Tablet

Galaxy Tab S5e has a rather frustrating design flaw

Samsung can’t seem to catch a break at the moment. It’s emerged that the Galaxy Tab S5e has a rather frustrating design flaw that can lead to Wi-Fi access being shut off altogether when the lower-left corner of the device is covered with your hand — and we can’t see a software update rectifying it.

That’s because the appendage is blocking the Wi-Fi signal from reaching the integrated receiver, which we assume is located somewhere towards the bottom-left of the Galaxy Tab S5e when held horizontally with the front-facing camera pointing to the left, and a software tweak couldn’t fix that.

The only workaround is to hold the device the other way around while using it in a horizontal orientation, with the front-facing camera directed to the right rather than the left. That’ll position the Wi-Fi receiver at the top of the slate to the right, where it won’t be blocked by your hand.

To be clear, the issue doesn’t come into play while the device is being used in a vertical orientation, with the front-facing camera at the top. And that’s, once again, because the Wi-Fi receiver is located too high up to be obstructed by your hand, which will be wrapped around a corner at the bottom.

The issue doesn’t always result in a complete drop in signal, though. We here at SamMobile HQ only noticed a 50% dip in strength. That’s still enough of a drop to affect performance while streaming a movie through Netflix, for example, or fighting to the end in an intense Battle Royale on Fortnite.

In fact, we couldn’t make our Galaxy Tab S5e lose signal altogether. Then again, that could be because we were gripping it with Hulk strength, leading us to question how tight those reporting complete signal loss were clutching their device. But that’s no excuse — this shouldn’t be an issue at all.

People use tablets horizontally, and this should have been tested from the get-go.

A replacement won’t help

Those who contacted Samsung to complain of the issue were sent a replacement within a matter of days, and the exact same thing happened again. Although, that’s to be expected — Samsung hasn’t changed the positioning of the component, so the issue will arise time and time again.

For now, all you can do is hold the device the other way around.

  • Model: SM-T720
  • Dimensions: 245.0 x 160.0 x 5.5mm
  • Display: 10.5” (266.7mm) Super AMOLED
  • CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon 670
  • Camera: 13 MP, CMOS

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Spike66
Spike66

I preordered the S5e and received it on April 26 we’ll before any cases or skins were available and have not seen this wifi connection issue. I have since received the case I preordered and the wifi signal remains the same with the case on or off no matter how loose, tight or where I hold it. I even tried to intentionally cover the entire quarter of the device in question here with still no loss of signal or connection. I guess I just got lucky with this unit?

NaXter24R
NaXter24R

I collected data across the Internet for a few days now. This issue seems to be more noticeable in the WiFi only model (t720) and especially the EU models. In USA they don’t sell the LTE one so is hard to tell but here, I had quite a lot of guys reporting the issue, especially on the LTE one (t725). I got mine replaced after 24h and still had the same issue. So was the one in the store for demonstration. Also, as someone says, the issue here is not the loss of signal, but rather the quality of it.… Read more »

Spike66
Spike66

I’m in the USA so I have the Wifi only model. To clarify, I have not experienced any lower quality of connection either way so I’m happy so far. In my testing, the device maintained a full connection to the wifi no matter where and how I held the S5e.

NaXter24R
NaXter24R

I’m kinda expecting that. Most issue are across EU and mostly on the LTE model.
Still, today they sent me a picture, and that area (bottom left corner, front camera on the left, landscape mode) is instead the GPS antenna according to Samsung.

MrBob33
MrBob33

Well it appears only the 5GHz antenna is affected. So perhaps you’re using the 2.4GHz antenna. It also appears Samsung “fixed” the issue through a software update? How does fixing hardware with software work? My wife was almost ready to buy this tab, but after reading the issue, we’re still looking at other models. Samsung just lost our potential money. Had a chance to test a unit here in the USA at BB and sure enough it had the issue. Then we went to Costco and checked out their floor model, and it had the same issue. I connected it… Read more »

RoadRunner99
RoadRunner99

Oh, I thought you were talking about the lack of headphone jack for a second there.

heartog
heartog

I guess it’s not a problem for me, I have to purposely put my hand around that area to get the lowered speed. When I hold the tablet horizontally, my hand is in the middle near the camera more than the corner.

matthewgwilt
matthewgwilt

Absolutely loving my S5e! It’s not a big issue so just turn it round the other way! Performance is good considering the new mid range processor and my 4gb Ram version is more than enough.

NaXter24R
NaXter24R

I have it as well, but unlike you im not fine having 1/10 of the wifi signal compared to my other devices. I agree that anything else is really good on this tablet, but is is a severe issue that must be fixed

tswfootball
tswfootball

I agree. I really love this tablet but this issue is really bothering me. I sometimes get one bar of WiFi when holding the tablet in landscape mode and putting my hand there.

I hope Samsung does some kind of revision soon and will replace our units

Skz888
Skz888

I just got my new Tab S5e over the weekend and every time I sit in my garage workshop – where my wifi is weakest – to watch a video, my wifi gets disconnected! I thought I the wifi drop was user error and have spent many mintues turning airplane mode on and off. Because no S5e cases are stocked on Amazon yet, I’m forced to hold the tablet. Now that I know what’s going on, I can easily workaround it until my case arrives. Other than this, I absolutely love this tablet. Huge upgade from my frustratingly slow Tab… Read more »

schrodinger56
schrodinger56

When I hold the Tab S5e is landscape mode my left hand doesn’t cover the bottom left hand corner it’s more in the middle of that particular edge.

locarno
locarno

Samsung can’t test devices in real life before release. Like it was with Galaxy Fold.

Biransahin
Biransahin

They should just say what Steve Jobs said. “You’re holding it wrong.” lol

Pardonme
Pardonme

This makes me wonder if putting a case on it would help. With that iPhone I put it in an otterbox and didn’t have a problem. Not something I’d like to test with my own money though.

SAMgalaxyXXX
SAMgalaxyXXX

a unnecessary tablet that Samsung has brought to the market showing its still obsession with Apple. The tab S4 is still better. All Samsung had to do is to sell it without the Spen at a lower price (as an option) instead of wasting time, money and resources on this one especially with such flaw.