At a Glance
- Premium build
- Great battery life
- S Pen included in box
- Patchy gaming performance
- 60Hz LCD display
- Software not optimised for tablets
There’s a lot to like about the Tab S7 FE, which impresses with its high-end design and excellent battery life. But the performance and display aren’t as impressive as Samsung’s newer tablets, so it’s only worth considering if you can find it with a big discount.
Best Prices Today: Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 FE
Not too long ago, Samsung was the only real Android rival to Apple in the tablet space.
But that’s begun to change, with iPads and Galaxy Tabs far from the only tablets worth considering. How about the more affordable Tab S7 FE, though? Here’s our full review.
Is the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 FE still worth buying?
The Tab S7 FE was launched back in 2021, but it remained the latest model of Samsung’s mid-range tablet line until late 2023.
That’s when the Tab S9 FE arrived, complete with several key upgrades and a more affordable starting price $499/£449. A new Tab S9 FE+ model was also revealed.
Given the upgrades on the newer models, it’s more difficult to recommend the S7 FE. Even at launch, it was held back slightly by hit-and-miss performance, a 60Hz LCD display and Android software that’s simply not optimised for tablets.
Since then, only the software has been improved, via updates. The premium build, excellent battery life and capable included S Pen stylus will all hold up well, but it’s only really worth considering the Tab S7 FE if you can find a big discount.
Design & build
- Premium design
- Basic S Pen included
- Dual stereo speakers
Samsung’s high-end tablets usually impress when it comes to design, and it’s the same here. The Tab S7 FE combines the usual glass front with an aluminium back, making it easier to hold and more resistant to fingerprint smudges than glass-backed devices.
This stripped-back, minimalist aesthetic is something I really like, and it gives the illusion of a device that’s significantly more expensive.
The S Pen stylus included in the box is a passive version, meaning it doesn’t need to hold a charge for basic uses. It can still be attached under the rear cameras or on the sides of the device, but weak magnets mean it’s not worth it. If you’re planning on getting regular use out of the S Pen, I’d recommend getting a case with stylus storage.
There’s really not much else to report on the back of the device, particularly on the black model I tested. The silver version is also relatively muted, but green and pink options help the S7 FE stand out a bit more if that’s something you’d prefer.
However, you’ll spend much more time looking at the 12.4in screen, surrounded by a slim bezel which gives it an 84.6% screen-to-body ratio – that’s identical to the Tab S7+. Even using the device with both hands can feel cumbersome at times, especially when the S7 FE weighs in at 608g.
There’s still space for a 5Mp front-facing camera with face unlock support,.
Another area that’s been scaled back is audio, with a pair of stereo speakers as opposed to the quad setup on the flagship tablets. Music loses some of its bass and definition as a result, but speech is largely unaffected. Audio remains one of the S7 FE’s strengths, helping to deliver a more immersive experience.
Speaker grilles are placed at the top and bottom of the devices, in a position where they’re not obstructed in landscape mode. The only other feature of note here is a USB-C port for charging. As is the case on Samsung’s other high-end tablets, there’s no 3.5mm headphone jack.
You’ll find connectors for docking the S7 FE into a keyboard cover on one side of the device, but I didn’t have one of these to hand for this review. The regular volume rocker and power button are on the other, although a long press of the latter still annoyingly triggers Bixby by default. This can be changed to display power options in Settings, but still feels unnecessary.
The 5G model I tested also has a SIM tray which doubles as a microSD card tray on cheaper Wi-Fi-only models.
- 12.4in LCD panel
- Only 60Hz refresh rate
Let’s talk about the main event. The 12.4in panel on the S7 FE is 1600×2560 LCD panel.
Refresh rate is arguably the biggest loss here – I really missed the fluid, responsive you get on many flagship tablets. The S7 FE feels sluggish by comparison, and soon leads to a less enjoyable experience.
Using LCD is less of a blow, but means you miss out on the deeper blacks and improved contrast of an OLED screen.
Despite these two drawbacks, the display still doesn’t feel like a weakness. It offers an impressive level of detail and vivid colours, making for an immersive viewing experience. Watching YouTube or Netflix is a real highlight, even on videos that are capped at 1080p.
It also hit a maximum brightness of 411 nits in testing, making use in direct sunlight a real possibility. Unless you’re directly comparing it to Samsung’s flagship tablets, you’ll probably be satisfied with what the S7 FE has to offer.
Specs & performance
- Snapdragon 750G on 5G models
- More powerful Snapdragon 778G on Wi-Fi only
- Solid performance doesn’t extend to gaming
On the Tab S7 FE, choosing a model with 5G support is about far more than just cellular connectivity; it also means the device uses a completely different chipset.
