After releasing the Galaxy Tab S7 FE in 2021 and Galaxy S21 FE in January 2022, Samsung has yet to release another “Fan Edition” device. Now, in addition to the upcoming Galaxy Tab S9 series, we might see a Galaxy Tab S9 FE in 2023 as well.
We thought initially that Samsung would release a Galaxy Tab S8 FE, based on several leaks. But more recent leaked info is suggesting Samsung will skip that model and jump right to the S9 FE.
We won’t know for sure until Samsung reveals its mid-range slab, either during the upcoming Galaxy Unpacked event alongside the three Galaxy Tab S9 models or later in the year.
Whatever its name, Samsung may actually sell two Fan Edition tablets: the Galaxy Tab S9 FE and Tab S9 FE+. Allegedly, their sizes will match the flagship lineup: a 10.9-inch display for the S9 FE and 12.4-inch display for the S9 FE+.
The Galaxy Tab S9 FE and S9 FE+ will have to strike the right balance between affordability and features. The Galaxy Tab S7 FE, while a respectable device, arguably didn’t strike that balance as well as it could have.
Here’s everything we know about the Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 FE and FE+, based on leaks, rumors, and past Samsung tablets — as well as our wishlist for what we want from them.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 FE: Release date
A recent Galaxy Tab S9 FE leak indicated that Samsung “is expected to release” the Galaxy Tab S9 FE at Samsung’s Unpacked event on July 26, alongside the mainline Galaxy Tab S9.
However, DSCC CEO Ross Young, who also leaked info on Galaxy Tab S9 FE models, indicated that “S9 FE production is 2 months behind the S9 Series.”
If Samsung does reveal the Galaxy Tab S9 in late July, that would suggest an early August release; so if the Tab S9 FE is two months behind that, it would put the Fan Edition tablet’s release closer to October. That makes it less likely Samsung would reveal its budget tablets so soon.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 FE price
None of the leaks thus far have touched upon the Galaxy Tab S9 FE or Tab S9 FE+ prices, so we can only speculate based on the cost of the Galaxy Tab S7 FE: $530 for the 4GB/64GB model, $600 for the 6GB/128GB model, or $680 for the 8GB/256GB model.
The Tab S9 FE+ could match this pricing scheme, given it (allegedly) has a 12.4-inch display as well. Though we can only hope Samsung starts off with more RAM and storage than it did with the last model.
As for the 10.9-inch Tab S9 FE, it’s possible it’ll start at a slightly lower price. The Tab S8 and S8+ have a $200 price gap, but we’re very skeptical that the Tab S9 FE could fall as low as $330 with its rumored specs. We’ll have to wait and see as we get closer to fall.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 FE and S9 FE+ design
Steve Hemmerstoffer (aka OnLeaks) recently released renders of the Galaxy Tab S9 FE and FE+, while revealing specs details to Wolf Of Tablet and Media Peanut. The baseline Tab S9 FE is above, while the Plus-sized tablet can be seen below.
According to OnLeaks, the Tab S9 FE measures 254.3 x 165.8 x 6.7mm with a 10.9-inch display. For comparison, that’s very close in size to the Tab S8 (253.8 x 165.3 x 6.3 mm), only slightly thicker, shorter, and narrower. It reportedly has dual stereo speakers, a single rear camera, and a side-mounted fingerprint sensor.
The Galaxy Tab S7 FE lacked a fingerprint sensor, making it less secure for students or workers that brought it to school or the office. We’re thrilled that Samsung added this feature to the latest generation (assuming the leak is correct).
As for the Galaxy Tab S9 FE+, it has a 12.4-inch display and measures 285.4 x 185.4 x 6.54 mm. Compare that to the Galaxy Tab S8+ dimensions — 285 x 185 x 5.7 mm — and once again, you see that the size is a close match except that it’s nearly a millimeter thicker.
OnLeaks hasn’t revealed weights for either device, but the extra thickness could make both Fan Edition tablets on the heavier side. More optimistically, it could give your hands slightly more room to grip compared to the ultra-thin Tab S8.
Otherwise, the Tab S9+ matches its smaller sibling with dual speakers and a side-mounted fingerprint sensor but adds a second rear camera sensor (most likely an ultrawide lens, though OnLeaks doesn’t specify).
The leak makes no mention of an S Pen, but the renders show the magnetic strip on the back, and the Tab S7 FE shipped with one. It’s a safe bet the Tab S9 FE will have an S Pen, too.
We can also assume that the Tab S9 FE won’t have an IP68 water and dust resistance rating — something that consistent rumors have tied to the flagship Galaxy Tab S9.
According to Ross Young, both tablets will ship in four color options: Gray, Light Green, Light Pink, and Silver.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 FE specs
OnLeaks’ Tab S9 FE leak reaffirmed a previous report from SamMobile, which spotted two new tablets, models SM-X516B (6GB) and SM-X616B (8GB), on Geekbench. SamMobile noted that both models use an Exynos 1380 chipset, the same one found in the Samsung Galaxy A54 5G — and the more recent leak indicated that these tablets were, in fact, the Tab S9 FE and FE Plus.
Weirdly, the 6GB model scored slightly higher than the 8GB model for both single-core and multi-core benchmarks (991/2410 vs. 980/2344).
Both models scored significantly higher than the 654/1965 benchmarks for the Tab S7 FE, as measured by our parent company’s Future Labs team — though the tested model had only 4GB. Compared to last year’s Galaxy Tab S8 with 8GB — 1208/3228 — they’re fairly far behind.
WolfOnTablet says that the Tab S9 FE+ will have 8GB of RAM, but it’s unclear if it’ll have less RAM by default, with 8GB as the upgrade option. With the Tab S7 FE, it started with 4GB of RAM, but could upgrade to 6GB or 8GB at a significantly higher price.
