Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 vs. Tab S8: Should you upgrade?

It's that time when we try to help you decide whether it's worth upgrading to a new device. This time around, we're taking a look at the Galaxy Tab S9 vs. Galaxy Tab S8, as Samsung has announced its refreshed flagship tablet lineup.

The regular Galaxy Tab S8 was overshadowed by the likes of the Tab S8 Plus and Tab S8 Ultra in 2022. But that's not the case with the Galaxy Tab S9, as this might just end up being the best Android tablet for everyone.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 vs. Galaxy Tab S8: What's the same?

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galaxy tab s8 hands on

(Image credit: Nick Sutrich)

Unlike the Galaxy Tab S9 Plus and Tab S9 Ultra, the "baby" Galaxy Tab S9 only matches up with its predecessor in a few ways. The most obvious is that both the Tab S9 and Tab S8 use 11-inch displays, complete with a 120Hz variable refresh rate.

They are also available with either 8GB or 12GB of RAM and 128GB or 256GB of storage, which can be upgraded courtesy of the built-in microSD card slot. As was the case with the Tab S8, the only way that you can get 12GB of RAM on the Tab S9 is if you opt for the 256GB model.

There's also not much that has changed in the way of the design, as you'll still be greeted with an ultra-thin slab of aluminum with glass on the front. Samsung is even using the same 13MP rear camera from the Tab S8 with the Tab S9, for those who want to use their tablet to take pictures.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 vs. Galaxy Tab S8: What's different?

The bezels of the Samsung Galaxy Tab S9

(Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)

There are quite a few differences across the board when comparing the Galaxy Tab S9 vs. Galaxy Tab S8. The most obvious is the introduction of an AMOLED display, which is an upgrade from the LCD panel on the Galaxy Tab S8. This feels like it was something that should've been available last year, but we're happy to see it now.

If you look across Samsung's entire lineup of flagship-tier devices in 2023, they are all now powered by the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy chip. This aims to offer a slight boost in performance while also being much more efficient compared to the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 from last year. 

The Tab S9 also gets a slight bump in battery life, going from an 8,000mAh cell to an 8,400mAh battery. It remains to be seen whether this will actually equate to longer battery life, as the AMOLED display will definitely consume more energy than the Tab S8s LCD panel. Perhaps this is where we'll see the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy be able to flex its muscles to eke out more juice.

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CategorySamsung Galaxy Tab S9Samsung Galaxy Tab S8
Display11-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2x, 60Hz-120Hz), 2560 x 160011-inch TFT LCD (120Hz), 2560 x 1600
ChipsetSnapdragon 8 Gen 2 for GalaxySnapdragon 8 Gen 1
Memory8GB or 12GB8GB
Storage128GB or 256GB w/ microSD card slot (up to 1TB)128GB or 256GB w/ microSD card slot (up to 1TB)
Rear Camera 1 (main camera)13MP AF13MP AF + 6MP UW
Rear Camera 2 (ultrawide)
SoundQuad Stereo Speakers w/ AKG tuning, Dolby AtmosQuad Stereo Speakers w/ AKG tuning, Dolby Atmos
BiometricsOn-screen fingerprint scannerFingerprint on power button
Connectivity5G, LTE, Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.3WiFi 6E (6GHz), Bluetooth 5.2
StylusS Pen included w/ 2.8ms latencyS Pen included w/ 6.2ms latency
Weight498 grams503 grams
Dimensions10.01 x 6.53 x 0.23 in9.99 x 6.51 x 0.25 in
ColorsBeige, GraphiteGraphite, Silver, Pink Gold

Another big benefit to making the switch to an AMOLED display on the Tab S9 is the included S Pen. Samsung didn't go back and try to reinvent the wheel here, but using the S Pen with the Tab S9 now offers a 2.8ms latency. This is a big jump from the 6.2ms of latency found on the Tab S8, which is great for digital artists or those who just like writing on their tablet screen.

Official lifestyle images of the Samsung Galaxy Tab S9

(Image credit: Samsung)

Something to keep in mind when comparing the Galaxy Tab S9 vs. Galaxy Tab S8 is the price. Samsung's latest tablet is now $100 more expensive for the base model, coming in at $799 with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. This gets bumped up to $919 for the model with 12GB of RAM and 256GB of storage, but if you manage to get your pre-orders in, you'll get a free storage and RAM upgrade at the $800 price point.

We won't be surprised if Samsung keeps the Tab S8 series around, and prices have already been slashed. At the time of this writing, the base model Tab S8 can be had for $600, while the Tab S8+ and Tab S8 Ultra have also been discounted.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 vs. Galaxy Tab S8: Should you upgrade?

Official lifestyle images of the Samsung Galaxy Tab S9

(Image credit: Samsung)

Unlike the Galaxy Z Fold 5 vs. Galaxy Z Fold 4, Samsung has done quite a bit with the Tab S9 to warrant an upgrade over the Tab S8. The move to an AMOLED display is enough of a reason on its own, while the improved S Pen latency and new processor are really just cherries on top.

But if you're even considering making the move to the newer model, we recommend doing so sooner rather than later. Samsung is offering some pretty great trade-in deals, as you'll be able to save $500 when trading in your "old" Tab S8. This knocks the price down to just $300, and Samsung is even including the aforementioned free storage/RAM upgrade.

Andrew Myrick
Senior Editor - Chromebooks and tablets

Andrew Myrick is a Senior Editor at Android Central. He enjoys everything to do with technology, including tablets, smartphones, and everything in between. Perhaps his favorite past-time is collecting different headphones, even if they all end up in the same drawer.

  • Joshua Luther1
    Nah. Not worth it to me. My Tab S8 is still running great and does everything I need it to do.