Samsung additionally made the buttons somewhat deeper than earlier than and added a perform key so you should utilize it to set off shortcuts which have been added to the highest row. On the previous keyboard, this row merely had numbers and symbols that you may set off by urgent downshift. Now, you can too get Escape, Dex and Delete should you maintain down Fn and press the `, and backspace buttons, respectively. As for the remainder of the keys in that row, utilizing Fn with them offers you F1 to F12 for issues like opening a brand new tab or refreshing a webpage. I might favor if Samsung put controls for show brightness and quantity right here, however I suppose I’ve to be grateful for the little enhancements right here.
I’ve some lingering complaints. The buttons are nonetheless somewhat too small, particularly the backspace key. I find yourself having to achieve rather a lot farther than I am used to and find yourself hitting as a substitute. Once I’m holding down the Shift key in an animated bout of all-caps typing, the area bar would not work. I am going to find yourself with a stream of phrases tied to one another so it appears much more incoherent once I’m digitally screaming on the world. Additionally, the horizontal-arrow keys do not at all times work — they’re ineffective in a URL bar, for instance.
These might have extra to do with the Tab S6’s software program than the keyboard itself, which brings me to a different certainly one of my greatest annoyances with Samsung’s tablets: Dex.
Dex mode nonetheless wants work
Oh, Dex. The place do I start? On the Tab S6, Dex is a software program interface that mimics a full desktop expertise, permitting you to tug up all of your apps in home windows. You may resize these panels and overlay them on one another. All of it appears like an ideal concept, besides my early experiences with Dex actually burned me. There was loads of inconsistency round whether or not the browser app was pulling a desktop model of a website and which apps had been optimized for the desktop atmosphere.
Samsung has since refined the software program, and it is a very refined enchancment. Apps behave extra like I anticipate them to on a desktop, though you may must make loads of tweaks for them to really run like they need to. For instance, you may have to allow the “Drive apps to resize” setting in Dex Labs earlier than you’ll be able to maximize each window you open. Some apps will even must relaunch whenever you change between Android and Dex modes, which takes just a few seconds.
Additionally, Chrome nonetheless would not mechanically load the desktop model of internet sites, and for some purpose, there are two screenshot shortcuts on the taskbar. Two! One is the native Android screenshot button, and the opposite is a particular Samsung one. Even when one is a lot better than the opposite — like perhaps it pastes rainbow unicorns throughout your screenshots or one thing — why embrace each? Why not simply have the higher one in there?
I might additionally prefer to see some interface adjustments. Once I use the Alt-Tab shortcut to modify between apps, for instance, the spotlight over the chosen app is absolutely faint, and I can not actually inform which app I’ve toggled to. A bolder coloration scheme would make this a lot simpler to see at a look. I might additionally just like the identify of the app on every window’s title bar so I haven’t got to guess. Additionally, generally clicking on a browser tab closes it, even once I tapped nowhere close to the X button!
It is all these little annoyances that make Dex nonetheless really feel unreliable. Regardless that it is extra secure — in that it crashes lower than earlier than — I nonetheless need it to be higher.
Efficiency and battery life
Except for failing to supply a dependable desktop multitasking interface, although, the Tab S6 is a sturdy performer. Its Snapdragon 855 processor capably dealt with my workflow, which generally consists of Slack, Gmail, Chrome, Calendar, Docs, Twitter and some different apps. It additionally held up once I pushed it additional by sneaking in a session of Cooking Sprint, which generally lags a bit on my Pixel three.
I used to be additionally pleasantly stunned by the Tab S6’s battery life — it made it by means of a current two-day journey from Germany to New York, together with an eight-hour flight, with loads of juice to spare. On our battery take a look at, it lasted 15 hours and eight minutes, beating its predecessor by three hours. That is additionally higher than the iPad Air and the 12.9-inch iPad Professional, although simply shy of the Floor Professional 6’s 15-1/2-hour end result.
With its kickstand, keyboard and wannabe desktop interface, the Tab S6 is Samsung’s newest try at mimicking Microsoft’s Floor tablets. Certain, Samsung might have simply completed that by making one other Home windows hybrid, but it surely seems like the corporate knew Android can be a greater match for the S Pen’s newfound capabilities. And, as soon as once more, it’s the snug, easy stylus that units the Tab sequence aside. Those that like taking notes by hand and need a horny, light-weight, highly effective gadget that lasts ages will recognize the Tab S6. Android (to not point out Dex) might really feel restricted for anybody trying to get actual work completed, however should you need not do rather more than edit just a few paperwork or slideshows on the go whereas staying in contact along with your colleagues, the Tab S6 will just do advantageous.