Watching movies and listening to music are activities that are increasingly shifting to hand-held devices, with the smartphone becoming an important way to consume media. You’ll often see people on mass transit catching up on TV shows and movies on the way back from work, or lying in bed with headphones on watching an episode of their favorite TV show right before turning in for the day. It’s led to larger smartphone screens, as the smartphone becomes an important part of you.
But if you take your media consumption more seriously, you might be interested in a nice new tablet. The larger screen makes all the difference in improving your experience of movies, TV shows and games, and it may perhaps be worth investing in a standalone media machine, such as the Samsung Galaxy Tab A 10.5. This tablet sports a big screen, Android OS, and a quad-speaker setup to help you enjoy your media better. But is there more to this Rs 29,990 device than its media chops? Lets find out in our review.
Samsung Galaxy Tab A 10.5 Design and Display
Tablets are largely like smartphones in most aspects, with the notable exceptions being screen and battery size. Also, while smartphones are geared to make calls, a tablet is obviously too big to place on your ear and have a conversation with someone. That said, a lot of tablets do come with data connectivity, as is the case with the Samsung Galaxy Tab A. You can insert a regular SIM card and enjoy standard data services with it, as you would use a phone.
This comes in handy when you don’t want to connect to Wi-Fi or use the tablet out and about a lot. That aside, the design of the device is focused on enhancing the screen experience. There are no buttons on the front, even doing away with Samsung’s signature physical home button. You get narrow borders surround a 10.5-inch 1920×1200-pixel screen with a 16:10 aspect ratio. This makes it a bit wider than the typical 4:3 ratio you see on most tablets, while still maintaining a comfortable enough size and shape for hand-held use. The rubber-like finish at the back adds to grip, making it easier to hold the tablet.
Samsung Galaxy Tab A 10.5 Specifications and Features
Under the hood, the Samsung Galaxy Tab A 10.5 does come across as slightly disappointing when you consider the Rs 29,990 price tag. You get the Qualcomm Snapdragon 450 SoC, with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage (expandable), along with an 8-megapixel rear camera, 5-megapixel front camera, 7,300mAh battery, cellular connectivity, and Android 8.1 Oreo running the system. It all sounds a bit expensive for what’s on offer, but it’s worth remembering that this isn’t a smartphone and its feature set is a bit different.
Lets talk about the one significant specification that is a positive here – the battery. The Samsung Galaxy Tab A 10.5 packs in a big battery that keeps the device running for hours at a stretch. It won’t run out too quickly when you’re binge-watching TV shows and movies, and will suitably power the big screen. Charging is quick as well (for the size), thanks to the included fast charger and USB Type-C port. You can get a full top-up in about three hours, which is decent given the capacity of the battery.
You also get quad speakers and Dolby Atmos tuning on the sound, making the device good with cinematic and video-based audio even if you don’t use headphones. This works well in the quiet of your home, but you might want to use headphones in noisy environments. The speakers are located at the four corners of the tablet, ensuring good sound no matter how you’re holding the Galaxy Tab A.
Given that tablets are actively used by entire families that also include children, Kids Mode will come in handy. This allows parents to control what apps children can access, and keep usage safe even when unsupervised. The software experience is the typical Samsung Experience UI, which is similar to what you see on Samsung smartphones. It may not be the best UI around, but it does the job capably enough in this case. Finally, you get face unlock on the tablet, which although not as fast and reliable as it could be, is a decent enough way to secure the tablet.
Samsung Galaxy Tab A 10.5 Performance
There are two ways to look at the Samsung Galaxy Tab A 10.5, and your impression of it (or indeed how useful it might be for you) depends on which way you choose. Samsung has positioned its device largely as a media machine; one that is suited to people who want a big screen for watching videos or playing casual games. If that’s the extent of your needs, you won’t be disappointed with the tablet. The big full-HD+ screen and aspect ratio make it great for binge-watching sessions, and cellular connectivity means you can stream away even if you don’t have a Wi-Fi connection handy.
However, with just 3GB of RAM and the rather basic Qualcomm Snapdragon 450 SoC, performance isn’t top notch. While you won’t have any trouble with casual games, social media, video streaming and audio playback, heavy usage and graphically intensive tasks do tend to be laggy and generally unpleasant on the Galaxy Tab A. Given that it is a tablet meant for functions that utilize the big screen, this can lead to a mixed experience since you won’t be able to properly utilize all of that screen real estate for some Android games.
On the whole, the tablet is best used for media consumption and only the most basic of games, and if you want better performance, you’ll likely want the higher-end Samsung Galaxy Tab S4.
The tablet product segment came and went faster than we expected it to, and at this point the few buyers that want a big-screen hand-held device tend to radiate towards the Apple iPad range. Very few players remain in the Android tablet space, with Samsung being the only manufacturer still taking the space seriously. And while the Samsung Galaxy Tab A does have firm positioning and some strong pros, Rs 30,000 seems a bit too expensive for such a product.
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The advantages are significant, with the big screen, good audio output and full-fledged cellular connectivity making this an excellent device for media consumption. Fast charging, good battery life and useful software additions further contribute to the quality of the device. However, the Samsung Galaxy Tab A 10.5 is held back by average performance and a very high price tag, and perhaps an Apple iPad would be a better pick.