Samsung Galaxy Tab S5e is an Android-based Surface Go killer

Samsung Galaxy Tab S5e
Image Credit: Samsung

Well ahead of MWC 2019, Samsung has revealed the Galaxy Tab S5e, its next major 10.5-inch Android tablet that's squarely aimed at competing with Microsoft’s Surface Go and Apple's iPad 9.7.

With a price of $399 (about £310, AU$560) when it launches in Q2 2019, the Galaxy Tab S5e is both a visual reset for Samsung's entire future tablet lineup – the device's corners are more squared off now, namely – and a new subcategory of sorts. 

Like the Surface Go and iPad, the Tab S5e aims to bring premium tablet sensibilities to a more affordable price.

The most obvious way to do this, coming from a flagship tablet like the Galaxy Tab S4, is to pare down features and focus on ones that are essential to the experience. This is, after all, how Samsung explains the 'E' in the product’s name.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S5e's 'essential' features

Samsung has made some interesting choices in this regard, with much of the tablet's value proposition resting on entertainment and productivity in equal measure. 

Much of the tablet's entertainment value sits within the hardware itself, sporting a 10.5-inch, Super AMOLED display with a 2,560 x 1,600 resolution,16:10 aspect ratio and 82% screen-to-body ratio. This is in addition to four stereo, AKG and Dolby Atmos tuned speakers with audio orientation that rotates with the tablet.

As for productivity, Samsung is primarily touting the Galaxy Tab S5e as its first tablet with the Bixby digital voice assistant installed. The feature will use the tablet's far-field microphones for voice commands aimed at saving time and keeping you organized, like Google Assistant does.

However, the far more important feature as far as productivity is concerned is DeX, Samsung's work-focused Android 9 Pie overlay, which adds features like side-by-side app view. This, and a Samsung Account feature that will allow for remote access to a paired Samsung smartphone, is what will drive the majority of the tablet's appeal against the Surface Go and iPad.

All of this is powered by a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 670 chip paired with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage; and it’s secured via fingerprint reader. Samsung promises that the tablet can last for up to 14 hours and 30 minutes of local video playback.

Of course, truly being productive with this tablet will cost you extra, as Samsung’s Galaxy Tab S5e keyboard cover will be sold separately for $129 (about £100, AU$180).

Samsung

Samsung's new tablet from behind. Image Credit: Samsung

Samsung sticks to an angle

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S5e is clearly a competitor to Apple and Microsoft’s more affordable tablets that can still drive productivity. However, Samsung is simultaneously trying to present a tablet that’s just as good for entertainment, and is perhaps a bit further toward that end of the spectrum.

This is the niche Samsung is trying to carve for itself, which could explain why the tablet has no support for stylus pen input: it’s simply not essential to the design.

Similarly, this would give reason to the inordinate focus on entertainment features – such as the sharper screen than both the iPad and Surface Go, with premium audio to boot – within the device, not to mention smart device control through acting as a Samsung SmartThings hub.

Will Samsung's angle end up producing a better tablet than Apple or Microsoft's? We'll be the judge of that in a forthcoming full review. 

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S5e release date in the US and UK is set for Q2 2019, with pre-orders from March 2019  - we'll update this article with information on availability in other regions when we know - in your choice of black, gold or silver.