If you believe tablets are not a very productive device type, you might like to experience the recently-launched Samsung Galaxy Tab S6. Based on the Android platform, which is primarily a smartphone operating system, the Tab S6 also comes pre-loaded with Samsung DeX computing platform and supports digital inking with the SPen stylus that comes bundled. Also, the tablet has other value-added features like call and message continuity which bring it somewhat close to being a true two-in-one device.
We reviewed the Tab S6 to see how it fares on key parameters. Here’s what we found:
The Tab S6 has a compact unibody design with subtle curved corners, which make it easy to slide the tab into a pouch or a compatible backpack. Carved out of a single block of aluminium, the tablet is just 5.7 mm thick and weighs only 420 g. Its lightweight design and thin profile make it an ultra-portable device that you can use without the fear of accidental drops.
While the tablet’s design may seem practical, it is not fully so. On the tab’s back, there is a dedicated area for the SPen to simultaneously rest and charge. Though this area has magnets to keep the stylus in its place, the magnetic force is rather weak, sothe SPen drop even on light jerks. You might like to consider purchasing the tab with the Samsung BookCover Keyboard (sold separately) as it protects the SPen by covering the entire back.
Aside from the issue with the SPen mount, the other aspects of the Tab S6 appear fine. Its key components, such as volume rocker keys, SIM slot, power button, speakers, charging and data transfer ports, have been placed at the right spots for ease of use both in portrait or horizontal orientations.
The Galaxy Tab S6 has a 10.5-inch super AMOLED screen of a 2560 x 1600 resolution, stretched in a 16:10 aspect ratio. The high-resolution screen, close to the conventional aspect ratio, makes it a perfect match for most tasks like browsing web pages, scrolling through social media profiles, playing games, streaming videos and editing multimedia. The screen is bright and vivid and has a good dynamic range. The screen supports HDR, but the lack of the video enhancer option limits the brightness boost required to render HDR content well. The screen has bezels around it, so the risk of touching the screen accidentally is minimal.
The Tab S6 has Dolby Atmos-certified and AKG-tuned quad-speaker set-up (two each at the top and bottom). The speakers’ output is deep, with an excellent noise level. They are loud enough to stay audible even in loud outdoor conditions. The tablet’s dazzling screen and capable speaker set-up make it an all-round entertainment powerhouse, delivering an immersive experience.
Though the tablet boots the Android Pie operating system-based ‘Samsung One’ user interface, it also has the company’s productivity-centric DeX computing platform integrated within the OS for computing tasks. The tablet’s default UI is ‘One’, you can easily switch to the DeX mode either from notification settings or by attaching the BookCover keyboard (sold separately).
The Android OS and its vast collection of apps allow the tablet to be a big-screen version of smartphones. On the other hand, for a desktop-like experience, the DeX computing platform adds some productivity features like windows-based user interface with a taskbar, multitasking, etc. The DeX supports 20 windows at a time. These windows support conventional actions like file drag and drop, minimise for taskbar, maximise to cover the entire screen, etc. There is also the option to manually resize the windows.
When attached with the keyboard, the DeX mode proves to be a game changer. The keyboard has function (Fn) keys for ease of use and a touch-sensitive trackpad that make it work somewhat like a notebook. Though small, both the keys and the touchpad of the keyboard are responsive and have good feedback.
The Galaxy Tab S6 has a dual camera set-up on the back, featuring a 13-megapixel primary camera and a 5MP ultra-wide sensor. Both cameras are satisfactory, if not exceptional. These are good for daylight photography, but stutter in low light. On the front, the tab has an 8MP camera that also does a satisfactory job while taking selfies or making video calls.
Powering the tablet is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 system-on-chip, mated with a 6GB RAM and 128GB internal storage. These top-notch specifications result in sleek performance, unmatched by any other Android tablet in the industry so far, and closer to what the Apple iPad Pro delivers. The tablet has a huge 7,040 mAh battery, which is good enough for two days when used for casual work, including streaming videos from over-the-top (OTT) platforms. Aggressive usage, such as multimedia editing, gaming and streaming audio and videos over LTE, drains the battery faster. But the tablet still sails through a day easily. While the battery is surprisingly good, the charging time is slow as the tab comes bundled with a 15W charger, which takes more than four hours to replenish the drained-out battery.
At Rs 59,900, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 is definitely one of the most expensive tablets, but it is worth it. The tablet’s dazzling display, exceptional multimedia prowess, stylus support, class-leading computing platform, top-notch performance and the ability to serve as a two-in-one device make it the best Android tablet yet — one that could really compete with Apple iPads.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S6: Rs 59,900, including SPen
Samsung BookCover keyboard: Rs 10,999 (Rs 5,499 when purchased with Tab S6)