- Vivid OLED display beats iPad in color reproduction
- Solid productivity performance
- Bundled stylus offers useful features
- 2 USB ports allow for helpful second screen action
- Lackluster performance vs. Apple and Samsung's biggest slates
- Lenovo productivity apps as frustrating as useful
Two new massive OLED-equipped Android tablets hit store shelves this summer, and now that we've reviewed both I'm going to show you how they stack up.
It's hard to know whether the Lenovo Tab Extreme vs Samsung Galaxy S9 Ultra match-up playing out right now in the world of Android slates was intentional gamesmanship or just convenient timing, but either way folks interested in big-screen Android tablets have a tough decision to make.
I know because I've been reviewing Android tablets for years, and these are some of the largest and most interesting I've seen yet.
Both are big and beautiful, with gorgeous OLED displays more than 14 inches across and enough muscle to handle multitasking between demanding apps. They're both also sold with a nice stylus thrown in at no charge and a good detachable keyboard cover available for a modest fee, so they're compelling options for folks looking to ditch their laptop for a tablet.
But which one is right for your needs? It's been hard for me to decide which of these slates has the edge at the end of the day, so I thought it might be helpful to run through what we've learned about each in our hands-on testing and review to show you where each excels over the other — so you might have a better idea of what's right for you.
Lenovo Tab Extreme vs Samsung Galaxy S9 Ultra: Specs
|Header Cell - Column 0
|Lenovo Tab Extreme
|Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra (starting)
|MediaTek Dimensity 9000
|Snapdragon 8 Gen 2
|14.5-inch 120Hz 3K (3000 x 1876) OLED
|14.6 inch (2960 x 1848) Super AMOLED, 120Hz
|USB-C 3.2, USB-C 2.0
|13MP, 6MP ultrawide
|11.04 x 8.46 x 0.25 inches
|12.85 x 8.21 x 0.21 inches
Lenovo Tab Extreme vs Samsung Galaxy S9 Ultra: Price
The Lenovo Tab Extreme is available for purchase from Lenovo's website and select third-party retailers for $949, making it the cheaper of these two tablets.
For that you get a 100% recycled aluminum slate with a 14.5-inch 120Hz 3K OLED display, an octacore MediaTek Dimensity 9000 CPU, 12GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. It also comes with a Lenovo Precision Pen 3 stylus, which magnetically attaches to the tablet to charge and receive software updates.
You can get it bundled with the Lenovo Tab Extreme Keyboard for a total of $1,099, though you can sometimes find it on sale for $1,000 or less.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra is a bit more expensive, starting at $1,199 and available for purchase from Samsung’s website. The entry-level model sports a 14.6-inch AMOLED display and packs 256GB of storage and 12GB of RAM.
Unlike the Lenovo Tab Extreme, you can pay more to upgrade Samsung's tablet with up to 16GB of RAM and 1TB of storage for $1,619. All configurations come bundled with the Galaxy S Pen, and you can probably get a decent discount if you trade in some old hardware.
So while the Lenovo Tab Extreme is the cheaper of these two tablets, the Galaxy S9 Ultra can be upgraded to be more powerful and more capable, making it potentially the preferable choice for big spenders who want the best Android tablet they can get.
Lenovo Tab Extreme vs Samsung Galaxy S9 Ultra: Design
These two tablets are nearly the same size, making the difference in design a matter of degrees.
The Lenovo Tab Extreme measures 12.9 x 8.3 x 0.23 inches and weighs 1.6 pounds, while the Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra is 12.85 x 8.21 x 0.22 inches big and weighs 1.61 pounds by itself. Both tablets weigh more than three pounds when attached to their respective keyboard stands, so if you use them like a laptop expect them to weigh what a laptop does.
Both tablets practically require two hands to use comfortably, but when you do they feel like sturdy, premium devices. They both have magnetic strips for charging a stylus, lack headphone jacks but have microSD ports so you can slot in additional storage, and they both charge via USB-C ports.
However the Lenovo Tab Extreme has a unique value add in its design: A second USB-C 2.0 port near the edge which lets you do things like charge or use the tablet as a secondary display for your PC. It's functionality the Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra can't match, and it gives the Tab Extreme the edge in this regard.
