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Samsung Galaxy Tab S5e hands-on review: Samsung’s new tablet is thinner than ever

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The Galaxy Tab S5e is Samsung’s ultra-slim, ultraportable tablet to rival Apple’s iPad

Samsung has cultivated an astonishingly long line of tablets. From the original 2010 Galaxy Tab 7.0 to last year’s Galaxy Tab S4, over 20 different devices have come through bearing the Galaxy Tab moniker.

As MWC begins, there’s another Samsung Galaxy tablet making its way to shops. The Galaxy Tab S5e is the firm’s thinnest slate yet, and quite possibly the very first Android tablet with the potential to take down the might of Apple’s iPad lineup.

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Samsung Galaxy Tab S5e review: Key specifications, price and release date

  • 10.5in, WQXGA (2560x1600), Super AMOLED screen
  • Octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 670 processor (2x2GHz, 6x1.7GHz)
  • 4GB or 6GB of RAM
  • 64GB or 128GB of storage (512GB microSD expansion)
  • 13MP rear camera
  • 8MP selfie camera
  • 7,040mAh battery
  • 245.0 x 160.0 x 5.5mm
  • 400g
  • UK release date: Preorder March, available in summer
  • UK price: From £310

Samsung Galaxy Tab S5e review: Design, key features and first impressions

At first glace, it's clear the Samsung Galaxy Tab S5e is preparing for a bout in the ring with Apple’s mighty iPad Pro. It's slim, sleek, and light as a feather, and yet it also promises enough power to make you wonder how Samsung has managed to keep it so skinny.

The Galaxy Tab S5e measures 245 x 160 x 5.5mm (HWD). This makes it an exceptionally thin tablet, outdoing the comparatively hefty iPad Pro 2018 by a margin of 0.4mm. You’ll be interacting with a 10.5in Super AMOLED screen with an aspect ratio of 2,560 x 1,600 and a pixel density of 287ppi. In plain English, this is a very impressive display, and one that knocks most Android competitors at this price point out of the water.

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The tablet lacks a headphone jack, which is a strange move by Samsung given that tablets are traditionally more entertainment focused devices. Fortunately, the Tab S5e has an ace up its sleeve in the audio department: four AKG-tuned speakers and surround sound using Dolby Atmos technology. With speakers like that, you might not want to use headphones when you're watching a movie at home.

Of course, the Tab S5e is also fitted with all the usual ports and buttons, including a USB-C charging port, volume controls, and a power button with a built-in fingerprint sensor. The Galaxy Tab S5e comes in three colours – black, grey, and gold – though it lacks the old-fashioned home button of its forebears.

Powering the Tab S5e is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 670, which is roughly on par with the Snapdragon 835 that powers the Tab S4. It’s an octa-core processor, featuring a combination of dual 2.0GHz cores and six cores clocked at 1.7GHz. The processor integrates one of Qualcomm’s new-ish Adreno 615 GPUs, so it should have decent 3D capabilities for gaming.

There are two memory configurations to choose from: either 4GB of RAM and 64GB storage, or 6GB of RAM and 128GB storage. Regardless of configuration, the Tab S5e comes with a Micro SD port that supports cards of up to 512GB in size, so digital hoarders can rest easy.

In spite of the S5e’s narrow frame, Samsung has managed to stuff a 7,040mAh battery into the new tablet. This promises to offer around 14hrs of battery life on a single charge, as well as supporting fast charging and Samsung's own 'POGO' charging using a compatible dock.

Lastly, the Tab S5e is fitted with two cameras. The rear-facing camera unit is 13-megapixels in resolution, with an aperture of f/2.0 and a sensor size of 1/4.0in, while the front camera is an 8-megapixel unit, with the same aperture and a sensor size of 1/3.4in. Even if those specs mean little to you, they’re proof that the Galaxy Tab S5e will take some reasonably good pictures – not vitally important on a tablet, but still a definite plus.

The rear camera is capable of recording video in 3,840x2,160 resolution at 30fps, while the front-facing snapper can recognise your face and unlock the device.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S5e review: Early verdict

At this early stage, I’m impressed with what the Galaxy Tab S5e has to offer. With Apple’s iPad Pro dominating the high-end tablet market for what must be four years now, I feel we’ve finally got a proper Android alternative on our hands.

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Of course, all this may change when I receive the Galaxy Tab S5e for review but, following my brief hands-on time with the device, you can colour me impressed.

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