Tablet

Galaxy Tab S7 FE vs Tab S6: Can old hardware keep up with new software?

The Galaxy Tab S7 FE is finally official, and it’s marking the launch of the company’s first-ever Fan Edition tablet. Is it a flagship tablet killer? Maybe not in the literal sense. By design, the Galaxy Tab S7 FE isn’t powerful enough to replace the Galaxy Tab S7 or the Galaxy Tab S7+, but comparing it with the Galaxy Tab S6 has yielded some unexpected results.

Samsung’s new tablet and the 2019 flagship model share a lot of similarities, at least in appearance. They look very much alike and even more difficult to tell apart than the standard Galaxy Tab S7 and the FE model. However, the Galaxy Tab S7 FE is larger, slightly thicker, and considerably heavier.

So, as we’ve already established, the Galaxy Tab S7 FE looks modern enough to pass as a 2020-2021 flagship tablet, but can it beat the Galaxy Tab S6 in terms of hardware and software? After all, many would consider these characteristics to be among the top priorities of a Fan Edition device.

Galaxy Tab S7 FE vs Galaxy Tab S6: Software

Let’s start with the obvious and establish that the Galaxy Tab S6 was released with Android Pie, and was updated to Android 11 and One UI 3.1, but it won’t enjoy any other Android OS updates after Android 12.

On the other hand, the Galaxy Tab S7 FE is a lot newer and it benefits from newer firmware out of the box. It ships with Android 11 and One UI 3.1, and it will likely be updated to Android 14 in the future.

So, the Galaxy Tab S7 FE is the obvious winner in regards to firmware support, but what about the user experience?

Surprisingly, Samsung’s new tablet performs very well in this category, perhaps more so than the Galaxy Tab S6. It comes with 3-app Multi-Active Window as well as split-screen mode, and it supports Second Screen, which can turn the tablet into a secondary display for Windows 10 PCs.

These features are not yet available for the Galaxy Tab S6, and there’s no guarantee as to when or if they will be added with future firmware updates. On the other hand, the Galaxy Tab S6 offers wireless DeX support, whereas the Galaxy Tab S7 FE is seemingly limited to Samsung DeX via a hardware connection.

Another advantage the Galaxy Tab S7 FE has over the 2019 flagship model is that it comes with the same productivity suite as the Galaxy Tab S7 flagship. It includes Clip Studio Paint, Noteshelf, and a 30-day free trial to Canva Pro.

Galaxy Tab S7 FE vs Galaxy Tab S6: Hardware

Although the Galaxy Tab S6 was released nearly two years ago, not enough time has passed for the mid-range market to catch up, and unfortunately, the Galaxy Tab S7 FE doesn’t have a flagship-grade chipset. The older Snapdragon 855 chipset powering the Tab S6 has a faster CPU and a slower GPU, but overall, it’s a more competent solution than the Tab S7 FE’s Snapdragon 750G SoC.

Likewise, the Galaxy Tab S6 was released with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, or 8GB of RAM and 256GB of built-in memory. In contrast, the Galaxy Tab S7 FE has 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage, or 6GB + 128GB.

Finally, the Galaxy Tab S6 has a better camera configuration that includes two rear-facing sensors (13MP + 5MP) and an 8MP selfie camera. The Galaxy Tab S7 FE is limited to a single 8MP main camera and a 5MP selfie unit.

Beyond raw performance, the Galaxy Tab S7 FE sports a larger 12.4-inch TFT display as opposed to a 10.5-inch Super AMOLED panel, but the resolution is identical across both tablets, clocking in at 2,560 by 1,600 pixels.

The Galaxy Tab S7 FE has two stereo speakers instead of four, but it also has a 3.5mm audio jack.

And finally, Samsung’s Fan Edition tablet boasts a larger 10,090mAh battery that supports much faster 45W charging, up from 15W. Granted, the battery is limited to 15W by the included charger, but at least Galaxy Tab S7 FE customers have the option of upgrading to a 25W or 45W charger if they need to.

Galaxy Tab S7 FE vs Galaxy Tab S6: Conclusion

Prospective tablet buyers who can make do with the chipset and memory options that are offered by the Galaxy Tab S7 FE will probably get more value out of the newer tablet than the Galaxy Tab S6. It has newer firmware and a better suite of productivity apps, and it supports faster charging. It also has a standard 3.5mm audio jack for customers who value this feature, while providing seamless connectivity for the Galaxy Buds.

The Galaxy Tab S6 has a few advantages of its own, including better speakers, improved performance, and an exquisite Samsung AMOLED display. But these characteristics won’t be enough to convince every customer that the Galaxy Tab S6 is the better choice for a tablet in 2021, especially since Android 12 will be its last major update.

In conclusion, the Galaxy Tab S7 FE is an interesting alternative to the 2019 flagship model, with better software support and more productivity apps, but it falls short in a few areas, particularly in regards to the internal hardware.

You can read more about the Galaxy Tab S6 in our review linked below, and you can refer to our comparison widget below for a closer look at these two tablets side-by-side.

Galaxy Tab S6 review

Galaxy Tab S7 FE
VS.
Galaxy Tab S6
General Information
Model nameGalaxy Tab S7 FEGalaxy Tab S6
Model numberSM-T737SM-T860
Model typeTabletTablet
ColorBlack (Black)
Silver (Silver)
Green (Green)
Pink (Pink)
Gray (Gray)
Rose (Rose)
Blue (Blue)
Announced2021, May2019, July
Released2021, May2019, July
Physical Specifications
DimensionsTablet: 185 x 284.8 x 6.3 mmTablet: 244.5 x 159.5 x 5.7 mm
Weights608g420g
Operating System
Operating systemAndroid 11Android 10
One UI version3.12.5
Network
Networks2G
3G
4G
Display
KindMain DisplayMain Display
NameInfinity Display
TechnologyTFTSuper AMOLED Display
Size12.4 inch / mm10.5 inch / 266.7 mm
ResolutionWQXGA / 2560x1600 pixelsWQXGA / 2560x1600 pixels
Pixel density244 PPI287 PPI
Screen to body ratio%~82.5%
Memory
RAM/ROM sizes4 GB RAM with 64 GB ROM
6 GB RAM with 128 GB ROM
6 GB RAM with 128 GB ROM
8 GB RAM with 256 GB ROM
Rear camera
Megapixels8MP13MP
ApertureF2.0
Battery
Standard battery capacity10090 mAh7040 mAh
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