High-end Android tablets are thin on the ground these days. Though Apple is all-in on the iPad Pro, Google has abandoned its Nexus and Pixel slate designs, and NVIDIA gives the SHIELD no love. Samsung is picking up the slack.
That said, even the Galaxy Tab S5e is less bodacious than some of Samsung’s earlier Android-powered tablets. At $400 for the Wi-Fi model it’s not competing with either the iPad Pro or the high-end Surface line, instead making its consumption-focused design much more attainable. The highlight of the spec sheet is certainly the 10.5-inch, 2560×1600 OLED screen—still a rarity outside of the phone market. That will make for rich, vibrant colors and deep contrast.
But elsewhere the specs are oddly muted. The S5e is powered by a mid-range Snapdragon 670 processor, and it gets just 4 GB of RAM in its base 64 GB configuration (an upgraded 6 GB/128 GB version will be available). Cameras are 13 megapixels on the rear and 8 on the front, and as is Samsung’s wont, it’s packing a MicroSD card slot for easy storage expansion. The battery is a generous 7040 milliamp-hours, recharged via USB-C.
There’s no pen or stylus built-in, but an optional keyboard case (connected via proprietary POGO plugs) will let you bang out emails or work on your screenplay if you’d like to travel without a heavy laptop. Samsung’s Dex software, when combined with a dock, monitor, keyboard, and/or mouse, gives you an approximation of a desktop experience.
At just 400 grams (a little less than .9 pounds) and 5 mm thick, the Tab S5e is shockingly light, and it will be much easier to throw in a bag or purse. And, as if it mattered these days, it runs Android 9.0 and Samsung’s new “One” user interface out of the box. The tablet has a vague “Q2” launch window and will be available in black, grey, or gold color options.