Over the past few years, tablets haven’t had their share in the limelight as they once did. While several brands still continue to launch products with incredible features, they still don’t manage to outshine Apple’s iPad, the very tablet that started this trend. If there is one brand that has the capability to disrupt Apple’s dominance, then the first manufacturer that comes to mind is the Cupertino-based tablet manufacturer’s biggest rival — Samsung.
Last year, Samsung introduced the Galaxy Tab S4 which was by far one of the best tablets at the time as it offered flagship-grade specifications without any compromises. This tablet did decently in terms of sales but a wide range of consumers were put off by its price tag which was north of the Rs 50K mark. While consumers have no issues purchasing smartphones that come with exorbitant price tags, purchasing an expensive tablet is still a downer for the wider audience. To address this issue, Samsung has launched a successor to the Galaxy Tab S4 — the Galaxy Tab S5e, a tablet with flagship specifications without the flagship price tag.
Samsung has recently launched the Galaxy Tab S5e in the Indian market and it comes with features that can make anyone swoon with delight. It boasts an excellent design with super slim bezels, a beautiful 10.5-inch AMOLED display, AKG and Dolby Atmos tuned speakers, One UI that’s based on Android 9, and a 7040mAh battery.
Whichever way you look at it, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S5e is a premium device. Despite being a budget-friendly option, it comes with a design that’s nothing short of premium. It is one of the slimmest at just 5.5mm and lightest tablets built by the South Korean tech giant. Boasting super slim bezels, it features an astonishing 82 per cent screen-to-body ratio along with being super lightweight design at a mere 400g. While using it on a regular basis and toting it around, we barely even noticed that it was there. This is what brands should strive to achieve as most tablets are nearly the weight of laptops which is honestly quite turning off.
Not only does it look stunning, it feels super premium as well. Although it doesn’t feature the glass shell on the rear, the metal-finish of the Galaxy Tab S5e is highly appreciated as it doesn’t retain any fingerprint residue. While tablets featuring the glass back are pretty to look at, there is always the doubt in the mind that what if it slips from the hand and the rear gets shattered? With a metal uni-body rear, you get the assurances that it can survive a few accidental drops without being too much worse for wear. The Galaxy Tab S5e is available in three colour options — Black, Silver and Gold and according to us, you can’t go wrong with any of the three options.
If there was one drawback here is that there isn’t a 3.5mm audio jack. However, being super slim, some compromises have to be made. However, you do get a Type-C USB charging port that can be used with headphones that feature this connector. We know that it’s an inconvenience but some trade-offs feel necessary on the Tab S5e. With this being said, Samsung does address it by throwing in an adapter that can be used with a 3.5mm connector. The tablet also comes with POGO pins on the left that can be used with external devices like say the Book Cover Keyboard that makes for an excellent accessory with the Tab S5e. The tablet comes with speakers on all four sides that are tuned by AKG and feature Dolby Atmos integration. These speakers are pretty awesome and they come with a unique auto-rotate feature to output audio the way you hold the tablet. With that being said, pairing the speakers with a pair of headphones allow you to truly witness Dolby Atmos at its finest.
The rear features a single camera that does jut out a bit but if used with a case or with the previously mentioned Keyboard cover, the issue is resolved. Just like the Samsung Galaxy S10e, the tablet comes with a side-mounted power button that doubles up as a fingerprint sensor that’s blitzkrieg fast. Below this biometric authentication system, we have the volume rockers which are conveniently placed. Also, another useful feature here is a micro SD card slot which can expand up on the available storage.
All in all, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S5e is one of the best designed Android tablets out there and because of its lightweight design and compact form factor, it can be used to watch videos or play games for extensive periods of time without any muscle fatigue.
To start off, the display is absolutely stunning and no matter how great the design of the Tab S5e is, the one aspect of the tablet that we were drawn to the most is the immersive display. It features a 10.5-inch WQXGA Super AMOLED display that boasts a resolution of 1600 x 2560 pixels with a pixel density of 287ppi.
If there was a singular reason for purchasing the Galaxy Tab S5e, then it would be because of this gorgeous display. It is a well-known fact that Samsung is the undisputed king when it comes to OLED displays and so much so, even Apple purchases its display from them. So, fitting a breath-taking display on the Tab S5e is a no-brainer. Also, by adding this display on the tablet, you get an impressive 81.8 per cent screen-to-body ratio, a 16:10 widescreen and rich colours that make this a media consumption powerhouse.
Needless to say, the Tab S5e comes with vibrant colours and a bright display that makes using it in direct sunlight completely manageable. Viewing content on Netflix and YouTube is an absolute pleasure and in retrospect, you will be wondering how this tablet is priced this competitively considering its rivals costs quite a pretty penny more.
A thing worth mentioning here is that while watching content on YouTube, you will notice black bars and you don’t get the full-screen experience here. This is a minor trade-off which we don’t see causing an issue to most. Also, there isn’t any S-Pen support here which could deter off power users.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S5e comes with the latest One UI that’s based on Android 9. 0 Pie and with it we get all the tasty goodies this operating system has to offer. This skin is pretty new and if you have used a Galaxy S10 device in the past, the S5e will give you a similar experience.
