Samsung has announced the new Galaxy Tab S5e, a mid-range tablet that the company is hoping will capture people's attention with select premium features and a more accessible $399 price tag.
The high-end nature of the Tab S5e comes in its design. The all-metal unibody is the thinnest and lightest of any Samsung tablet, weighing about 14 ounces and measuring 5.5mm thick. Samsung didn't skimp too much on the display, either, sticking a 10.5-inch, 2560×1600 AMOLED panel with a 16:10 aspect ratio on the tablet. It's also the first Samsung tablet with Bixby built in, allowing users to call on the voice assistant to answer questions, control connected SmartThings devices, and more.
Samsung highlights the multitasking capabilities of the tablet, including a new continuity feature and Dex support. The former lets users make and receive calls and texts from the tablet (it will be available in Wi-Fi and LTE versions) while the latter is Samsung's experimental desktop version of Android. Users can connect a keyboard, mouse, and even an external monitor to the tablet and use Dex to expand Android into a desktop-like software that makes it easier to do many things at once.
However, the Tab S5e's internals aren't exactly built for multitasking. It runs on an octa-core Snapdragon 670, which is suitable for mid-range tablets, but it may not be powerful enough to run software like Dex smoothly for too long. It also supports up to 128GB of onboard storage (up to 512GB with an added microSD card), and up to 6GB of RAM. The 7,040 mAh battery inside the tablet should help it stay alive for 14.5 hours. These are decent specs considering the $399 price—you won't be getting an entry-level tablet, but it's not designed to be as powerful or efficient as Samsung's Tab S4.
Unlike the Tab S4, which comes with Samsung's S Pen stylus, you won't get it with the Tab S5e and you can't even use a stylus for note-taking or sketching either. This is disappointing because Samsung's stylus is one of our favorites and we appreciate the company's Air Command on-screen interface as well.
The announcement comes just one week before Samsung is expected to launch its newest flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S10. To coincide with the February 20th Unpacked event, Samsung will open three new retail locations in Los Angeles, Houston, and New York to show off its products and other in-store demos.
The Samsung Tab S5e will be available in Q2 2019 starting at $399. LTE models will be available after the Wi-Fi models come out.