Neither leak specifies what type of display the Galaxy Tab S9 FE will have, nor its refresh rate. The Tab S7 FE had an LCD display with a respectable 243 ppi resolution, but it only had a 60Hz refresh rate.
Some mid-range Android tablets like the Lenovo Tab P11 Pro Gen 2 have a 120Hz refresh rate, while the Pixel Tablet remained stuck at 60Hz. It’s unclear where Samsung’s mid-range Fan Edition tablets will fall, but it’s not a stretch to assume the company will reserve AMOLED and 120Hz upgrades for its Tab S9s to encourage people to upgrade.
Otherwise, we don’t know specific Galaxy Tab S9 FE specs like battery size, charging speed, camera resolution, or storage size. If Samsung models its new tablets after the Tab S7 FE, the Tab S9 FE will sport 45W charging, 8MP/ 5MP front and rear sensors or better, and storage between 64GB and 256GB with a microSD card slot as a backup. The Galaxy Tab S9 FE+ will have two rear sensors and a larger battery capacity to match the larger display.
Most likely, the Galaxy Tab S9 FE and S9 FE+ will launch with One UI 5 based on Android 13, with up to four OS updates and five years of security support.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 FE wishlist
A lot has changed in the Android tablet space since the Tab S7 FE launched in 2021. The Tab S9 FE will need some upgrades to make an impression and keep it relevant.
The alleged leaks surrounding this tablet address some of these concerns, but not all of them. As the person who reviewed the Tab S7 FE, here is my Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 FE wishlist of features that could make it one of the best Android tablets you can afford.
A better baseline for performance
I was sent a Galaxy Tab S7 FE model with just 4GB of RAM, and it came across clearly whenever I tried to play demanding games or multitask apps with Samsung’s new software tricks. Things would slow down to a crawl, and I would occasionally see memory errors pop up on screen.
Even though the Exynos 1380 is a solid chip, this Nanoreview comparison shows that it’s actually slightly slower than the Snapdragon 778G found in the Tab S7 FE. The leaked benchmarks aren’t bad, but only because they have a decent amount of RAM.
In order to make sure that ‘Fan Edition’ doesn’t become meaningless, Samsung needs to make sure to nail the price-to-performance ratio. If Samsung charges $530 and up with 4GB as the default again, it’s going to be a terrible look for the brand. Especially with the Tab S9 probably running laps around the S9 FE in specs.
At the very least, it should start with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. Preferably with better storage than the Galaxy A54 5G: its Exynos 1380 chip performance was hamstrung by its UFS 2.2 storage, causing rough loading times and stuttering.
A 120Hz (or 90Hz) display
2021 was the last year that Samsung could reasonably get away with selling a semi-expensive tablet with a 60Hz display. Since then, Lenovo has brought 120Hz to its Android tablets and plenty of mid-range and budget phones have begun to add faster refresh rates, ranging from 90Hz up to 144Hz.
For the Galaxy Tab S9 FE and FE+, hitting higher than 60Hz could be tricky with the Exynos 1380 chip. Samsung says that it’s designed for up to 144Hz at FHD+ resolution, but the Tab S7 FE hit 2560×1600 resolution.
If Samsung has to choose between a resolution downgrade or a faster resolution, I suspect it’ll focus on a higher resolution. But the Tab S9 FE arguably needs something to set it apart from the last generation, and at this point, I’m not sure what that is.
A better front camera
I’ll never understand why so many tablets have better rear cameras than selfie cameras. No one I know uses tablets for frequent photography, but plenty of people use them for either work or personal video calls.
The Galaxy Tab S7 FE packed a paltry 5MP selfie camera that just didn’t get the job done on this front. Ideally, the Tab S9 FE would receive the same 12MP UW camera as the Tab S8 series, for both a wider view and auto-framing to keep the user in view. If not that, even an 8MP camera would at least make give you a grainy but visible feed for your calls.
A keyboard you can actually afford
Samsung really thinks that its attachable keyboards are luxury devices. Case in point, the Galaxy Tab S7 FE’s official Slim Book Cover Keyboard is $160 at full price. It’s in line with Apple’s cheapest attachable keyboards — and much cheaper than the $350 Tab S8 Ultra’s keyboard with trackpad — but it’s still too much.
I liked this keyboard in my testing for the key travel, dedicated S Pen slot, and the ease with which you could attach and detach it from the tablet. It’s certainly our favorite S7 FE keyboard. But it wasn’t perfect, as the magnetic stand portion left some wobble room when you tapped the Tab S7 FE with the S Pen.
Frankly, I doubt that many Tab S7 FE owners who chose a mid-range tablet to save money would turn around and spend that much on a keyboard. In an ideal world, Samsung would offer a more realistically affordable Bluetooth keyboard option to go with the Tab S9 FE.
An audio upgrade
With stereo Dolby Atmos speakers, the Galaxy Tab S7 FE is “loud enough if you’re not using it to blast a soundtrack at a party,” as I described the sound in my review. You need to keep the volume at least at half volume to make it audible, but there’s little to no distortion at high volumes, “bass is satisfyingly punchy, and the range is decent.”
Samsung has to make compromises somewhere to hit a lower price point, so it’s unsurprising that OnLeaks’ spec rumor is that we’ll be stuck with dual speakers once again with the Galaxy Tab S9 FE.
But even the ultra-cheap Galaxy Tab A8 has quad Dolby Atmos speakers, as does the sub-$300 Lenovo Tab P11 Plus. It’s not unreasonable for us to ask for an upgrade in a tablet that’ll cost as much as both of these cheap Android tablets put together! Fans using the Tab S8 Fan Edition for regular streaming or cloud gaming would really appreciate the boost in volume.