The Samsung Galaxy Tab is one of the most popular lines of tablets in the world. Samsung seemed determined to replicate the success of the iPad range, releasing tablet after tablet in an attempt to net customers in the budget, mid-range, and premium sections of the market. That’s one wide net!

While some aspects of the Samsung line divide opinion, it’s clear that there has been rapid improvement and now Samsung tablets are genuine alternatives to the Apple offerings. The Samsung screen is a particular strength, while in terms of design and user experience they’ve learned a lot from their competitors and feedback from their own users.

Samsung Tablets Compared

Today there is a Samsung tablet to suit almost everyone. The downside is that there is a somewhat bewildering range of tablets with almost identical names.

This guide should help clarify the differences.

Let’s start with an important note about the Samsung tablets naming conventions:

  • Tab – The original line of Samsung tablets
  • Tab 2 – The second generation of the Tab line, targeting the budget end of the market.
  • Tab 3 – Successors of the Tab 2 tablets, with an 8-inch tablet added to the range
  • Tab 4 – Still aimed at the cheaper end of the market, they all had a 1.2 GHz CPU and 1.5GB RAM.
  • Tab S – The S line of smartphones were the best Samsung had ever made, so they carried the naming convention over to their tablet offerings. Starring a superb AMOLED screen, the Tab S range made other tablet screens look like faded Boer War photographs.
  • Note – New line aimed at more creative users. Includes S-Pen for image editing, sketching and annotations.

The second number denotes the screen size. For example, the Samsung Galaxy Tab2 10.1 is a second generation Tab with a 10.1-inch screen.

Samsung Galaxy TabPro S

A full Windows 10 experience on a tablet and a genuine alternative to the Microsoft Surface range. Pretty much an instant classic. Check our full review for more.

Samsung Galaxy View 18.4

As a New York politician would say – this tablet is YUGE. Running Android Lollipop, it was almost 20 inches of smooth performance on a grand scale. Just don’t try to type with two thumbs. Reviewed here.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 (8″ and 9.7″)

Aimed at challenging the iPad Air 2 and Mini 3, the S2 tablets were engineered to the highest standards. Samsung chose to keep the divisive (i.e. love it or hate it) TouchWiz interface, they sensibly reduced the amount of bloatware (unwanted software) shipped with the tablet. Our reviews praised the amazing screen and incredible thinness, but wished the battery life was a tad better.

Samsung Galaxy Tab A (8″ and 9.7″)

Bundled with a bunch of free games and magazine subscriptions, the A range was heavily targeted at consumers looking for value for money. Until this point, Samsung had garnered a reputation for demanding a somewhat unwarranted premium for their brand name, on their budget devices at least. The A range did much to dispel that feeling – providing specs and features at a very reasonable price.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S (8.4″ and 10.5″)

Rich, vivid, vibrant – and that’s just the CEO. I’m kidding. I refer, of course, to the screen. Black pixels are like black holes in space, sucking all nearby light into them. But in a good way. White pixels look like the Roman Senate on wash-day. The result was pure eye candy.

We very slightly preferred the larger version when we reviewed them.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 (7″, 8″, and 10.1″)

The fourth generation models were all shipped with Android 4.4.2 KitKat. There was nothing wrong with the range, but not much genuinely outstanding either; they were just good, solid options for the budget consumer. While some reviewers thought these tablets were overpriced, we thought they were pretty sweet and gave them good ratings.

Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4

Belonging to Samsung’s prime ‘Pro’ segment, this was Samsung’s first 8.4-inch tablet and was released in direct competition to the LG G Pad 8.3. The Pro 8.4 ran Android 4.4 Kitkat and was once again customised by Samsung’s TouchWiz software.

Galaxy Tab 3 Kids Edition

A colorful, fun version of the Tab 3 devices aimed at kids, the Tab 3 Kids Edition was well-received by parents. Safe in a hard-wearing rubber case, it had an extensive suite of parental controls. The main problem with the device was that when parents realised how good it was, they were reluctant to share it with their offspring. “Be off with you! I’m reading the New Yorker!”

It remains one of the best-selling tablets for kids, years after its launch.

Galaxy Tab 3 (7″, 8″, and 10.1″)

The Tab 3 suite of products from Samsung added more options and a number of decent upgrades to its flagship low cost line of tablets. The line was expanded with a new 8-inch Tab 3 model.

