The iPad has become synonymous with tablet computers in general, and many people mistakenly refer to any tablet as an iPad. Apple's iPads are definitely the most popular tablets, but not the only company that makes them. A handful of manufacturers are still making Android tablets. The company that started it all was Samsung, which introduced the concept of the portable large screen device for the Android platform in 2010. Samsung recently launched its latest tablet, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S5e.
Price at Rs. From 35,999, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S5e is all about the large display and offers an iPad Pro-like design at a much cheaper price. The highlight of the Samsung Galaxy Tab S5e is its 10.5-inch AMOLED screen with QHD resolution, which promises to make this portable entertainment device the best that is available for under $ US. 40,000. Does this Samsung tablet live up to expectations? We find out in our test.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S5e design and specifications
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S5e is the successor to last year's Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 (test), but is positioned differently. While the Galaxy Tab S4 was fixed at Rs. At 57,900 at the start, the Tab S5e has a much cheaper price of Rs. 35,999 for the Wi-Fi-only variant (in the test here), while the LTE variant is priced at Rs. 39,999. An explanation for this price reduction is the "e" at the end of the model name. It's a similar approach to the Samsung Galaxy S10e (Test), which offers most of its more expensive siblings from the S10 series, but at a lower price.
With the Galaxy Tab S5e, Samsung has retained the high-resolution display and premium design of the Galaxy Tab S4, but has opted for a less powerful mid-range processor, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 670. In addition, only one configuration is available with 4 GB RAM and 64 GB of internal storage. The only option that buyers have is between the Wi-Fi and LTE variants. Specification enthusiasts may find the downgrading from a Snapdragon 835 to a Snapdragon 670 disappointing, and we'll find out later in our test how much this has affected actual performance.
Aside from the processor, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S5e looks good, is well built, and has good specifications for a tablet. The front has narrow edges around the 10.5-inch AMOLED screen with QHD resolution, with only the front camera giving up the clear, meaningless look. The tablet has a unibody made of metal and is only 5.5 mm thick.
Despite its size, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S5e only weighs 400 g, making it lighter and slimmer than the Apple iPad Air (2019). The display has the same size and approximately the same resolution.
The back of the Samsung Galaxy Tab S5e is also minimal in design, although the antenna leads break the blur on the metal back. Just like with iPads, the Samsung logo is reflective and the single rear-view camera is in the upper left corner, although the sensor sits in a larger housing and protrudes slightly. Charging is via a USB Type-C port on the bottom, while the operation and volume buttons are on the right.
The on / off switch also functions as a fingerprint sensor and the tablet also has face recognition for biometric authentication. Both work well. The fingerprint sensor is extremely fast and works even with the slightest touch. However, the fingerprint sensor on the on / off switch is somewhat difficult to reach, and the on / off switch itself is somewhat difficult to press due to its shape. We usually found it easier to wake up the tablet by tapping twice and then having it unlocked by face recognition.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S5e has a total of four speakers. Two are at the bottom and two at the top, with one placed near the four corners of the screen. The sound was tuned by AKG, a company of Samsung subsidiary Harman International. Dolby Atmos also supports better sound when watching movies or TV shows on the Galaxy Tab S5e.
The Galaxy Tab S5e is equipped with a 7,040 mAh battery and has a 15 W charger, which took about three hours to fully charge. There are also pogo dots on the left that allow you to charge via a dock or use the Samsung Book Cover Keyboard, which you can purchase separately. With regular use, we were able to stay three to four days between charges. In our HD video battery loop test, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S5e lasted 13 hours and 10 minutes.
You get a 13 megapixel rear camera and an 8 megapixel front camera for the Samsung Galaxy Tab S5e. The rear view camera has autofocus, but no flash, and video recordings with a resolution of up to 4K are possible. These cameras are fairly simple and are only suitable for occasional recordings if you do not have easy or quick access to a smartphone and no video calls.
Interestingly, this tablet also has the “Call and Message Continuity” feature, which allows you to take calls and reply to messages received on a compatible Samsung smartphone on the tablet itself, if both are set up to do so.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S5e software, Book Cover Keyboard and DeX
The company's One UI 1.1 overlay runs on Android 9 Pie on the Samsung Galaxy Tab S5e. At the time of this review, the security patch for April 2019 was running on the tablet. The software is of course the same as on Samsung smartphones, but the larger screen means that the layout is further apart. It looked a bit awkward for us, but we had no real problems using the user interface.
