"Wah, so thin!" I heard a person who I have not met in a long time say out loud. I was going to thank him before realising that he was actually talking about the Samsung Galaxy Tab S5e in my hand. Fine, I concede. At 5.5mm thin and weighing around 400g, the successor to the Tab S4 is definitely slim, sleek and very much stylish.
Initially, I was unsure how the the Tab S5e would come in handy, but I was quickly reminded that reading e-books, doing online banking and playing games are so much more satisfying on a tablet. Everything appears bigger and clearer, and my chunky fingers entering wrong passwords was a thing of the past.
Who needs a flat-panel television when you can watch movies and TV series on a tablet? Okay, that might be an unpopular opinion but seriously, Netflix binging on this tablet with 10.5in Super Amoled display is a treat, especially with its slim bezels that give an impressive 82% screen-to-body ratio. Also, you can't carry a TV to bed, so there's the other argument.
Speaking of Netflix, the app comes pre-loaded on the tablet, so all you need to do is sign up or in to enjoy the content.
No matter what you are watching, the device's 2,560 x 1,600-pixel panel is sharp and vibrant, and coupled with the quad AKG speakers, the tablet makes for a great portable entertainment system.
However, there isn't a 3.5mm jack, so you would need to use either wireless earphones or those with a USB Type-C connector to enjoy your private listening sessions and more importantly, to not disturb the peace.
Okay, so most of us don't usually take photographs using our tablets, but if you ever find yourself in that situation, the Tab S5e won't disappoint. There is an 8-megapixel camera on the front for obligatory selfies as well as video calling and a 13-megapixel rear camera that also records video in 4K – the pictures and videos turned out pretty decent, though not so much in low-light situations.
However, the most exciting thing about the rear camera has to be Bixby Vision. Turn it on and see your world get a little bit more fun. If you point your camera at a movie poster and use the Picture Play feature, it will automatically play a trailer for the movie if it recognises it. You can also snip parts of it to turn it into a GIF, although do beware of copyright issues.
Point the lens at food and items, and it will show you what they are and where you can purchase them online; scan text in a foreign language and it will translate it for you; view a historical building or a painting and it will tell you the background story. Who even needs friends anymore?
The whole works
So, the Tab S5e doesn't have as powerful a processor as its predecessor but does that matter? Not really ... unless you are a hardcore gamer who is specifically looking for a tablet to run very demanding videogames. Otherwise, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 670 octa-core is capable of handling day to day tasks. The tablet ran smoothly when I played Candy Crush Saga (I know, who still plays this?), Mario Run, The Sims, Solitaire and few others.The Tab S5e has 64GB of space which should be enough for most but there is always the microSD slot for adding more storage.
The tablet runs on Android 9 Pie, with Samsung's new One UI user interface – a major improvement from the last version.
First up, it supports the Dark Mode, here known as the Night Mode, that can be activated with the tap of a button. It's different from the Blue Light Filter, designed to reduce blue light emission, as too much of it could mess up your body clock.
The power button on the Tab S5e is also a fingerprint scanner and the device stores up to three fingerprints for easy access. You can also use facial recognition to unlock the device, and if you wear glasses on a daily basis, it will ask you to register your features with and without spectacles. Or you can use the good ol' password and pattern to keep your content away from prying eyes.
With a 7,040mAh battery, you can rest assured that the tablet has plenty of juice to sustain low to medium level of usage for up to two days or more. It sure did for me as I used it mostly to watch Netflix, all the videos I could get on Keanu Reeves on YouTube and play some videogames or two.
The tablet also doubles as a phone and with a SIM card, you can make and receive calls on it, though do note that you cannot have private conversations without headphones.
The Samsung Tab S5e is a great entertainment system thanks to its amazing display and excellent audio. It has a great battery life and is surely a good choice for those looking for a great tablet with a simple, sleek design.
PROS: Clear and vivid display; excellent audio; long battery life.
CONS: No 3.5mm headphone jack.GALAXY TAB S5E
OPERATING SYSTEM: Android 9 Pie
DISPLAY: 10.5in (2,560 x 1,600 pixels)
PROCESSOR: Qualcomm Snapdragon 670 octa-core
CAMERA: 8-megapixel front; 13-megapixel rear
MEMORY: 64GB internal storage; 4GB RAM
CONNECTIVITY: Bluetooth 5.0, WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, USB 3.1
DIMENSIONS (W x D x H): 160 x 5.5 x 245mm
RATING: 4/5 stars
Review unit courtesy of Samsung Malaysia Electronics, 1-800-88-9999