If you are looking to buy an Android tablet from a recognized brand, Samsung will be your best bet in 2019. The brand maintains an extensive portfolio of its Galaxy tabs spread across a wide price spectrum.
The Galaxy A-series tablets cater to the affordable segment and the Galaxy S-series generally include the top-shelf hardware with a comparable steep price. The recently launched Galaxy Tab S5e lies somewhere in the middle and should be accessible to consumers who admire the niche form factor, particularly those targeting multimedia consumption as there primary usage.
So, does the Samsung Galaxy Tab S5e justify its price? We’ll try and answer that in our review.
Design and Build
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S5e has a metal back with antenna bands, reminiscent of phones from a few years back. The metal makes the Galaxy Tab S5e feel solid and also serves as an anchor for the keyboard cover to magnetically cling to.
The first thing you will notice about the Galaxy Tab S5e is how remarkably slim it is. It weighs a reasonable 400 grams and is very comfortable to wield. Due to the slim profile, the rear camera bulges out a bit, but any decent case should be able to even out the hump.
On the front, the Tab S5e has mostly display with slim and uniform bezels running all around it. This is a good thing since uneven bezels would have made the tab felt odd in the landscape or portrait mode.
Unfortunately, Samsung has ditched the audio jack for this one and you will have to output audio to headphones via USB Type-C port. There are four ALG tuned speakers – two at the top and two at the bottom – that together fire rich audio. And a headphone jack to Type-C dongle is bundled in the box.
The power button doubles as a fingerprint sensor, which mostly works fine. The tablet comes in both Wi-Fi and optional 4G LTE versions, each with a dedicated card slot.
The keyboard case cover that Samsung has introduced alongside has to be purchased separately and costs Rs. 7,999. As part of an introductory offer, Samsung is offering the Keyboard to Tab S5e consumers for a discounted price of Rs. 3,500.
As mentioned above, this keyboard cover magnetically clings to the tablet and connects via pogo pins. The chicklet keys are firm and offer decent travel. Due to size constraints, keys are a bit cramped, but not so much that you couldn’t get used to typing on them.
The keyboard case also doubles as a stand for mounting the tablet at an angle. If you plan on using the Tab S5e in Dex mode for productivity applications, you should seriously consider investing in the case cover.
Needless to say, the display quality is of utmost importance here, and the good news is that Samsung doesn’t disappoint in this regard. The Galaxy Tab S5e has a10.5-inch AMOLED display with 16:9 aspect ratio (which is best suited to most content).
The screen is 2K sharp and can get bright enough for comfortable outdoor usage. Contrast is high and colors are vivid. You can choose between different color profiles, switch to the dark theme to enjoy deep blacks, or avail the blue light filter while reading.
The Galaxy Tab S5e supports HD streaming on popular apps and the screen is just awesome for consuming multimedia content.
Performance and software
The Galaxy Tab S5e is powered by the mid-range Snapdragon 670 octa-core chipset, that we earlier saw in Pixel 3a XL. In India, the Tab S5e comes in only one memory configuration – 4GB RAM and 64GB storage. The dedicated SD card slot can accept another 512GB of secondary storage.
This is enough power to cruise you through comfortable day-to-day usage and for powering remarkable multimedia experience. We tried a few high-end games, and they were quite playable, if not rendered perfectly smooth.
The processing power is put to test in the Dex mode. This is where Galaxy Tab S5e assumes a Windows-like interface and is better suited for laptop-tasks like hardcore browsing and effective multitasking.
The Dex mode isn’t flawless, but if you have the required accessories with you, this can be really handy for productivity task. The Snapdragon 670 on the tablet can comfortably drive aggressive browsing in chrome in the Dex mode. However, if you have too many apps or games running in the background, the Tab starts to shutter.
In the regular mode, the software is One UI (Android pie-based). It’s an intuitive interface which is simple to navigate and quite elegantly designed.
Camera and Battery
The Galaxy Tab S5e has a 13MP rear camera with LED flash and an 8MP front-facing camera. In all likelihood, both of these cameras will primarily be used for video calling and the quality is good enough for the said purpose. Other than that, the photography can’t match-up to what you’d expect of phones that cost as much, but it’s fairly decent.
The 7040mAh battery within the Galaxy Tab S5e lasts really long. With moderate to light usage, the tab comfortably lasts for more than 2 days on a full charge. We could even watch the entire season of Stranger things 3 in one go with plenty of juice left to spare. Samsung also bundles an 18W fast charger in the box that can top up the battery real fast.
For its price, the Galaxy Tab S5e makes a lot of sense. What Samsung is aiming for here is a quality experience at a more accessible price compared to what it has traditionally been asking for high-end AMOLED display tablets.
The Tab S5e offers an amazing display, a long-lasting battery, is super slim and elegant and has a very interesting, productivity-oriented software. We quite enjoyed our time with the Galaxy Tab S5e and if you are fascinated by the prospects of enjoying smartphone-related tasks on a slightly bigger yet portable screen, we have no qualms about recommending the Galaxy Tab S5e as an option on the Android side of the table.