As with the predecessor, you can use the Samsung DeX on the Samsung Galaxy Tab S5e, a modified version of the regular Android interface with a computer-like approach. DeX is ideal for use when the tablet is on a table top, especially when it is docked with a compatible accessory like the Book Cover Keyboard. While the user interface looks different, the functionality remains largely the same. In DeX mode, apps run in Windows by default and not in full-screen mode. This means that you can open multiple apps on the same screen. Some apps like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video cannot be used this way.
Samsung sent us the Book Cover Keyboard together with the Galaxy Tab S5e for review. In conjunction with these accessories, the tablet can be supported upright and used like a laptop. The keyboard is powered by the tablet itself and does not need its own battery to charge. The book cover is magnetically attached to the back of the tablet and the keyboard is connected using the pogo pens. The underside of the keyboard is also magnetic and secures the screen of the tablet when folded.
We found the keyboard a bit too compact, and it was not easy to write long emails and documents on it. However, it worked well for basic use and was a significant improvement over typing on the screen, especially in DeX mode, and it's something you can get used to if you spend more time on it. Although the cover is magnetically attached, it adheres firmly to the tablet and protects it both during use and during storage.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S5e performance
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S5e is not comparable in one point to the company's previous S-series tablets: the processor. The S5e is powered by a mid-range Snapdragon 670, while the S4 and some of the older models in the range are not part of the 800 series. However, Samsung believes it hasn't skimped on the features and specifications that matter to tablet users, and we agree.
The 10.5-inch AMOLED screen with 2560 x 1600 pixels makes this tablet a media powerhouse. Streaming Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Hotstar was an absolute pleasure. All platforms were able to stream with a resolution of up to Full HD, and the image was clean and easy to view with a reasonable viewing distance. In contrast to the Galaxy Tab S4, the Tab S5e does not support HDR. This prevents the Tab S5e from being as powerful as its predecessor.
The only real disadvantage of the screen is the pixel density of 288 ppi. That's not a lot, and of course, things don't look very good on the screen in some situations. While the low pixel density was not a problem for us when streaming video content with Full HD resolution or higher (assuming we kept the tablet at a reasonable viewing distance), the lack of sharpness in the user interface and in certain apps such as Google became apparent Chrome and Spotify as well as games like Sniper 3D.
This is because when using most apps, we tend to hold the tablet to read text or images accurately, and the poor tablet optimization of most Android apps has highlighted the weaknesses of the otherwise very good screen.
The midrange processor largely masters apps and games. While we were unable to play graphics-intensive games with the highest settings, most casual games ran comfortably enough. The Samsung Galaxy Tab S5e is sufficiently powerful for frequently used functions such as audio and video streaming, productivity and surfing the Internet. The tablet performed as expected in benchmark tests with an AnTuTu value of 153842 and a GeekBench value of 1634 (single-core) and 5682 (multi-core).
With only 4GB of RAM, the tablet is a bit aggressive when shutting down apps that you think are still running in the background. This then increases the time it takes to reload.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S5e is also characterized by its speakers. AKG's four-speaker system is probably the best we have seen on a portable device like this. The sound is loud, clean and clear and fully lives up to the picture quality of the display when streaming videos. Tone tuning has been set to give the best results when watching movies or TV shows. However, the speakers also do a good job with music.
This tablet also has a Dolby Atmos mode. Turning it on changed the sound a bit, but in our opinion it didn't really improve (or even worsen) the quality. Regardless of whether the mode is used or not, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S5e is excellent in terms of audio.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S series was previously the tablet equivalent of the flagship S series for smartphones. This meant having the best hardware an Android tablet could have, but it made the prices of previous models above those you would pay for a similar Apple iPad model. While this new “e” approach may be surprising to some, it actually makes a lot of sense to us.
The mid-range processor of the Samsung Galaxy Tab S5e lowers the price, but Samsung has retained the key features that make it so attractive – the screen and the sound. Although the low pixel density occasionally occurs, the screen is largely able to. Together with the excellent speakers, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S5e is ideal for media consumption, most Android games and any other purpose you can think of for a tablet.
An iPad is more tempting for one reason: the apps. The app ecosystem for iPads is still significantly better than for Android, and a large number of these apps are properly optimized for iOS. Android apps are improving, but there is still a lot of catching up to do to optimize quality and tablets. However, if you are looking for a media-oriented tablet experience or are more familiar with Android, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S5e is definitely worth considering.