Samsung Galaxy Tab S5e full review

It was announced before Unpacked to leave more room for the Galaxy S10 range, Galaxy Fold and other products, but Samsung has a new tablet. We’ve checked it out so here’s our Galaxy Tab S5e hands-on review.

New tablets are rare these days with rivals like Sony ducking out the market years ago. So we’re excited to see something new in the Galaxy Tab range, and something with decent specs that promises to be affordable.

Price

We don’t have a UK price just yet but Samsung has said that the Galaxy Tab S5e will offer a “unique” and “new” price point.

In the US it will cost $399 so the UK price is likely to be the same or similar, making it a fair bit cheaper than the Galaxy Tab S4 (£599 or $650). We’ve compared the Galaxy Tab S5e vs Tab S4 here.

However, it’s not quite as low as a key rival - the iPad (2018) is just £319 or £329.

It will be available on 6 April.

Galaxy Tab S5e

Design & Build

Despite being cheaper than its predecessor, the Tab S5e takes that design and improves on it. And no, we don't know where the regular Tab S5 is.

The tablet has smaller bezels resulting in an impressive 82 percent screen-to-body ratio. It’s also astonishingly thin and light at just 5.5mm and 400g, so it feels extremely premium, if a little delicate.

It doesn't have a glass back like the Tab S4 (there's no wireless charging) but we prefer the metal uni-body.

Being so thin means there’s no headphone jack which might be a pain (you need the provided dongle or wireless headphones), but it does have a POGO connector so you can use the tablet with various accessories with ease - namely the Book cover Keyboard.

Galaxy Tab S5e fingerprint scanner

There’s little else to say about the design since it’s a fairly typical modern tablet. The Tab S5e comes in three colours - Black, Silver and Gold - and has a fingerprint scanner hidden in the power button.

Specs & Features

Once again, despite being cheaper than the Tab S4, the Tab S5e has the same screen. It’s 10.5in using Super AMOLED tech and has a decent 287ppi pixel density. It sort of looks better thanks to those smaller bezels.

It also offers up to 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, with the former being more than the Tab S4. The entry-level model will have 4/64GB but you get a microSD card slot for adding up to 512GB.

So how has Samsung made this tablet so much cheaper?

Galaxy Tab S5e screen

Well there’s a lower tier processor in the Tab S5e in the form of a Qualcomm Snapdragon 670 but we don’t think many users will notice too much difference. It’s still octa-core with similar clock speeds. We did try some Asphalt 9 which exhibited some jerkiness so perhaps high-level gaming is beyond its limits but we'll test this further.

Samsung is pitching the Tab S5e as more of an entertainment device rather than a laptop replacement, but the optional keyboard cover means you can still be productive if you need to.

It still has the firm’s DeX software so you can connect it to a monitor via USB-C and use it like a desktop, for example. DeX stands for desktop experience, if you didn’t know.

Galaxy Tab S5e DeX

Back on the entertainment front and there are still four speakers by AKG and Dolby Atmos support for a sort of virtual surround sound experience. It’s the same as the Tab S4 and despite testing the Tab S5e in a noisy environment we're very impressed. The only issue we foresee is that when gaming in landscape, holding the Tab with two hands, you cover two of the speakers.

The Tab S5e has the same cameras as the Tab S4 - 13Mp rear, 8Mp front - whether you need them for photography or video calling. They seem decent and have features like Live Focus. There’s no iris scanner but we’d rather use the new fingerprint scanner anyway.

There’s also enough power for 14.5 hours of video playback which isn’t bad at all, especially when you consider how thin and light this thing is. We’ll test that out when we get a review sample.

Galaxy Tab S5e USB-C

You can fast charge via USB-C or a Pogo Stand (not fast) and also use the tablet as a power bank to charge other devices like your phone if needed.

We’ve already mentioned DeX but there are more software elements to talk about. The Tab S5e comes with Android 9.0 Pie and Samsung’s new One UI which is found on the Galaxy S10 range of phones.

It’s a huge departure from the previous skins that Samsung has used over the years. Not only does it look cleaner, but things work better and are more useful.

Galaxy Tab S5e One UI

Apart from the overall look, we particularly like the Night Mode and the way Galaxy apps present content in a more intelligent and useable way. It perhaps works better on a phone screen, but it’s still nice on a tablet.

Early Verdict

We haven’t tested things out properly yet, but we can’t see where this tablet is going to fall down.

It’s got many of the same specs as the Tab S4, with a number of upgrades as well including more memory and the stunning design.

Not having a headphone jack is a shame but there’s so much to like here that we’re not too fussed. With a more affordable price point, the Galaxy Tab S5e looks like it could well be the best Android tablet you can buy.

Specs

Samsung Galaxy Tab S5e: Specs

  • OS: Android 9.0
  • Display: 10.5in WQXGA Super AMOLED, 287ppi
  • Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 670 Octa-core processor (2×2.0 GHz & 6×1.7 GHz)
  • Memory: 4/6GB
  • Storage: 64/128GB + microSD up to 512GB
  • Cameras: 13Mp rear, 8Mp front
  • Ports: USB3.1 (Type C), POGO (Type-C headset connector Provided)
  • Sensors: Accelerometer, Fingerprint Sensor, Gyro Sensor, Geomagnetic Sensor, Hall Sensor, RGB Light Sensor
  • Wireless: Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac 2.4G+5GHz, VHT80 MU-MIMO, Wi-Fi Direct, Bluetooth v5.0 GPS, Glonass, Beidou, Galileo
  • Audio: 4 speakers sound by AKG, Dolby Atmos
  • Battery: 7,040mAh, Fast Charging, 14.5 hours video playback
  • Dimensions: 245.0 x 160.0 x 5.5mm
  • Weight: 400g
  • Accessories: Book cover Keyboard, POGO Charging Dock, Slim cover, Book cover (not included)

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