Jacob Krol/CNN
CNN —  

Samsung may have just made the Galaxy Tab S7+ (along with a slew of other devices) official yesterday, but we’ve spent the last three days with it. The brand-new $849.99, 12.4-inch is the higher-end device of the new Galaxy Tab flagship pair (compared to its smaller 11-inch, $649 sibling).

This pair of tablets succeeds the Galaxy Tab S6, a device we said could handle productivity and entertainment, and the Tab S7 and S7+ aim to continue doing just that while also treading into the territory of being a full computer replacement.

While we’re not quite ready for a full review (in fact, the Galaxy Tab S7 and S7+ aren’t quite ready for a launch in the United States, as they’ll launch sometime this fall), our time with it made a few things clear: Both tablets will give a similar experience in terms of performance, but the S7+ offers a much better display — in both size and quality.

Sleek build

Jacob Krol/CNN

Speaking specifically about the Galaxy Tab S7+, it’s really well designed. It’s slim (just 5.7mm thick) with an aluminum build all around, available in Mystic Bronze, silver or black. The port situation is pretty minimal as well: just one USB-C port.

On the back, you have a dual-camera setup and a magnetic line that holds the S Pen. As Samsung has done in years past, the S Pen comes included in the box. And that’s a nice value add, considering you can use it for note-taking, UX navigation and even drawing. It has a pretty strong magnetic hold, but you can’t lay the tablet flat when it’s being charged or stored. It’s a little annoying, especially depending on how you want to use the tablet.

There’s a quad-speaker setup that’s tuned by AKG, Samsung’s owned-and-operated audio brand. It sounds pretty good with clear audio across low, mid and high tones, but we’ve heard other tablets fill a room more fully. Surrounding the 12.4-inch display on the front is a decent size bezel, which makes it easy to grip.

Samsung also smartly places the front-facing 8-megapixel lens center on the top when the Tab S7+ is held horizontally. When vertical, the camera will be on the right-hand side. We’re still super happy with this placement, especially for video calls, as it doesn’t make you appear like you’re looking off to one side.

Sharp display

Jacob Krol/CNN

The real star after our brief time is the display. The Tab S7+ is the first tablet to feature a Super AMOLED display. And that means an incredibly vibrant picture that offers clarity and doesn’t skimp on the details. In fact, it features a 2,800-by-1,752 resolution. But more important is the 120Hz refresh rate, which is on par with ProMotion on the 11-inch or 12.9-inch iPad Pro. Essentially, a refresh rate is how many times in a second a screen can refresh itself. So the higher, the better, and 120Hz is becoming the new mobile standard.

You’ll notice it when swiping between home pages, navigating large spreadsheets and when viewing content, especially action-filled sequences. It not only looks faster with every swipe and touch feeling more instant, but it adds some extra speed into the Tab S7+. Everything just seems a bit more instant. The Super AMOLED display was a joy to use for streaming content like “Below Deck,” “Iron Man” and “Captain Marvel.” It’s akin to the vibrant experience we’ve had on Samsung phones like the Galaxy S20 Ultra. It just really immerses you with color that pops and deep blacks that draw you in.

Performance

Jacob Krol/CNN

Since this isn’t a full review and we still don’t have final software on the Tab S7+, we haven’t yet performed any of our usual benchmarks. We will share those when we give this tablet a proper review. In the meantime, we can say that most experiences on the Tab S7+ have been speedy. It’s powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 765+ processor. The amount of RAM depends on your storage: 128GB gets 6GB of RAM, and 256GB gets 8GB of RAM.

In our few days with it, we tried both productivity and entertainment tasks. This piece was written on the Galaxy Tab S7+ in standard Android as well as DeX mode with the optional Book Cover accessory, a magnetic backplate that features a kickstand and combination keyboard and trackpad cover. The keys are most certainly plastic, but they provide a decent amount of travel. We do prefer the Magic Keyboard for iPad Pro and the Type Cover on the Surface Go2 (even if we frequently bottomed out on this one). Samsung does include a full row of function keys here, though.

The trackpad leaves us wanting more, as it was spotty with picking up movement and requires a forceful click to make an action occur. Gestures like a three-finger swipe-up for multitasking made the experience a bit more seamless and laptoplike.

We used apps like Outlook, Google Docs, Microsoft Word, Slack, Twitter, Trello and Google Chrome to accomplish our work. DeX is supposed to load as soon as you attach the keyboard, but we didn’t experience that at first. Instead, we had to launch it via Quick Settings at the top, and it took a few minutes to load on the first try. Since then, that timing has decreased. We still need more time to play with it, but Samsung’s DeX is promising. Essentially, it’s a user interface overlay that makes this feel more like a traditional computer. You have a bottom bar and even a row of apps on the desktop. Apps will appear as different windows that you can resize or present in a split view. It’s by no means a full computer replacement, but it did help us get in a better mindset for productivity.

Let’s recap

SAMSUNG

It has been a good few days with the Galaxy Tab S7+, but we can’t call this an iPad Pro killer — yet. At $849.99, it does undercut the price, but you’re getting a different experience. iPadOS feels a bit more fleshed out and handles productivity tasks really well with a great interface. The Tab S7+ feels a bit more undefined; you have standard Android, which performs well for productivity tasks, and DeX feels like it needs some work to fully replace a computer.

We’ll be spending more time with the Galaxy Tab S7+ in the coming weeks as Samsung readies a US launch. We’re also looking forward to testing 5G capabilities on it.

For now, we really like the display and the fast performance on the Tab S7+. Battery life has been long, as it should be with a 10,090mAh battery inside. We just want to spend some more time with DeX and gather enough thoughts to give it a full review treatment. And that will happen closer to launch.

Note: The prices above reflect the retailer’s listed prices at the time of publication.