South Korean electronics giant Samsung is among a few companies that continue to focus on tablets to fill the gap between smartphones and notebooks. Tablets provide a convenience of a smartphone in a big form factor with a huge screen estate. These devices, when connected with a keyboard and mouse, also double up as a trimmed-down version of notebooks. However, with Windows-based mobile notebooks and Chromebooks redefining the computing space, the use case for tablets has moved from productivity to entertainment or as a device at the centre of connected space, also known as internet of things (IoT). The Samsung Galaxy Tab A 10.5 seems to pack both of these.
The tablet is a fairly big device that puts it close to a notebook. It sports a mammoth 10.5-inch screen with huge bezels around. That is a plus, considering that you need some space to rest your thumbs while holding the device. The screen boasts a 1920 x 1200 resolution in a 16:10 aspect ratio which makes it compatible with most content and apps. The screen is bright and has ample contrast. However, it looks dull in comparison with OLED, which offers an impeccable colour rendition and deep blacks and is best suited for multimedia consumption. The screen also shows a shift in colours when looked at from angles, and that makes it less suitable for watching video content with a bunch of friends. The lack of S-Pen support also diminishes the overall utility of the otherwise large display panel.
The tablet's weight – more than 500 g – makes it difficult to operate using one hand. However, the weight is evenly distributed to helps in day-to-day operations. Thanks to a rubberised back, the tablet feels safe to hold and does not slip unnecessarily. However, a tiny bulging camera module on the back makes it uneven on flat surfaces like table.
Speaking of innards, the tablet is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 450 system-on-chip (SoC), mated with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage. The SoC is not a powerhouse. It is an entry-level octacore processor that barely manages to run power-intensive tasks. Surprisingly, it does not deter the tablet’s multimedia prowess and manages to run 1080p videos smoothly. The tablet runs smoothly and shows no lags in normal circumstances. However, things turn difficult when power-intensive or graphic-intensive apps like Asphalt 9 and PUBG are loaded. These games run on this device at the lowest possible graphics setting, and show stutters, becoming unplayable. This, however, does not come as a surprise, considering that the tablet makes no promise for gaming capabilities. It pitches its multimedia capability and that performs fairly.
Speaking of multimedia capabilities, the tablet features quad speakers (two on the bottom and two on the top) powered by Dolby Atmos for an immersive sound experience. The speakers are not loud but offer a good spatial output for a surround sound experience. Interestingly, these speakers automatically adjust left and right channels based on screen orientation, making them quite useful.
The tablet boots Android Oreo operating system with the Samsung Experience user interface on top. The operating system is bundled with lots of Samsung apps, including Smart Things app which allows the tab to be part of connected space. The tab also features a kids mode, where a handful of native apps and content is available for educational purpose. This mode is designed to provide a kid-friendly interface with the control over children’s usage time and access to content resting with parents.
Imaging has never been the centre game for tablets. The Samsung Galaxy Tab A 10.5 is no different. It sports an 8-megapixel shooter on the back which is barely satisfactory. It works well in daylight conditions, but fails in low light. However, the camera also doubles up as viewfinder to identify landmarks, texts, objects, etc, and make online searches around them using Bixby Vision. A caveat is that it does not work anywhere close to Google Lens – especially in the Indian context. As for connectivity, the tab comes with a SIM card slot for 4G LTE support, along with WiFi.
Priced at Rs 32,000, the Samsung Galaxy Tab A 10.5 is a tablet strictly meant for multimedia enthusiasts. It is powered by a 7,000 mAh battery, which keeps the device going for almost a day with a mix of videos, music and casual internet browsing. With the addition of the Samsung Smart Things app, the tablet also doubles up as a smart device in a connected space using internet of things. However, anything above these cases of use might render the tablet disappointing. Therefore, do weigh the utility before going for this one.