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Original topic:

Tab S4 to S7+: My early impressions

(Topic created on: 23/09/20 01:12)
z28camaroman
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What comes in the box

  • The tablet
  • An improved S-pen that fits in the hand like a real pencil 
  • An e-waste 15 Watt charger
  • An unbranded sim-ejector tool
  • A lot of boring reading material

 

What doesn’t come in the box but should have

  • The proper 45 Watt charger the tablet genuinely needs
  • Extra pen tips (Tab S4 came with them)
  • Headphones or a 3.5mm headphone adapter dongle

 

The flagship parts

  • The screen: 1752p 120hz HDR10+ AMOLED
  • Snapdragon 865+
  • The quad speakers (actually noticeably better than the S4’s)
  • Build materials, fit and finish
  • The keyboard 
  • The front camera placement 

 

The compromises and cut corners

  • The camera sensors, both rear facing and front facing; at the very least, they could have upgraded the 8MP selfie cam to the 10MP sensor used on all of their flagships 
  • RAM configs, starting at 6GB and only topping at 8GB, while sister devices like the S20 Ultra, Note 20 Ultra and Z Fold 2 get 12GB of RAM
  • The optical fingerprint scanner; slower and less accurate than the S20’s ultrasonic sensor, technically less secure, and it worries me of possible burn in from the exact spot that needs to light up to read my thumb
  • Software support; QUARTERLY SECURITY PATCHES instead of MONTHLY like the S20’s, Note 20’s, Z Fold 2, Z Flip 5G, S10’s, Note 10’s, S9’s, Note 9’s, you get it; likely near the back of the line for Android 11 if history is anything to go by

 

As a Tab S4 user dissatisfied with the cramped keyboard, non-existent HDR support and negligent software support (security patches every 4-5 months, One UI 2.1 update half a year after initial release, still no One UI 2.5), I was hoping the Tab S7+ would improve on all of these issues. Well, it at least got the first 2 right. By no means is the Tab S7+ a laptop replacement but it is a joy to use. The screen feels noticeably sharper even if the resolution bump is fairly minimal. It may have to do with the improved brightness or improvements in the AMOLED manufacturing process, but screen elements on the S7+ look sharper and more defined. The speakers are also louder and have more bass and clarity to them. This is by no means an audiophile analysis, but I am glad to see Samsung didn’t just call it a day with the speaker performance as it was on the S4, even if I still find it really good. The first party keyboard finally is worth your while. The key travel is a little shallow but all the keys have proper spacing and are properly sized. Using the keyboard on your lap though is a large chore. It’s not particularly stable and the connector between the keyboard and tablet is very flimsy, which causes a lot of movement on anything other than a hard surface. he fingerprint scanner is serviceable, if a little hit and miss at times, and the face unlock, although not really that secure, does work fast enough and better than it did previously due to the camera placement. On a side note, I have yet to have any issues with palm rejection but that maybe only because of the way I type, so your mileage may vary. Although they are standout features, I don’t have much to say about the S-Pen or DeX. Given my use case for a tablet, neither are particularly necessary for me but you won’t hear me complain. 



What I will complain about is how Samsung treats their customers for this product. Starting with the contradictory information with the launch, some people got their orders early, some on time, some late and some not at all. I can’t imagine why Samsung can’t get the shipping logistics straight but it has led to a frustrating experience for many buyers. Thankfully, I got lucky, but I sympathize for others who haven’t been. Secondly, in regards to what you get, it’s incredibly stupid that the tablet comes with a 15 Watt charger from 2014. It supports 45 Watts, and seeing how long it takes to charge with anything but, you really need it, but no, that’s an extra charge. It also doesn’t come with extra S-pen tips for when the current one wears down. The Tab S4 came with extras, so why the S7+ wouldn’t is well beyond me. Lastly, there are no adapters in the box of any kind. No USB A to C or vise versa, no 3.5 millimeter headphone dongle or anything of the sort. As someone who has gone full wireless, I’m fine, but for the people who haven’t, it’s a massive inconvenience. The headphone jack is only dead in certain market segments, so for people with wires, they need something to plug them in to. The point I’m trying to make is that unboxing the S7+ is as barebones as it gets. One could argue that so is Apple’s, but let’s not use the worst offender as the baseline for the niceties that ought to come with a product like this. On a third and final note, I’d like to talk about software. Despite this being the best Android tablet money can buy, the S7+ is currently on the quarterly security patch list along with the Galaxy A Series phones. Despite having a 5G model that costs over $1,000 USD, quarterly, meaning a patch once every 3-4 months, if that, is the “best” Samsung can give. If history is any indication, it also means that all OS updates will be months behind even the Galaxy S10 series. This is no way to treat your users, Samsung.

