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Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5 review

Andy Vandervell




  • Recommended by TR

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Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5
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Our Score:



  • Outstanding screen
  • Thin and light
  • Over 14 hours video playback
  • Case adds very little bulk


  • Can’t remove Magazine UI
  • Rubbish fingerprint scanner
  • Needless Adaptive Display tech

Key Features

  • 10.5-inch, 2,560 x 1,600 AMOLED display; Exynos 5 Octa 5420; 3GB RAM; 16GB storage; 802.11ac Wi-Fi; Bluetooth 4.0; microSD up to 128GB; 7,900mAh battery; 465g
  • Manufacturer: Samsung
  • Review Price: £399.00

What is the Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5?

The Galaxy Tab S 10.5 is the big brother to the Galaxy Tab S 8.4 — it’s what the iPad Air is to the iPad mini 2. It has the same basic design and features. That means an outstanding 2,560 x 1,600 resolution Super AMOLED screen and plenty more besides. We loved the smaller version, so it’s no surprise that the 10.5-inch version is just as impressive.

Related: Everything you need to know about the Samsung Galaxy Tab S3

Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5: Design

We like the the Galaxy Tab S 10.5’s design, but we don’t love it. The dimpled, soft-touch rear is pleasant to handle, but the bronze-gold colour scheme is an acquired taste. It’s nothing like as refined as the iPad Air, which is a shame given they cost the same.

But the Galaxy Tab S 10.5 is well put together and it’s a featherweight. It weighs just 465g, though this is only a few grams less than the iPad Air. It’s also thin — 6.6mm makes it 1mm thinner than the iPad Air. These are all fine margins, but the Galaxy Tab S 10.5 has less competition among Android tablets at this size. As 10-inch Android tablets go, it’s way out in front.

SEE ALSO: Best Android Tablets

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The other interesting design point is case support. We weren’t sent a case for the 8.4, but we have one for the Galaxy Tab S 10.5. Like the 8.4, it fastens to the tablet via rather odd jacket style ‘poppers’. They don’t help the looks much, but they hold the case securely.

We like the case, too. It’s slim, so adds little weight. It also offers three angles from which to view the screen. The only issue is the folding required to make them takes some learning. Even after a week or so we’re still fumbling about each time.

SEE ALSO: Best Tablet 2014 Round-up

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Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5: Features

This tablet has everything. You get the fastest version of Wi-Fi 802.11ac and Bluetooth 4.0. The Wi-Fi version has 16GB of storage built-in, but the microSD slot supports up to 128GB cards and there's a 4G version that has 32GB built-in. There’s an IR Blaster for controlling your TV, too. We find the feature a little hit and miss, but it’s a nice extra. There are cameras front and back and there’s an LED flash for the main camera — a rare feature on a tablet.

Less impressive is the fingerprint reader. This is the same one found in the Galaxy S5 and it’s no more successful here. The swiping system is just too unreliable to use it to unlock your tablet. It only works 40/50% of the time, which isn’t a great hit rate.

Person chap

June 14, 2014, 3:40 am

What's the point in an expensive bluetooth keyboard if it's not a serious typing tool? No thanks! I'll stick to my laptop!

Also, thin and light, we expect from Samsung. We also expect the devices not to last the entire day. Great, for a phone, because who needs their phone after 6pm when the battery is flat?

I found a proper smartphone that can last 2 days of intensive use, 3 days light use. 4,000mah battery, 5" screen. Who's interested?


June 15, 2014, 5:19 pm

I was at future shop on June 14th doing some more "research" for my impending purchase. I checked out the iPad airs (again). Pretty much convinced that this was the route I would go down. Pretty happy with my older iPad 2 -- so staying with Apple for a tablet seemed practical. I checked out the display model of the 10.5 Samsung Tab S --- frankly, I was blown away with the display. The battery will typically go upwards of 16 hours on a charge & it sounds like Samsung had corrected the "long" charging time to under an hour from near dead to full charge. The other features that render it a as a nice blending of recreational and business device was a bonus! It can use my charger from my Samsung Galaxy and they "like" each other - so I can seamlessly integrate them.

In our home we have an iMac 27 and a pretty decent Microsoft PC. We have iPods and iPads living along side android tablets. So we are a "blended" family without any significant preferences. I am using my "old faithful" iPad 2 to write this review and I likely will never completely retire it!

In Canada I could pre order the Samsung Tab S for delivery for June 27th.

I am a very careful shopper - I pre-ordered the new Samsung Tab S 10.5 last night with complete sense of confidence and excitement I haven't had for a new product for a very long time!

My nickels worth!


Dinsy Jones

July 7, 2014, 1:05 pm

According to Anandtech, battery life on these new tablets is quite bad unless you're using them for video. So it all really comes down to what you're going to use your tablet for. For video, the 16:10 aspect ratio and external storage means the Samsung is the clear winner. For everything else, well, I'm unconvinced. The iPad is much more natural for portrait use, for instance.

