Cloud Gaming on the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra

Samsung’s Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra is their highest-end tablet. Not for this generation but for as long as Samsung has been making Android tablets. And that is abundantly clear from the second you clap your eyes on the device or its top-tier price tag. Is it worth purchasing to fulfil your cloud gaming needs?

A Feast for the Eyes

No question about it: this tablet is a behemoth with a screen size of 14.6 inches. Thankfully, the huge screen’s aspect ratio is 16:10 making it slightly wider than Full HD widescreen and is flanked by an impossibly thin bezel. Whilst 14.6 inches sounds impractically big, in the hand, more importantly on a desk, the screen size feels right. Not to mention, like all Samsung devices, it looks fantastic too. With bold, punchy, colors and a pixel density of 240ppi (a ratio of 1848×2960 pixels), this thing is pin sharp. Every cloud game I have played on here looks astounding and smooth thanks in part to the 120hz refresh rate.

There is a notch on the top of the Tab S8 Ultra’s screen (in landscape mode). The notch is small and unobtrusive when immersed in a game. Even less so depending on the service you are using. GeForce NOW covers every inch of the screen, so you will see the notch. It is unlikely to interfere with the gameplay though. When playing on other services such as Xbox Game Pass Ultimate and Blacknut Gaming, letter boxing occurs. In these situations, the notch disappears entirely.

A case with a kickstand is worth purchasing to make the most of the screen real estate where ever you choose to game. With its thin bezels, every tablet holder that I have tried obscured some of the screen from view making a quick stand the best option.

The Power to Play

With a big device comes a big battery. The battery size in the Tab S8 Ultra is the proof of this. The super slender design packs an 11,200mAh unit. Although numbers aren’t everything, this is enough to keep the device running for hours of cloud gaming. Mainly thanks to the efficiency of the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, whether at home or on the go, if you spring for the cellular version. This version, as we can expect in 2022, is 5G. As most of the cloud gaming services don’t require an incredible connection (stability is more important than speed), mobile gaming means something different than it used to when Candy Crush was king. With nothing more than a Bluetooth controller you can play AAA games in all their glory, free of any cables or chargers. Cutting the chord makes it even more convenient to play on the go.

Fortnite of Samsung Galaxy Tab S8
Fortnite is great, but be sure to bring a controller

Keyboard and Mouse

The tablet’s price may sit firmly in the range of low to mid-range laptops, especially if you are looking to purchase the keyboard case. But when it comes to cloud gaming, that is where the similarities end. As good as the trackpad and mouse are on the tablet’s keyboard cover, they do not work with cloud gaming. I did manage, as frustrating as it was, to type in login details for some GeForce NOW games, however, the trackpad did not register in any instance. No matter how many times I tried.

Thankfully, I am a controller player regardless of where I am playing. But it does mean that games such as Humankind and Cities: Skylines are not as enjoyable as playing on a PC with keyboard and mouse. If they are the kind of games you enjoy playing or if you prefer to play keyboard and mouse, the Tab S8 ultra is not your best bet. You could pick up a good laptop or great Chromebook for a similar price.

Touch Screen Gaming

It is fantastic to see more and more games to cloud gaming services with touch controls. Whether that’s Genshin Impact with direct touch or Overcooked 2 with Xbox’s overlayed buttons.  But unfortunately, the bigger the screen, the harder some games are to play. Elements of the UI for many games are stretched to far corners of the 14.6 inch display making it hard to fluently move between them. Blacknut displays massive overlayed controls across the screen that are not only hard to reach but distracting.

GeForce NOW’s direct touch is a better take but holding the device in your hands and trying to reach all elements is beyond difficult. The best contender for playing without a controller, Xbox Game Pass Ultimate. The fact that the controls move out to the side where your hands naturally rest, combined with controls that are optimized for each game, makes it the best cloud gaming service for playing on the Tab S8 Ultra without a controller. Gears 5 is much more accessible than Fortnite in this scenario.

Xbox Touch Controls on Galaxy Tab S8
Xbox makes touch screen gaming work on the Tab S8 Ultra


Is it worth purchasing? All in all, the Tab S8 Ultra is a great, versatile device for Cloud Gaming and beyond. The tablet is capable of almost anything that you throw at it. I myself use it for writing these posts, editing YouTube videos, and throw many more tasks at it seldom hitting any blockades. However, the price is steep, and you cannot utilize the keyboard and mouse for gaming. If that worries you, there may be better, more reasonably priced, options out there.  But if, like me, you like to play with a controller and are looking for something lightweight and long-lasting, to play games anywhere the mood strikes, you will not be disappointed in the Tab S8 Ultra.



Pedder is a Dad of 3, a Tech Geek, a Video Maker, and a Casual streamer. Follow on Twitter: @Just_Pedder, YouTube: Pedder Games and Buy Pedder a Coffee

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