 

In summary, I think the S7+ is a great upgrade from previous Tab S devices that just needs a little love and respect from Samsung. If Samsung commits to monthly security patches and OS updates a month or two at most after the S20’s and Note 20’s, I’ll be a happy camper. As for next year’s Tab S8 line, I would like to see the 45 Watt charger and extra S-pen tips included with the product and a minimum of 8GB of RAM, regardless of the storage chosen. There’s no doubt in my mind it’s going to be more expensive, but given how cheap chargers, pen tips and RAM is to produce for Samsung, it ought to be part of the price.

 

This is by no means an in-depth or complex review. I just wanted to share my personal experience and frustrations with what would otherwise be an exemplary product. 

 

If anyone at Samsung is reading this, PLEASE GET THE SOFTWARE TEAM TO COMMIT TO MONTHLY SECURITY PATCHES. It's an entirely reasonable and fair ask. 

 

Thank you. 

5 REPLIES 5
Dennycrane
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I am living in the UK and I reluctantly gave in & purchased Tab S7+ 5G, I say reluctantly as the only variant made available by Samsung in the UK is the far less impressive 128GB HDD with 6GB of ram. I enquired about this and was told that this is the only model available so take it or leave it, not in those exact words of course but that was the attitude I got. I complained to the CEO of marketing (they love their pointless job titles) and got an email back with a lot of mealy mouth words but no useful information. On a whim I checked other countries via official Samsung websites & found out that some of the poorest & controversial countries were getting the better spec machines countries like Portugal, now I have Portuguese friends who tell me that the country is so poor through corruption & poor governance that most ordinary people can't afford the price of a sustainable weakly food shopping trip, never mind a tablet costing over 1300 Euros. Then there's Turkey they also have access to the higher spec flagship, but as far as I know they are still involved in the Syrian conflict so good luck selling Samsung merchandise in a literal war zone guys, what great business decision makers Samsung sales exec's are. so I purchased the tablet & went to part exchange my Galaxy Tab S6 (256GB HDD 8GB ram) & to my great surprise this tablet is not on the trade in list. More enquiries made & I was told Samsung "never includes the previous years flagship in the part exchange scheme". But yet again checking on Samsung's World website I discovered this is not true as countries such as USA & others get to trade in their flagship S6 tablets in for the maximum discount available. Every time I use the S7+ the gloss is taken from my experience because of the memory of dealing with the incompetence of the Samsung sales exec's and or their down right lies + lazy attitude to their jobs. No doubt Covid will be given some of the blame, Samsung won't be the only ones to use the great covid excuse, it'll no doubt be trotted out to explain everything from the declining honey bee population to the cancellation of the second coming and mad cow. We'll be hearing this for centuries to come as we slowly hurtle towards our doom in a state of mind numbing kung flu impotency.

Denny Crane.
williajo5022
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Hey Denny,

i've been through a very similar experience. Before I start, I'd say that living with the S7+ in the UK turns out tbe a great experience (eventually). I've used it for Word, Excel, Powerpoint, many Teams calls (it's incredibly good at this), Film and TV viewing - we barely use the TV anymore, music streaming and gaming. However, like you my experience was tainted. I wanted at least an 8gb RAM model (like my tab S6), but my greatest frustration turned out to be the keyboard cover. I finally have one and the tablet now feels complete - it didn't when I was using separate bluetooth keyboard and mouse. The tablet was (and still is) marketed and launched always with the keyboard cover. Yet...when launched the keyboard cover was unavailable for the first 2-3 weeks (maybe a month). The Samsung response was that it was available at Argos, even though it blatantly wasn't. That will definitely be blamed on Covid (maybe some truth in it). However, the decision not to give the larger memory device to the UK is just complete madness, makes me feel the UK Exec team are not a real Exec team and if they are they are incompetent. This device is supposed to compete with the iPad Pro 12.9. That device gets away with 6GB ram because it's got an OS designed specifically for the device whereas Android has to cater for a vast number of devices so can't be as well optimised - so the S7+ needs more RAM. If you want to break into a new market you can't just follow what's sold in the past.....(any competent Exec will understand this - I'm talking to you senior Samsung UK Team)

