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Samsung Galaxy Tab S5e Review: Thinnest, lightest Samsung tablet so far

Best for multimedia consumption and mobile-based work.

Samsung‘s new tablet is touted to be their thinnest and lightest tablet so far, and while tablets don’t seem to appeal many nowadays, it seems that the market for this is still alive. With specs comparable to most mid to even high-end smartphones and tablets nowadays, we have the chance to check it out in-depth and spend some time with our own unit. Here’s our full, in-depth review of the Samsung Galaxy Tab S5e.


What’s in the box?

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The Samsung Galaxy Tab S5e comes in a white box which is quite simple like their most products, but clever as it fits all the inclusions under a single slim box.

Inside, you’ll find the tablet itself covered in protective cloth, as well as the quick start guides, earphones, USB-C to 3.5mm jack (since this tablet doesn’t have the headphone jack anymore), as well as your adaptive fast charger adapter and charging cable.

Aside from that, there’s nothing else to talk much about this section, so we’ll go to the next.


Design/Build Impressions

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Despite being touted as slim and light, the build of the tablet seemed sturdy, with its aluminum casing that will surely be appreciated once you think about the price you paid for it. It shares some similarities with its higher-end sibling Galaxy Tab S6, but we’re going to skip that part since we don’t have it to compare with.

Upfront, you’ll find the 10.5-inch Super AMOLED screen that runs at only 60Hz and has a resolution of 2560×1600, which makes things look richer, brighter and bolder. Ideally speaking, the screen is great for movie and video consumption. There’s no edge-to-edge or Infinity Display-like feature here, but there’s an 8MP f/2.0 front camera that gives decent selfies, which we’ll detail more below at the camera section.

The back side of the Galaxy S5e, in rosegold color

The back sports a single 13MP, f/2.0 (1/3.4in) rear camera, which could shoot up to 4K resolution videos, as well as the Samsung and AKG logos (the quad-speakers were tuned by AKG). Other than the visible antenna bands on the top and the bottom sides of it, there’s nothing much we can talk about.

On its side you’ll find the power button which also houses the fingerprint reader, as well as the volume rockers and sim tray/microSD card slot, on the other, you’ll find the docking connections for the optional keyboard that was sold separately. The quad-channel speakers could be found on the top and both sides, which delivers impressive sound quality and loudness. Finally, note the absence of the headphone jack and only a single USB-C port could be found at the bottom.

Since we were attracted to the idea of this being a laptop-like tablet, we then also bought the optional keyboard for it which is quite expensive, and we included it in this review.

As the tablet supports Samsung DeX (Desktop Experience), we gave it a shot on how it feels like to work on it. I tried writing an article on our website HallyuLife while outdoors, and I can share that the keyboard sometimes gives me a hard time on typing since it feels quite heavy and seems to have long travel than most laptop keyboards, effectively making me miss out some characters as I type fast.

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It just needs to connect itself into the dock to work, no Bluetooth and external battery required.

The small-sized arrow keys will sure become a bummer for some.

However, the idea of turning your tablet into a fancy mini-computer attracted us here, so I connected a Bluetooth mouse to complete the experience (although working using the keyboard and touchscreen also is a pleasure). I still prefer working on a laptop, though.

As for the speakers’ position, however, it is quite annoying that when you hold the tablet in landscape mode and watch videos, it effectively blocks some speaker holes. That could be remedied if you just hold it in the middle part, though.


Specifications and Features

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Model:Samsung Galaxy Tab S5e (SM-T725, SM-T720)
Display:10.5-inch WQHD+ Super AMOLED Infinity display (1600 x 2560 resolution), 16:10 aspect ratio, ~288ppi
CPU/SoC:Qualcomm SDM670 Snapdragon 670 (10nm) Octa-core
GPU:Adreno 615
RAM:4GB / 6GB
ROM/Storage:64GB / 128GB
microSD, up to 512 GB (dedicated slot)
Rear Cameras:13MP, f/2.0, 26mm, 1/3.4", 1.0µm, AF (HDR, Panorama), HDR, panorama
Front Camera:8MP, f/2.0, 26mm, 1/4", 1.12µm
Battery:7040mAh non-removable battery, Fast charging 18W
Connectivity:Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band, Wi-Fi Direct, hotspot
Bluetooth 5.0, A2DP, LE
USB Type-C (3.1), USB On-The-Go (OTG)
Network Bands:4G/voLTE, LTE-A, 3G (HSDPA), 2G (GSM) [LTE VARIANT - SM-T725]
SIM Slot:Single SIM (Nano-SIM)
Sensors:Fingerprint sensor (power button, side mounted), A-GPS, GLONASS, BDS, GALILEO, accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass, ANT+
OS/Software:Android Pie 9.0
Samsung One UI 1.1
Dimensions & Weight:Size: 245 x 160 x 5.5 mm (9.65 x 6.30 x 0.22 in)
Weight: 400 g (14.11 oz)
Colors:Black, Rose Gold, Silver
Protection / IP Rating:N/A
Other Features:Samsung DeX (desktop experience support), Quad Stereo Speakers (Tuned by AKG/Harman)