I just noticed you wrote your comment 22 days ago. Have you received your new tablet yet? :)


July 9, 2014, 5:53 am

Sorry it took so long to Get back to you!

Yes! I have been playing and working with the new Tablet for about a week. It is pretty much what I had expected. The only critique at the moment is feel Samsung oversold the battery life expectations. I find it dosen't typically last as long as my older iPad 2. I get maybe 7 or 8 hours of surfing the net or watching Netflix. Less - if I start to make it work harder and do some office work.
I have no regrets on the purchase and I remain thrilled with the purchase - but, I feel a little gipped on the Battery life.

I had it at work and compared it side by side with a fellows iPad Air -- we watched the same video and some pictures we downloaded - We agree that theSamsung simply has nicer colour rendition and better resolution -- but, it wasn't a slam dunk. The iPad Air Retina display is still a pretty impressive tablet and you really need to have them side by each before you notice the subtle differences. Some of which might be attributed to each persons settings preference - we played around a bit and with a few adjustments --- The iPad was getting close -- but the colours are still better on the Samsung.

Dinsy Jones

July 15, 2014, 11:20 am

Thanks for your impressions. Yes, the screen is definitely the selling point for these new tablets. I have a Tab Pro and I usually get around nine hours out of it so the reduction in battery size seems to make a difference.

I'm quite happy with mine as well but I really like the iPad's format much better, I don't usually watch that much video on mine. I prefer Android and I really appreciate external storage so that's why I went for the Samung. Oh well, there is no perfect device I guess.


July 28, 2014, 7:51 pm

What is the issue with battery life, if you're mainly using the tablet at home?

Surely (assuming sufficient chargers/sockets) you will keep them plugged in for 24/7 100% charge?


August 21, 2014, 8:41 pm

Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5 Book Cover - Review



November 25, 2014, 11:08 pm

For some time now, I have been looking for a
tablet to kick around the house that not only let me read all my favorite books
on my downtime, but also controlled things around the house like light switches
and the TVs. I have been in this home automation kick as of late, so that of
course was a must have feature. I was reading around and almost bought a Nexus
until I read in one mag that the new Samsung destroyed it in performance. After
reading a few more online (ie, http://pocinc.net/blog/prod... for one example or the
one right here, or the one at Cnet), I wound up getting sold on it. Let me tell
you…..yeah baby! This thing rocks my world. I even take it to work with me when
possible. It’s like my new best friend }:) Also good with games and
Netflix....oh I needs me my Netflix!

Justin Myers

November 28, 2014, 6:54 am

I was just reading that. I think I might get one. Home automation sounds fun, but I need one for mostly video and music on the run as well as a few addicting art programs.

David C.

January 25, 2015, 8:56 am

Pros: Has excellent screen, light and slim, takes good pics and videos, fast.
Cons: Samsung could remove some apps, expensive accessories, takes more than 2 hours to charge to a 100%.

Ugly Con: I was using the tablet, about 40% - 20% charge and put it aside. Few minutes later, not working. It wasn't over charged, so what could it be? (this unit I am talking about is the second one, because we had another issue with it and the retailer gave us another one.)

Now, this may not have happened to a lot of people, but it happened to me.


September 17, 2015, 3:48 pm

I have had no problems with the finger print reader and now with Android Lollipop it works even better, you just have to read the manual on how to swipe your fingers in different directions for the 8 swipes when you set it up.


April 27, 2016, 10:41 pm

It has no S-Pen, It has no flash, Camera's are not nearly as updated as they should be, Batteries also have to be better. O/S upgradeability should be in for at least a couple of versions of Android, not just the most recent/ previous version of Android. I am talking full upgrades as well not 5. to 5.1 or 4.4 to 4.6. When they name it they should have an upgrade for it. As long as it meets the requirement for the update/upgrade.
... Something that Google and MFGs both need to work on!


August 25, 2016, 7:49 am

Still king of all tablets. The screen is still awesome with its high res of 1600x2560 and amoled.
I rooted mine and installed Slim6, (ANdroid 6.0.1 rom)

Daniel Ryslink

November 21, 2016, 10:41 am

An important point - the screen is a true RGB type with 3 subpixels per pixel, not the gimped "Pentile" matrix all other Samsung OLED devices use. The result is much better image quality.


January 7, 2017, 7:18 am

External storage is pretty pointless since Android is so f'ing gimped. Battery life is miserable after a year of ownership. Samsung and the carriers will basically never upgrade it. Performance *always* degrades.

Answer is always root it, hacked image, factory reset, turn everything off, use on a charger... Ridiculous. It's a tablet, not a Windows laptop ffs.

Total PoS. And Android in tablets in general is an abortion.

Fanboys really shoot themselves in the foot. Android phones are a fine alternative to iPhone, but the iPad is just in a different universe from the garbage Android tablets. Samsung being the worst.

It's Surface vs iPad for tabs. Android is a disaster.

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