Galaxy Note 8.0

The Galaxy Note 8.0, the first 8 inch tablet from Samsung, was inspired by the features of the Galaxy Note 10.1 and had elements of the S3 and Note 2 smartphone design. The tablet included an S-Pen stylus.

Samsung Ativ Tab

The Samsung Ativ Tab, based on the Windows RT operating system, was lightweight, portable, and had very good battery life.

Google/Samsung Nexus 10

The Nexus 10 was designed by Google and manufacured by Samsung. The main upgrade from the Nexus 7 tablet was a 10.1 inch display, built from Corning’s Gorilla Glass 2, with a display size of 2,560 by 1,600 pixels. The tablet’s ultra-high resolution and 300 pixels per inch were the best on the market at the time.

Samsung Ativ Smart PC Pro (700T) and Ativ Smart PC (500T)

The Ativ Smart PC Pro 700T was a Windows 8 64-bit tablet/notebook hybrid from Samsung. A powerful 1.7 GHz Intel Core i5 dual-core processor, 4 Gb DDR3, and 128 SSD storage made it a flagship model among Samsung’s new Windows 8 based tablets. In comparison to the 700T, the Ativ Smart PC 500T sported a lower resolution display and less powerful CPU.

Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1

A special mention for the Galaxy Note series. The Note was sold with a stylus S-Pen and dedicated applications that supported a stylus (S Memo, S Note, Adobe Ideas, PS Touch). A new line of S-Pen equipped tablets contained many of the premium features that were missing from the Galaxy Tab 2, such as an 8-megapixel camera, 2-megapixel front facing camera and a faster processor. The Galaxy Tab2 10.1 was considered a downgraded (budget) version of the original Galaxy Tab 10.1 while the Galaxy Note was considered its successor.

Samsung Galaxy Tab2 10.1

Released in May 2012, the Galaxy Tab 2 10.1-inch had a large display and high resolution, though it shared most of its attributes with the Tab 2 7.0

Samsung Galaxy Tab2 7.0

The second generation of the Tab came with Android 4 a.k.a. Ice Cream Sandwich. The big hardware changes included a front camera downgrade to VGA (0.3-megapixels) and a lower speed dual-core processor (1 GHz rather than the previous 1.2 and 1.4 GHz models). The Tab2 7-inch was a move by Samsung to compete with budget tablets like the Kindle Fire.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7

The 7.7 had a more powerful battery, a slightly bigger AMOLED display than the original (7.7-inches). The 7.7 also offered a complete phone experience while still being a tablet.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9

The 8.9 was a smaller version of the Tab 10.1. Other than the smaller display, the 8.9 used an updated version of Samsung’s TouchWiz interface.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus

The Tab 7.0 Plus was the upgrade to the original Tab. It came with Gingerbread and a dual-core processor. The form factor is smaller than the original as well.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 and 10.1V

This Tab upgraded the display size to 10.1-inches and the resolution to 1280×800. It came with Android 3.1 a.k.a. Honeycomb. The internal RAM went up to 1GB and the back camera jumped up to 8-megapixels for the 10.1v model. It came in 16, 32 or 64 GB versions.

Samsung Galaxy Tab

The original Galaxy Tab had a 7-inch display at a 1200×600 resolution. Originally, it came with Android 2.2 aka Froyo, but was consistently updated to 2.3.7. Unfortunately, it was not possible to update it to Android 3. It came with a front facing camera and a dedicated 3-megapixel lens on the back capable of taking video at 720×480 resolution. It was able to run on both mobile and Wi-Fi networks. Later, Samsung released a Wi-Fi only version. It came in 2, 16 or 32 GB models with a microSD slot for expansion.

What is Samsung’s market share?

At the end of 2015 they had narrowed the gap to Apple to just 7%, and Samsung’s total share of the tablet market was 17%.

How Much is a Samsung Tablet?

Because they range from budget options to ultra-premium, Samsung tablets range wildly in price. A 2014 Galaxy Tab 4 will set you back something in the region of $130-150, while the newest, largest GalaxyTabPro S was a touch under $1000 last time we checked.

Useful links

Official page

Samsung tablets on Amazon