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Samsung Galaxy Tab S5e Review: Bridging the smartphone-notebook gap

Khalid Anzar/New Delhi 12 Jul 19 | 06:00 PM

South Korean electronics manufacturer Samsung is one of the last original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) that still make tablets. The company’s latest offering, the Galaxy Tab S5e, is a premium tablet — it is certainly more than just a big-screen smartphone. Priced at Rs 39,999 for the WiFi + LTE variant, the Galaxy Tab S5e is powered by Android and integrated with the company’s DeX computing platform which makes it a two-in-one device for entertainment and productivity.

Design (5/5)

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The Galaxy Tab S5e has a no-frills design. Carved out of a single block of aluminium, the tablet is just 5.5 mm thick and weighs only 400 g. Its lightweight design and thin profile makes it an ultra-portable device that you can carry wherever you go. Besides its sturdy but portable build, the tablet’s aesthetics incorporate practicality. Components like volume rocker keys, SIM slot, power button, fingerprint sensor, speakers, charging and the data transfer port have been placed such that they make using the tablet convenient, without any hassle either portrait or horizontal orientations.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S5e: Front profile

Samsung Galaxy Tab S5e: Rear profile

Display and audio (5/5)

The Galaxy Tab S5e has a 10.5-inch super AMOLED screen of a 2560 x 1600 resolution, stretched in a 16:10 aspect ratio. The high-resolution screen, close to the conventional aspect ratio, makes it a perfect match for most tasks like browsing web pages, scrolling through social media profiles, playing games, streaming videos and editing multimedia. The screen is bright and vivid and has a good dynamic range. It lacks HDR, but the colour rendition is rich that makes on-screen content lively. The screen has bezels around it, so the risk of touching the touchscreen accidentally is minimised.

Complementing the dazzling screen is a Dolby Atmos-certified and AKG-tuned quad-speaker set-up (two each at the top and bottom). The speakers’ output is deep, with an excellent noise level. They are loud enough to stay audible even in loud outdoor conditions. The tablet’s dazzling screen and capable speakers make it an all-round entertainment powerhouse that delivers immersive experience.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S5e with POGO keyboard accessory

Camera (3/5)

Imaging has never been any tablet’s forte, and the Galaxy Tab S5e is no exception in this respect. The phone’s 13-meagpixel primary camera is good only for daylight photography. It has various modes, too — live focus for portrait shots, pro for manual controls on shot settings and panorama for wide shots. The 8MP front camera also does a decent job of capturing detailed selfies in good light conditions. Both cameras, however, struggle in low light.

Besides fingerprint recognition for device unlock, the tablet also supports a face-unlock mechanism using the front camera. Though the face recognition process is slow and works only in well-lit environments, the front camera recognises the face in both portrait and horizontal orientations – making it easy to unlock the device.

Performance (4/5)

Powering the Galaxy Tab S5e is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 670 system-on-chip, mated with a 4GB RAM and 64GB internal storage. The tablet boots the Android Pie operating system-based ‘Samsung One’ user interface, integrated with the company’s productivity-centric DeX computing platform. While the tablet boots One UI by default, you can easily switch to the DeX mode either from notification settings or by attaching the POGO keyboard (sold separately).

The Android OS and its vast collection of apps allow the tablet to be a big-screen version of smartphones. The DeX computing platform, meanwhile, adds some productivity features, such as desktop-like user interface with a taskbar, windows, multitasking, etc. The DeX supports 20 windows at a time. These windows support conventional actions like file drag and drop, minimise for taskbar, maximise to cover the entire screen, etc. There is also an option to manually resize the windows.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S5e: DeX mode with multiple windows

Powering the tablet is a huge 7,040 mAh battery good enough for watching a full-length feature film in fullHD resolution with brightness and audio set to maximum, playing graphic-intensive games for an hour, streaming music for a couple of hours, and browsing the internet and social media profiles a few times in a day.

Verdict (4.25/5)

In the Android ecosystem, the Galaxy Tab S5e is the only tablet that actually bridges the gap between a smartphone and a notebook. There is little in this premium tablet that you will not appreciate. However, competitor Apple’s iPad is also set to get a lot more interesting with the upcoming iPadOS. If you are an avid Apple user, you might not have a real reason to switch.

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