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Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite Review: An Affordable But Highly Compromised Galaxy Tablet
Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 turned out to be a great overall tablet for on-the-go productivity and multimedia requirements. But all that came at a hefty cost which made it a difficult buy for buyers looking for a good big-screen Android tablet. Samsung seems to have an answer for price-conscious buyers in the form of the new Tab S6 Lite, a less expensive variant of the flagship 2019 flagship tablet. The price is significantly lower but comes at the cost of a good screen, powerful processor and some other notable features.
- Premium Uni-Body Metal Design
- Long-Lasting Battery
- S Pen Stylus Bundled In Box
- Good Audio Performance
- Expandable Storage
- Lacklustre TFT Screen
- Feels Underpowered
- No Fingerprint Scanner
- No DeX Mode
- S-Pen Cannot Be Used As A Remote Trigger
- Inconsistent Face Unlock
Thankfully, Samsung bundles the S-Pen stylus in the box keeping the productivity in line even at a reduced cost. The Galaxy Tab S6 Lite has been introduced in just one configuration, i.e. 4/64 GB at Rs. 31,999 for LTE version and Rs. 27,999 for the Wi-Fi version. We tried finding out where the brand has cut corners to make the big-screen tablet experience more affordable for masses in India.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite Design- Most Premium Looking Tablet In Its Price
Starting with the design, the Galaxy Tab S6 has all the bells and whistles of the expensive Tab S6. It has the same metal uni-body design and an extremely slim profile that gives it a premium look and feel. Despite a slightly smaller screen, the Tab S6 Lite is thicker and heavier than the Tab S6. It is 7mm in thickness and weighs 467 grams and also has thicker bezels. The extra thickness allowed Samsung to offer a 3.5mm audio jack placed at the top along with a microphone and a speaker grille.
The second speaker grille is placed at the bottom with a Type-C charging port. We tested the LTE variant of the Tab S6 Lite which comes equipped with a hybrid SIM card slot. You can use one nano-SIM card and a microSD card to expand the storage to up to 1TB. The Galaxy Tab S6 Lite is available in three colors - Angora Blue, Oxford Gray, and Chiffon Pink.
Side-Mounted Magnets To Hold The S-Pen Stylus
The Galaxy Tab S6 Lite does not have any dedicated cutout to hold the stylus. The tablet has magnets installed on the right side which can hold the S-Pen but the grip is not very strong so be very careful with the only productivity tool you get in the box for free. You can purchase the case for the Tab S6 Lite separately at Rs. 4,999. The ‘Book Cover' case folds around and clings magnetically to the Tab S6 Lite and also has a compartment for the S Pen.
Display And Audio
The Tab S6 Lite is probably the first Samsung device in ages to sport a non-AMOLED screen. The tablet flaunts a 10.4-inch TFT panel with not so conventional 2000 x 1200p pixel resolution. This is a full HD display with the best TFT panel I have seen till date but it still fails to match the AMOLED standards. The contrast level isn't groundbreaking and blacks are not AMOLED-level deep. The colors look punchy for TFT standards once again they are just not as vibrant as they appear on an AMOLED panel. The TFT screen is also quite reflective which means viewing angles aren't impressive. Watching movies on the big screen is enjoyable only when the light is not falling straight on the display.
The TFT panel's brightness levels only seem to be adequate for indoor use and outdoors but not under direct sunlight. The TFT screen is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 3 layer which is pretty outdated in the year 2020. Overall, the Galaxy Tab S6 Lite's display fails to meet expectations that we usually have from a Samsung device.
Moving on, the Galaxy Tab S6 Lite skips on a quad-speaker setup and settles down with Dolby Atmos backed dual-speakers setup. The speakers manage to produce decent sound output but you would need headphones to make the most out of the big-screen multimedia playback. As the tablet comes equipped with the conventional 3.5mm audio jack, you can use any wired earphones/headphones to enjoy music and videos.
No Fingerprint Scanner
The Galaxy Tab S6 Lite lacks a fingerprint scanner which is another setback because the tablet focuses on productivity and users might want to store important work-related documents on it. An artist using the Tab S6 Lite to create illustrations or an office-goer with sensitive documents stored on the tablet can only rely on the traditional methods of securing the on-device data such as pass codes, unlock pattern and software-driven face unlock. A biometric scanner would have ensured a greater degree of security for consumers.
Samsung Tab S6 Lite Performance
The Tab S6 Lite is powered by the company's in-house Exynos 9611 chipset which we have recently tested on the budget Galaxy M21 smartphone. Once again the choice of CPU is questionable for a big-screen productivity-oriented tablet if we strictly go by on-papers specifications. The entry-level in-house SoC is paired with 4GB of RAM and 64GB storage. You can expand the storage to 1TB via microSD card.
