Samsung’s new Galaxy Tab S9 FE tablets are already starting to slip down in price – it’s a small discount, but these were already cheaper than the mainline Tab S9 models. You could also pick up the Tab S8 models from last year.
Starting with the FE models, the small model – well, the 10.9” one – is down to $420 for the base configuration (Wi-Fi, 6GB of RAM and 128GB storage).
The larger Tab S9 FE+ with its 12.4” display is sitting at $570. Note that this one has more RAM, 8GB. Also, both models have microSD card slots, so you can easily add more storage (we’ll get to that in a minute).
Instead of the S9 FE, you can get the Galaxy Tab S8. This one also has an LCD display (an 11” panel) but it has a slightly higher resolution and higher refresh rate (120Hz vs. 90Hz). Even better, it is powered by the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 – not the best flagship chipset, but it is much more powerful than the Exynos 1380 that the FE slate has. The batteries on both are the same, 8,000mAh with 45W charging.
And instead of the S9 FE+, you can get the Galaxy Tab S8+. This one has a 12.4” display, but it is a Super AMOLED this time. It has an edge over the FE display with a higher pixel density and a higher refresh rate (120Hz vs. 90Hz again). The SD 8 Gen 1 vs. Exynos 1380 argument applies here too, as for the batteries, they are exactly the same. One thing that might or might not matter to you is that the FE tablets are rated IP68 for dust and water resistance, the Tab S8 series has no rating.
As we mentioned earlier, all four tablets have microSD slots. You can add 512GB for just $25 – much, much cheaper than buying extra internal storage. There’s also the pricier Samsung Pro Ultimate microSD card. This one promises higher transfer speeds of 200MB/s sequential reads and 130MB/s writes, while the Evo Select tops out at 130MB/s. Both are rated A2, so you can move apps to them (the A2 rating is for random IOPS, so it helps apps run faster).
While we were looking at the FE tablets, we also noticed their siblings – the Samsung Galaxy S23 FE and the Buds FE paired together for $650. The FE uses the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chip in the US, so it’s behind the S23 series (which got the Gen 2), but the S23 series is on its way out – the S24 phones will be out in a couple of months. So either hold off and get the new flagship or get the cheaper FE flagship now.
Foldable phones are finally affordable – not cheap, but affordable. The Motorola razr+ (aka Razr 40 Ultra) goes for $700 these days, not much more than the S23 FE (you’re not getting headphones, but still). This one has an even better Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 chipset, though the 12+13MP cameras are kind of disappointing. At least the 3.6” cover display is perfectly usable, something that took Samsung a while to get right.
If you’re not sure you want to spend that much money on a foldable, check out the Motorola razr at $500. It has almost the exact same internal display as the razr+ (except it runs at 144Hz and not 165Hz), but the tiny cover display is much less usable. Also, this one switches to the Snapdragon 7 Gen 1. The cover display and the chipset are pretty big downgrades, but you do save $200.
If you’re in the market for a new smartwatch, check out the Samsung Galaxy Watch6 pair. The Watch6 linked below is the Bespoke edition, which means it comes with a premium wrist band. The Watch6 Classic is the regular version, but these bands are interchangeable, so you can swap the one you get in the box if you don’t like it.
Alternatively, there is the Apple Watch SE (2022), which would be the better pick for iPhone users – the Watch6 won’t connect to iOS and the Apple Watch won’t pair with Android (well, you could, but it’s a hassle). Note that the SE is based on older hardware, so it lacks ECG, which became standard on later Apple Watches.
If you want more battery and are okay with less smarts, the Amazfit Cheetah Pro promises up to 14 days of typical use and 7 days of heavy use. As you can tell from the name, this one is designed for runners with features like Virtual Pacer, Race Achievement Prediction and Track Run Mode.
We also spotted some headphone offers. The Sony WF-1000XM5 are the result of continuous improvement in Sony’s TWS buds. They have a smaller, lighter case than the XM4, better sound than XM4 and top of the line noise canceling.
The Apple AirPods Max are pretty deep into their product cycle, but they are still the only over-ear headphones from Apple.
We will wrap up with the Meta Quest 2. We have reviewed both it and its successor, which is hands down the better VR headset. Unfortunately, it costs double. So if you just want to dip your toes into VR to see if it’s for you, the $250 Quest 2 is a perfectly fine pick for both standalone usage and even connecting to a PC.
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…. to be continued
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