on the following:
General tablet use including email, social media, web surfing, playing games, and watching video online
Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 Review: Screen and Input
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 blows away every other Android tablet. If you want a cheap tablet to read books, watch videos and play a few games, then consider a Kindle Fire. But if you want the best Android tablet available, then buy the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 or S7+. I have a friend who is an Apple fan through and through. He said the Tab S7 is good enough to make him consider switching, almost.
Samsung offers two iterations of this stellar tablet each in three colors (Mystic Bronze, Mystic Black, Mystic Silver). One comes with an 11-inch WQXGA LCD with a 2560 x 1600 resolution. It’s a beautiful screen even though the larger 12.4-inch Super AMOLED display with a 2800 x 1752 resolution. I looked at both at the store and wanted the smaller more portable tablet and didn’t see a very big difference between the two screens. In theory, a Super AMOLED display should look much better, but the LCD on my tablet still looks amazing.
I primarily bought the tablet because I wanted a smaller tablet for reading, taking notes, and general media consumption. The S Pen competes well against the Apple Pencil on the iPad, whether you use the second generation Pencil on the iPad Pro or the older Pencil on an iPad mini, iPad Air, or regular iPad. It’s a better size and fits in my large hands perfectly. I love taking notes in Samsung Notes. If they offered a slightly smaller 9-10 inch screen I probably would have picked that version, but my 11-inch S7 isn’t unwieldy.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 Performance
The 865+ Qualcomm Snapdragon processor feels very fast with an Octa-Core 3.09GHz rating. Both tablets run on the same processor. The 11 gives users 8GB of RAM while the 12.4 strangely only has 6GB. You can buy them with three storage options – 128, 256, and 512GB of built-in storage. Add up to 1TB of expendable micro-SD card storage.
Specs don’t matter if the software doesn’t run fast. The Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 does. Everything feels smooth. Apps jump to life. I started it up and timed the boot and it took 28 seconds from start-up to the point I could launch apps. That does not include the few seconds when I paused my timer while I entered my password and restarted it as it finished booting.
I don’t play a lot of games, but the few I do ran smoothly. You won’t worry about speed on the Tab S7 or S7+. Find out all the detailed specs at Samsung’s website, but here’s the list of highlights.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 Specs
Software: Android 10 and Samsung’s One UI 2.5
Processor: Octa-Core (3.09GHz,2.4GHz,1.8GHz)
Display: 11-inch WQXGA display with a 2560 x 1600 TFT
Memory: 128, 256, 512 GB storage, 8 GB RAM for 11-inch and 6 GB for 12.4-inch; up to 1TB micro-SD card slot
Camera: Front = 8MP, Rear = 13 and 5 MP; Video Recording UHD 4K 30fps
Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 Review: Bible Study and Reading Books
Many ministers will use their Tablets for reading and Bible study and I’m one of them. I primarily run Logos Bible Android App, Olive Tree Bible, and Accordance Bible. Sometimes I run the Bible app from Life.Church too.
These apps run perfectly fine. The Accordance and Olive Tree Bible apps will let you store your books on the micro-SD card, which helps if you have a really large library or want to keep them on external storage in case you have to erase the internal storage.
In addition to Bible apps, I use the Kindle app and read PDF files on my tablet. The screen may seem a little large for some, especially compared to a Kindle or smaller Kindle Fire. But I like it. I am getting older and can boost the font size to easily read.
Write in the Margins or Highlight like a Paper Book
If you convert your books to PDF format, you can import them into Samsung Notes or some other note-taking app and mark them up as you would with a pencil or pen and a paper book.
Samsung ships the tablet with Noteshelf, a great note-taking app that’s also good for marking up books. When you create a new note, you can import a document and choose your PDF book from internal storage, the SD card, or a sync service like Dropbox or OneDrive. You have to set those services up and then they will show up as options in the Noteshelf import dialog box.
Now, use the S Pen to write notes in the margin or highlight the book. When you’re done reading the book export the PDF with a slightly different name, like Book Name Finished.PDF.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 Review: Preaching from Digital Notes
When I preach, I don’t take paper notes into the pulpit. I use my tablet. For years I used the iPad and then iPad Pro 12.9-inch. Now, I like using the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 because it’s a little smaller.
I write my sermons in Microsoft Word and then load them into the Android app on my Tab S7. In the upper right corner, there’s an icon that looks like an open book. Tap that to get to Reader view. It loads the document in a larger font that you can adjust. Swipe left/right like a notebook. This view hides the toolbar.
