The Samsung Galaxy Tab S5e is a premium tablet with tons of features like a Super AMOLED screen, a very slim metal body, and interesting features like the Samsung Dex desktop mode. With prices starting at 400 US Dollars it costs half as much as the 800 Dollar Apple iPad Pro. The later one should be much better – but which offers better value? That’s what we’ll discuss in this iPad Pro vs. Galaxy Tab S5e comparison.
Design & Build Quality
Even though there is a huge price difference, both tablets are very premium feeling. When holding them in your hands, you’ll immediately think that they are expensive. The Samsung Galaxy Tab S5e is a bit smaller and narrower than the iPad Pro due to their different screen sizes. We get full metal bodies with both and, again, they do feel very high-end.
As I said, the Galaxy Tab S5e is a bit smaller. And it is a bit thinner too. In fact, with just 5.5mm I’m pretty sure it’s the thinnest tablet you can buy right now. The iPad Pro is 0.4mm thicker and the Apple tablet weighs 68 grams more compared to the 400g of the Samsung tablet.
On its sides, the tablets have very similar features. For instance, both are charged using a USB C port that can also be used to connect accessories like external SSDs or even a mouse or SD card adapters. They each have a power button, volume rockers, and a PIN connector for optional keyboard docks. The Galaxy Tab S5e has a microSD card slot which is missing on the iPad.
One very important port is missing from both: Neither has a standard headphone jack. Yes, that’s disappointing. On the positive side, there is an adapter included with the Samsung one.
Well, the good thing is that both feature very good speakers – there are four of them on each. The sound of both is very good and much better than what you get with most competitors. However, when comparing them directly, the iPad Pro does have deeper bass and a bit clearer sound, especially at its maximum volume. At maximum volume, high tones can sound a little bit scratchy on the Tab S5e.
The Galaxy Tab S5e has a fingerprint scanner built into the power button which is very precise and fast. While the new iPad Pro does not have Touch ID anymore, you can unlock it using Face ID facial recognition. And Face ID works fantastic – it’s really good. It’s hard to say which one is better because people have different preferences.
We get 8 and 13 megapixel cameras on the Galaxy Tab S5e and 7 and 12 megapixel cameras on the iPad Pro. Obviously, most high-end smartphones take much better pictures. But for a tablet, the quality of both is pretty good.
The front-facing camera on the Samsung tablets is more wide-angle and takes a bit more detailed photos. You can only see it when zooming in a lot though. The same goes for the cameras on the back. Apple’s is more zoomed in and can look a bit soft in direct comparison.
Samsung is clearly applying much more post-processing to their photos. There’s more contrast and they also sharpen them a lot. It looks fine on photos but I shot a video with the Tab S5e in which the sharpening looks ugly.
Let’s check out their screens. The Samsung Galaxy Tab S5e has a 10.5-inch Super AMOLED screen with a resolution of 2560 x 1600 pixels. On the iPad Pro, we get an 11-inch so-called “Liquid Retina” display with a resolution of 2388 x 1668 pixels.
When viewing them independent from each other, both look excellent. And regarding some aspects like sharpness, there are no noticeable differences at all. However, technically, the Samsung tablet is a bit sharper with 287 ppi compared to 264 ppi.
The Galaxy Tab S5e has a Super AMOLED screen and the iPad Pro an IPS screen. But to be honest, regarding contrast and color reproduction the differences are very minor and it’s hard to say which one is better. The iPad Pro certainly has an excellent IPS screen and in this case, I would not say that AMOLED is better.
Apple’s tablet is clearly brighter than the Tab S5e. Not by much, but it is noticeable. Thanks to Apple’s ProMotion technology it also has a much higher refresh rate than the Samsung tablet.
iPad Pro has another advantage. You can use it with the Apple Pencil 2 while the S5e does not support any kind of active pen.
