Samsung's $400 Galaxy Tab S5e Challenges iPad with Thinner Bezels, Desktop Mode

Samsung's looking to revitalize its Android tablet line, and it's betting Bixby, DeX mode and call integration will help. The Galaxy Tab S5e, a 10.5-inch Android tablet coming in the second quarter of 2019 for the slightly-steep price of $400, but that combination of size and price gives it both a good shot at being the best Samsung tablet and competing with Apple's new iPad Air and iPad mini.

The Tab S5e might match its price tag, though. For starters, its 9.6 x 6.3 x 0.2-inch, 0.9-pound aluminum body manages pack a larger screen than you get in the similarly-sized (and also aluminum) 9.7-inch iPad (9.4 x 6.6 inches x 0.3 inches and 1.03 pounds), by offering thinner bezels than Apple's tablet. The Tab S5e's 2560 x 1600-pixel screen is also sharper than the iPad's 2048-by-1536-pixel panel.

Galaxy Tab S5e Specs

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Row 0 - Cell 0 Galaxy Tab S5e
Starting Price $399
ColorsSilver, Black, Gold
Display10.5-inch 2560 x 1600 pixels
CPU64 bit Octa-core processor (2x2.0 GHz & 6x1.7 GHz)
SSD64GB, 128GB
Operating SystemAndroid Pie with DeX Mode
Cameras13 Megapixel (rear), 8 Megapixel (front)
PortsUSB Type-C (USB 3.1)
Size 9.6 x 6.3 x 0.2 inches
Weight0.9 pounds
Claimed Battery Life14.5 hours of video playback

Samsung rates the Tab S5e for 14.5 hours of video playback, and we look forward to putting the slate to the test on the Laptop Mag Battery Test (web surfing over Wi-Fi at 150 nits of brightness).

MORE: Best Samsung Tablets - Laptop Mag

Catching up to Apple 

One major feature coming to this slate is Call/Message Continuity, which will allow you to call and text message with the Tab S5e. Unfortunately, support for this feature will be limited to "select Samsung devices and may vary by carrier," which means regular Android phones are out.

The Tab S5e is also the first tablet to pack Bixby, Samsung's answer to Siri, and offers far-field microphones, so you can activate it from across the room. Of course, this tablet also supports the Samsung Things ecosystem, and a single left swipe from the home screen will open the Samsung Home dashboard, so you can activate connected devices.

DeX Mode, another Samsung hallmark, which offers a desktop-like interface to make Android more productive also comes on the Tab S5e. You'll need a keyboard to make the most of it, and Samsung's keyboard cover accessory will cost an extra $129. 

An odd flaw

Since the Tab S53 costs $70 more than the entry-level iPad, you'd expect it to offer everything an Android tablet could, but the Galaxy Tab S5e doesn't support styluses. The iPad may not include the $99 Apple Pencil, but at least the two work together.

We look forward to testing the Galaxy Tab S5e to see if Samsung's make an iPad competitor. It sits between the $329 Galaxy A 10.5, a more direct iPad competitor that doesn't offer Bixby or cell phone communication tricks, and the $649 Galaxy Tab S4.