The Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra is a tablet that packs Samsung’s latest tech, especially when it comes to hardware, the screen, and the stylus. It also brings the most cameras out of this Tab S9 generation, both a main and ultra-wide selfie cam, plus a main and ultra-wide on the back. But perhaps the more interesting aspect of the Tab S9 Ultra is its size; it’s built around a 14.6-inch OLED display, which is larger than many laptops.
Design and build
In hands, it feels massive, of course, for all kinds of reasons, it’s great to have a large screen, but it’s rather unwieldy, and you feel the need to prop it up somewhere; otherwise, you can work on that forearm strength. The device is actually impressively thin at 5.5 millimeters. The tablet is made from an aluminum unibody with a matte finish. The corners are rounded, but the frame is flat with sharp edges that help to secure the grip.
The Tab S9 Ultra is also IP68 rated for water and dust resistance, unexpected from a tablet but always nice to have. And you know what else has waterproofing? The S Pen stylus. It’s an active one with low latency input. The S Pen has a dedicated charging bed on the back with strong enough magnets to hold it there. You can also stick the pen to either of the long sides without charging.
The display of the Tab S9 Ultra is a 14.6-inch OLED. It has a pixel density of 239 PPI, a 120Hz refresh rate, and Gorilla Glass protection. By tablet standards, this display is plenty sharp, and you get great contrast thanks to the OLED tech. The color accuracy here is consistently good, and there’s support for HDR10+ video as well. Unlike the other Tab S9 models, there is a notch cutout in this display where the dual selfie cameras reside.
The Tab S9 Ultra’s 120Hz refresh rate makes movements on the screen like swiping extra smooth, and it’s adaptive, able to dial down as low as 30Hz when idling to save energy. As far as brightness goes, we measured about 350 nits maximum when controlling it manually with the slider, and this can boost up to 640 nits in auto mode when you need it. These are solid numbers for a tablet, plus this generation of tablets introduces Vision Booster, which improves the text and photos and other content under bright light.
Audio and Feature
The Tab S9 Ultra has four powerful speakers with Dolby Atmos support, two on each of its shorter sides. Loudness is excellent here, and the audio quality is superb with a rich sound from bass to highs. You can wake up and unlock the Tab S9 Ultra with an under-display fingerprint scanner. Most tablets these days don’t even have a fingerprint reader at all. And the Tab S9 Ultra comes with 256 or 512 gigs or a whole terabyte of storage on board, and that is microSD expandable.
The interface here is Samsung’s One UI 5.1 on top of Android 13. It’s fundamentally the same as on any other recent Samsung phone. You can check out our dedicated One UI 5 video if you want to find out more about it. On top of the typical One UI 5 features, you get a dock that shows your favorite and recently opened apps. You can easily hide it and bring it up when you need it. And of course, you get the specific features enabled by the S Pen, like drawing and taking notes and air actions, which control the tablet from a distance.
The desktop-like Dex mode
The Tab S9 Ultra’s interface supports the default tablet mode and the desktop-like Dex mode. You can easily switch between the two anytime from the settings or the notification center. The Dex mode exists within landscape orientation, and you get a Windows-like desktop with app icons. There is a taskbar at the bottom which houses all currently open apps. Upon transitioning from tablet mode to Dex and vice versa, your apps will stay open, and you won’t lose progress.
Just slap on a mouse and keyboard, and you basically have a laptop here. Besides the desktop interface, Dex can be used to connect the tablet to an external TV or monitor. The Tab S9 Ultra supports wireless connectivity too, no need for a dock or cable if the connecting device supports screen mirroring. A neat feature is that after connecting, it’s possible to do something different on both the tablet and the external screen for a unique multitasking experience.
The chipset of the Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra is a Snapdragon HN2 for Galaxy, with slightly higher clock speeds, just like in Samsung’s flagship phones. The Tab S9 Ultra does a great job in benchmark tests, pretty much topping the charts as far as tablets go. There’s no shortage of power here, and on top of that, in our prolonged stress tests, the Tab S9 Ultra did an excellent job, so the sustained performance is respectable too.
The Tab S9 Ultra has a large 11,200 milliamp-hour battery, and the battery life is decent. We measured 7 hours and 45 minutes of screen-on time when web browsing and 10 and a half hours when playing back videos. There is support for 45-watt wired charging, but as typical for Samsung, you don’t get an adapter in the box. With a 45-watt Samsung adapter, we were able to charge the tablet from 0 to 32 percent in half an hour.
The Tab S9 Ultra has two cameras on the back, a 13-megapixel main cam and an 8-megapixel ultra-wide. The main cam produces excellent daylight photos with a lot of fine detail, balanced sharpness, wide dynamic range, and punchy colors. The noise is low enough, and the contrast is likable. The main camera’s low-light photos are good too, detailed and sharp with a wide dynamic range and realistic colors. The main cam supports 4K video capture as well as electronic stabilization and does a good job.
The 8-megapixel ultra-wide camera offers a much wider field of view. The detail is adequate, the dynamic range is again wide, and the colors are less saturated and more true to life. Video recording with the rear ultra-wide camera is limited to 1080p resolution, but still, the quality is pretty decent. Here are some photos taken with a 12-megapixel main selfie cam; the quality is excellent, the subject is well exposed with a lot of detail and no noise, the dynamic range is adequate, and the colors are accurate.
The 12-megapixel front-facing ultra-wide camera also saves superb photos with a super-wide field of view. Their quality is similar to the photos from the other front cam. And here are selfie videos taken in 4K resolution; the quality is quite good. One thing worth noting is that there’s no stabilization in 4K; you’d have to switch to 1080p for that.