Samsung announces new 10.5-inch Galaxy Tab S5e with Tab S4-like features for just $399

Galaxy Tab S5e
Galaxy Tab S5e (Image credit: Samsung)

Android tablets may not be the most exciting market nowadays, but Samsung has seen moderate success and is set to expand its lineup with a new mid-range entrant, the Galaxy Tab S5e (opens in new tab). The naming scheme is a bit confusing, but the Tab S5e isn't actually a successor to the Galaxy Tab S4 — it's a mid-range counterpart that slots in above the entry-level Tab A series (opens in new tab) but below the Tab S4 that will stay on the market as the flagship Samsung tablet.

Right from the start, the Tab S5e addresses an entirely different market segment by starting at $399, versus the Tab S4 at $649 (opens in new tab). But even at a lower price, the Tab S5e has the same 10.5-inch 2560x1600 AMOLED display, 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage (a 6GB + 128GB model will cost $479). It also incorporates the same quad speakers with surround sound and automatic rotation, but goes back to a traditional fingerprint sensor in the power button — I consider that an upgrade.

On the downside, the Tab S5e is powered by a less-capable Snapdragon 670 processor, which will considerably limit your multitasking capabilities compared to the Tab S4. It also has a slightly smaller battery, coming in at 7040mAh compared to 7300mAh. That manifests itself in size and weight, where the Tab S5e is spectacular: it's just 5.5 mm thick, and weighs only 399 g (0.88 lb). Part of that weight savings comes from an all-aluminum body (available in three colors), which many people will already see as an improvement over a big glass pane on the back. That thickness has necessitated the removal of the headphone jack, though — you'll be using Bluetooth or the included USB-C adapter instead.

Even with a lower-end processor, Samsung still positions the Tab S5e as a tablet capable of pulling double-duty as a light productivity device with the addition of a full-sized keyboard attachment ($129 extra) and DeX mode. Capabilities-wise it aligns perfectly with the Tab S4, but obviously you can expect to face speed issues when running several apps simultaneously in the heavier DeX environment. Even still, the ability have a full keyboard (and mouse if you wish) on a less-expensive tablet will make this an appealing convertible option for those who need to type regularly but don't need all of the advanced features of the Tab S4. Along those same lines, the Tab S5e doesn't offer stylus support — not a huge loss for most people.

With this price and level of capabilities, the Tab S5e could be a relative hit.

One final positive of the Tab S5e is that it's launching on Android 9 Pie with the new One UI interface, which will match it up with the Galaxy S10 from the start. And it has the feature you were all waiting for: the Tab S5e is the first Samsung tablet with Bixby. In fact, it's the new Bixby 2.0 interface for both Bixby Home and voice controls. Samsung is also planning a charging dock, which will cost about $129, that could open up further possibilities with Bixby voice.

The Tab S5e will be available in the second quarter, and with this price and these capabilities I expect it to be a (relative) hit. The Tab S4 is downright expensive, but some people are looking to get some of that experience for less and currently can't with other lower-end tablet offerings. The Tab S5e should walk a good line between the two extremes and provide a solid experience with quality hardware and a keyboard for what's still a relatively affordable price. Expect to see the Tab S5e at all of the usual online retailers at launch; LTE models will arrive later via carriers.

Andrew Martonik

Andrew was an Executive Editor, U.S. at Android Central between 2012 and 2020.

  • This will be great if it truly delivers for $400
  • Not bad price for those specs. 64 GB of storage is very nice. Wish they would make an entry level tablet running Chrome OS.
  • I suspect OEMs are developing them as we speak.
  • I'm definitely interested in this tablet. I have the Tab A w/pen and I love it (except for the meager 16gb). This would be a definite upgrade.
  • It isn't really a Tab S with such a low level processor, and for me a Tab S has to have an S-pen.
  • The SD670 is a solid upper-midrange SoC. It's really not too far off from the SD835 in the Tab S4.
  • I'm going to guess Samsung found that a minority of people were actually using the pen, and could save considerable money by not supporting it with the S5e. And they don't need to -- the Tab S4 is still available with the pen.
  • The S5 is also prohibitely expensive. Hundreds more than the S2 and S3 were at launch. Even more expensive than the regular iPad. No one really thinks this can compete with iPad Pros. The software just isn't there.
  • But being that the new 6th gen Ipad supports the Apple pencil - can it really compete with even the regular Ipad, let alone the pro ? Especially considering that the Ipad 6 is $249 , the pencil is $99 so for the price of the S5e, you can get an Ipad 6th gen, a pencil, and a case.
  • And still have enough money to pay gas and dinner!
  • If performance is not choppy, I'm buying it.
  • No headphone jack, no buy.
  • Why's it called the S5e not S4e? Surely this is a Tab A in everything but name? Confusing.
  • that is not at all true. it has the same QHD OLED screen as the top tier models, same storage, same RAM, similar premium design, and same high end quad speaker setup. the only thing it has remotely similar to a tab A is the simple fact that its processor isn’t a flagship processor, but being an upper-level 600 series processor it will be able to hold its own. calling it a tab A is an insult
  • I wonder how this stacks up against the MediaPad M5 pro at this price point. I was just about to pick that up.
  • Simple, it doesn't performance wise when comparing CPUs at this price. The Kyrin 9 series processors are just better than any Qualcomm 6 series and the M5 is like $50 or $100 cheaper than the Tab in Amazon right now. Having said that I heard bad things about the Bluetooth /WiFi antenna of the M5 even though I also heard that it was fixed in an update. I was about to pick it up until I heard that. Also keep in mind that Huawei locks up that bootloader, and I think Samsung still doesn't so it's something to keep in mind.
  • Considering the entry level iPad can be bought for $250-$280, not sure this is a good buy at $400. Maybe if you really want Android.
  • The best size for a tablet is 8". I think of it as being like a paperback book. I have an 8" Mediapad M3 and it's the perfect size.
  • Absolutely!! I agree.
  • For $349 I'd rather buy another Surface Go 64GB 4GB Ram
  • But that battery life though
  • 4-6gb ram vs the iPad 2gb makes a difference.
  • And so does optimization, which is why the iPad doesn't need more than 2.
  • The iPad doesn't lag at all vs the Android when a million apps are in the background.
  • Wait a second, where is the headphone connector? Another **** from Samsung? Thanks, but I'll pass.
  • It would be a hit for me if it was 7 or 8 inches and comes with an spen. I need a worthy successor for my Note 8.0
  • Dear sir this device sim voice calling option got