Using the tablet is great. I think Microsoft needs to make their Reading Mode work on Android the same as iOS. You can swipe left/right like a notebook or scroll up down on iOS. You can scroll up/down on Android.
Presenting Using the Tab S7
Presenting requires connecting the tablet to an external display or projector. I use a USB C to HDMI cable for a reliable connection. Hook that up to a projector, as I do. Then I fire up Microsoft PowerPoint.
I love that I can annotate my slides using the S Pen. Touch in the top black bar above the slide to show the inking tools. Then when you’re finished you can close the presentation and either keep or discard the ink markups.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 Note Taking
Notetakers can use one of the dozens or even hundreds of note-taking apps in the Android App Store. Samsung ships with its Samsung Notes app, my primary choice because it’s simple to use and I don’t really need much more than that. I can use the S Pen and when I write on screen I can rest my wrist on the screen while writing.
Samsung also ships with the above mentioned Noteshelf. It’s also a simple note-taking app. I don’t think it adds much that you can’t get from Samsung Notes, so I don’t use it.
INKredible offers another more powerful note-taking option. The one reason I like it is the zoom feature. See the image above. It pops open a box at the bottom of the screen. As you write in the zoom box, it enters the handwriting in the spot of the note above the zoom box. As you write, a gray shaded section appears at the left end of the line. When you finish writing at the end of the box you start writing in the left side gray area and it automatically moves the entry box over to the right of that line and then to the next line as you get to the end of the line. See it in the demo below, which is admittedly very old and out of date.
I take my Tab S7 everywhere. I take notes in meetings, when I’m doing my devotions with my print Bible, or when I’m brainstorming ideas for ministry or even my personal life. It’s a great companion and I love taking notes on it.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 Review: Games, Media and Web Usage
As I said above, I don’t play a lot of games. However, I enjoy simple games like the Microsoft Solitaire app, Real Pool 3D, and others. People who play more power-hungry games will likely enjoy using the tablet with 8GB of RAM and a fast Octa-Core 3.09GHz processor. Below you’ll see a video demo of more powerful games like PubG Mobile from a gamer.
I do watch some videos, mostly using YouTube, Netflix, and YouTube TV. It’s a great solution for that while out and about waiting for. The sound won’t blow anyone away, but it’s very good for what it does. They advertise the Dolby Atmos support, but my aging ears don’t hear that much difference between average speakers and better quality sound like the Tab S7 should offer.
Volume sounds loud enough at about 75% in a somewhat noisy room. You can pump it to 100% to get louder audio, but your neighbors will get annoyed. Plug in or use wireless earbuds for most of your usage and you’ll get better sound.
Some users long for a device that serves as their mobile phone or tablet and as a desktop computer. With Samsung Dex, you get just such an application.
I plugged my Samsun Galaxy Tab S7 into a monitor using a USB C to HDMI cable. Then I paired a Bluetooth mouse and keyboard to the tablet. The screen shows up on the monitor and works as a desktop computer.
Dex works as expected, but I don’t really want to use Android as my desktop system. So, I didn’t really use it much. I could in a pinch and I could see carrying around a good Bluetooth keyboard and mouse. You can also use the optional Samsung Keyboard Cover, but it’s not cheap and doubles the thickness of the tablet and it’s not easy to remove quickly for reading or taking handwritten notes with the S Pen. So, I don’t bother. I returned the keyboard cover and got the thinner and lighter Book Cover. I used to carry around the mouse and keyboard but seldom used it so I quit doing that. You’ll need to decide if you want to make use of Dex.
If you’re looking for the best Android tablet in general, then go get the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7. If you want a larger 12.4-inch screen to use as a computer replacement, then get the larger Tab S7+, but that’s the only reason. The smaller S7 holds up fine for the majority of users.
People who only want a tablet for reading, playing light games, watching videos, and doing some basic Internet activities, should really consider one of the very inexpensive Amazon Kindle Fire tablets. Get whatever size you prefer.
If you’re deeply emersed in the Apple world, consider the iPad, iPad Air, or iPad mini depending on what size you want and what budget. The great Apple Pencil works on all of them.
Dr. Kevin Purcell is pastor of High Peak Baptist Church, an author and writer at Church Tech Today (www.churchtechtoday.com). He used to write for a number of other Christian and secular technology and mobile tech sites. Now he's one of the hosts of the Theotek Podcast, which you can find by checking the menu above or over at www.facebook.com/theotekpodcast.