As mentioned in our Samsung Galaxy S10 review, this is undoubtedly one of the best skins Samsung has ever used. It has a very clean UI that enhances productivity by making everything very intuitive. While the overall look is great straight out of the box, we also appreciate Samsung throwing in useful modes such as Night Mode and Kids Mode in the quick settings. This allows you to easily access it without needing to hunt it down in the settings.
Like most smartphones and tablets from Samsung, you get a slew of Google and Samsung apps as well as some Microsoft apps. On the S5e, you also get Samsung’s Bixby voice assistant which is their answer to Amazon Alexa that’s baked into the UI and can be easily accessed from the Home screen. While it isn’t as great as say a Google Assistant, it is a work in progress that will get better over time.
While the Galaxy Tab S5e is primarily marketed as a media consumption device, it is a pretty solid workstation as well. This is why Samsung is also offering a Keyboard cover that can be paired with it. Which brings us to one of the most important features of the tablet — Samsung DeX mode.
On the Tab S5e, you get a desktop experience or DeX mode which is a laptop version of Android. To enable this, all you need to do is turn it on from the quick settings and then you’re good to go. Apart from using the tablet as a primary display, you can also connect it to a monitor for an enhanced experience. To enable this, you need to pair with a USB Type-C to HDMI adaptor. While you won’t get the same experience as a laptop, it’s a great go-between for those who want to get a laptop experience. In fact, this entire review was typed on the Galaxy Tab S5e with it switched to DeX mode which proves that it’s a great option for basic tasks.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S5e features Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 670 SoC and for those of you who are trivia hunters, this is the first device from the South Korean brand to feature this chipset. This processor is paired with either 4GB RAM and 64GB of storage or 6GB and 128GB of storage. In for review we received the former and though it features lesser memory, it was more than capable of keeping up with whatever task we threw at it.
When it comes to core performance, you may notice a slight lag in high-end games like PUBG Mobile but as far as other tasks like sending emails or switching between apps go, the Tab S5e is a speedy performer. Browsing the web or even accessing word processing apps, the tablet performed admirably. Also, for the lower price, we would actually recommend the 4GB/64GB option. However, if you plan on undertaking a lot of tasks using Samsung DeX, then the 6GB variant may be more useful to you. Again, we reiterate the fact that only if you intend of running a lot of productivity apps, then only should you opt for the higher-end model. If its basic media consumption and light productivity work, then the 4GB option is a better buy.
As expected from any Samsung product, the fingerprint scanner works like a charm. There is facial recognition here but we preferred using the fingerprint scanner as it posed to be far more convenient. Also, in landscape mode, the facial recognition software wasn’t as fast which forced us to adjust our head accordingly. In portrait mode, the facial recognition worked without any complaints.
As mentioned earlier, Samsung also offers a Book Cover Keyboard that sells for Rs 7,999 which is quite a steal. Not only is it priced competitively here in India it also has great functionality. As mentioned earlier, this entire review is written on the Tab S5e and while using this keyboard cover, we observed that it’s pretty accurate even while typing fast. The travel between the keys isn’t spacious but it’s all a matter of getting used to. Our only real complain here is that it isn’t backlit. This makes typing in the dark somewhat difficult.
Talking about this feature on a tablet is a pretty moot point as we are pretty sure this device won’t be used for taking a bunch of photos. A camera on a tablet is never the primary reason for one purchasing it; however, Samsung has added a decent enough rear shooter here. The 13MP lens on the rear is ideal for snapping images but is by no means as powerful as the cameras on Samsung’s smartphones. In well-lit environments, it does an adequate job but in low light it takes a beating. The 8MP front facing camera, which will be used the most is decent as well; but nothing extravagant to write home about. It does the job as intended without any exaggeration. For video calls, which the front-facing camera will be used the most, the recipient gets a clear image which is what the brand promises.
Undoubtedly one of the best features of the Galaxy Tab S5e is the battery life. Samsung has fitted a 7040mAh battery here that the brand rates at 14.5 hours on a single charge. While testing, the battery lasted over a day’s worth of usage while watching content on Netflix, YouTube, playing some games and even using word processing apps. As with the battery life on any device, it is subjective and will vary from person to person. But one thing we can say for sure, it is pretty impressive. There is fast charge support here so the battery does get topped up at a faster rate. However, we would have wished Samsung would have thrown in a faster adapter as opposed to the 18W brick that’s bundled with it.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S5e Wi-Fi variant is priced at Rs 35,999 while the LTE version costs Rs 39,999. And we are just going to come out and say it. The Samsung Galaxy Tab S5e is the best Android tablet available in the market as of now. The competition may be stiff from the likes of Apple but with the Tab S5e, you’re getting so much more that makes the iPad appear like an expensive paperweight. Competition is what drives the technology market and Samsung is showing you that you don’t need to pay a premium to own an excellent device. The Samsung Galaxy Tab S5e not just boasts the features to take on the tablet market; but also, enough going for it to disrupt the laptop segment. And at an extremely competitive price of Rs 35,999 you get a media consumption device that’s great for productivity and has enough going for it to be the contender for tablet of the year no matter the OS.