Leaks indicate that Samsung will launch the Galaxy Tab S8 FE and Galaxy S23 FE in 2023. After releasing the Galaxy Tab S7 FE in 2021 and Galaxy S21 FE in January 2022, Samsung has yet to release another “Fan Edition” device, and we’re curious to see how Samsung caters to its loyal fans with these two devices.
According to leaker Roland Quandt and a leaked Geekbench benchmark, the Galaxy Tab S8 FE will have a MediaTek Kompanio 900T chipset, an LCD display, and a Wacom digitizer for a better S Pen experience. It could arrive this summer alongside the Galaxy S23 FE and Galaxy Z Fold 5, or even sooner if it matches the S7 FE’s May release date.
We don’t know much else about this tablet yet. What we do know is that a lot has changed in the Android tablet space since the Tab S7 FE launched in 2021 and that the Tab S8 FE will need some upgrades to make an impression and keep it relevant compared to the Tab S8 and S9 series.
As the person who reviewed the Tab S7 FE, here is my Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 FE wishlist of features that could make it one of the best Android tablets you can afford.
Budget performance should mean a budget price
Benchmarks aren’t everything, but the leaked Galaxy Tab S8 FE Geekbench result (first spotted by Galaxy Club (opens in new tab)) showed the tablet hitting 773 and 2318 in single-core and multi-core results with 4GB of RAM.
Compared to the 4GB Galaxy Tab S7 FE — 654/1965 according to our parent company’s Future Labs benchmarks — this is a slight improvement, though maybe not as much as you’d hope to see in two years. Matched against other recent mid-range Android tablets like the $430 Lenovo Tab P11 Pro Gen 2 with Kompanio 1300T chip (777/2790), the Tab S8 FE doesn’t look especially powerful, thanks to that 4GB base memory and 900T CPU.
Nowadays you’ll often find the Tab S7 FE available for hundreds off, to differentiate it from the $700 Tab S8 that starts at 8GB with much better specs across the board. You may want the massive 12.4-inch display, but the S7 FE lacks the memory to use that space properly for multitasking your apps unless you pay for the 6GB or 8GB versions.
My true request here would be for Samsung to start the Tab S8 FE at 6GB and bundle in a faster chipset, considering the Galaxy Tab S9 will blow these Kompanio scores away with the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 or 2+. But taking the leak as reality, I’ll suggest instead that Samsung give fans a better deal on the Tab S8 FE and make it more affordable.
A 120Hz (or 90Hz) display
2021 was the last year that Samsung could reasonably get away with selling an expensive tablet with a 60Hz display. Since then, Lenovo has brought 120Hz to its Android tablets and plenty of mid-range and budget phones have begun to add faster refresh rates, ranging from 90Hz up to 144Hz.
Depending on whether the Galaxy Tab S8 FE is another 12.4-inch behemoth or dips to 11 inches, it may be prohibitively expensive to make it 120Hz like the Tab S8 and S7. But that’s Samsung’s economic problem to solve.
What we do know is that MediaTek says the Kompanio 900T supports up to 2000×1200 resolution at 120Hz. The tricky thing is that the Galaxy Tab S7 FE hit 2560×1600 resolution, so a faster refresh rate might mean a PPI downgrade with this chip.
Still, I think plenty of people would prefer that for the sake of smoother scrolling, myself included. Even a boost to 90Hz at the old resolution would be preferable. I’ll accept the LCD downgrade compared to the AMOLED Tab S8+, but I can’t go back to 60Hz.
A better front camera
I’ll never understand why so many tablets have better rear cameras than selfie cameras. No one I know uses tablets for frequent photography, but plenty of people use them for either work or personal video calls.
The Galaxy Tab S7 FE packed a paltry 5MP selfie camera that just didn’t get the job done on this front. Ideally, the Tab S8 FE would receive the same 12MP UW camera for both a wider view and auto-framing to keep the user in view. If not that, even an 8MP camera would at least make give you a grainy but visible feed for your calls.
A keyboard you can actually afford
Samsung really thinks that its attachable keyboards are luxury devices. Case in point, the Galaxy Tab S7 FE’s official Slim Book Cover Keyboard is $160 at full price. It’s in line with Apple’s cheapest attachable keyboards — and much cheaper than the $350 Tab S8 Ultra’s keyboard with trackpad — but it’s still too much.
I liked this keyboard in my testing for the key travel, dedicated S Pen slot, and the ease with which you could attach and detach it from the tablet. It’s certainly our favorite S7 FE keyboard. But it wasn’t perfect, as the magnetic stand portion left some wobble room when you tapped the Tab S7 FE with the S Pen.
Frankly, I doubt that many Tab S7 FE owners who chose a mid-range tablet to save money would turn around and spend that much on a keyboard. In an ideal world, Samsung would offer a more realistically affordable Bluetooth keyboard option to go with the Tab S8 FE.
An audio upgrade
With stereo Dolby Atmos speakers, the Galaxy Tab S7 FE is “loud enough if you’re not using it to blast a soundtrack at a party,” as I described the sound in my review. You need to keep the volume at least at half volume to make it audible, but there’s little to no distortion at high volumes, “bass is satisfyingly punchy, and the range is decent.”
Samsung has to make compromises somewhere to hit a lower price point, so it’s possible we’ll be stuck with dual speakers once again with the Galaxy Tab S8 FE. But even the ultra-cheap Galaxy Tab A8 has quad Dolby Atmos speakers, as does the sub-$300 Lenovo Tab P11 Plus.
It’s not unreasonable for us to ask for an upgrade in a tablet that’ll cost as much as both of these cheap Android tablets put together! Fans using the Tab S8 Fan Edition for regular streaming or cloud gaming will really appreciate the boost in volume.
An upgraded S Pen experience
The Galaxy Tab S8 with LCD display has a 6.2ms latency with its S Pen compared to 9ms on the Tab S7 FE. I actually quite liked the S Pen experience at that level, saying that “writing or sketching felt natural” on the S7 FE; but a small decrease in latency certainly couldn’t hurt!
I’m also quite intrigued by leaker Roland Quandt’s tweet (opens in new tab) that the Galaxy Tab S8 FE has a Wacom digitizer which “equals great pen experience.” Wacom makes some of the best drawing tablets available, so if that translates into better precision and pressure levels, that could make this new tablet more compelling than before.
But if this proves true, we hope Samsung reverses its trend of not including extra pen nibs with the tablet, since they tend to wear out fairly quickly. At that point, your only option is to send the S Pen to Samsung for a warranty replacement or to buy a third-party nib from Amazon. It needs to do better this year with both the Galaxy Tab S8 FE and Galaxy Tab S9 series.