Coming onto its real-life performance, the Exynos 9611's entry-level performance effect can be felt on the Tab S6 Lite if you try to push the tablet to its limits. The tablet just feels underpowered and isn't an ideal device for power-intensive and number-crunching tasks. Yes, it can very well stream videos on OTT apps, lets you use the S-Pen to make notes or to draw illustrations with no performance issues, browse the web and also play casual games without any stutters. However, it isn't the most powerful big-screen device out there (in its respective price-segment) for immersive gaming experience and productivity jobs.
For instance, the tablet stutters while rendering 1080p 60fps videos in native and video-editing apps. You can edit big RAW files but cannot smoothly export them in bulk. The tablet stuttered quite often with heavy multitasking within Samsung's multi-window mode and playing games like Asphalt 9. Samsung should have equipped the Tab S6 Lite at least with a 7th gen Snapdragon CPU or its Exynos equivalent to make the most out of the big-screen form-factor.
S Pen Stylus And Software Performance
The S Pen stylus with the Tab S6 Lite is not Bluetooth-enabled which means you cannot capture selfies or record videos by just pressing the button on the stylus. I also couldn't find the intuitive Air actions that come handy to scroll through the multimedia content. The Air Commands shortcuts for apps seemed to be working just fine. The S Pen offers a good grip and it feels fairly responsive on the TFT screen. You can quickly take notes, scribble and doodle if you like creating fun sketches on-the-go. The S Pen also comes handy for working on PDFs, Word documents and Google sheets. Overall, it's a great accessory and Samsung is giving it for free with the Tab S6 Lite.
As far as software is concerned, the One UI 2.0 on the Tab S6 Lite is very well optimized for the big screen form-factor. It is the same software that can be seen on Samsung's premium flagship smartphones and is easily one of the best Android skin out there. It is visually-appealing and feature-rich with many useful software tools. The Tab S6 Lite can sync with your Galaxy smartphone to let you receive texts and calls on the tablet. The feature comes handy if your phone is out of reach. It is worth mentioning that both the Samsung devices need to be logged in with the same Samsung account to use this feature.
As there's no biometric scanner on the Tab S6 Lite, I configured the face recognition to prevent unauthorized access. The software-driven face unlock is just annoying to use. It is slow and quite inconsistent in unlocking the tablet. Since Samsung decided to skip the fingerprint scanner, a reliable face unlock is highly missed. The tablet does have the hardware-backed multi-layered Knox security platform to safeguard your privacy.
No DeX Mode
There's no DeX mode on the Tab S6 Lite which is again quite surprising for a big-screen Samsung device. We reached out to Samsung to understand why the brand has decided to not include the feature in the Lite version. Samsung simply denied commenting on the same, pretty surprising!
The absence of Samsung DeX restricts the Tab S6 Lite's usage as a productivity-oriented tablet. If you are not aware of the DeX mode, it is Samsung's in-house software that transforms the big-screen devices into an Android-based PC with just one click. The Dex mode optimizes the UI of the tablet to adapt to a desktop environment for work-related jobs.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite Battery Life And Camera
Battery life seems to be the only thing that hasn't taken a hit on the Lite version. Like the Tab S6, the S6 Lite is also powered by a 7,040 mAh battery unit, which can easily last two days on one charge cycle. The long-lasting battery makes the Tab S6 Lite a great companion for work and fun. The tablet comes bundled with slow 7.7W charger which takes approximate 3 hours to recharge the battery from 0 % to 100%.
Cameras have never been a priority on tablets and the same is valid for the Tab S6 Lite. The tablet packs a very conventional camera setup featuring an 8MP rear camera and a 5MP selfie camera. The cameras capture crisp shots in daylight. You can also use the Tab S6 Lite to record full HD (1920 x 1080) 30fps videos if required.
Should You Buy The Galaxy Tab S6?
The Galaxy Tab S6 Lite is, by all means, the ‘Lite' version of the original Tab S6. Samsung has made compromises in almost every department. The company should have at least equipped the Tab S6 Lite with an AMOLED panel and the Samsung DeX mode as it would have scaled up the multimedia viewing experience and productivity requirements respectively.
Despite all the compromises and the lack of competition in the Android tablet market, the Tab S6 Lite comes across as a decent mid-range big-screen tablet for work and fun. The Galaxy Tab S6 Lite is available in 4/64 GB variant and is priced at Rs. 31,999 for LTE version and Rs. 27,999 for the Wi-Fi version. If you don't plan to put your SIM card in the tablet, the Wi-Fi version will serve you just fine.