Lenovo Tab Extreme vs Samsung Galaxy S9 Ultra: Display
Both of the screens on these slates are gorgeous, vivid OLED displays. They're nearly the same size and both can get up to 120Hz, but the Lenovo Tab Extreme offers higher resolution and better color reproduction. However, the Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra gets brighter.
|Lenovo Tab Extreme
|Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra
To show you what I mean, have a look at our chart of display test results. We went over both tablets in our testing lab with a Klein 10-A colorimeter, and we found that the Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra clearly outshines the Lenovo Tab Extreme (380 nits of brightness vs 592 nits).
However, the Tab Extreme's edge is in more vivid colors and achieving the full DCI-P3 color gamut, which many screens can't match. Lenovo's big-screen beauty achieves 181.6% of the sRGB color gamut and 128.6% of the more demanding DCI-P3 color gamut according to our tests, which helps explain why colors look saturated and vivid on its 3K 120Hz display.
The Tab S9's 3K 120Hz display isn't too terribly behind, as in our tests it achieved 117.7% of the sRGB color gamut and 83.4% of the DCI-P3 color gamut. It also did better in terms of Delta-E score, earning a rating of 0.17 to beat out the Lenovo Tab Extreme's 0.37 (the closer to 0, the better).
So if you care about pure brightness, the Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra has the edge here. But if you care less about that than you do about nice colors, the Lenovo Tab Extreme is a compelling alternative.
Lenovo Tab Extreme vs Samsung Galaxy S9 Ultra: Performance
Both of these tablets are driven by speedy chips which, when combined with their generous helpings of RAM, help make multitasking and tapping between day-to-day tasks feel quick and snappy.
However, our lab testing lays bare some clear discrepancies between the two. I love the Tab Extreme and have few complaints about its performance, but the numbers don't lie: Samsung's Galaxy S9 Ultra speeds past it in nearly every benchmark.
|Lenovo Tab Extreme
|Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra
|MediaTek Dimensity 9000
|Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2
|3DMark Wild Life Unlimited
As you can see from the chart above, these two tablets aren't too far apart in terms of Geekbench 5, a benchmark which measures overall CPU performance. But Samsung's slate is still the one to come out on top, thanks no doubt to the speed of its Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip.
And in every other test, the results are more damning. Lenovo's Tab Extreme runs modern Android games quite well, but in a graphical test like 3DMark Wild Life Unlimited (which tests how well the tablet handles demanding graphics) it can't catch up to the Samsung Galaxy S9 Ultra.
Lenovo Tab Extreme vs Samsung Galaxy S9 Ultra: Battery life
When it comes to battery life, however, these tablets are neck-and-neck in our testing. The Lenovo Tab Extreme has the edge in charging speed, though, so it's the one to pick if you want less worry about waiting around for a dead tablet to charge.
|Recharge level (30 mins)
|Lenovo Tab Extreme
|Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra
In our battery rundown test, both tablets conked out at nearly the same time, which is impressive. The Lenovo Tab Extreme lasted 9 hours and 28 minutes with its screen set to its most power-sipping 60Hz mode, while the Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra lasted 9 hours and 27 minutes under the same conditions.
Frankly I'd like to see either do better, as these slates are both sold as potential laptop replacements and you really want 10-12 hours of tested battery life in a tablet if you want to carry it around all day without a charger.
But when we plugged both in to see how much charge they can suck up in 30 minutes the Tab Extreme was the clear winner, charging up to 52% of a full battery in the time it took the Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra to get to 28%.
Lenovo Tab Extreme vs Samsung Galaxy S9 Ultra: Keyboard and stylus
Both of these tablets come with a good stylus packed in, and they offer a great keyboard stand for an additional charge. Samsung charges much more for its keyboard, however, making an already expensive tablet even more so if you want the luxury of a detachable keyboard.
Samsung packs in a good S Pen stylus with every Tab S9 Ultra, and it's a solid active stylus that magnetically attaches to the tablet for charging when not in use. The optional Book Cover keyboard is also quite nice to have, but it will cost you $349 for the privilege. That brings the total cost of a new Tab S9 Ultra with keyboard to northwards of $1,600, which is what you'd pay for a great laptop.
