Why I'd pick Samsung's notched tablet over Apple's notched laptop
Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra – is finally official, glorious notch and all, it made me think whether I'd choose that over
Apple's latest MacBook Pro, which features a suspiciously similar notch. In the exact same spot, on a very closely-sized 14-inch display…
But hey, whatever Samsung's inspiration may or may not have been to go this route… Releasing a huge tablet with a notch after famously mocking Apple for the iPhone notch a few years ago, in an ad that was later removed… We won't be getting into that fascinating marketing tale right now.
The important thing is – the Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra has quite the striking and fresh design for a tablet. And as mentioned, that whole notch fiasco made me wonder whether I'd rather buy Apple's 14-inch 2021 MacBook Pro over the Tab S8 Ultra, if I was ever in the need for a large notched device in my life.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra
Enhanced trade-in credit + free backlit keyboard cover
$600 off (55%)
Apple MacBook Pro 14"
16GB Memory - 512GB SSD (Latest Model)
So I ended up comparing them, as it is the first logical step to making an informed choice. Let's go over how the two measure up against each other in terms of specs, and starting with the most important "spec" – the price…
So, it's seemingly a pretty unfair comparison – obviously one is "just" a tablet, while the other is a much more expensive laptop with a super powerful processor. But depending on what you need from your device, it's actually not such a crazy comparison to make at all.
If you're just planning on doing simple things, and we'll cover what those might be, then the two devices are indeed reasonably comparable.
And even considering that spec difference there, let me tell you why I still find the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra a better option for me, and who knows – in the end you might find it the better option for yourself too.
They're both entertainment and gaming machines for me
Although I love MacOS, which is the MacBook Pro's operating system, I do sometimes use legacy Windows apps for the many things that I do, so at the end of the day – I need a Windows laptop. Also, I don't game much, but I might go for it at least once or twice a week, and again – I need a Windows laptop for that.
Triple-A gaming isn't really the thing most people would buy a MacBook for. Companies normally develop their flagship games for consoles like the PlayStation 5 and Xbox, then port them to Windows.
MacOS does still offer a great deal of esports titles and even the occasional triple-A game, but what you'll find most in its app store are mobile games like Asphalt 9, which, as such, are also available on the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra.
So for me – regardless of how powerful the MacBook Pro is, it's hard to justify paying $2000 for it. At the end of the day, I'd just use it for Netflix, YouTube, web browsing and social media.
And for those tasks I personally consider the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra the better – and cheaper – device to get.
The Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra comes with an awesome AMOLED 120Hz screen for $900 less
As we've established, the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra is $899 cheaper, costing $1100, which is still an insane price for a tablet. But, if what you're looking for is a huge, beautiful display for your media consumption – is there a more premium, portable option from a more reputable brand, known for making great displays? Not really.
Stay tuned for our Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra review, but for now let's just take a "wild" guess and say that its 14.6" Super AMOLED display with a 120Hz refresh rate is going to be amazing for watching movies and videos.
We've seen Samsung's previous premium tablets and they sure were. Now we have this huge one, with what are likely the smallest bezels ever, on any tablet, and also the nicest display – so if you want a premium movie machine, this is it!
And of course, Android gaming is a big thing, so if you need a huge screen for playing the likes of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, Fortnite, Minecraft or Asphalt 9 – look no further.
In any case, watching movies and mobile gaming aside, what else is the Tab S8 Ultra good for? Well, light productivity. We do have split-screen apps, and Samsung's DeX desktop interface is always just a tap away.
But also, there's something new to look forward to.
Samsung promised us LumaFusion…
I already have computers for heavy work and heavy gaming, but I could use a dedicated video editing and drawing device, and the Tab S8 Ultra should be perfect for that
This wasn't the case until recently – a Galaxy Tab working as my dedicated video editing machine. If anything, the iPad was my go-to video editing device, thanks to its unrivaled performance and an exclusive iPad app called LumaFusion. Well, it was exclusive anyway, until now.
Samsung went out of its way to do what none of us iPad fans could've ever predicted – take LumaFusion – an iPad-only app – and bring it to the Galaxy Tab S8 series! And for me, and many people like me, that's a huge gamechanger. Or at least it should be, when the app actually becomes available on the Tab S8 in coming months.
Now, to be absolutely fair – this could be a disaster launch too. While LumaFusion works perfectly on any iPad, even the cheapest one, we're yet to find out if it will perform just as well on the Galaxy Tab S8 series.
See, the reason many creative people choose the iPad when they look for a tablet is because everything just works fine on it, even the heaviest productivity apps.
But Android doesn't have quite the same reputation. Samsung has a chance to change that, and is clearly trying to, so we can only hope the LumaFusion launch on the Galaxy Tab S8 goes without any hiccups. Hiccups like crashes, lagging, and other such things you don't have to deal with when using that app on an iPad.
Now if LumaFusion works on the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra as good as it does on any iPad – then Samsung's flagship tablet would make for one great video editing machine; one that I'd definitely use often.
Samsung announced LumaFusion for the Galaxy Tab S8 series at its recent Unpacked event
In fact, we should expect reasonably similar video editing and playback performance to what we get from a full-blown MacBook, so why pay extra for the MacBook Pro if we don't have to? Of course, again, that depends on whether LumaFusion will perform as well as expected on the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra. We'll find out soon enough…
It's definitely worth mentioning that on the MacBook Pro, with a desktop video editor like Final Cut Pro X you're able to perform way more complex editing – designing your own complex video effects, transitions, installing plugins, and so on.
But if all you need is to cut videos for your YouTube channel, add some music, basic color correction and such – the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra with LumaFusion should suffice.
Editing on it will arguably also be a more fun experience than it would be on the MacBook Pro, at least judging by my past experience of editing videos on tablets versus MacBooks.
If you're an artist – a huge touch screen and a stylus beats a touchpad, right?
Samsung has already joined forces with the developers of Clip Studio Paint, which is the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra's recommended drawing app for artists. As I'm sure you're aware, the tablet comes with a free S Pen stylus, so in theory you get all you need for drawing and painting out of the box.
We can't say the same if you buy the MacBook Pro instead – not only will Apple's laptops never get a touch screen, as it seems, but you'll need to buy both an iPad and an Apple Pencil separately if you wish to create hand-drawn content. So for the right kind of artist – again the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra is the much cheaper and better option.
I have already used Galaxy tablets to create sketches and complete art for a game that I'm developing – it's a solid experience. And I only imagine it'll be even greater and easier on the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra, with its huge screen, and considering the fact that it has the lowest stylus latency of any Samsung tablet to date!
So there we have it – what I need is a device with a great screen for watching Netflix and YouTube, a device that can handle basic video editing and has the necessary app(s) for it, and a device that's appropriate for creating hand-drawn art.
So for me, and for most everyone else like me, the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra is the more preferable choice over a much more expensive MacBook Pro.
But hey, what do you think about Samsung's new flagship tablet? Are you planning on buying it, and if so, what will you use it for?
Do you consider its huge size a plus or a burden? And do you believe Samsung will succeed in bringing LumaFusion and other iPad-exclusive apps to it, performing just as good as they do on the iPad?
Are you a tablet fan?
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