Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite vs. Galaxy Tab S5e: Which should you buy?

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

Samsung Galaxy Tab S5e

Samsung Galaxy Tab S5e

Despite being older, the Tab S5e is a better tablet in many different ways compared to the Tab S6 Lite other than the lack of S Pen support.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S5e

Great at almost everything

Lighter weight
Super AMOLED display
Better battery life
Keyboard Cover available
Samsung DeX
No S Pen Support
Higher price

Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite

Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite Cropped Render

The Tab S6 Lite is a great tablet with the benefit of including the new and improved S Pen, but there are still a few too many compromises compared to the Tab S5e.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite

If you want the S Pen

S Pen included
Less expensive
Lower base storage
Lower camera quality
No fingerprint scanner
Samsung DeX not available

The Android tablet market is bare, but Samsung is still churning out great options. Now with the Galaxy Tab S6 Lite, we take a look at whether this mid-range tablet is better than the slightly-older Tab S5e.

Break it down now...

Samsung Galaxy Tab S5e

Source: Samsung (Image credit: Source: Samsung)

At first glance, you may think that the Tab S5e and Tab S6 Lite are identical thanks to the aluminum slab design. Once you dive a bit deeper, the differences make themselves known, starting with the display. On the Tab S5e, you'll get a 10.5-inch Super AMOLED display, with a resolution of 2540x1600. With the Tab S6 Lite, there's a 10.4-inch display, which is not only slightly smaller, but is also an LCD panel. This sports a resolution of 2000x1200, which should be fine for most, but isn't the greatest.

Both tablets offer RAM options of either 4GB or 6GB, along with storage capacities of either 64GB or 128GB. Samsung also included a microSD card slot expandable up to 512GB. This should give you more than enough for storage needs, and the RAM is still enough to do some lightweight multi-tasking on either tablet.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Header Cell - Column 0 Samsung Galaxy Tab S5eSamsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite
Display10.5-inch Super AMOLED10.4-inch LCD
ProcessorSnapdragon 670Exynos 9610
Memory4GB / 6GB4GB / 6GB
Storage64GB / 128GB64GB / 128GB
MicroSD Card SupportExpandable up to 512GBExpandable up to 512GB
Front Camera8MP5MP
Rear Camera13MP8MP
SpeakersFour AKG-TunedTwo AKG-Tuned
Reported Battery Life15 Hours12 Hours
Dimensions245 x 160 x 5.5mm244.5 x 154.3 x 7.0 mm
Fingerprint ScannerSide-mounted
Headphone Jack
S Pen SupportIncluded
LTE Variant
Samsung DeX

Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite

Source: Samsung (Image credit: Source: Samsung)

For those who insist on using their tablets as a camera, the Tab S5e is the clear-cut winner here. With an 8MP selfie camera and a 13MP rear camera, not only will you get clearer images, but the Tab S5e's rear camera is capable of recording 4K videos at 30FPS. While it may seem like a bit overkill for a tablet, having the ability to do so is appreciated.

Meanwhile, the Tab S6 Lite sports just a 5MP selfie camera and an 8MP rear-facing lens. Video recording comes in at 1080p at 30FPS, which isn't spectacular. These cameras will likely "get the job done" but they're nothing to write home about.

If you're someone who likes to take their tablets with them, then you'll need to be prepared for the Tab S6 Lite. Weighing in at 467g (1.02 lbs), this will be much more noticeable in your bag over the course of a day. On the other side of the coin, the Tab S5e weighs in at 400g (0.88 lbs), which means it's more comfortable to hold when you're watching videos on the couch.

Speaking of watching videos, those looking for a better video playback experience will want the four, AKG-tuned speakers offered by the Tab S5e. While the speakers on the Tab S6 Lite are also tuned by AKG, there are only two, which can be frustrating, depending on how you are holding the tablet.

With the combination of a lower resolution, a less power-hungry display, and the same battery, you would think that the Tab S6 Lite would win the battery battle. However, the Tab S5e's 7,040mAh battery is rated for up to 15 hours of battery, compared to the 12 hours from the newer tablet with the same sized battery. We aren't sure whether it's just because of the Snapdragon 670 compared to the Exynos chip, but the Tab S5e easily wins here.

Why you should pick the Tab S6 Lite

Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite

Source: Samsung (Image credit: Source: Samsung)

When looking at the spec sheets for both of these tablets, it's pretty easy to discern which is the better pick. Even diving a bit deeper, it's hard to make an argument for the Tab S6 Lite. However, there are a couple of "features" that should be considered when comparing this to the Tab S5e.

The biggest benefit of the S6 Lite over the S5e is the included S Pen. This is an all-new design that has been slimmed down to provide a better fit in your hands for long drawing or note-taking periods. The Tab S5e does not have this luxury, and is not compatible with any version of the S Pen. Instead, you'll have to rely on a standard stylus, which is great for most tasks, but not for others such as drawing or fine-tuned photo editing.

Another, albeit lesser, benefit of the S6 Lite is the fact that Samsung has not completely abandoned the 3.5mm headphone jack just yet. Almost all of the company's high-end smartphones and tablets have removed it, and that includes the recently-launched flagship Galaxy Tab S6. If you are still refraining from joining the Bluetooth headphone wave, the Tab S5e will leave you living the dongle life.

Why you should pick the Tab S5e

Samsung Galaxy S5e lifestyle

Source: Samsung (Image credit: Source: Samsung)

That being said, the Tab S5e excels in every other major category, from battery life, to screen size and camera quality. There's even fast charging on board, which is not available on the likes of the new Tab S6 Lite.

Outside of the lack of S Pen support, the Tab S5e also excels in the productivity game. There's a first-party Book Cover Keyboard that magnetically attaches to the back of the tablet and provides an all-in-one solution. The same can't be said for the Tab S6 Lite, as there's only a simple folio cover, leaving you to use a third-party Bluetooth keyboard.

Keeping with the productivity theme, Samsung's inclusion of its DeX Mode can truly transform your Tab S5e. When enabled, this will provide a laptop look and feel that allows for multi-windowed interactions and more. Then, with the tap of a button, you'll go back to the normal tablet interface. Samsung opted to not make DeX available for the Tab S6 Lite at all.

Which Galaxy Tab should you get?

It's pretty clear that the Galaxy Tab S5e is the better option overall with better specs across the board. You'll also get the added benefit of the Keyboard Cover for getting work done and better biometric security options.

However, if you want an S Pen, and one with an all-new design, you'll need to go for the Tab S6 Lite. Despite having a lower resolution display, just two speakers, and the lack of any biometrics for security, the Tab S6 Lite is still solid. You'll get the same RAM and storage configurations, all in a similar size and with Samsung's design language, the new kid on the block is no slouch. Outside of needing an S Pen, the Tab S5e is the better overall tablet.

Andrew Myrick
Senior Editor - Chromebooks, tablets, and wearables

Andrew Myrick is a Senior Editor at Android Central. He enjoys everything to do with technology, including tablets, smartphones, and everything in between. Perhaps his favorite past-time is collecting different headphones, even if they all end up in the same drawer.