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Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Review: A Worthy iPad Counterpart
The worldwide tablet market declined 5% year-over-year in 2019. In India, the tablet PC market witnessed one of the slowest growth signs- 7.8% in 3Q CY2019 compared to 3Q CY2018, as per a report by CMR. While most brands have dropped the idea of producing more big-screen devices and are largely focusing on smartphones and accessories, brands like Samsung and Lenovo are still showing signs of positive growth.
- Brilliant QHD+ Super AMOLED Display
- Loud And Clear Audio
- Swift Performance
- Works Well For On-The-Go Productivity
- Improved DeX Mode
- Expensive Keyboard Isn’t Included In The Package
- No Official IP Rating
- Minor Software Bugs
- No 3.5mm Headphone Jack
Samsung's 2019 tablet portfolio offers two products- the Galaxy Tab 8.0 (2019) and the pro-grade Galaxy Tab S6. Priced at Rs. 59,990, the 10.5-inch Galaxy Tab S6 is a multimedia powerhouse that also transforms into a portable PC for on-the-go productivity tasks. The Galaxy Tab S6 brings a flagship chipset, gigabytes of internal storage, a new S-Pen with remote control functionality, and wireless charging capabilities all packed inside a lighter and thinner form-factor.
Samsung has also improved the DeX mode to amplify its productivity. Several other improvements work in favor of the premium Samsung tablet. Does all of this make the Galaxy Tab S6 the best Android tablet in the market? Let's find out.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Design- Sleeker, Lighter And Durable
The Galaxy Tab S6 might be the thinnest tablet we have got our hands-on. At just 5.7mm, the Tab S6 is unbelievably sleek and feels premium in hands. The metal-glass body weighs 420 grams and is easy to carry around even for an extended duration. This makes the Galaxy Tab S6 a great companion for on-the-go multimedia and productivity jobs.
However, the sleek profile of the Tab S6 has its compromises. The tablet does not offer the traditional 3.5mm headphone jack. You would need a USB Type-C dongle to use your standard headphones or you can connect wireless headphones to tune in to your playlist. The tablet features a quad-speaker setup to compensate for some loss. The Dolby Atmos-enabled speakers are the best sounding speakers we have tested on a tablet. They produce loud and clear audio that can easily fill up a small room.
Type-C Port, Magnetized Rear Panel And an In-Screen Fingerprint Scanner
The Galaxy Tab S6 has a Type-C port at the bottom and pogo pins to connect the keypad. There's no slot on the tab to hold the stylus; however, the rear panel has a magnetized spacing that keeps the S Pen locked. Another neat design trick- the tablet's rear panel even recharges the S Pen wirelessly.
As far as security is concerned, the Tab S6 comes equipped with an optical fingerprint scanner embedded in the screen. It's a letdown as the company uses ultrasonic in-screen fingerprint scanners for the Galaxy S and Note series handsets, which have slightly better functionality as compared to the optical sensor offered on the Tab S6.
Galaxy Tab S6 Lacks Official IP rating For Water-Dust Resistance
Samsung ensures good durability standards for its smartphones. Unfortunately, the premium Tab S6 tablet is not rated IP68 waterproof. You cannot use this tablet with the same sense of confidence that you get with the Galaxy S and Note series devices. For a pricey tablet designed as a mobile workforce for on-the-go jobs, the lack of an ingress protection rating is a big miss.
Galaxy Tab S6: Delight For Multimedia Consumption
The Galaxy Tab S6 is a great entertainment machine. The credit goes to the gorgeous 10.5-inch Super AMOLED display, which is the best big-screen on any tablet in the market at present. It is essentially the same vivid AMOLED panel offered on the predecessor Galaxy Tab S5e. The WQXGA resolution (1600x2560 pixels) panel offers good contrast and excellent viewing angles. The screen is also HDR10+ certified and has a peak brightness level of 500 nits making the tablet fairly usable under direct sunlight.
Excellent Contrast, Vibrant Colors, And Good Viewing Angles
I have thoroughly enjoyed video streaming on the Tab S6. The content on Netflix with HDR content looks excellent. The downloaded content in high-resolution (1080p @60fps and 4K files) looked even better. The multimedia experience is further amplified by the AKG-tuned quad-speakers, which produce loud and clear audio. Just lean back on a couch and watch your favorite movies and series on the Tab S6.
You will simply love the viewing experience. The 10.5-inch QHD+ Super AMOLED panel also serves well for gameplay. Games like Asphalt 9 and Real Racing 3 look excellent on the Tab S6. The Tab S6 isn't the ideal tablet to play PUBG due to the screen's 16:9 aspect ratio.
How’s The Multitasking Experience?
The Tab S6 ensures a lag-free performance, thanks to the flagship Snapdragon 855 processor, 6GB of RAM, and big screen real-estate. You can run more than 15, even 20 apps at the same time and can frequently switch between the apps without any performance slowdowns. You can also edit big RAW files and export them in bulk without any major issues. The Galaxy Tab S6 is available in only one storage variant- 128GB; however, you can expand the storage to 1TB via microSD card slot.
