Be warned, this is a long review, but I'm trying to be specific.
This tablet is not going to replace a laptop, but it has done exactly what I wanted it to do. I teach literature and writing, and I was excited by the s-pen feature on this tablet. The pen allows the TAB A to be for me, a cheaper compromise than buying a new laptop with Microsoft Ink or a compatible pen-interface. It's also extremely portable, light, and has a long-lasting battery. The android system is capable of running an app for the learning module my university uses, which means that I can grade papers and assignments with the tablet using the s-pen. This functionally allows me to have electronic submissions and yet grade the old-fashioned way, with pen in hand, which is MUCH MUCH faster for me than grading through the learning system on a computer. Doing that requires constant back and forth from a mouse or trackpad and the keyboard. I can do everything with the s-pen, including write comments that are then converted to text whenever the samsung touch keyboard would otherwise pop up on the screen.
I can also use similar features in Microsoft Word's app, which the tablet can run and in which, by signing up with MS, you can access "pen" functions and drawing capabilities. It doesn't seem to have the same inkspace capabilities that the new MS Ink-compatible laptops have, but it has so far proved a great tool for commenting and editing on work as well. If you pay MS for a 365 subscription, or fully install one from your work or school, you can probably access a greater suite of compatible products.
What has really impressed me is how well the pen works, and how good the samsung keyboard is at converting writing to text. I have terrible handwriting, but I am able to use the interface relatively easily. I can compose an email in longhand, and it will be easily converted to text. I also really like the note spaces available, which means I can sit in a meeting or at a talk and take notes in longhand on the tablet and save them, eliminating having to carry the laptop to meetings or talks, and allowing me to have organized electronic note files.
There are limitations, the first of which is that this is only built with 16GB of onboard memory. That is really really too bad. The expandable memory is huge, and SD cards are now pretty cheap, so it's workable, but 32 GB or 64GB would make this thing an i-pad killer, in my opinion. To get the apple pencil, you need an I pad pro, and you have to spend about 3x what this gadget costs. Since i got this on a great sale, it's even more crazy to me.
Another limitation is the chip, which is ok, but not the speediest thing in the world. A surface or an I-pad is going to run faster and probably be able to do more complicated things or hold open more web windows.
Finally, Android. Android can make me a little crazy, because it's just a mess. There is a settings menu that allows you to see the file organization on here easily, but I still have trouble making sure things are actually saving where I want them and finding things that I save. I don't know if this is just because I'm too used to real operating systems, but I don't find android efficient or navigable, and it's harder to search for files that are missing. "Saving" is also mysterious in certain apps, and I don't feel like I have control over my content in the way I do on a real operating system.
That said, as a supplement and a tool, this thing is perfect. I haven't been watching video on it, because I didn't get it for that, but it has a beautiful screen and is nice and thin. We have a kindle fire, and this thing is bigger and nicer. The kindle does other great things, and is a wonderful tool in its own way, but it can't do what the TAB can do. The camera also works well, and with a few drawing apps I've been able to do some art projects that would have been a total pain on a standard computer. I should also be able to cast from this device to my TV, but I haven't even tried that yet so I can't say how well it works.
To be clear, I would not have bought this if it didn't have the pen. The pen is absolutely what I wanted, and this tool gives me the capability I wanted at the best price. I may eventually upgrade to a new MS laptop with the compatible Inkspace and pen, but the Tab A has made me very happy and saved me a lot of time already.