Samsung additionally made the buttons slightly deeper than earlier than and added a operate key so you need to use 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 would set off by urgent downshift. Now, you too can get Escape, Dex and Delete for those who 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’d choose if Samsung put controls for show brightness and quantity right here, however I suppose I’ve to be glad about the little enhancements right here.
I’ve some lingering complaints. The buttons are nonetheless slightly too small, particularly the backspace key. I find yourself having to achieve so much farther than I’m used to and find yourself hitting as a substitute. When I’m holding down the Shift key in an animated bout of all-caps typing, the house bar does not work. I’ll find yourself with a stream of phrases tied to one another so it appears much more incoherent when I’m digitally screaming on the world. Also, the horizontal-arrow keys do not all the time work — they’re ineffective in a URL bar, for instance.
These could have extra to do with the Tab S6’s software program than the keyboard itself, which brings me to a different one in all my greatest annoyances with Samsung’s tablets: Dex.
Dex mode nonetheless wants work
Oh, Dex. Where 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 can resize these panels and overlay them on one another. It all seems like an excellent concept, besides my early experiences with Dex actually burned me. There was lots 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 setting.
Samsung has since refined the software program, and it is a very delicate enchancment. Apps behave extra like I anticipate them to on a desktop, though you may need to make lots of tweaks for them to really run like they need to. For instance, you may have to allow the “Force apps to resize” setting in Dex Labs earlier than you possibly can maximize each window you open. Some apps can even need to relaunch while you change between Android and Dex modes, which takes a couple of seconds.
Also, Chrome nonetheless does not routinely 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 if one is a lot better than the opposite — like possibly 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 wish to see some interface adjustments. When I take advantage of the Alt-Tab shortcut to change between apps, for instance, the spotlight over the chosen app is de facto faint, and I can not actually inform which app I’ve toggled to. A bolder shade scheme would make this a lot simpler to see at a look. I’d additionally just like the identify of the app on every window’s title bar so I haven’t got to guess. Also, typically clicking on a browser tab closes it, even once I tapped nowhere close to the X button!
It’s all these little annoyances that make Dex nonetheless really feel unreliable. Even although it is extra secure — in that it crashes lower than earlier than — I nonetheless need it to be higher.
Performance and battery life
Aside from 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 Dash, which generally lags a bit on my Pixel 3.
I used to be additionally pleasantly shocked by the Tab S6’s battery life — it made it by way 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 check, it lasted 15 hours and eight minutes, beating its predecessor by three hours. That’s additionally higher than the iPad Air and the 12.9-inch iPad Pro, although simply shy of the Surface Pro 6’s 15-1/2-hour consequence.
With its kickstand, keyboard and wannabe desktop interface, the Tab S6 is Samsung’s newest try at mimicking Microsoft’s Surface tablets. Sure, Samsung may have simply performed that by making one other Windows hybrid, however it looks like the corporate knew Android could be a greater match for the S Pen’s newfound capabilities. And, as soon as once more, it’s the snug, clean stylus that units the Tab collection aside. Those who like taking notes by hand and wish a pretty, light-weight, highly effective system that lasts ages will respect the Tab S6. Android (to not point out Dex) could really feel restricted for anybody trying to get actual work performed, however for those who needn’t do way more than edit a couple of paperwork or slideshows on the go whereas staying in contact together with your colleagues, the Tab S6 will just do nice.