While the Book Cover Keyboard is functional, it’s not a match for the Apple Magic Keyboard. The Magic Keyboard keeps the iPad Pro locked in place and the keyboard portion provides a solid and sturdy base. Samsung’s peripheral feels flimsy in comparison. Because the kickstand on the Book Cover Keyboard is so thin, it can sometimes be difficult to prop the tablet up without it falling over due to its size. I could’ve forgiven the kickstand's finicky nature if the peripheral was priced lower, but for $349, I expect a product on a par with Apple's Magic Keyboard.
That wasn't my experience with the Lenovo Tab Extreme, which feels nice and sturdy as soon as the Tab Extreme magnetically thunks into place on the dual-hinged stand. The dual hinges give you two places where you can adjust the tablet forwards and backwards instead of just one, and it has a pop-out kickstand you can use separately to hold the tablet up in either orientation.
The fact that the Lenovo Tab Extreme's optional keyboard accessory is more functional than what comes with the S9 Ultra gives it the edge in this regard, and that's before I tell you it only costs $150 to add to your cart.
$150 isn't cheap, but it's less than half the price Samsung asks for its S9 Ultra keyboard attachment. Factor in the fact that the Lenovo Precision Pen 3 stylus is one of the best I've yet tested thanks to a handful of useful software features that Samsung's slate can't match (like being able to remotely DJ Spotify from across the room by tapping the stylus button) and Lenovo is the clear winner here.
Lenovo Tab Extreme vs Samsung Galaxy S9 Ultra: Cameras
Cameras on tablets often feel like the opposite of cameras on phones, in that you typically care more about the quality of the front-facing camera than the rear ones.
The question of which cameras are better in the Lenovo Tab Extreme vs Samsung Galaxy S9 Ultra debate is tricky to answer because they're awfully similar. Both tablets have 13MP rear-mounted cameras, but the Tab Extreme has a 13MP front-facing camera compared to the Tab S9 Ultra's slightly less capable 12MP front-facing camera.
However, Lenovo's Tab Extreme can't match the Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra in terms of frames per second, since the Tab Extreme's video recording capabilities tap out at 4K / 30 FPS while Samsung's slate has cameras that can capture up to 4K / 60 FPS video.
The Tab S9 Ultra's two front-facing cameras are capable of shooting regular and ultrawide shots, as are the front-facing cameras on the Lenovo Tab Extreme. Shooting ultrawide selfies is kind of a weird flex, but you can do a lot to customize what kinds of images you capture by downloading different camera apps.
We haven't done an in-depth shot-by-shot comparison between the cameras on these two tablets, so we can't say for sure which captures the highest-quality images. But in our hands-on experience testing of both, we were pretty happy with the results, and I think if you use your tablet for video calls or snapping photos you won't be too disappointed with either.
Of course, the sheer size and weight of these slates makes the thought of lifting either up to snap photos or record some video seem painful at best.
Lenovo Tab Extreme vs Samsung Galaxy S9 Ultra: Which tablet wins?
Now that you've seen the results of our testing I hope you understand why I say these two tablets are startlingly similar. That makes the question of how to choose between the Lenovo Tab Extreme vs Samsung Galaxy S9 Ultra a difficult one, though if you're already deeply enmeshed in Samsung's ecosystem of Galaxy devices there's good reason to stay in.
But absent any other consideration, these two tablets are neck-and-neck in a lot of ways. Their OLED screens are both gorgeous, and while Samsung's slate gets brighter it can't match the color reproduction of the Lenovo Tab Extreme. Samsung's tablet performs better, but it's also more expensive, and that price only climbs higher if you want a keyboard with it.
If you do want a big tablet that can double as a laptop in a pinch these are both solid choices, but I think the Tab Extreme might be a slightly better value because you get the full package for hundreds of dollars less. Plus, I love the way you can use its stylus to do things like quickly copy and paste or remotely control the tablet from across the room.
With less than 10 hours of tested battery life neither is ideal for a full day of doubling as a laptop at work or school. But remember, the Tab Extreme charges faster, and its unique dual-USB design gives it additional functionality the Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra can't offer.
The Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra is clearly the more performant of the two though, so if you plan to do a lot of gaming on your big-ass Android tablet that might be the right choice for you.
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Alex Wawro is a lifelong tech and games enthusiast with more than a decade of experience covering both for outlets like Game Developer, Black Hat, and PC World magazine. A lifelong PC builder, he currently serves as a senior editor at Tom's Guide covering all things computing, from laptops and desktops to keyboards and mice.