As you probably know already, the iPad Pro is much faster than the Galaxy Tab S5e. It is equipped with an A12X processor that is supported by 4GB to 6GB of RAM. You can choose between 64GB, 256GB, 512GB, and 1TB of internal storage. The Galaxy Tab S5e on the other hand ships with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 670 with 4GB to 6GB of RAM and a 64GB or 128GB internal storage. You can expand the storage using a microSD card with the Samsung one.
Well, you can see in my benchmark comparison that the iPad Pro is much faster. And that is the case in real life too. It is quite interesting that you can set the graphics to HDR and high frame rate on both tablets in PUBG Mobile. However, even though the graphics settings are identical, the game looks much better on the iPad Pro.
Another game with major differences is Fortnite. While it runs very nicely on the highest settings on the iPad, you can play it with its lowest settings on the S5e only. In this case, I think that’s the fault of Epic Games though. The hardware should be fine for medium settings. But still, the iPad is obviously winning here.
Now, while my benchmark and gaming test shows that the iPad Pro is much faster, the Galaxy Tab S5e is still a capable tablet. I worked with it a lot and all standard apps work great. But yes, you’ll see noticeable differences especially when it comes to gaming.
Let’s check out their software. The Samsung Galaxy Tab S5e is running Android 9.0 Pie and Samsung’s One UI out of the box. Apple is shipping the iPad Pro with iOS 12. However, I did install the developer Beta of iPadOS on mine already. So… it looks like it will look like for consumers in the fall of 2019.
Well, lots of people have very strong opinions when Android and iOS are being compared. And that’s fine. If you want an Android device then you should get an Android device. And if you want an iOS tablet, you should just get an iPad. If you buy a lot of apps it might be worth it to pick the same operating system your smartphone has. That way you can use the same apps and you don’t have to buy them again.
Android and iOS actually do have a lot in common nowadays. Both have great split screen views, are good with multitasking, and have lots of features like blue light filters, voice assistants and cloud services built-in. It used to be that Android is much more customizable and easier to get complex work done with because you’ve got access to a real file system. And you could connect external hard drives, keyboards, and even a mouse.
Well, with iPadOS Apple is implementing some of those features too. Starting with iPadOS you can connect USB sticks, external hard drives, transfer files, and yes, even connect a mouse – but that’s still pretty limited. Multitasking is improving too, and you’ll even be able to open two instances of the same app. iPadOS is getting very powerful.
Samsung has a couple of its own features that improve Android on top of what Google is doing. The Galaxy Tab S5e supports the Samsung Dex feature. That is a desktop mode that kind of transforms Android into a desktop operating system including a taskbar and free-floating app windows. Once you connect a keyboard and mouse, it almost feels like working with Windows or Chrome OS.
A lot of apps you can get for Android and iOS are pretty much identical. That’s certainly the case for most popular ones like Microsoft Word, Twitter, YouTube, and Adobe Lightroom. However, you can get some apps for iOS that don’t exist like this for Android. Among those are apps like Affinity Photo and LumaFusion which can act as good Photoshop and Premiere Pro replacements.
Let’s end with a comparison of their battery life. And we’ve got a clear winner here. In the same test, the iPad Pro got a runtime of outstanding 18 hours and the Galaxy Tab S5e lasted 13.5 hours. For this, I’m always looping the same HD video at medium brightness and turned-on WiFi.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S5e or iPad Pro: Final Words
Alright, that’s the end of my comparison between the Apple iPad Pro 11” and the Samsung Galaxy Tab S5e. Since the iPad Pro costs roughly twice as much, it is to be expected that it is the better tablet. And that is exactly what my comparison shows. The iPad Pro has a better screen, much more powerful hardware, a longer battery life, a bit better speaker, and has tons of apps that are customized for it.
With that being said, the Galaxy Tab S5e is one of the best Android tablets. If you want to save lots of money and don’t need the performance of the iPad Pro, you’ll be very happy with it. It still does offer a nice screen, an excellent build quality, good speakers, and lots of software features.
- Fantastic metal body
- Pretty AMOLED screen
- Good speakers
- Great battery life
- Fingerprint scanner
- Android 9.0 Pie
- Good performance
- Not perfect for gamers
- Theoretical WiFi issues
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