Samsung Galaxy Tab S5e Review

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Samsung’s new 2019 Galaxy Tab S5e is easily the best Android tablet of 2019 so far. The E stands for Essentials which is really a way of saying it’s the cut-down version of the Galaxy Tab S5. It’s safe to say the Galaxy Tab S5 will have a much more powerful chipset maybe the Snapdragon 855 and S-Pen support. Hopefully, a 3.5mm headphone jack to which the Tab S5e sorely lacks, a decision most wouldn’t agree with. Samsung dropping the 3.5mm jack on this tablet wasn’t a great move.

Apart from that hiccup, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S5e is without a doubt the best Android tablet of 2019 so far. At $399 it’s a good hundred more than the Alldocube X I reviewed with this same exact 10.5″ SAMOLED screen, but here in the Samsung you certainly get so much more for that extra $100 spent.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S5e Review video below:

01:38 – Design & build
05:49 – Finger/face unlock
07:38 – Screen & outdoors
09:14 – UI, Benchmarks & ROM
12:36 – eBooks & audio
13:57 – Games (PUBG, SGL, Blades)
15:43 – Cameras
16:22 – DeX desktop mode
16:43 – Battery life
17:09 – Kids safe mode
17:22 – Recap Pros & Cons

What’s in the box:

For the EU version, I have 4GB/64GB Wifi only version you get a 3.5mm to a type-c adaptor in white and an EU adaptive fast charging 9 volts, 1.67amps charger as seen in the video review above. I used a Qualcomm QuickCharge 3 charger and it didn’t see to charge the tablet any faster. The charge time was 2 hours and 33 minutes which is fine for a 7040 mAh battery.

Build quality:

When I first saw the Galaxy Tab S5e was at MWC19, the super slim 5.5m all alloy build and super light 396 grams were drawing a lot of attention and rightly so. It’s slim profile, the slim 8mm all round bezels make it not only look like it’s an iPad Pro 11 from 2018 but also as if you could bend it with ease. Care will be needed for sure with such a thin tablet, I wouldn’t risk placing in a backpack without a case. Or it could end up like some iPad’s slightly bent.

The Galaxy S5e is super thin.

The Galaxy S5e is super thin.

The overall finish is perfect, with no sharp edges or builds issues. But okay almost perfect the camera does sick out 1mm.

But the rounded edges make it feel great in hand and at just 400 grams, you can hold the tablet through an episode of your favorite Netflix TV or Amazon prime series without an issue. It does have a Widevine Level 1 cert, so streaming with Netflix at 1080p and Amazon Prime at 1080p isn’t an issue. But there isn’t any HDR support which is odd since this display support HDR.

Galaxy Tab S5e Widevine level 1

Galaxy Tab S5e Widevine level 1

The 10.5″ Super AMOLED screen – One of the best:

This is one of the best tablet screens you’ll find, if not the best. 640 nits, bright enough to be able to use it in direct sunlight if you wanted to. The 2560 x 1600 resolution is sharp enough that eBooks and text still good. Deep blacks and a very good touch response from the touch digitizer running at 60hz the same as this screen. In the settings, you’re able to tweak the saturation and white balance. Something you cannot do on the Alldocube X Chinese tablet with the same screen. The ambient light sensor works very well, getting a pretty much perfect brightness in your environment.

The Galaxy Tab S5e in direct sunlight

AKG Speakers x 4: 

Four great sounding AKG speakers, as good as if not slightly better than the iPad Pro’s four speakers (Yes I’ve heard the iPad Pro 2018s speakers) Hands down the four side firing speakers (two either side) on the Tab S5e are the best I’ve heard on a tablet. They might not seem loud at first but when you turn the volume up to the last 2-3 notches it’s loud, but also with some bass, mids, and treble. With the Dolby sound option on you can hear a slight improvement. These speakers really add to the immersion watching a movie or gaming.

No 3.5mm jack is the stupid thing Samsung has done on this tablet, I hope the Tab S5 will have it!

Performance:

The Snapdragon 670 is around 10-15% faster than the Snapdragon 660 found in, for example, the Xiaomi Mi Pad 4 and Mi pad 4 Plus. Its the performance for everyday use is perfectly fine, it feels quick and snappy. But under heavy multitasking, you do notice a degradation in performance. This could be partly to do with the fact I have the 4GB RAM version. And normally you have around 2GB free, maybe even less. So if you plan to multi-task a lot I would get the 6GB/128GB version for that.