On 5G models, this is Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 750G, while Wi-Fi-only configurations use the slightly more powerful Snapdragon 778G – that’s despite both having a 5G modem built-in. It also means the integrated GPUs are different, with 5G devices using the Adreno 619 while Wi-Fi models step up to an Adreno 642L.
This decision has presumably been taken with price in mind, given the additional costs of adding 5G support. I can only comment on the mid-spec 5G model reviewed, which pairs it with 6GB of RAM.
In general, performance from the Tab S7 FE is sold. You can expect a smooth and responsive experience while browsing the web, scrolling social media and streaming videos. Multitasking also works well, with the large display coming into its own. There are occasional stutters and hesitations, but nothing too significant.
Unfortunately, that doesn’t quite extend to mobile gaming. Loading up a demanding title such as Call of Duty: Mobile and Asphalt 9 is fine, but jumping into an online game typically means plenty of lag and some input delay. I also found FIFA Mobile to stutter quite a lot, making it more frustrating than fun. Casual games such as 8 Ball Pool are well within reach, but it’s worth looking elsewhere if you’re serious about mobile gaming.
This mediocre performance is reflected in the benchmarks below:
Internal storage is less of a concern, despite the entry-level model being limited to 64GB. This can be upgraded to 128GB (the model I tested) or 256GB, but all can be expanded via the microSD card slot.
- Now updated to Android 13
- Still doesn’t feel optimised for tablets
The Tab S7 FE ran Android 11 out of the box, but it’s since been updated to Android 13. However, this is with Samsung’s one UI over the top.
The software experience out of the box will be extremely familiar to anyone who has used a recent Samsung phone, and that’s not a good thing. Various elements of the UI – such as icons, the notification shade and Settings menu – just feel like they’ve been enlarged to fit the bigger screen. That extends to third-party apps including Twitter and Instagram, making for a frustrating user experience.
One notable exception is multitasking, where using two apps in split-screen mode feels genuinely intuitive. It’s also great to have the Google Discover feed available via a right swipe from the home screen, although it’s the most glaring example of software that’s been designed for a phone.
However, based on the Android 11 version at launch, software is one of the Tab S7 FE’s major shortcomings.
Cameras & battery life
- Single 8Mp rear camera, 5Mp front-facing
- Great battery life
- 45W charging support, but only 15W out of the box
You probably aren’t buying a tablet for its cameras. But if tablet photography is important to you, it’s worth looking elsewhere. The Tab S7 FE has just a single 8Mp rear lens.
Stills from the device are predictably mediocre. You can get usable stills in good lighting conditions, but it regularly struggles with exposure and colour accuracy. The 5Mp front-facing sensor takes decent selfies, but you probably won’t be uploading them to Instagram anytime soon.
On the video side, the S7 FE is limited to 1080p footage at 30fps. You miss out on the option for 4K, but that won’t be a big loss for most people.
Battery life is altogether more important, and it’s an area where the tablet excels. The combination of a 10,090mAh battery and less power-hungry LCD display means the S7 FE can run and run. Unless you’re constantly pushing the device to its limits, two days of usage is well within reach.
That’s reflected in PCMark’s Work 3.0 battery test, designed to simulate real-world usage. With brightness set to 200 nits, I recorded an impressive 12 hours and 55 minutes – that’s significantly better than you’ll find on most tablets.
The S7 FE supports 45W fast wired charging, but you’ll need to buy a separate adapter. Using the 15W one in the box meant 16% charge in 30 minutes. As a result, you’ll be waiting several hours for a full charge.
Price & availability
As you might expect, there’s plenty of variation when it comes to Tab S7 FE pricing.
At launch, Wi-Fi only models currently start at $529.99/£449 for 64GB of storage, while you’ll pay at least $669.99/£519 for 5G support.
However, given the device was released in 2021, it’s worth keeping an eye out for discounts.
The Tab S7 FE was a predictably cautious release from Samsung, though it’s held up well over time.
A 60Hz LCD display is pretty good, albeit far from the best on a tablet. Performance is fine for everyday tasks, but you won’t want to play demanding games.
However, you do get superb battery life, and it’s nice to have an S Pen stylus included in the box.
You’ll probably find better value for money elsewhere, but the Tab S7 FE is still worth considering if you can find a discount.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 FE: Specs
- Qualcomm Snapdragon 750G (5G models), Snapdragon 778G (Wi-Fi models)
- Adreno 619 GPU (5G), Adreno 642L (Wi-Fi)
- 4/6/8GB RAM
64GB/128GB/256GB storage (expandable up to 1TB)
- 12.4in LCD display (1600×2560), 60Hz
- 8Mp rear camera
- 5Mp front-facing camera
Dual stereo speakers
- Wi-Fi 6
- Bluetooth 5.0
10,090 mAh battery
- 45W fast wired charging
- 284.8 x 185 x 6.3 mm