regards

John (a UK FTSE director)
Dennycrane
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Hello williajo5022. I agree the S7+5G is a fantastic tablet but yet again Samsung's logistics department was caught lacking. Having to wait nearly two months for the keyboard (after being told my pre-order keyboard was guaranteed to be delivered with the tablet) is another shocking example of an Over promising and under delivering attitude that both hurts customer confidence, and a firms reputation. Is this a new British attitude to running a business, I ask as you might have some insight on this doing the job that you do. it would explain a great many things for example why Samsung UK seems to get things so wrong, compared the rest of the larger Samsung machine. Again I'm using Samsung as an example, but I see this sort of attitude in other businesses in the UK. Before I became unable too work I was employed in Retail management, working my way up from a trainee in 1975 through the then governments Youth Opportunity Scheme. was only supposed to be in that position for 6 months, with no guarantee of a job at the end of it. But I ended up being there for thirty years give or take, thats what makes me so disappointed in todays business managers, because if me or any of my colleagues gave such a poor customer experience we would be out of a job whether we were there for 30 years or 3 months. Since when has the thought of good customer service been seen as something we'll get around to if we can be bothered too. I know I'm getting old but come on I always took pride in my work, this seems to be an attribute lacking in Britain now. As I said I'm getting old & the only things I have to look forward to is getting really sick and dying, so being full of p**s 'n' vinegar is the only joy I get, that and my (underpowered) flagship Samsung Galaxy Tab S7+ 5G. Flagship, hey Samsung if the Enterprise is to be given comparative 23rd century specifications then humanity had better learn to speak Klingon (tlhIngan)

Danny Caine, AKA James T Kirk.

PS, I don't think the mad cow is effecting me so much today, what ya think.
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williajo5022
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Unfortunately, it seems to vary by industry. I'm in financial services and one of the ways you distinguish yourself from the competition is reputation, so we have people scouring social media to look for areas we can improve as well as through the complaints processes (Samsung must do the same and must be a little disturbed by what they read - but I suspect the UK team are very much a junior partner to the group business). I still find that the worst is the telecomms sector. If you want a new product or service the wait times are almost zero and the product knowledge seems good. However, once you have the product and have a problem the service is terrible (i've had this with Sky, BT and Vodafone, so i'm sure it's not limited to just these players).
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Dennycrane
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Now here's a the exception that proves the rule scenario I had with Vodafone. When I signed up with them I instantly regretted it. lacklustre 4G, terrible tech support and enthusiastic but clueless customer service. It got so bad that I was constantly complaining about no one taking responsibility for the issues raised and for not calling me back when they promised they would. So I decided too ride out the contract and leave as soon as I could. Now FFWD a year or so & new management took over and things started to improve. Now on the rare occasions I need to call them the experience is excellent so much so that I've now renewed my contract with them several times. Lessons can be taken by Samsung, listen too customers we aren't just making noise for the sake of it, ok sometimes things go wrong but don't dismiss issues out of hand, the old maxims still hold true "the customer is king (or queen)" and " the customer is always right". Don't treat us as fools or ignore us as brand loyalty will soon erode & I don't want to see this happen here, but it will as far as I'm concerned if no improvements are made. When I contacted the CEO I told him I had the money in my hand to pay for the higher spec tablet, and I practically begged him to take it but all he said was that the UK wouldn't get the higher spec model & nothing could be done. I do hope the management at Samsung Korea get to read this as I would have thought that part of their mission statement was too make money for the company and it's shareholders & not refuse to provide any products or services to customers thus ensuring the companies financial health.
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