Antutu scores of 150,000 on the 4GB RAM version is modest for a mid-range SoC.

Galaxy Tab S5e Antutu benchmark score

The storage is eMMC 5.1 spec, not the fast UFS 2.1 but even so, the speeds are fine and not going to slow the tablet. There is, of course, MicroSD support.

Wireless is Great!

Wireless performance is the best seen on a tablet, great range and speeds even from the other side of the studio it would still top over 100Mbps. So those antenna lines while ugly are definitely doing something!

Gaming performance is mostly fine, all games run and are playable but it will depend on on the title. For example Shadowgun Legends, one of the most demanding games on the Ultra high 60 fps setting experiences some serious slowdown. But at medium and 60 FPS is mostly smooth.

PUBG will run fine on HD and the Extreme or Ultra FPS setting. You’ll need to use GFX tool for the 60 FPS by the way. And Warships Blitz, World of Tanks Blitz both run just fine on the highest settings. Fortnite runs but locked on low settings, but it’s playable. Below is a gaming review to give you a better idea.

DeX desktop mode: 

You can run DeX with an external display or without just like the Tab S4. This desktop mode gives the tablet a Windows or Linux desktop feel to it and allows you to run multiple apps in Windows, side by side apps, etc. Multitasking is much easier this way, it’s more demanding on the battery I’ve to notice loosing about 12% per hour if not more. Hook up a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse and you have yourself a laptop experience.

Samsung DeX on the Galaxy Tab S5e

Samsung DeX on the Galaxy Tab S5e

Battery Life – It’s really good!

The 7040mAh battery inside this thin tablet is quite large when you think about just how thin it is. And it doesn’t disappoint with an efficient SAMOLED display. With the brightness at 200lux, about 40-50% the tablet can stream Netflix or Amazon Prime in 1080 and lose only around 7% per hour.

Standby drain in flight mode saw no loss of battery overnight so there is no real need to power it off.

In my own mixed battery test, I used the tablet over tow days heavily, Chrome, Twitter, WhatsApp, and gaming. I managed over 11 hours. If you really take it easy on the brightness and just reading eBooks or Chrome use basically nothing demanding I can see it lasting for as long as 13 hours.

GPS yes it’s working and with a compass.

Okay, so no idea what happened in my video review. GPS didn’t work, but testing again the next day it’s working just fine. And it has hardware compass support. So this tablet with the super bright screen it has is perfect for navigation for boaties, maps, and other GPS apps. maybe even mounted in a car’s dash with a type-c hub for USB drive input for MP3’s etc?

Accuracy is normally 4 meters, right below it’s 9 because I was indoors.

Overall this is a fantastic media tablet, amazing speakers, top end screen with such a great thin and light build make it perfect for video and internet. It handles most games fine and the performance, in general, is very good. There are really only two things it lacks and possible deal breakers. No S-Pen support and no 3.5mm jack. If you can live without both, this is the Android tablet to get. It’s simply the best I’ve seen in a long time and the best of 2019 so far. You’ll not be disappointed.

Please see the Galaxy Tab S5e review video for more and camera samples. This tablet can take a great photo and video is also very good up to 4k on the rear with 1080p up front. Works out great for apps like Skype.

Good

  • Great build super thin and light
  • Best speakers heard on a tablet
  • Great battery life 11 hours+
  • On of the best tablet screens
  • Samsung DeX mode
  • Good performance
  • Great cameras for a tablet
  • Hardware GPS and compass
  • LTE version
  • Fast fingerprint reader
  • Widevine Level 1 cert
  • Keyboard cover support
  • Type-C USB 3.1 Gen1

Bad

  • No S-Pen support or 3.5mm jack
  • Face unlocking range is rather short
  • Some bloatware in the ROM
  • Minor stutter & lag with heavy multitasking
  • Not the most powerful for gaming
  • No HDR App support
9

Amazing

Performance - 8
Build & Design - 9
Screen - 9.5
Speakers - 9.5
Battery life - 9

1 Comment

  1. If this tab gets an official LineageOS support, I might just get this instead of the S3 or S4. But I am not willing to own a tab without a pure Android experience. My TAB S has had wonderful CyanogenMOD/LineageOS support for a long time and it has made it a much better experience over anything Samsung has OS wise (I couldn’t stand the Samsung OS, made me want to puke), for me at least. I hope this device gets some love on XDA. If so, it’s going to be mine… lol

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