Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 FE vs Galaxy Tab S9: What’s the difference?

How does the more affordable version of the Tab S9 stack up against the original?

  • Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 FE vs Galaxy Tab S9: What's the difference?

    Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 FE

    Best value

    The Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 FE offers similar functionality and styling to its pricier sibling, but a few corners were cut to hit this price point. The display gets a downgrade, as does the processing power, but depending on your needs, it could be the right choice.


    • Super affordable
    • Well designed
    • Big diesplay


    • Performance is just okay
    • The screen is good, not great

    $450 at Amazon$450 at Best Buy

  • Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 FE vs Galaxy Tab S9: What's the difference?

    Samsung Galaxy Tab S9

    Best performance

    The Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 will cost you more money, but it’ll also net you a 120Hz OLED display and a Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor. If you want to play the latest games at high settings or if you like to edit videos on your tablet, it’s worth the additional cost.


    • Stunning, bright, colourful screen
    • All-day battery life and plenty of power
    • Beautifully slim, but durable build


    • Expensive
    • No backwards compatibility with Tab S8 keyboard dock

    $785 at Amazon$800 at Samsung

The Galaxy Tab S9 lineup ranks among the best Android tablets. However, they're also among the most expensive devices. Fortunately, the Galaxy Tab S9 FE offers many of the same features as the original Tab S9 for a fraction of the price.

Today we're focusing on the Tab S9 FE, but it's also worth mentioning the Tab S9 FE+. The Plus model has the same processor but a larger display, an extra ultra-wide camera on the rear, and a larger battery pack. So, if you feel like the Tab S9 FE is lacking in those specific areas, the FE+ could be better for you.

That said, here's everything you need to know about the Galaxy Tab S9 FE and how it compares to the Galaxy Tab S9.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 FE vs Galaxy Tab S9: What's the difference?

Price, specs, and availability

The FE is quite a bargain

The Galaxy Tab S9 launched in July 2023. It retails for around $800 for the Wi-Fi-only model or around $1,150 for the 5G model. The Galaxy Tab S9 FE launched a few months later, in October 2023. Surprisingly, its price has already dropped. You can find it for as low as $349 with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage.

  • Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 FE Samsung Galaxy Tab S9
    Storage 128GB / 256GB + microSD 128GB / 256GB + microSD
    CPU Exynos 1380 Octa-Core Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy
    Memory 6GB / 8GB 8GB / 12GB RAM
    Operating System Android 13, Samsung One UI 5 Tab Android 13, Samsung One UI 5 Tab
    Battery 8,000mAh 8400mAh
    Camera (Rear, Front) 8MP rear, 12MP front ultra-wide 13MP rear, 12MP ultra-wide front
    Display type 10.9-inch LCD, 2304 x 1440, 90Hz 11-inch AMOLED, 2560 x 1600, 120Hz
    Connectivity Wi-Fi 6E / 5G Wi-Fi 6E / 5G
    Measurements 165.8 x 254.3 x 6.5mm 254.3 x 165.8 x 5.9mm
    Colors Mint / Silver / Gray / Lavender Beige / Graphite
    Weight 523g 498g

Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 FE vs Galaxy Tab S9: What's the difference?

Design and display

The biggest difference is the screen quality

Aesthetically, the Galaxy Tab S9 and S9 FE are very similar. The most obvious difference is the lack of a ridge for the S Pen on the rear of the FE model. The S Pen is included with both tablets, but it attaches to the side of the FE model, like an iPad, rather than on the rear.

The Tab S9 FE has a slightly smaller display, but the chassis has roughly the same footprint and slightly thicker bezels. Despite the smaller screen, the Tab S9 FE is actually thicker and heavier. We're talking less than a millimeter of extra girth and about 25 grams of weight, though, so both remain highly portable.

If you like your tablet to have a bit of personality, there are more color options to choose from with the FE model, and they're a bit more lively, too. The Tab S9 is available in only Graphite and Beige, whereas the Tab S9 FE comes in Mint, Lavender, Gray, or Silver.

When it comes to the display, both offer a similar resolution, and both have adaptive refresh rates; however, the Tab S9 FE is a step-down in display tech. It uses an LCD panel, rather than AMOLED, and it has a lower refresh rate of 90Hz, compared to 120Hz on the Tab S9. In practice, this means the contrast levels will be less impressive, and swiping around the operating system might not look quite as smooth if you choose the FE over the standard Tab S9.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 FE vs Galaxy Tab S9: What's the difference?

Hardware and performance

The original Tab S9 is better for gaming and multitasking

Aside from the display tech, the big difference between these two tablets is in the processing power. The FE runs on Samsung's own Exynos 1380, whereas the regular Tab S9 uses Qualcomm's Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor, which is widely recognized as one of the fastest mobile SoCs on the market today.

The Exynos 1380 is the chip that powers Samsung's mid-range Galaxy A54 5G, and our experience with this phone gives us some idea of the performance we can expect from the Tab S9 FE. In short, it's more than good enough for casual use like web browsing and social media, but if you're trying to run graphically-intensive games or doing some heavy multitasking, it'll start to show its weaknesses.

In addition to the slower processor, the FE model also has less RAM, another indicator that it's not designed with serious multitasking in mind. Otherwise, both tablets offer the same storage options, and both can boost this storage by adding a microSD card.

The Tab S9 FE also has a smaller battery, but since it's using an LCD panel rather than OLED, it should equate to a very similar overall battery life.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 FE vs Galaxy Tab S9: What's the difference?

Camera highlights and upgrades

The FE features a downgraded camera

Both tablets have a single rear camera and a front-facing selfie camera. The front cameras are similar on both tablets with a wide field of view and a 12MP resolution, but the rear camera on the FE gets a bit of a downgrade.

The Galaxy Tab S9 FE has an 8MP main shooter, whereas the standard Tab S9 has a 13MP camera. In all honesty, don't expect spectacular results from either option. The camera is there for convenience rather than something designed to compete with your smartphone. Front-facing cameras are likely to get the most use on a tablet for things like video calls, and they're quite evenly matched in that area.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 FE vs Galaxy Tab S9: What's the difference?

Verdict: Which Samsung Galaxy Tab is right for you?

The original is better, but FE might be better for your buck

Clearly, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 is superior to the FE in almost every area, but it also costs significantly more money. The right model for you all depends on what you want to do with your tablet.

If you want to run complex video editing software or play the latest graphic-intensive games, go with the Galaxy Tab S9. It has a much more powerful processor to deal with these demanding tasks, as well as more RAM and a nicer display with more accurate color rendition.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 FE vs Galaxy Tab S9: What's the difference?

Samsung Galaxy Tab S9

$800 at Best Buy$800 at Samsung$800 at Amazon

However, if you just want a large-screen tablet for watching Netflix, browsing social media, and taking notes, then you'll be best served with the Galaxy Tab S9 FE. It offers all the same functionality at a price that's much easier on your wallet.

On the other hand, if you desire a high-end tablet with a larger screen, take a gander at the Galaxy Tab S9+ or the Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra. The Tab S9+ has a 12.4-inch AMOLED screen, an extra rear camera, and a larger battery pack, while the Tab S9 Ultra has a 14.6-inch AMOLED display and includes a secondary selfie camera. Both devices are more expensive than the Galaxy Tab S9 and Tab S9 FE.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 FE vs Galaxy Tab S9: What's the difference?

Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 FE

$350 $450 Save $100 $350 at Samsung$350 at Amazon$350 at Best Buy

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