Place Multiple Apps On Big Display
At any point of time, the big 10.5-inch screen can comfortably display three applications in the tablet mode via multi-window mode. There are limited 3rd-party apps that support Samsung's multi-window mode in addition to the stock apps that come pre-installed. The Tab S6 also syncs with your Samsung Galaxy phone making it possible to receive calls and send text messages on the tablet, provided that both the devices are logged in with the same Samsung account. If you want to step up your multitasking experience, enable the DeX mode on the Tab S6.
Enable DeX Mode For Even Better Multitasking
The Galaxy Tab S6 also transforms into an Android-based PC in a jiffy (Fn+Dex key). You can also connect the Tab S6 to a big display via an HDMI cable. The Dex mode optimizes the UI of the tablet to adapt to a desktop environment and also activates the attached keypad for additional functionality. The keypad, which is essentially a book cover with keys, also gets a laptop-like trackpad and the newly added function keys.
Keypad Works Well For On-The-Go Jobs
The trackpad and function keys are welcome additions to enhance the usability of the tablet as a small computer with Samsung's PC-like DeX mode. However, due to size constraints, the keys travel and the keys have gone size reduction which makes things slightly difficult for users who are accustomed to full-sized keyboards.
There's a learning curve to it that you must go through to feel at ease while using the Tab S6 as a PC. The free-angle kickstand sticks to the magnetized back panel and allows you to comfortably place the Tab S6 on a flat surface to perform on-the-go PC jobs. I was able to use it for prolonged writing/typing sessions, edit photos, and browse the web comfortably after a week's usage on the new keypad.
For on-the-go jobs where you cannot carry a laptop, the Tab S6 serves as a viable companion. The sad part, the company is not offering the new keypad in the package and you have to shell an extra Rs. 10,990 for it, which could be a deal breaker for many.
New S Pen- Better Touch Response, Supports Air Actions
The new improved S Pen magnetically attaches to the dedicated indent carved out on the Tab S6's back panel. The bookcase safeguards it from falling; however, a slot within the tablet (like the Galaxy Note 10+) would have been more assuring. Nevertheless, the company has improved the S Pen's functionality. The Bluetooth-enabled stylus can capture selfies, start recording videos and can even help you scroll through the multimedia content via intuitive Air actions, which needs some level of refinements.With 4,096 different levels of pressure sensitivity points, the S Pen is very accurate and fun to use on the big AMOLED screen.
Take Notes, Doodle And Sketch With Ease
A simple yet useful use case of the S Pen comes into play when you are watching videos on the Tab S6 and quickly want to take notes.
Simply tap on Samsung notes and write down the notes in a window that's transparency can be customized based on the content being played in the background. The S Pen also comes across as a great tool to sketch and draw illustrations if you are an artist and love doodling. The S Pen ships in the box, unlike the expensive keypad.
13MP+5MP Rear Cameras, 8MP Selfie Camera
I am glad to see a dual-lens camera setup on the Tab S6, which makes me say that Samsung is the only tablet manufacturer that's actually taking tablets seriously. And the camera setup itself is pretty capable. The tablet sports a 13MP main camera and 5MP ultra-wide camera with 123-degree field of view.
For selfies, the Galaxy Tab S6 sports an 8MP front-facing camera. The rear cameras capture crisp shots in daylight that looks simply amazing on the 10.5-inch display. The big viewfinder on the screen alone will force you to capture more on this tablet. The Tab S6 can also shoot UHD 4K (3840 x 2160)@30fps, which also look impressive on the AMOLED screen.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Software
As far as software is concerned, our Tab S6 unit is still running on the Samsung OneUI 1.5 based on Android 9. It might get the new Samsung One UI 2 update shortly. From a hardware perspective, the Tab S6 is a powerhouse; however, the same cannot be said for the overall software performance.
Some apps installed from the Google Play store are still not properly optimized for Samsung's big-screen ecosystem, especially for the S Pen, which limits the Tab S6's performance. Samsung's stock apps work seamlessly on the 10.5-inch display.
In comparison, the latest iPads offer superior software performance than the Tab S6. The Tab S6 just cannot match the fluidity and seamless user response on the Apple iPads. If you cannot comprise on the software performance, go for the latest iPads.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Battery Life
The Galaxy Tab S6 is backed by a 7,040 mAh battery unit, which can easily last two days even on heavy usage. You can stream videos on loop, play games, sketch with S Pen and browse internet all-day long and the Tab S6 would still have some juice left at the end of the day. The tablet comes bundled with 15W fast charging support, which takes approximate 2.25 hours to recharge the battery from 2% to 100%.
Should You Buy The Galaxy Tab S6?
If you are eyeing a premium Android tablet which offers incredible multimedia performance and on-the-go productivity, the Galaxy Tab S6 is the answer. The premium looking tablet offers a vibrant 10.5-inch QHD+ Super AMOLED display, enhanced S Pen and Samsung DeX experience, long-lasting battery, and lag-free performance.
To make the most out of the Tab S6's productivity capabilities, you have to spend an extra Rs. 11,000 for the new keypad which is slightly disappointing. Besides, the lack of an official IP rating for water-dust resistance is a definite miss. Despite these setbacks, and thanks to a very little competition for the Tab S6, it comes out as the best Android tablet in the market.