Hands on: Samsung Galaxy Tab S5e Review

The Galaxy Tab S5e is a cheaper version of Samsung's flagship tablet that brings a thin bezel and a gorgeous AMOLED display to the more affordable market.

First Impressions

It looks great, has a fantastic display and comes in at a price that's easy to swallow. Samsung might have finally made an Android tablet worth buying.

Key Specifications

  • 10.5-inch AMOLED display
  • Slim bezel
  • 7040mAh battery, USB-C
  • AKG and Dolby Atmos audio
  • Android 9

The Samsung Tab S5e is the brand’s latest attempt to corner the budget Android tablet market. This may not sound that cool compared the newly unveiled Samsung Galaxy S10, but if you take a close look at the Tab S5e you’ll find it’s one of Samsung’s most alluring releases to date.

The new Galaxy Tab S5e sits alongside the Samsung older Galaxy Tab S4 and shares a lot of the features we liked in its predecessor. There’s a 10.5-inch Super AMOLED display, Atmos audio and AKG-tuned speakers. Like the Tab S4, the Tab S5e features slims bezels around the display and curved corners. Visually, it doesn’t look too dissimilar from the iPad Pro (2018).

Samsung Tab S5e price and release date

The tablet will in Q2 2019 with a price of $399. There’s no UK pricing yet, but we assume it’ll be fairly similar to the US. We’ll update this article when we know more.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S5e

Is the Samsung Tab S5e good?

Other features include Bixby voice-assistant, DeX support for connecting the tablet to a big screen and a battery Samsung states will run for 14.5 hours. There’s a 13-megapixel camera on the back, octa-core processor inside and either 4 or 6GB RAM. Choosing the larger amount of RAM will also double the internal storage from 64GB to 128GB.

Related: Best Android tablets

I’ve spent a while with the Tab S5e at the launch of the Galaxy S10 and I have to say I am pretty impressed. Considering how fairly mundane affordable Android tablets have become in recent years, this feels like a breath of fresh air.

The star, comfortably, is the 10.5-inch AMOLED display. It packs a 1600 x 2560 resolution and looks utterly stunning. Colours pop with an oomph, blacks are inky and it can get really quite bright. I watched a couple of demo videos and played a bit of Asphalt 9 and was completely immersed.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S5e

The lack of a chunky bezel also gives the impression you’re just holding a big slab of display.

After the screen quality, the next thing you’ll notice is just how thin and light it is. It’s just 5.5mm thick and can be held up comfortably with just one hand without any issues. The dark grey colour scheme looks slick too, though it comes in a white model which I didn’t get to see too. After years of fairly dull mid-range tablets this is step in the right direction for Samsung.

There’s a capacitive fingerprint sensor on the side and a sizeable 7040 mAh battery inside which can be juiced up, via USB-C, with Samsung’s fast charging tech.

The issue with Android tablets in general has always been the software. Too few apps support the larger layout and you’re left with extended phone apps that look, well, rubbish. Samsung can’t solve this problem on its own, even though it has made some clever software tweaks here.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S5e

DeX mode gives you a PC-like desktop view with windowed apps and a taskbar at the bottom for quick multitasking. I enjoyed this view when I reviewed the Tab S4 so I am glad it’s available here. You’ll also be able to attach a folio style keyboard which will be a boon for people looking for a laptop replacement.

I only spent a short while with the tablet but it still felt quick and smooth to navigate. We will of course have to spend more time with it to really judge how well it handles everyday use.

Overall, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S5e looks great, has a fantastic display and comes in at a price that’s easy to swallow. Samsung might have finally made an Android tablet worth buying.

A ’hands on review’ is our first impression of a product only - it is not a full test and verdict. Our writer must have spent some time with the product to describe an early sense of what it’s like to use. We call these ‘hands on reviews’ to make them visible in search. However these are always unscored and don’t give recommendations. Read more about our reviews policy.