Camera

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Samsung decided to equip this tablet with only one camera sensors (a 13MP, f/2.0 on the rear, 8MP f/2.0 on the front) on each side, and unfortunately, they were a bit far from being decent. Perhaps its latest software update (applied on 2020.01.29) did make it worse, even though it promised camera improvements.

In good light conditions, the rear camera would manage to take clear and clean shots, however, it’s a different story when it comes to night-time or low-light conditions.

The front camera produces decent selfies, but only on well-lit conditions, such as outdoors in a daytime setting.

All images above are captured in full Auto and without any enhancements enabled, such as filters, Beautify and HDR.

In my opinion, Samsung can equip better cameras for this but I don’t see the reason for them to do so, since they guessed you won’t mainly use it anyways.


Software

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The Galaxy Tab S5e sports Samsung’s beloved One UI running under Android 9.0 Pie, and the experience just feels like it was a very large Samsung smartphone. With the support for Samsung DeX (enable it thru the drop-down menu in settings), the tablet will turn itself into a laptop-like interface.

Its interface feels almost as quick as a high-end tablet (although the specs could be compared already on a high-end one). On a few occasions, we noticed some pauses when getting between the lock screen and the home screen shortly after bringing the tablet out of standby. However, there are no other notable lag issues aside from the mentioned.

As for the laptop experience, sure it can’t replace most Windows and/or Macintosh laptops yet, but multi-tasking is much easier as you can float one window into the other, and a tablet-sized screen is ideal for it.

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The biometrics also work well. The fingerprint is fast enough and the face recognition is quick to recognize the owner’s face, although switching from the lock screen to the home screen sometimes gets slow.


Performance Test

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Sporting the octa-core Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 670 chipset, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S5e can be considered a performer when used in semi-intensive applications. Some multimedia tasks such as video editing, and even gaming, could be handled with ease – just don’t expect it to run the ultimate tasks smoothly. After all, it is still a mid-range processor.

Below are the scores from the benchmarks that we’ve run, testing its compute power and also, battery life.

AnTuTu Benchmark: 167,591
Geekbench 5.1:

  • 341 (Single-core)
  • 1300 (Multi-core)
  • 651 (OpenCL)

3DMark:

  • 1589 (Sling Shot Extreme – OpenGL ES 3.1)
  • 1544 (Sling Shot Extreme – Vulkan)

PCMark:

  • 6245 (Work 2.0 Performance)
  • 8 h 11 min (Work 2.0 Battery Life)

In terms of battery life, the Galaxy Tab S5e got 8 hrs and 11 minutes on the PCMark Work 2.0 battery life test. However, our experience gives us more than that. Mixed-use of WiFi and mobile data connectivity, as well as streaming videos on YouTube and Netflix, would give us at least more than a day without reaching for the power plug.

Charging might take time even with fast charging due to its hefty 7,040mAh battery, but manageable since even with heavy tasks, you can manage to squeeze an entire work shift without worrying being low-batt.


Conclusion

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With its PHP26,990 price tag, the Galaxy Tab S5e is one hefty device that could be tied up to most mid to high-end smartphones nowadays. In my opinion, the ones that would benefit the most with this are avid multimedia consumers and those who mostly do their work on mobile.

In fact, we’re using this to produce news and articles on-the-go, mostly on the road, and I loved it.

Perhaps the only dealbreakers we saw are the absence of the headphone jack (even though a USB-C to 3.5mm dongle is included in the package), as Samsung says it is now the time to shift into wireless audio, as well as the speaker positions that could be restricted when the tablet was held landscape, as well as its cameras.

If you don’t mind those what I’ve mentioned, this tablet is surely worth to check out in case you don’t have enough to shell out for the higher-end Galaxy Tab S6 or Apple’s iPad Pro.

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To wrap this up, Revealed is giving the Samsung Galaxy Tab S5e our ‘Recommended’ seal as well as our ‘Gold’ award.

RECOMMENDED AWARD | Revealed

GOLD AWARD | Revealed

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