Samsung tablet buying guide: These are the features you should look out for

So, you've decided to buy a Samsung tablet. But which one?

The answer to that question comes down to what you're going to use your tablet for. In this article, we've compiled the main features to consider when buying a Samsung tablet. Combine it with our guide to the best Samsung tablets to buy in 2023 to find your dream device!


In this blog:


Screen & Audio

Your main choice when it comes to screens is small, medium or large.

Most new 'standard' Samsung tablets feature a 10.4 screen, which is big enough to enjoy films on but not so big that you feel like you're holding a TV. These are your everyman screens, suitable for 95% of things you might do on a tablet.

Samsung's Plus models generally go up to 12.4", making them ideal for visually-driven work like graphic design, illustration or coding (but bear in mind that's still 5" smaller than the biggest iPad Pro – an important factor if you're still asking "should I buy an iPad Pro or Samsung?"). They're decent if you're an audiovisual buff who likes to watch movies on the go too, or you travel a lot and want to play console-standard games in the highest possible quality.

Finally, you've got your smaller screens, which aren't as widely available as big phones have made new 7" tablets largely redundant (the Galaxy S22 Ultra has a 6.8" screen, for example) but ideal if you have smaller hands or you're on a tight budget.

It's also worth bearing in mind that most of Samsung's standard tablets feature an LCD screen, while Plus models generally feature a Super AMOLED screen (which provides better contrast and colour quality, among other things). If you want the best possible visual quality, it's worth splashing out that little bit extra.

Almost all Samsung tablets have four stereo speakers with Dolby Surround Sound, which is more than good enough for most purposes. Newer models (except the Tab S6 Lite) don't feature a 3.5mm headphone jack either, so you'll need wireless headphones or an adapter.

Processor

Another key part of answering the eternal 'which Samsung should I buy?' question is how much power you need.

Power is provided mostly by two components: the processor/chipset and RAM (random-access memory… yes, that is where Daft Punk got the name for that album from). As a general rule, the newer the processor and the higher the RAM, the faster and more powerful a tablet is.

Samsung's Galaxy Tab series generally rules the roost when it comes to power, as they usually boast the highest (or near-highest) powered Qualcomm Snapdragon chipset at the time. Case in point: the Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 features a Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chip, while the S7 features a Snapdragon 865+.

Samsung's lower cost options generally utilise less-powerful chips to save on production costs, which means a slight compromise in performance. However, you're unlikely to notice it too dramatically unless you're using high-demand apps or playing super-high-quality games.

'That's all well and good, but what do I actually need that power for?'. Great question! Generally, games are the main culprit for high-spec requirements. You'll need a good processor to handle games with console-style graphics like Dead Trigger 2, PUBG and Call of Duty Mobile (although almost all games feature scaling performance, so you're not totally locked out if you have a slightly older tablet). You'll also need power under the hood for demanding professional apps for tasks like visual design and programming.

You also need to consider how much internal storage you'll need. It's easy to underestimate this thanks to the prevalence of cloud storage options, but you'd be surprised how quickly even the most basic apps can eat up your GBs! Over 64GB is generally fine, but scale up if you use a lot of apps or have a lot of files to work with.

So, long story short: the newer the processor and the more RAM you have, the faster your tablet will be… but, if you don't need to play console-quality games and you aren't undertaking resource-intensive work, you can scale down and save a bit of a cash by buying an older refurbished Samsung tablet instead!

Camera

Most people don't use the camera on their tablet that often (because the phone in their pocket usually has a much, much better camera) but they can be useful for quickly taking pictures for reference, uploading a document or simply saving yourself the task of transferring a photo between phone and tablet.

Samsung's most recent flagships, the Tab S8 and Tab S7, feature a 13MP/6MP and 13MP/5MP dual camera set-up respectively, and both are capable of filming in 4K as well. If you don't fancy splashing out on a top-of-the-range model, the Samsung Galaxy Tab A7 features a perfectly functional 8MP rear camera.

The front camera is perhaps more important though, especially in a world of hybrid and remote work. Almost every Samsung Galaxy tablet on the market features a selfie camera, with the most recent models boasting an 8MP, 1080p lens for high-quality video calls.

Software

The most important consideration is that your Samsung tablet supports the latest version of Android (12, at the time of writing). Almost all Samsung tablets released from 2019 onwards fit this category, including the Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 and Galaxy Tab A7. Bear in mind that all tablets eventually have support withdrawn though, so buying a newer device (like the Tab S7) means you're more likely to get software updates and support for a little longer.

Connectivity

There are two things to consider here. Firstly, do you want to connect to the internet on the move, or are you generally alway within reach of reliable Wi-Fi? If it's the former, you should buy a Samsung tablet with 4/5G capability (unless you're happy to use your phone as a hotspot). Otherwise, you should be fine with a Wi-Fi only model.

Secondly, which accessories will you need to connect to your Samsung tablet? Most of the Samsung tablets released in the past 5 years don't include a 3.5mm headphone jack, so you'll need to either buy a USB-C-to-3.5mm adapter or use wireless headphones. Equally, you'll need to buy an adapter for any accessories that have a standard USB connector, as almost all newer Samsung tablets have a USB-C port.

Battery

Samsung tablets generally follow industry standards when it comes to batteries, offering enough power to last a day or so (depending on what you use your tablet for). For example: the standard Galaxy Tab S8 has a 8000mAh battery, while the Galaxy Tab S8 has a 10,090mAh battery as it needs to power a larger AMOLED screen.

If you're buying a refurbished Samsung tablet, make sure that the retailer carries out quality checks on the battery to ensure it holds enough charge and works as it should (as we do at musicMagpie!).

S-Pen and Galaxy Keyboard Cover

There are two key Samsung tablet accessories: the S-Pen and the Galaxy Keyboard Cover.

The S-Pen, if you hadn't deduced, is a stylus that allows you to hand-write and draw. The good news is Samsung includes an S-Pen as standard with almost all of its tablets, and even includes a handy magnetised strip on the tablet for safe storage.

The Galaxy Keyboard Cover (which includes a trackpad for the full laptop experience) is a must-have if you're a writer or programmer, although you'll have to splash out a not-insignificant £180 to get your hands on a new one. If you want to save a bit of cash, Samsung sells a non-trackpad version for a fairly reasonable £120, or you could try your luck with a third-party keyboard case.

Warranty

All Samsung tablets are covered by a 24 month warranty (at the time of writing), as well as 12 month warranties for the battery and S-Pen. If you decide to buy a refurbished Samsung tablet from musicMagpie (honestly, you should consider it), you'll be covered by a 12 month warranty for any (rare) defects or technical faults.

We hope we've helped you decide which Samsung tablet to buy. If you're still not sure, take a look at our huge range of refurbished tech – every item we sell goes through extensive checks to ensure it works perfectly, costs less than buying new and is better for the planet too. We guarantee you'll find a fantastic cheap Samsung tablet to buy!


Need some extra cash to buy your next tablet? Trade in iPad and sell tablets with us today, or head over to our Sell My Phone page to find out how much you could make for an iPhone trade in. Plus, shop our huge range of refurbished devices for less, including refurbished phones and refurbished iPhone models.